Seattle's Angels is a group that promotes good stories with low views. You can find us here.
ambion pointed his flashlight around the enclosure, running over all the little hollows carved into the walls. He frowned. "It doesn't look like the ‘shelves have anything new," he said.
"Then we've got to go deeper into the bowels," Raz said from beneath him.
The two clung to a rusted ladder, already several feet below the basement of Seattle's Angels underground tree fortress. If they listened closely, they could hear the muffled sounds of classical music on the floors above them, and the occasional bit of laughter over the din. However, what rang the most over the sounds of life above were the sharp echoes resonating from below. Raz caught a glimpse of a heavy drop fall from the ceiling with his flashlight, before it crashed to the pool far below like its own heavenly instrument. But he knew better than to be misguided by the sounds.
“‘Trickle-down fanfiction’ my rear end,” ambion grumbled. “I hate this part of the job.”
“Well, we got to earn our keep somehow,” Raz said, ire clear in his tone, and the two continued their descent.
It was several minutes later when they finally reached the bottom. Raz grimaced; it’d still be a few more rounds before he could finally afford that wetsuit. He slowly stuck a foot in the pool and the water around shimmered an unnatural blue-green glow. The algae felt like slime, and he ignored his crawling skin and lowered himself into the bath, up to his waist where he could barely feel the bottom. Every movement that disturbed the pool also disturbed the algae, which gave off its disturbing bioluminescence.
Still clinging to the ladder, ambion gently plucked a bit of algae out of the pool. “I found a forward slash.”
“Keep it, we’ll need a few of ‘em,” Raz said, scooping up a handful of the stuff. Numbers, letters, and text of all kinds sparkled and swam around in his palms, which he lifted towards ambion. ambion pulled out several of them until he had enough to form a coherent URL. He then stuck them in a string on the nearby wall and ran a little scanner over it.
“Any good?” Raz asked.
The scanner beeped and ambion quickly read what it had to say. “Looks like a story where Fluttershy goes around putting bubblewrap on everything. Cute, but...” He grimaced. “But it just doesn’t handle itself well. Heck, it doesn’t even spell her name right. No dice.”
“Blast,” Raz muttered. He then turned around to look for more digits.
“You know,” ambion said as he scraped the disgusting URL off the wall with a toothpick, “I was thinking. What if instead of just finding the stories, we actually reviewed a few ourselves?”
Raz found a “5” and shrugged. “I dunno. The others make it sound like a lot of hard work.”
“I’m sure it is, but don’t you ever get tired of the grunt work?” ambion asked. “Think about it. If we could show ourselves to be competent reviewers, we might actually get a bit of respect around here. We could get to sit at the big boy’s table with everyone else for a change!”
“Brazen and audacious,” Raz said, pulling out a “7”. He smiled. “I like it. But won’t they suspect something’s up if we spend too much time down here?”
ambion shrugged. “We spend too much time down here already, and it’s not like we ever get in any trouble for being late anyways. Besides, I’ve got a suspicion Pav’s been shipping us for awhile now.”
“Productivity!” Raz said, turning back towards the goop. “If we were on time for a change, I could get a bonus and finally buy that wetsuit myself. I don’t know why the others can’t afford to put one in the budget.”
“We have a budget?” ambion blinked. “We get paid for this?”
As Truth Seeker will happily tell you, it's not easy being the most perceptive pony in Ponyville. Not when everypony else is a bunch of mindslaves.
A loving, playful, compassionate homage to conspiracy theories and their their requisite-ists everywhere.
That’s like, the entire review. Seriously. Okay, fine.
The “A Day In the Life” part is not just for show, because from its first word to last the story revels in the normality, the casual acceptance and friendliness of Ponyville. It’s like whack-a-mole for famous conspiracy references on a foundation that could very readily be an actual episode of the show that they say we all started watching of our own volition, if only we’d open our minds to truth that...!!
Ahem. Yes. The story is gentle with its characters, they fit right in with the established crowd. The humour is effortless and smile-inducing, like fluoride in the water.
What really wins me over is the showcasing on just how nice and accommodating Ponyville is, and a surprising number of characters, mane and otherwise, pop up and wave to the reader.
A pleasant read that handles the topic of its humour with an unexpected gentleness.
A Day in the Life of Truth Seeker is pretty much just that: a single, average day for a pony. It just so happens that this pony is a conspiracy theorist and completely insane. And I love him. This story is all about showing off this character, and I just can’t get enough of him.
Truth Seeker is an interesting pony, to say the least. His understanding of the world around him is so convoluted he sometimes comes off as parodying himself, and I enjoyed every word he had to spit at the ponies around town. Or, more precisely, around his front door, because he never seems to leave his house. The replies he receives are equally humorous in their own rights, if only by comparing his craziness to rational thought.
