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Nov
22nd
2014

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?”

ROUND 57


STORY 1

A Day in the Life of Truth Seeker: Ponyville’s Resident Conspiracy Theorist, by JohnPerry

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.


ambion:

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.

RazgrizS57:

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.


STORY 2

Nothing to Say, by DuncanR

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.


ambion:

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.

RazgrizS57:

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.


STORY 3

Primal Fear, by Aragon

Rainbow Dash is not afraid of monsters.

But maybe she should.


ambion:

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.

RazgrizS57:

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.


STORY 4

Rain, by CouchCrusader

One year after her return to Equestria, Princess Luna prepares to take her place in the world.


ambion:

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.

RazgrizS57:

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.


Feel free to visit our group for more information and events, and to offer some recommendations for future rounds. See you all next time!

Alexstrazsa · 142 views · Report
Nov
21st
2014

An open-ended search for elusive perfection that may or may not exist: it's not just the Royal Canterlot Library's mission statement, it's also the tale of today's story.

All of It, for Her

[Romance] [Sad] • 4,386 words

Thirty five years. Been roaming Equestria from town to cloying town, looking for her. Not for lack of trying, mind you. Equestria's just that big of a place. There's only so many places left to look, though, and it'd be foolish to throw in the towel already. I'm getting close. So I'll do the same thing I did yesterday: search.

FROM THE CURATORS: While several of our recent features were written for Equestria Daily's Outside Insight contest — which brought out amazing work from a broad cross-section of our community — this is an older story that should have been.  "This is one thoroughly under-appreciated fic.  It would have placed in Outside Insight's top ten for sure, and that's no small compliment coming from me," JohnPerry said.  Horizon agreed: "It's full of nice details throughout," he said, "like the subtle awkwardness of ponies' internal struggles with racism, and Cranky's observations on how their culture has gotten inside his head."

However, while All of It, for Her has a lot to say about Equestria, along the way it takes an exemplary look at an underappreciated character. "This story gives Cranky a very strong voice," Chris said.  "His story has always tickled that 'doomed nobility' bone for me; the idea of consciously deciding to put your entire life on hold indefinitely, and probably forever, just oozes pathos."  Upping the ante, JohnPerry said that "the characterization of everyone is absolutely brilliant. … Even the 'minor' characters Cranky meets on the way feel fleshed out, and to say that Cranky feels true to the show seems like an understatement: it expands on what we saw in the show, and significantly so. Everything about this brings to light the ... I suppose not 'tragedy,' but the tragicness of his situation."

Even that tragedy carried unexpected depth. "This is also thought-provoking in how it uses the context of the show to play with the tone of the story," Horizon said.  "Taken as self-contained original fiction, it's a tale of Donkey Xoté, a dreamer who wastes his life on a mad quest … but we know that there's a payoff to his quest. The entire premise of this character is that it works out, at long last, in Ponyville, and that turns the ending surprisingly bittersweet."

Read on for our author interview, in which Pav Feira discusses stolen appellations, compelling snark, and the crucial importance of cabbage.

Read More
PresentPerfect · 700 views · Report
Nov
16th
2014

If you could pick one feature for the site to suddenly have, what would it be? This is your chance to get across that genius idea that you can't believe I haven't thought of.

Features that will never ever ever happen:

Increasing character limit

Signatures

knighty · 6,776 views · Edited 6d, 7h ago · Report
Nov
15th
2014

New MLP Convention News Service Launches

We're excited to announce that Everfree Northwest has become the official site blogger for MLP convention news here on FIMFiction. We will be providing regular site blogs aggregating convention news not just for our own convention, but for any and all MLP conventions that wish to participate. Our goal is to be a central hub for fanfiction and writing-related convention news for the FIMFiction community. By extension, we want to help bring a strong fanfiction presence to MLP conventions around the world, and encourage inter-convention cooperation and outreach.

What this means for you, the reader and potential con-goer.

You'll see regular posts from us (as social site blogs) in your normal FIMFiction feed. These posts will aggregate news from MLP conventions near and far, with an emphasis on fanfiction and writing related items. You'll find guest announcements, writing contests, volunteer requests, and all sorts of other related items. We'll also be maintaining a public directory of participating conventions if you want to reach out and ask questions, or get more involved with your local con.

What this means for you, the writing and fanfiction staff at a convention.

