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WednesdayFic recs, November 26th!13 comments · 215 views
Y’know what? Forget doing a “writeoff edition”. There’s too many damn stories to include, and they just keep pouring in. I’m just gonna post what I’ve already read and work on simply getting them all reviewed.
Blueshift’s Nineteen Neighty-Four now has a reading (part 1) (part 2) thanks to the Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality podcast. Looking at the site, it’s apparently dedicated to reading a Harry Potter fanfic based around the idea of rationality? I dunno, I’m only taking the cursoriest of glances. Anyway, I liked what I heard (before realizing I’d already read the story), but I have a feeling this won’t be delivering on the MLP fics in the future. Still, worth it if you haven’t read the story: it’s funny and this guy reads well.
(I'm kind of miffed that this one didn't end up all C's. Curse you, Admiral Biscuit for being such a good writer I guess? :B)
H: 0 R: 1 C: 7 V: 0 N: 0
Home for the Holidays by Silverquill
Genre: Holiday Horror
A mare, late to the train station and desperate to get home for Hearth’s Warming Eve, accepts a ticket from a mysterious stranger and boards a “secret” train. It’s a tale you’ve likely seen before, as trains of this sort feature heavily in many types of dark stories. Still, it’s the first time I’d ever seen it in ponyfic, and the writing is decent, barring a bobble here and there. If you’re into something a little Christmassy, but not overly cheerful, check this out.
Recommended for Horror Fans
Never by shortskirtsandexplosions
Imagine our surprise when word got around the writeoff: short skirts and explosions wrote an entry! It’s too bad I ended up hating this story; I mean, really hating it and the fact that it got second place. (Being over 20k words long is suggested to have played a part in that.) I think time has quelled that opinion somewhat, or else skirts just improved the story before publication. Maybe I enjoy sadfics more. Anyway, my old argument against this was that it manipulated the reader’s emotions; now I would amend that to “features an unending slew of pony death scenes”. But Celestia is there through all of them, feeling the emotions or not as required. This story, then, is about her relationships: with Luna, with their father, and with her students, past, present and future. We see clips of her life, in the distant past, interspersed with scenes from the present-day, on an airship returning from the Summer Sun Celebration. This is equal parts immortality tract, historical world-building, and future fic. (Just wait till you find out who the Admiral is!) Above all else, it is sad, sad, sad. But not, I think, sad without purpose. Watching Celestia and Luna essentially swap positions over the course of centuries is rather powerful. That said, I did feel like Luna’s characterization was shaky — granted, even in season 2, we didn’t have much to go on for her — and some of the non-Princess dialogue is… weird. This isn’t skirts’s best fic, but it’s certainly worth the read, if you don’t mind some feels.
Recommended If You Like Sad or World-Building Fics
The Order by Bad_Seed_72
Here’s another voice I know from Scribbler’s collabs! He’s a touch mumbly in the narration, which is highlighted by just how robust some of his guest readers are, but otherwise, I have no problems with him. It’s nothing a little volume on my end can’t fix. :) (Plus he outshines a few of his own collaborators with far worse microphone quality.) He goes on the list because his only other readings are partials of Inner Demons and a comic of The Unexpected Love Life of Dusk Shine, and a Kingdom Hearts fic. Okay!
Flash Sentry is desperately in love with Princess Twilight Sparkle. Unfortunately for him, he’s a pegasus and the Order says “no”. This story made me so angry, but in the end proved to be a lesson in why fanfic readings can be misleading. Had I known about the AU tag, had I read the description, I’d have been prepared to face the subject matter (and the out-of-character Princesses). Instead, my inability to trust fanfic authors came out full force and I got mad. Having calmed down now, I still have a few questions. Foremost is, how the hell could Twilight ascend if the Order keeps everypony apart? Are the Elements of Harmony all borne by unicorns in this continuity? Was she always an alicorn? Not to mention I just didn’t buy her reasoning for the existence of the Order in the first place. Then there’s the question of Cake family, and I don’t even want to get into that. What in the heck is the point of this story? As an AU, it is definitely a good look at a dystopian Equestria, but in the end it’s just your average 1984 sort of thing. You’ve got one guy who knows that the way things are is wrong but ultimately does nothing about it. This exists solely to torture poor Flash. (An early mention of him not belonging in this world made me wonder if he was somehow human Flash in pony form, but I don't think that's what he meant.) If the unrequited romance was the point, this could have been told many ways in actual Equestria. And if that wasn’t the point, I don’t know what was. With all that said, if you’re into this kind of thing, this is rewarding. Bad Seed is of course a good writer, and I was entirely captivated by a scene toward the end, when Flash comes back to his room. I also like the way actual Equestria plays into this story; it’s quite tragic. It all comes down to how you can handle the idea of a modern, segregated Equestria.