What’s more, A Day in the Life of Truth Seeker is somehow incredibly cozy. It’s interesting to see how Ponyville as we often perceive it deals this character... in a way true to Ponyville as we often perceive it; that being smiles and happiness. He seems right at home here, and that the author was able to put such an absurd character in a charming town, while keeping the town itself is character, is commendable.
My only real complaint is that I want to see more of Truth Seeker. He’s a loveable twit, someone any reader should be able to get a kick out of.
In the end, this story handles itself very well for how simple and short it is. Anyone looking for a great example of a unique character should check this one out, as would anyone who just wants a sensible chuckle.
Before she discovered her cutie mark, young Pinkie Pie led a somber and dreary life on the family rock farm. Of course, that doesn't mean she never dreamed of something more. She makes plenty of friends after her first week of school, and she's starting to open up... but making friends isn't always easy. There's a spooky and frightening neighbor next door that she never even knew about, and poor Pinkie Pie just can't bear to let her stay all alone forever.
The past is a strange country. They pony things differently there. And in that strange place everything you thought you knew about Pinkie Pie is turned on its head. Nothing to Say takes a very different and yet beguilingly familiar look at the character that is, that will be, Pinkie Pie.
The story is short and follows but a single narrative arc over four chapters. For that though, it does well with informing the reader of a lot of background on the characters and situation. The conclusion is very satisfying and comes feels like it were tied off neatly with a ribbon.
The story uses the Sad tag though ‘Bittersweet’ would be more apt for it. The emotions are there and thankfully not overdone, but the self-aggrandizing melodrama that poisons some other stories is thankfully absent. The pacing is fairly quick while still painting in the essentials of foreground and background so that, for its 11k word stretch Nothing to Say covers a fair track of ground.
The things I enjoyed about this come in three:
The characterization of our little Pinkie. She’s very different from the her we know, pre-Rainboom’d that she is, but written in such in a way that’s still very much her and, in a way, gives a nice new look on the established character.
The themes of make-believe/fact and speaking/listening both feature prominently, and I found them to be done very well, particularly with the roles they play in the conflict and resolution.
Thirdly, and spoilers: Happy ending.
There’s something to be said for a child’s innocence. Or so says the government when they need a new reason to demonize something, but I digress. Nothing to Say is an endearing look at the mysteries of strangers, from a filly’s perspective who’s never really had friends before.
The story begins with our little Pinkamena having made some friends after her first day of school. Here we’re given a very different understanding of Pinkie Pie, and as the story progresses it becomes clear enough how she’ll turn into the future mare she’ll be known for. But in the meantime, we’re going for a bit of a ride with a curious and indifferent child, and the whole thing is incredibly sweet.
For better and for worse, Nothing to Say goes by rather quickly. The pacing isn’t fast but it isn’t slow, and a lot of the story is expressed through dialogue between Pinkie Pie and her new school friends. The information is carried well, however, and for what it’s worth the story needs a lot of character interaction for what it does and what it eventually accomplishes. It’s got plenty of themes too, and while they aren’t apparent at first, they’ll become obvious as the story progresses and adds a lovely flavor on top of this already wondrous story.
If one’s a fan of Pinkie Pie, especially of the times before she got her cutie mark, they ought to find a great story here and a unique take on her character that’s still very much her. This story is sweet through and through, and I loved it.
Rainbow Dash is not afraid of monsters.
But maybe she should.
Primal Fear’s uses of unframed, black and white drawings give it a raw appeal. The stencilled lines and rough strokes lend a frantic, anxious twitching quality to the visuals and overall the minimalist style works very well here.
Also, the character drawings are very well done. My favourite has to be “I can hear it.” Just putting that out there.
So yeah. Literal -not figurative- imagery. Let me tell you about it.
Primal Fear is a tiny little 1k fic. What makes it certainly worth a glance is that it tries something bold and pulls it off.
Told in simplified language and using pictures custom-drawn by the writer for use here, Primal Fear is very much a dark bed-time story. Concrete stylings and little annotations on the pictures give a multi-dimensional quality to the read, transforming traditional writing on fimfic into something else. Something certainly worth the scant few minutes it takes to read.
I would -love- to see other writer-drawers make picture-book stories like this, because Primal Fear is certainly proof of concept.
Primal Fear is fairly short, but it’s able to a pull off a lovely example of horror this community seems to lacking in. Adding to this is its unique style of prose and the grim drawings scattered throughout.
The story encompasses Rainbow Dash on her journey to prove she’s not afraid of monsters, by spending a night in the Everfree Forest. Predictably, she comes across one, and yet it’s something I can’t say I expected. There’s an awesome twist towards the end that just grabbed me, and I loved it.