We're your contact point on FIMFiction for submitting news items. Our process details and guidelines, as well as registration form, can be found here, but the short version is that we'll be taking news submissions from all conventions and combining them into regular, friendly-and-PG-rated social site blog posts, as well as providing a public directory. We highly encourage all conventions to participate, and to work together to make the global MLP fanfiction community a bigger, better place. Click here to read our guidelines and register.

FAQ

What's a site blog? A site blog (or Social Site Post) is a special type of blog post that shows in the feed of all FIMFiction members who have not explicitly turned off "Social Site Posts" rather than just those following the poster's account.

Isn't this just more spam in my feed? Possibly. If you have no interest in conventions at all, then we apologize. That said, we also understand that polluting your feed with unwanted items is no benefit to anyone. That's why you'll see, at most, one aggregated post from us each week that condenses the information from multiple cons into one post. You can also disable all social site posts in your FIMFiction settings.

As a convention yourself, won't you be a bit biased? We promise to work hard not to be. Our own news will go through the same process as everyone else, and we are taking steps to make it as fair and friendly as we can. More importantly, we believe a stronger fanfiction scene at other conventions benefits us as well, inspiring new ideas and friendly challenges that push us to be better.

EverfreeNorthwest · 1,135 views · Edited 1w, 16h ago · Report
Nov
14th
2014

Today's story has a clever plan to steal your heart.

Little Deceptions

[Slice of Life] • 5,527 words

Blank Slate is the greatest thief of his generation. He has robbed countless nigh-impossible marks, and his talents as a master of disguise are beyond par — truly, nopony knows who he is.

And now he's preparing the greatest heist in mortal memory: the treasure vaults of the Princesses themselves.

But you have to get up pretty early in the morning to get one past the pony who defines when ‘early in the morning’ is…

FROM THE CURATORS: Like all its characters, this story of a daring theft gone wrong has a little secret — in this case, that there are two chapters.  "It's bizarre to say, as JohnPerry did, that the best thing about this story is how it sticks the landing," Horizon initially wrote after be failed to notice Chapter 2, but quickly amended his statement: "It stuck the landing."  All of us agreed.  In Chris' words: "The ending is great, no argument."

But there's more to this story than a great twist, and it was that richness throughout which propelled it to its feature.  Present Perfect cited the writing's redemption of an often-poorly-used technique: "This makes good use of talking heads, something that's hard to do."  And Chris appreciated the heist's construction despite his ambivalence toward the genre: "Too often, the number one rule of good mystery writing is ignored — the reason it worked ought to be, if not solvable, at least conceivable pre-reveal.  This story does a nice job on that front."

Little Deceptions' richness extended to its ideas and its setting.  "What really struck me about it was the world-building," Present Perfect said.  "We get an explanation for why a pony would turn to crime. All those magical gems … make sense, and the methods of disguise are entirely believable."  Horizon seconded that: "The heist is a joy to read, and plays with Equestrian worldbuilding in marvelous ways.  I was debating whether to nominate it simply on the strength of Chapter 1."

Read on for our author interview, in which Taranth discusses fertility, flowers, fandom justifications, and Shining Armor's criminal history.

Read More
PresentPerfect · 1,155 views · Report
Nov
11th
2014

Seattle's Angels is a group that promotes good stories with low views. You can find us here.


MEANWHILE, IN THE SEATTLE’S ANGELS

SECRET UNDERGROUND FORTRESS

AND TREE FORT

“Myeh,” Pav Fiera grunted, flopped out at the top of the staircase and generally being a tripping hazard for others. “Should we even bother with reviews for this round? I don’t even see a point.”

“Why, old bean, what ever do you mean?” asked Corejo.

Pav Peira twisted and squirmed his way to the edge of the balcony. Dangling his head and arms off the edge, he looked down below at the other Angels. “I dunno, it’s just some of these comments. People saying that we’re too pretentious, or circlejerky, or elitist. I mean, the whole point of doing these reviews was to help the community, y’know? So that they’d be exposed to lesser-known fics.” He let out a deflated sigh. “I dunno. Maybe we lost sight of what this is all about.”

Frowning and adjusting his monocle, Corejo looked up from his roast leg of panda. “Now now, what’s all this poppycock? Why, the people love us, Pav!”

“Quite right, quite right.” alexmagnet gave a gruff nod of approval whilst swimming laps through the literal swimming pool of money he had earned from reviewing. “We’re job creators, after all! We select the fics to be read, and that gives the poor unwashed masses something to read.”

