This will just be a short review. If I write too much, I run the risk of a review that's longer than the story itself.
Ponies (Entire Story Here) is the short story that has been nominated for plenty of awards and even won the 2010 Nebula award for short story.
Totaling all of about 3 pages, Johnson's unassuming tale about popularity and ponies draws the reader in despite the use of generic titles (like TopGirl and FirstGirl), but which establish the story extremely quickly.
How could I ever enjoy such a story? Guys, don't think you're too manly to read this. There may be ponies, but there's also blood and guts (minus guts).
My initial thoughts directly after reading (which were posted to Goodreads):
This may be relatively spoilerific, but the story IS only a couple pages long anyway (so go read the story right now and meet back here in 5...4...3...):
Wow, what an incredible story. My wife has been reading a book about communism in China and that's exactly what this story reminds me of. Instead of building people up, it's all about tearing people down.
Also reminds me of the short story by Kurt Vonnegut, Harrison Bergeron, where after the 211th, 212th, and 213th amendments to the constitution, all Americans are forced to be equal. If you're better than someone else you're forced to wear certain things (like weights if you're stronger) to keep you at everyone's level.
Wow, powerful stuff.
I'll leave it at that. Seriously, go read this and be humbled.
INTERVIEW with Steven Erikson
2 hours ago