Recommended If You Like Dystopian AUs
Kicking Back by Loganberry
It’s always fun to hear an author read their own work. He’s maybe a bit fast, and there’s some background noise that a noise removal function could fix (actually, his mic quality is spectacular given that he recorded this on a phone!), but otherwise, he’s a keeper. His voice is overall quite charming. A worthy author, and a worthy reader as well! (Though so far, he only reads his own stuff. :B)
Genre: Reaction Fic
Cloud Kicker hires an image consultant; things don’t go well. I have yet to read anything of the Winningverse (though I have plans to!), but I have enough second-hand understanding of it to recognize this as a reaction to it. So if you’re not aware what this is lampooning, it likely won’t have any effect. It comes off as just a string of mild sexual innuendo and a mare rightly upset because ponies won’t stop hitting on her. That said, it is pretty funny, it just lacks overall appeal.
Recommended If You’re Into the Winningverse
Pinkie Pie’s Last Nightmare Night by Admiral Biscuit
Downsides: Mic is a little muffled and she left in a bobble with a word. Everything else, I like. Her Pinkie voice is fantastic, and her reading speed is just north of perfect. Plus, she only bobbled one word, so I suspect that was an editing mistake rather than a lack thereof. Good to go! (She doesn’t have many readings, though.)
Pinkie dresses as Celestia for Nightmare Night. I really enjoyed this story, but as I look back on it, I realize there’s not much to it. She dresses up, she pranks some ponies, the ending is kind of amazing. It’s a really solid comedy regardless of lack of plot elements, though, and I especially like Applejack’s prank. Biscuit’s pretty skilled with these one-shotober fics.
Remedial Lessons by ChromeMyriad
With princesshood comes new understanding of the evils of ponykind; when Twilight gets upset about this, it’s up to Princess Luna to calm her down. The middle third of this is a lengthy, in-depth exploration of magical headcanon, enough that I was almost willing to call this a hard fantasy. The story's purpose doesn’t reveal itself until we’re nearly at the end and Luna lectures Twilight on the difference between darkness and evil. (An admittedly good metaphor.) I suppose this is where the Random tag comes into play. And for all that it’s somewhat long-winded about magic explanations, I did enjoy this, right up until they talk about the guards’ inappropriate behavior, which is dismissed with, essentially, “boys will be boys”. That threw me, and I feel like it upsets the tone of the entire piece. Overall, I think this was worth the listen, but be warned that you’ll have to dodge narrative obstacles before finding the point.
Recommended If You Like Magical Headcanon
Infatuation by Malus Scriptor
Genre: Epistolary Shipping
Discord writes a letter to the princess he loves. I both love and hate how slowly this story unfolds. First, we find out that the writer is Discord, which actually flipped my opinion of it up to that point. The love letter is so creepy, but I expect that from him. My opinion flipped completely once more when it was revealed that the princess he’s writing to is not Celestia, as I’d hoped thought, but Twilight. Creepy. D: If there’s one thing this story doesn’t do properly, it’s convince me that Discord really feels this way. (But then, the only Discord ship I sail is Dislestia.) Thankfully, I think it’s meant to be fucking creepy, so the author has succeeded at that. This might actually have appeal beyond shippers.
Recommended If You Like Shipping or Dark Fics
Too Far by KnightMysterio
Genre: Anti-Bullying Tract
Diamond Tiara’s bullying crosses the line after Dinky Hooves kills herself. I have a lot of feelings about this story. I spent most of it rolling my eyes at how difficult it is to really do a convincing anti-bullying tract. For starters, there’s the whole suicide thing. It might just be headcanon, but unless Equestria is presented in a fic as darker than what we see in the show, I have a majorly hard time believing that anypony, least of all a filly, even knows what suicide is, let alone would consider it. I mean, the death of a single filly in Ponyville is enough of an event that Celestia and Luna come down to discuss Diamond’s punishment! In the story’s own context, Dinky's actions are a little hard to swallow. Second, there’s the question of “Who is this written for?” A bully isn’t going to read something like this, note their bad behavior, and then seek to make reparations for their actions. Anyone who believes this to be possible was most likely bullied themselves, and will quite possibly be angry that Diamond isn’t locked up, killed, or otherwise punished in this story. A naive approach to subjects like this only leads to a hokey story. (I had flashbacks to various morality cartoons I watched as a kid; anyone ever see that one where the kid falls asleep on the train and goes through a nightmarish ride with trains that talk and stuff? I loved that one.) And for most of this story, “hokey” is definitely the feeling I got, though I was impressed at the justification for use of the pathetic fallacy in Equestria. Like, seriously, bravo, it was unexpected.