“Trickle-down fanfiction!” Burraku Pansa cried out from his computer. With one final keystroke, he executed a script that generated dummy accounts to upvote the Angels’ selections.

“Rubbish, I say,” harrumphed Csquared, her voice muffled somewhat as she lay face-down on the massage table. Above her, a blond Swedish masseuse worked the stress from her shoulders. “We are well renowned, are we not?”

“Tis but Tall Poppy Syndrome, and nothing more. Whoa, Rosalina!” Belligerent Sock tightened his sleeper hold on the grizzly bear, until the mighty beast ceased its thrashing. “We are beautiful, and thus we are flawed.”

“Lest we forget,” said Professor Plum, looking up from his game of strip poker with President Obama, Scarlett Johansson, Emma Watson, and Elon Musk, “we were appointed to this most noble of tasks by divine providence. It is by this god-given right that our story recommendations are wrought into objective claims of superior craftsmanship.” President Obama nodded in agreement while removing his shirt.

“Aww, you guys.” Pav Fɛira wiped a single cliche tear from his eye. “Thanks for cheering me up. You’re right. We’re not doing this because it’s good. We do it, and therefore it is good.” He clapped his hands with a crisp rhythm. “Armondo! I wish to be downstairs now.”

A bulky man, shirtless and oiled down, responded to his summons. Cradling Pav Feika in his powerful arms, he lifted the Angel and carried him down the gilded staircase.

ROUND 56


STORY 1

Cool Jazz, by Owlor

Twilight Sparkle, like many progressively minded ponies, are drawn to the newly emerging equestrian jazz scene, where she's seduced by the music and the atmosphere. But as a mare more at home in a library than among ponies, she's not exactly well-equipped to deal with the finer point of social interaction in this environment.


Pav Feira:

I admit, I’m a bit of a sucker for live jazz. Maybe that’s my musically-inclined childhood speaking, but there’s just something about sitting in a dim room, the musicians on stage a few feet away, and just sitting there, listening as we all share in this experience together. Gone is the more classically-structured rhythm and melody; jazz speaks its own language. If writing has stream-of-consciousness, and art has expressionism, then music has jazz.

Look, if we’re going to take flak week after week for being too pretentious, then I’m going to earn it, dagnabbit!

That’s immediately what jumped out at me when reading Owler’s piece. Sure, it’s not without its raw elements, like a couple of run-on sentences or a surprisingly necessary Wikipedia hyperlink. But the atmosphere that the fic painted just sucked me in. Contrary to my previous point, I wouldn’t really consider this fic to be stream-of-consciousness, rather a mood piece. It well encapsulates what Twilight herself is feeling, as she gets swept up in the music. She’s pulled in by the jazz and the club itself, clearly out of her element and comfort zone. Yet despite all that, it speaks to her. She has her own eggheaded processing, her own symbolism and meaning, her own vantage point.

This sort of fic might not be for everyone, but I found it to be a thoroughly enjoyable scene. It makes its case nicely, doesn’t overstay its welcome, and ends on the perfect little zinger for a more lighthearted ending. If you’re in the mood for something short and enjoyable, I’d definitely give this a go.

Corejo:

No, NO!  Not that kind of jazz!

Err, that’s… close enough?

Anyway, jazz!  The music you all love to love!  The way that sax swings, that piano flows, and that bazooka... bazookas.  It’s a thing.  I learned it while reading this fic.

Twilight is no different in her love for the sweet sound of soul.  Except that she loves it in a very analytical fashion.  Owlor digs deep with this one.  Here is a beautifully crafted mindset that fits Twilight to a tee.  By Celestia did he take his perspective and run, but I doubt anyone would say he ran in the wrong direction.

From the get-go, you can feel the Twilight shining through in the narrative.  Analytical, observant, but never overbearingly so.  Actions come and go in time with the narrative, as does dialogue.  It struck me as odd that some points in the story he chose to tell dialogue rather than use it, but the way it’s handled never hindered my enjoyment.

The story itself is a quick read, almost as quick as it’ll take you to read all these reviews.  And that ending is far too perfect.


STORY 2

Home, by RBDash47

As Hearth's Warming nears, Applejack celebrates in her own private way.


