• Member Since 3rd Sep, 2011
  • offline last seen 42 minutes ago

PresentPerfect


Fanfiction masochist. :B She/they https://ko-fi.com/presentperfect

More Blog Posts2568

  • Saturday
    Fic recs, July 20th!

    Noted author Lucky Seven could use some help!

    Scribbler has done a reading of BlazzingInferno's First Act, with a whole bunch of people!

    Read More

    8 comments · 171 views
  • 1 week
    Fic recs, July 12th!

    Maybe I should just switch to posting on Fridays. c_c For one, I wouldn't be competing with PaulAsaran, but more importantly, I can't seem to remember to post on Thursdays anymore. >_<

    Also what the heck are those ratings, oh my god :O

    H: 4 R: 2 C: 3 V: 0 N: 0

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    7 comments · 184 views
  • 2 weeks
    Fic recs, July 5th!

    TheQuinch has done a reading of Cold in Gardez's The Destruction of the Self!

    I spent all of yesterday collating the hit singles of 1967 and forgot to post! c_c;; On the upside, extra review!

    H: 2 R: 3 C: 4 V: 0 N: 0

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    5 comments · 172 views
  • 3 weeks
    State of the Writer, June 2024!

    Another year older and deeper in hecc D:<

    I kinda forgot to write this up yesterday. :B For no good reason. The reason being that I was not having a good day lol

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    12 comments · 150 views
  • 3 weeks
    Fic recs, June 27th!

    gotdang, errbody be postin' reviews today! :B but hey, a normal review blog on a normal Thursday, what could be nicer? :D

    Read More

    3 comments · 198 views
May
26th
2024

PP vs. What I've Become · 4:22pm May 26th

Knight Breeze's What I've Become might not be a name you've heard before, but given its stats, especially the over 60,000 views, I feel safe calling it a fandom classic. :) Major spoilers ahead for a ten-year-old story!

It's a sci-fi HiE, brought to us by this excellent reading from No One and Nobody. (Who, side note, just seems to be No One now? I feel like I haven't heard anybody else reading with him for a while, certainly not through this entire thing.)

How classic can a human in Equestria story be, you might ask? Well, you're about to find out, pilgrim! Cue the Linkin Park!

…Yeah, so What I've Done is actually the name of the sequel. <_< Did not stop me from having it stuck in my head the whole time.


Our story begins not just in medias res, but directly after our human protagonist has been taken to Equestria somehow and turned into a monster.

Need I say what an excellent fucking idea this is?

We find out the circumstances of his arrival and transformation far later, which is great. More importantly, it means that we have a human protagonist in an HiE story whose thing isn't just that he's a human. Whether a snarky Anon or just some dumb brony who got hit by a bus, your average HiE protag is one of a very small group of frequently annoying characters, but Alex — there's your first spoiler, his name is Alex, I found out by noticing the description for the sequel — is none of these.

Which isn't to say he doesn't try to be. He has this tendency to poorly hide his more vulnerable moment behind a facade of machismic bravado. He is rather snarky about a lot of things as well. But these characteristics come off as actually charming, because the bulk of his character consists of:

Oh god, I'm a horrible, hideous monster
No one will ever love me or help me
I know this because I come from a place where it is true, why should I expect these ponies to be any different?
Also these ponies are so soft and weak, I don't want to hurt or scare them so I will live alone in the woods

And this colors his entire view of everything that happens around him. It is fantastic. And of course, this all becomes a problem when the plot wanders into his literal neck of the woods.

Oh, and that's Whitetail Woods, by the way. Not the one you'd expect. :)

Said complication arises in the form of one Carrot Top, who carries a B-plot that I don't think was ever fully resolved? But who also provides a lot of outside-looking-in POV in the early parts of the story. She wanders into the woods, sees our former human, freaks the absolute fuck out and brains herself against a tree. So what's a horrible self-hating mutant to do? Why, he scoops her up and puts her somewhere he knows she'll be seen, roars to attract attention, and then fucks off back to the woods, forgetting that he was covered in blood from a recent hunt (he mostly eats wild boar and fish), and said blood makes the townsfolk rather a bit more distressed than they otherwise might have been.

Just one of many ways dark humor is used to excellent effect in this story.

And I have to say, while her plot may not have been fully resolved, this story does an excellent job of using Carrot and Written Script as a romantic pair. Like, they just sort of happened in the background of the show, all those many, many moons ago, and I never had much thought about it. But in this story, both are characterized very well, and I could see what they saw in each other. That's a lot of excellent writing for something that isn't the focus!

Their role expands a bit afterward, as they start doing the natural pony thing and trying to make friends with the horrible, scary monster in the woods who not only didn't eat or even hurt Carrot, but maybe actually saved her life? This also rolls into the actual main plot, which involves Celestia and Luna, national security, and some really good characters in various royal guards. ("The Night Sentinels" is such a good name for Luna's batpony guards!) There's a lot of excellent work put into the two sides trying to understand one another — the guards, for instance, are mystified by the pile of cured hides that Alex uses for a bed — and eventually, bridges are made via Luna's dreamwalking powers as well as some timely intervention from a certain member of the Mane Six, who otherwise don't notably feature in the story!