This is all redeemed and recontextualized when Discord shows up. From that point, the focus shifts from “the sins of an indulgent parent” and “spoiled children are intractable” to something more along the lines of “the only solution to bullying is the willful effort of self-improvement” and “you, yes you, will never get a second chance”. Granted, some of that is still wrapped up in the — inasmuch as this is really just a ponification of recent tragic events — hyperbolic “don’t bully other kids or they’ll kill themselves” lesson. I think, in the end, I liked this, though I do still have some concerns. (Why are the Wonderbolts there save to increase the drama? Why make Silver Spoon less of a bully? Does the story want to redeem Diamond Tiara or condemn her? Why ship Filthy Rich with Derpy save to increase the drama?) A final note: The version I heard, linked in the description of the reading and possibly the same I linked to at FFN, is not currently available on Fimfic. You can search and find a journal from May of this year that tagged the story, but the story was taken down by the author to fix ”major issues”. So there’s every possibility that the story will return one day and be far different.
Recommended If You’re Concerned About Bullying
8 comments · 82 views
Hey, the writeoff's over! I finished 5th and 19th. This one's number 19. :B Just a silly random comedy that is me completely not trying to do anything like write good jokes or good stories or good anything really. The punchline is dubstep. And BDSM. Yes, my speedfic collection is now rated Teen, just because of this one story.
666 blog posts!
SundayIMDB is my TVTropes12 comments · 91 views
Pay close attention to the little girl in this promo clip:
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you: Andrea Libman.
Wasn't even her first role!
Isn't nature fascinating?
13 comments · 190 views
Ha haaa! I bet you thought I'd forgotten about this, eh? Well, fret no more! It's just the nature of the various reading projects I've set up that I do a little for each here and there before releasing one.
H: 0 R: 1 C: 5 V: 1 N: 3
You Learn by A Hoof-ful of Dust
Genre: Slice of Life
Three looks at Apple Bloom learning things. It’s not quite a kishotenketsu, I don’t think, but if you go into this expecting a normal mode of storytelling, you’ll be left scratching your head. Here’s the clue: the final scene is meant to be compared to the first two. Once you know that, the rest should come. Beyond narrative technique, this also features some really excellent writing (and hey, it even passes the Zecora test!) Not much happens, but it’s a very pleasant read and gets its point across in a refreshingly unique way.
The Lucky Ones by Educated Guess
A scene during the siege of a fortress. This was written for one of the World-Building Alliance things, but the world-building is really haphazard. It comes off as a list of names that refer to nothing at all, and there isn't really anything pony about it, aside from a horse pun and the mention of the pony races. I like that seaponies are a major part of this, but I can’t say the actual details of their society were terribly interesting. Mostly, I just couldn’t figure out what the hell was going on. Only attempt this if you don’t mind everything being completely alien.
The Baltimare Chase by DegeTheMighty
Genre: Chase Scene
Shining Armor pursues a fugitive through town. For just being a long action scene, this is really intense and it grabbed me immediately. There’s no real explanation for how they got into this situation, but the action flows smoothly and the writing is evocative. That said, it could also use some cleanup; this feels like a first draft, with typos, LUS, and some passages that need tightening down. Still, if you like action scenes, this is pretty short, and has a couple neat ideas to boot.
Recommended If You Don’t Mind LUS
Winter Threads by Dreamy Days
Genre: Slice of Life
A pegasus walks around Manehattan and thinks about all the ponies who he could help, but can’t. He does end up helping one, thank goodness, because this would have been very dull otherwise. I once wrote a story where the narrator wandered around his town, commenting on the bleak bleakness of everything about him, and the first third or so of this made me think of it (and how awful it was). Instead, what we get is a lesson in the value of kindness, wrapped in some fairly lackluster and unfocused writing. Not to mention, it’s very Earth-analogue. (I can’t imagine a pony threatening another the way the bellhop does; also why is it the bellhop’s business who’s paying what for their room?) I suppose this might be worth it if you need something to restore your faith in humanity.