Pav Feira:

HEY GUISE CAN WE START TALKING ABOUT THE HOLIDAYS NOW?!

Actually, no, let’s not.

Ahem. While Hearth’s Warming might be the framing device for this fic, let’s discuss what the fic is actually about: family. Like the politically-correct branding tells us, families come in all different shapes and sizes. Some get along like peas in a pod, others have strange circumstances that they must overcome, and there’s a few that don’t even see eye to eye. But families like Applejack’s are truly inseparable. A tightly knit family unit such as this one is full of special moments, treasured memories, and time-honored traditions.

Reading through a story like this, it becomes pretty apparent right away that this is being written from the heart. But that sentiment is only further crystallized upon reading the author’s notes and seeing how true to life the tale truly was. I was recently discussing this topic at length with another group, but I feel that putting something of yourself into your story is a way to make it truly impact the audience. Certainly it’s not a requirement for all fics to be so deep, nor for them to be so heavily derived from real events; simple, lighthearted tales have their place, without a doubt. But nothing compares when attempting to connect with your reader on an emotional level. I don’t strictly mean sad fics, but rather, any tale of complex “feels”. Sure, any writer can force an emotion through their piece, such that the reader feels happy or sad, but those are very monotone expressions. Real human emotions are often more complex, coming through on multiple wavelengths, cumulative and conflicting and raw.

In a story like Home, you can really feel that truth shine through in the work. Yes, being based around very similar real-world circumstances helps, but moreso than that, you can feel the author’s emotion here. This was something cherished and meaningful, painful yet bittersweet, ever forward moving. It’s a true treat when an author shares such a personal sentiment with us.

Corejo:

Family is everything.

What makes a family special is the time you spend with them, the way your lives are always anchored in each other’s.  The memories you make with them are what stay with you forever.

This is that kind of story.

Applejack has the house to herself due to inclement weather, and she takes the time to reflect on a tradition passed down to her by her mother.  Sentiment is the mainstay if this story, and it’s apparent RBDash47 writes from experience.  Read the author’s notes for that.  

Don’t let the Sad tag fool you.  This isn’t a sad story.  Bittersweet is more accurate.  It takes a simple action—baking, something that on its own means nothing—and gives it an emotion only human experience can give it.  Memories are everywhere in our lives.  How we choose to remember them is unique to each of us.

It’s a very short story, the seeming trend of this round.  But unlike the others, this one really stays with you.  It leads a slower pace than the others, not simply for the setting, but for the meaning: life is to be cherished.  And it’s moments like these in our own lives that make it worth living, and remembering those you love.


STORY 3

SOS-Dan Equestria: The Flowers of Spring Sunshine, by Kris Overstreet

Spring Sunshine, self-declared leader of Canterlot's SOS Brigade and seeker of humans, time travelers and superheroes, has decided to go to Ponyville for this year's All Flowers Festival at the height of springtime. Her mission: to seek out and find that giver of candy eggs and other gifts, the Flower Hare. With her for the ride are Snowflake (secretly a transformed human), Rosehips (secretly a time traveler from the future), Green Arbor (secretly a part-time superhero), and "Shiny" (an ordinary pegasus who writes regular reports to Princess Celestia). With a group like this, and a town like Ponyville, misadventure is inevitable...


Pav Feira:

Yes, Phazon our loyal readers, it is a rare sight when the Angels will visit upon a crossover, but today is that day. And if the title, description, and cover weren’t a dead enough giveaway, this fic blends up The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya with a dash of poneponepone.

Don’t give me that look. There was only one possible thing to put here. I’d get people yelling at me if I didn’t put this here.

Now, at this point, you’re either having one of two reactions. Either I just triggered your Endless Eight PTSD, or like Corejo you’re asking yourself, “What is a Harui?” (sic) Well, you’re in luck, dear reader! If you want the standpoint of someone familiar with the crossover material, keep reading. If you don’t watch teh animez and are looking for an outsider’s perspective, skip on down to Corejo’s review.

Okay, is it just us now? *adjusts his fedora and licks his Cheeto fingers* SOS-Dan Equestria is effectively a pony reimagining of Haruhi, written by a Haruhi fan for Haruhi fans. That does mean that the secret identities of all the SOS-Dan are revealed, including Haruhi’s. If you haven’t finished the first season of the anime, massive spoilers ahoy. You might wanna finish up S1 first and then hop back to this. The whole cast is here, but rather than actual Kyon, we get his Captain Ersatz pony version, Shiny. Same deal with Haruhi—Spring Sunshine—and the others. And sure enough, Shiny is snarky, Spring Sunshine is a hyperactive ball of bipolar energy, Rosehips cannot explain what’s happening due to “classified information”, and so forth.