From there, we learn the truth about the former human's origins, which involve aliens and downed spaceships. And honestly, I don't want to spoil too much of that part, simply because it was so rewarding to learn in real-time. But I do want to mention a pair of late-story scenes, in which we get POV from said aliens and learn that they aren't an evil monolith. Yes, they have some questionable ideas when it comes to encountering other sapient races, but when the truth of what happened to Alex, among others, comes out, the ship's captain we're following does the right thing, at great risk to himself. It was just one more aspect to this story that didn't necessarily need to be there, but which, done as well as it is, only improves the overall product.

So it's time to talk about the things that really make this story work. First and foremost, it's an HiE that doesn't just subvert HiE tropes, but it does so in a way that keeps it from being obvious that it's doing it in the first place. Like, using the Whitetail Woods instead of the Everfree Forest; that's an HiE-specific trope subversion of the most basic sort. But things like the Mane Six not being a presence in the story go beyond this by having a couple of them show up as tertiary characters. It's not just about subverting expectations, it's about writing a good story.

And you want to know what else is really great about this story? Its core moral conceit is compassion. The guard captain hears what Luna was able to learn through the monster's dreams, and he's immediately compassionate and sympathetic, instead of the suspicious and calculating hardass one might expect. Compassion for himself is what ultimately allows Alex to let others into his life, rather than condemning himself to a lonely life spent in the woods. I mean, there's a very exciting and awesome action scene in the middle when a couple of alien scouts come looking for our erstwhile protagonist, but there's no reveling in the combat; it's simply what must be done in order to protect the ponies are their new charge. It's because the characters are compassionate, because they push against what our society demands of people, friends are made, rifts are mended, and healing is allowed to begin. That's powerful, man, so powerful.

And there are a ton of little things that made this great, from consistently strong POV characterization to the fact that the author was able to make telling scenes multiple times in a row from different POVs not be repetitive or irritating. A lot of writers could learn from that! There's good use of foreshadowing, good hospital procedures, and a lot of thought put into the way the ponies and aliens think about the world at large.

So, was there anything that didn't work so amazingly well? Not much is the answer! My main gripe was actually a very minor one, and that has to do with the use of magic for translating things. I mean, I was very surprised that being inside his dreams didn't allow Luna to understand Alex's speech at all; that's, again, quite above and beyond anything I would expect from a first contact story, and shows that the author is really going hard with the whole "alien" aspect of this encounter. Written Script being used for translating his writing was, I thought, a stroke of genius (because wtf else you gonna do with that guy?), but the idea that said spell works better with less writing absolutely does not make sense in the slightest? And this despite the fact that Twilight shows up later with an entire translation spell for speech, which is able to turn the guttural, non-speech noises he makes into broken words. I just felt there was a disconnect there, and it bugs me because I care about language so damn much. :B

Also, points off for the T-word. :V I don't make the rules.

But don't get me wrong. All in all, What I've Become is a fantastic story, one of the best I've read in quite some time. If you like stories about people, if you want to see HiE done exceedingly well, even if you like sci-fi and action and mysteries, this will deliver. It doesn't necessarily do anything new, but it definitely does it all well!

5/5

Maybe the best HiE I've ever read.

There! That wasn't so hard! Why'd it take me several months to write this? x_x

I'd like to offer an apology by way of noting that Knight Breeze has a version of this story available on Amazon, which looks to have had the pony stuff sanded off and replaced with something that sounds even more promising! :O But yeah, here's a way you can materially support this author, if you discover you like this and want more!

Comments ( 5 )

I just finished this story recently (and its sequels, which don't even really involve time gaps and pick up right after one another) and they are all excellent.

I put it on my top favorites wall on my userpage.

The Carrot Top tag actually got me into the story, so I was a bit sad when she basically disappeared from the plot after awhile.

However, the story is just crafted so well that I couldn't really complain.

(I'm honestly shocked that this was basically the last longer story/series I read, and now I came across this blog.)

I was very confused by the title for a moment and thought you were taking a long, hard look at yourself. Instead, I got a story recommendation. I'm confused, but excited! :pinkiehappy:

5783005
I got to a story before the guy who's everywhere did?

Awesome.

And I've admired your pfp for quite some time.

Derpy with a glowstick horn...

:rainbowlaugh:

I can safely say I'd never heard of this story. Those genres still ward me way the hell off, but given your praise… well, I suppose it has a non-zero chance of Fimfic's resident spirit maybe looking at it some day. :unsuresweetie:

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

5783005
bruh, listen, I could write an essay >:V

5783034
youuuu should definitely take me up on this unless aliens and spaceships make you break out in spots or something

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