On a Cool Summer Night by psp7master
In the early days of Equestria, a stallion from Saddle Arabia is called under the tutelage of Star Swirl the Bearded. What caught my attention is that, when writing about ancient Equestria, we usually just write about, well, Equestria. I’ve never even considered what the zebras or anyone else might have been doing at that time. That said, this does have some problems, all of them conceptual. (Well, I did tire of the continual stream of honorifics directed at the Queen, but that at least fits.) I was charmed by the idea that Saddle Arabia is matriarchal, just like Equestria, so the slightly less appealing aspects snuck up on me. Yeah, Islamic culture is just sort of copy-pasted into this as world-building, and while the ending is nicely surprising, well… The confluence of the events with what goes into them is problematic, to say the least. I did at least enjoy it while reading.
Recommended If You Like World-Buidling
Leaving the Ground Behind by q97randomguy
Genre: Inner Monologue
A pegasus mailpony — no, not that pegasus mailpony — makes a delivery and contemplates the joys of flight. I’m surprised by this, because it gets somewhat poignant by the end. I mean, this is just a character sketch for an OC, but the character ends up being pretty compelling. Interesting.
Recommended for Slice of Life Fans
Folksong by Adda le Blue
Genre: Personal Writing
Most of this reads like free-verse poetry, with a staccato, otherworldly feeling to the writing. It’s very hard to figure out what’s going on, but in a way that only makes you want to read further. Here’s what I know: the main character is a pegasus, part of the Royal Guard, and, I think, was originally human. Or else visited the human world once. She plays guitar. She’s learned that her father died. She has tumultuous sex with an unknown stallion. She blacks out from drinking too much and wakes up in Princess Luna’s bed, which is where things get considerably more concrete. Given the mental impairment, I think the scattershot writing really fits the mood, if nothing else. I do feel like there are one or two details this might need, just so we can draw solid conclusions by the end, but I’d recommend this just for the experience. I’ve definitely not read any fics like it. Check it out if you're up for a challenge!
Recommended for Fans of Experimental Writing
What Color Are My Eyes? by Protopony350
Vinyl Scratch sets the record straight about the color of her eyes. Do not read this without heeding the warning in the description, it is very a propos. I wish I had more positive things to say about this. The idea is creative, and the final line is just perfect, not to mention I got a perverse kick out of Vinyl’s thinking that a pony with a scalpel cutie mark was a doctor. Unfortunately, this doesn’t have much going for it other than shock value. The writing is rushed and full of typos, and there is definitely room for expansion. I think the only people who would want to read this are those who enjoy gorefics.
Eyes on the Road by Art Inspired
Lightning Dust tries to redeem herself in Rainbow Dash's eyes and be recruited into the Wonderbolts. This gets off to a poor start with a telly prologue that lays out just how things have changed since Wonderbolt Academy. The writing continues to be telly, and in need of a good proofread, as we move into the main portion of the story. Now, this does set up some good interpersonal tension, and I liked Spitfire’s dynamic with Lightning Dust. But all of that is dropped for chapters two and three, which are a lengthy action scene involving a race to determine the next Wonderbolts recruit. This is a setup I have some issues with, but really, it’s not the worst part of this story. Rather, the author attempted a “it doesn’t matter who wins, the important thing is they make up” ending, which would have been the right thing to do if so much attention hadn’t been put onto the race. I didn’t like the race segment, but I wanted to know who won! That kind of ending only works when the personal drama is front and center. Suffice to say, I found this story supremely unsatisfying to read, and it would take a lot of work to improve it.
Ra Ra Raspberry by Loganberry
Genre: Historical Crossover by Way of Musical Reference
The tragic tale of Raspberry Ripple, who loved too much. If you are not up on memes — and I mean really up on them — you will miss out on this story’s central joke. However, you might still get the historical references, so there’s something to be said for this; knowing the referenced song will thus explain why certain odd choices in telling the story were made. I was charmed by the storyteller approach, which helped wave away some of the flimsier parts of the story, as well as the “alternate Equestrias” framing narrative. I can’t really think of anything else to say that wouldn’t spoil it. I guess, if you read it and are still confused, click on this for the answer. (But not before, I’m serious!)
Recommended If You’re Knowledgeable About Memes