Two immediate questions arise. First, isn’t this completely inaccessible to a non-Haruhi fan? Well, Corejo’s review will address that viewpoint, but it’s completely fair to say that this fic does not follow one of the general pieces of advice for crossovers: being welcoming to a newcomer to the series. Sure, Shiny’s narration does give you a quick recap of who has what abilities, but for a one-shot there’s just not enough time to ramp-up a newbie. This is pretty explicitly written for Haruhi fans. Now accessibility is a good rule-of-thumb, yet I wouldn’t say that this fic commits a cardinal sin. Haruhi is (or was, I guess it did come out a few years ago at this point) a fairly popular anime, and there’s a decent weeaboo cross-section in the brony fandom, so odds are decent that you’ve heard of this one, unlike some more obscure crossovers. Explaining the Haruhi plotline in any more detail than what’s seen in this fic would require multiple chapters to effectively rehash the first season. So, writing for fans and skipping straight to the good stuff has its advantages.

Secondly, if the cast just has a bunch of Captain Ersatz, couldn’t we just have Kyon-in-Equestria, or just skip the middle man and make this a Haruhi fic, sans pone? Possibly to the first (pros and cons), but I’d avidly refute the latter. This is definitely a pone fic, featuring pone themes. I harp on this a lot, and it’s been stated far better by one of this round’s featured authors, but a crossover needs to be more than the sum of its parts. Adding ponies doesn’t make the story more appealing via pandering; it enriches. Whether it’s Shiny being the only pegasus of the SOS-Dan and the challenges this introduces, or interfacing with canon characters like Twilight, or the joint mythos and lore that get explored, it serves to make this tale more than just “Haruhi with ponies.” It’s really a merger of the two.

Anyway, this has already ran far too long. If you’re a Haruhi fan, you’re probably already sold, and I’m pretty confident you’ll get exactly what you came looking for. If you’re on the fence, keep reading for Corejo’s perspective.

Corejo:

So yeah, this story.  This was an interesting one.  Let me preface this review by saying that I had never heard of "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya" until Pav suggested this story.  We debated whether or not we should review this one on the grounds that it’s very much esoteric, but I gave it the greenlight for two main reasons: the writing isn’t bad, and we don’t feature nearly enough crossovers.  That, and I figured it’d be best if we had two perspectives on this story, one who understands the crossover and one completely in the dark.  Although Belligerent Sock was kind enough to inform me it’s basically the lovechild of Dragon Ball Z and Attack on Titan.  Hey, I’m game for that.

What I like about this story is that, from what I can tell, it isn’t afraid to be heavy on the Haruhi side of things.  The characters seemed more integrated with Equestria rather than just “Haruhi goes to Equestria.”  I get the sense that Kris Overstreet knows what they’re doing with their characters’ characterization, and the protagonist, Shiny, and her charge, Spring Sunshine, do shine (heh) through.  (If you are a non-Haruhi fan like me and read this, keep in mind those are two separate characters.  It took me a good thousand words to figure it out.)  Shiny is well portrayed through her internal monologue, and it’s easy to smirk at her comic relief and misfortune (“So, still no help with the luggage? Oh, my aching back.”)

How close to the anime they are I couldn’t tell you, but it’s definitely good enough to keep me reading.  Sadly, though, I found the other characters too flat to relate to—not so much out of poor writing but out of lack of exploration.  I feel safe in assuming they’re accurate (and any Haruhi fan please let me know if I am wrong), but they just weren’t given any real screen time to fully develop, a side effect of already being established in another medium and the fact this is only a one-shot.  They do their job.  Not much more to ask of them.  Except Power Rangers.  That was interesting.

As with a majority of stories we feature, there’s always a ‘but’ paragraph(s).  (Or as Pav has agreed we should call it: a butt paragraph.  Cause, you know, we always do the caveats at the end of a review.  Shut up, it’s funny!)  There are a lot of exclamation points in this story!  Really!  They’re, like, everywhere!  Snarkiness aside, shouting is often a thing in animes.  I get that.  But in writing, it can be left out.  (Yeah, it’s a nitpick, but that’s what a review is.)  