The narrative style has got be what sells this story the most. The prose reads a bit like a children’s book, although the topic is questionably befitting, especially when we consider the accompanying pictures. The author actually took the time to draw pictures into the story, and their rough lines and imperfect looks are what drive this story home. Primal Fear was chilling to read, and it’s still a bit chilling to think about now.
This story is an excellent example of horror that doesn’t try too hard to accomplish its goals. If one’s got an affinity for darkfics, they’ll be right at home here.
One year after her return to Equestria, Princess Luna prepares to take her place in the world.
This story dates back to a time when there were no answers - none at all - about Celestia, about Luna, about anything. And what we get from that is a story that’s so very free of all the since-established canon, free to go present its own interpretation, free to draw its own conclusions.
The story revisits an old favourite of topics; the relationship of Luna and Celestia. Rain is tender. Rain is sweet. Strong visual writing and imagery give us a loving what-if story of yesteryear’s wild speculations.
It’s rather beautiful for that.
Now the story isn’t flawless, so heads up on a recurring formatting error in the writing. Otherwise, the dialogue is distinct. We are after all seeing pre-canon interpretations of the characters. Emotion is genuine, dialogue flows, and unselfconscious imagery colours the piece.
My favourite aspect of Rain would have to be the imagery. From the opening descriptions of Canterlot to the origins of rain and Luna playing chords on a shooting star’s tail... Rain is very visual, and very pretty for it.
Rain is a pretty old story, but it’s one that’s enjoyable and interesting now, even after two years of pony have passed since it was writ. The story is part world building and part, well, story, and each of these elements are neat on their own. But together, they stand to make something special.
The rain itself is a very intimate part of this story; the first thousand or few words are almost entirely imagery and world building, with the princesses thrown in for a bit of flavor. Slowly, as the world around them comes to fruition, they begin to fill it, and the story shifts focus from the world around them to Celestia and Luna themselves. Now with the falling rain as a backdrop, it serves to support these two as they indulge each other on their pasts.
And they both have things to learn from each. Rain shows an interesting bit of history between best and worst princess, and I found its take on Celestia’s character incredibly interesting. Luna is accepting of her relatively recent return, and that she acts as mature as Celestia while still fully being the younger is commendable and adorable. Their talk is as foreboding as it is sweet, and I loved the personalities established in these two.
My only complaints with the story are minor. It seems to go out of its way to provide detail, there’s some strange formatting errors yet to be fully addressed, and it’s got its own Author’s Note chapter that can easily take advantage of the newfangled embedded author’s note doohickey thing. I’m also not entirely sure why it has the Alternate Universe tag.
I recommend this story to anyone who loves their princess ponies and their history. If extravagant detail isn’t a deterrence, there’s a small and wonderful adventure to be had here.
Casca looked at the sides of wet cardboard in his hands, running his eyes over the text scrawled onto each one. An exact meter away, ambion and Raz stood hopeful—the latter dripping wet with broken links and random numbers still hanging off his self.
Casca hummed and said, “No.”
ambion and Raz balked. “What?” came their collective reply.
Casca adjusted the hand-sewn spider silk beret on his head. “These are rubbish, plain and simple. Is this why our reviews come so late? Because of you two slackers goofing off in the Angels’ nether regions?”
Raz made a face, but ambion pressed forward. “But, sir! We thought—”
Casca held up a hand. “No no, no. No more of this,” he said, waggling the old cardboard in the air. “These things are but a mockery of the quality we’re known for. If these got out to the masses...” He groaned. “Consider this a warning, and I shan't be offering you anymore: stick to your posts, do only as your told, and no more of this rubbish. Alright, boys? Or else there’ll be some consequences none of us want to see come to fruition.”
“Okay...” ambion said, deeply saddened. He turned and made sure to avoid stepping on the cashmere rugs of the Angels’ basement.
Raz looked like he was going to protest but stopped himself. His shoulders sunk and he was about to follow ambion, when Casca caught him with a gloved hand.
“Here,” he said, offering Raz a rusted nickel. “It’s lost its shine, but I know you like these things. Do whatever it is with them you do, kid,” he added, playfully patting him on the cheek.
Raz grinned and took the nickel, and ran after ambion towards their bunks in the broom closet. Casca smiled warmly, then brought his attention back to the pieces of cardboard in his hands. He took briskly towards the dining hall where all the other Angels were currently gorging themselves on tiger meat and imported cheese.
“Lads!” Casca cried, raising the cardboard high like Moses with the ten commandments, “I have this round’s reviews! On time!”
He was welcomed with warms cheers, pats on the back, and the clinking of orphan-tear-filled chalices.