The main incident of the story revolves around a heavy-handed reference, specifically Derpy, which I found rather clumsily handled..  There are numerous other references I found more than annoying (because really, if your story is already a crossover, aren’t there enough references?), but once the team was able to get into the action in their signature way, I found it more than readable.

Shouting, clumsy references, and being out of the loop are the only things that’d keep you from enjoying this story.  The last of those isn’t really much of a hurdle, though, so if that’s the only thing keeping you, don’t let it.

I should probably start watching this show.


STORY 4

Half-Baked, by Aquaman

Cooking is a delicate process that requires both patience and attention to detail. Rainbow Dash is the fastest flier in Equestria. Bring the two together, and things get real interesting real fast.


Pav Feira:

Now, Half-Baked hails back from way in the day, October of 2011 to be precise. And to an extent, it shows. We see a fair number of older references, simpler characters, and even an older meme or three. The fact that this was written as part of a speedfic competition further accentuates these traits.

Certainly, the return of the phrase “ten seconds flat” is a blast from the past.

But herein lies its charm, particularly with the benefit of hindsight now. Season 2 had not aired yet, by this point. It’s a Dangerous Business and Past Sins had just started up, whereas Fallout: Equestria had not yet even begun. (Surprisingly, it seems that Fimfic was already a thing back at this point. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that we’ve been around since such an early point in the fandom.) And sure, I rattled off a few expansive reference points there, hundreds of thousands of words of worldbuilding and adventure.

But in remaining shorter, simpler, sweeter, Half-Baked captures something special from that era of the fandom. Regardless of your feelings on recent seasons, there seems to be a general consensus about the first season. It had a magical feeling to it, simple tales and gentle morals. The worst we had in drama was an episode that could be vaguely misinterpreted as anti-science, and the most complicated plot was about when a built-up moment doesn’t live up to your expectations.

This is the manner of vibe captured in Half-Baked. Like an unearthed time capsule, we see a glimpse of the fandom and their mindset back in the S1 era. The lighthearted fare and simple challenge (ahem, with the slightest brony twist) do the fic a service, harkening back to an earlier, rosy-colored days of the fandom. If it’s a kick of nostalgia you’re looking for, look no further.

Corejo:

Baking!  You put stuff into the oven, and out comes delicious treats ready to eat.  It’s like magic!  Except for Rainbow Dash.

This story comes to you as a blast from the past, an oldie from the days when that one season two countdown timer thing was still a thing.  (I can’t find a picture of it.  :()  It’s always nice to look back on ponyfic as it’s progressed through the years, and I’d say this is as good as any to flip back a few pages of time and give a read.

First, let’s get this out of the way, yes, there are season one memes in here.  Rainbow Dash ones, specifically.  If that’s a no-go for you, well, then tough.  If you aren’t writhing on the floor at the mention, then stay with me.

The writing is brief.  Aquaman keeps the story going without bogging it down with unnecessary words or asides.  It’s kept punchy, which sells the comedy wonderfully.  I’ll admit most of the happening is done off stage, so we never really see much of the actual comedy, but how he uses inference and character interaction to convey what has happened makes it all the more worth reading.  Not too many people are good at that.

In… two hours?  

>My face when.

Give this story a whirl.  For the nostalgia, if nothing else.  It won’t disappoint.


The porchlight to the secret underground base snapped open. Corejo poked his head out the door, looking out with bleary-eyed that snapped wide with alarm. Stepping outside, he quickly stomped down upon the burning paper bag on their doorstep, extinguishing the flames and also ruining his Gucci slipper. He sighed with relief, now that the danger had passed, and yet something else took ahold of his interests: a note beside the paper bag, painstakingly clipped by hand, secured from the breeze by a large rock. He bent down, lifted the note, and held it up to the gaslight for examination.


Feel free to visit our group for more information and events, and to offer some recommendations for future rounds. See you all next time!

Alexstrazsa · 1,527 views · Report
Nov
8th
2014

Today's story doesn't have long to make its point, but wow, what an impact it'll leave.

Queen Of Queens

[Dark] • 15,000 words

Our kind has it that the life of a queen is the happiest, for they are blessed with the shortest time in this world. A mighty queen will be remembered for eternity, forever residing in the hearts of her people. The greatest tragedy a queen can suffer is to be forgotten — to be stricken from history.

I refuse to bend before oblivion.

FROM THE CURATORS: Given the number of authors that entered Equestria Daily’s recent Outside Insight contest (and the quality of their prose), it's no surprise that it's been a rich source of RCL features — but what did surprise us was the breadth of the entries' quality.  Our last two features spotlighted the humorous end of the entries, but Queen of Queens is pure drama, with a tale of struggle and redemption.  We unanimously agreed: what a drama it is.

"Now here's an author who knows what they're doing. The story of Chrysalis, from birth to death, is an unparalleled feat of worldbuilding," Present Perfect said, and the first words out of JohnPerry were similar: "Absolutely exquisite worldbuilding."  Chris dug further in: "This is how you do worldbuilding.  You make a couple of original assumptions that can still fit within the canon lore, and then you examine them to their fullest conclusions.  [Queen of Queens' changelings] are an amazing example of race-building in fiction — alien, yet recognizable enough to inspire empathy."

The core concept — that, in contrast to mortal ponykind with its immortal alicorns, the changelings are an immortal race with short-lived leaders — was "an amazing idea, with sterling execution," as Horizon put it; but this story went well beyond that.  "It's not often I get to see a sympathetic portrayal of Chrysalis that doesn't make me roll my eyes," JohnPerry said, but as Chris said, "she's a compelling, interesting character despite the reserved narrative style. … Her fatal flaw is well-established without being sledgehammer-y, and that makes the ending (which, in lesser hands, would have felt like a copout) seem sincere."

All of this, plus the engaging prose, added up to a gripping and unique fanfiction experience.  "I drank this down in one sitting and never once felt my mind wander," Chris said. "The entire story feels wonderfully, vibrantly alive."

Read on for our author interview, in which JawJoe discusses holiday episodes, games of make-believe, and self-imposed existential nightmares.

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PresentPerfect · 1,441 views · Edited 2w, 22h ago · Report
Nov
7th
2014

Site Update » Bookmarks · 4:55am

Not a massive update here, but I redid how bookmarks "work" yesterday. Bookmarks are now per paragraph, which properly stores where they actually are, and will even remember if the author edits their story, as long as they don't change the paragraph you bookmarked (for technical people, I just store a hash of the paragraph, whereas before I stored how far you clicked through the chapter, which meant it would break if you ever changed font size or screen width). This means bookmarks now carry across devices, so you can easily set a bookmark on your PC and then open it on your mobile/tablet and carry on reading. The interface is still a bit crappy for it, but I'm working on it. I also want to make a little page that shows you your active bookmarks you can easily jump to.

If you're not logged in, it falls back to storing locally like it used to, so everyone gets to use this feature. Registered users just get it tied to their account.

knighty · 1,766 views · Edited 1w, 2d ago · Report
Nov
1st
2014

Happy November, everyone. Or "that boring month that comes before Christmas," as it's increasingly being known. Seriously, I went to buy Halloween candy the other day and they had a Christmas ornament display right next to the candy. It's madness!

However, I've got a good list of groups here that need mentioning. Here we go:


The MLP Fan Club is a place for all fics, a place to be a humble fan, a place to make friends, and a place to participate in contests. :pinkiehappy: Everypony there is friends with everypony else and we read a lot of each other's fanfiction. Nopony is left out, and no story is shunned away. Ponies should join if they adore ponies, getting their fics read and appreciated, and making friends!:pinkiehappy:


Nightmare Moon is the best pony

Welcome to her majesties dark domain! This is where all those who awaken and realize the true glory of Nightmare Moon gather, under her glorious eternal night.

The groups activities include, but are not limited to:

1. Contests are held frequently

2. An art thread dedicated to NMM

3. General discussion in the forums.

So if you are among those who love the ruler of the night join today. Complementary cookies will be emailed to you upon joining.


Underrated Groups... The world of fimfiction is plagued with under rated groups, and many group makers will put their all into the group, just to have their group overshadowed by several "Rainbow Dash is a..." and "Rainbow Dash is not a..." groups that are made immediately after them. Well this group is here to change that. Every other week my admins and I will take several of the groups advertised in our forums that we believe are truly underrated and feature them in a stickied post, as well as a spot in our group description until the next group of groups are featured.

The forums are pretty much open season for anyone under 1000 members.

If you would like to be a part of this noble project then click the banner or the link and join today!


The OP Group of Overpowered-ness is a group designed to catalog all the stories out there with overpowered characters, because who doesn't love ridiculously over the top displays of power.


SPSU Bronies is a group made by gcwg57 so that the bronies at Southern Polytechnic University can meet each other and connect.


Foot/Hoof Fetish

We are a relatively new group focused on the awesome fetish of feet and hooves! It is one of the most common fetishes out there, yet it has very little representation in the brony community. Welp, it's time for us to change that! With fics ranging from romance to comedy, and randomness to full on multiple chapters, we really want to expand on the fetish and bring all of us together as a group. We are very friendly and are completely open to any discussion on the forums. So come head on over! We promise not to bite... maybe.


New Groups

There used to be a box for New Groups. That feature is gone now, and this group aims to fill the gap. If you're not a member yet, you're missing out on new groups. Join if you want to keep up with the trends.


The TwiCord Group

Do you love reading? Do you love Science? Do you love Magic?

What about Chaos? Unpredictability? Maybe even cotton candy clouds that rain Chocolate Milk?

Do you love all of this together? If so, we have a treat for you...

We're a group dedicated to bringing together Fans of the TwilightXDiscord ship, along with collecting the few precious stories that lay in the mountains that is Fimfiction.net's library.


More Than Laughter

Pinkie Pie isn't just a ball of randomness and a source of off-the-wall humor. Nor is she a cold, murderous psychopath. She's a full character, well-rounded, and capable of experiencing and displaying a full range of emotions. This group aims to collect and feature those stories which remember that Pinkie isn't just a one-trick pony.


Organized Crossover

Originally, an effort to gather all of the crossover fics under one group and organize them by their crossover subject matter. However, due to a small staff and the founder simply not having much time for it, the "organized" part has somewhat fallen by the wayside. This is mostly a call for anyone who might be willing to join and help clean up the mess.


Weekly One-Shot

A simple challenge: can you write a one-shot in a week, every week? No rush, no stress. There are no prizes here. Just a small personal challenge to encourage people to keep writing, producing work at a regular pace without sacrificing the quality of their work, or having to devote all of their free time to a single hobby.


That's it for this month. If you'd like your group advertised next month, send me a PM with a link to the group and a brief description of what the group does and why people should be interested. Whatever you send me will be copy-pasted directly into the post, unless there's a case where I want to change something for some reason. I'll accept anything up to ~250 words.

Of course, if you have questions about anything, you can always just ask me first.

See you all in December!

Eldorado · 1,196 views · Edited 3w, 5h ago · Report
Oct
31st
2014

From the dread darkness of Chthonian slumber, from the maddening whispers of voiceless space, comes today's story of doom.  DOOOOOM!  And makeovers.

An Outsider's Perspective

[Comedy] [Slice of Life] • 5,475 words

A freakish abomination from beyond the fringes of the rational universe emerges from the trackless depths and finds himself in Ponyville.

FROM THE CURATORS: Like last week's feature, An Outsider's Perspective was an entry into Equestria Daily's Outside Insight contest, and quickly rose to stand out from the pack.  "If Moonlight Palaver was the Outside Insight entry I found the most entertaining, this is the one I found the funniest," JohnPerry said.  "Its absurd premise belies its wit; it looks like a piece of featurebox bait from the cover, but inside is something really clever and wonderful. It's not often that you come across something that's this absurd yet feels so true to the tone of the show."

But when that wit and show-feel are mere supplements to perfectly on-point comedy, it's easy to understand what makes this fic exemplary.  "This story is so hilarious," Present Perfect said, and Chris agreed: "It's fun, funny, and left me in a better mood after reading it."  Its whimsical melding of Lovecraftian horror and the magic of friendship won Horizon over: "Everything about this brought a smile to my face.  The core idea is so clever and the execution is just so spot-on that you can't help but like it."

Ultimately, it was that tongues-in-the-many-cheeks-of-the-gibbering-faces-of-horror tone which sold us on the piece.  "I've never seen comedic juxtaposition done so well," Present Perfect said.  "It really stood apart on the merits of using such a dark non-pony character and playing it for laughs.  This was one of my absolute favorites from Outside Insight."

Read on for our author interview, in which Kavonde discusses grandiose monologues, death rays, and Lovecraft hats.

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PresentPerfect · 1,138 views · Edited 3w, 21h ago · Report