PaulAsaran 2,011 followers · 79 stories

Technical Writer from the U.S.A.'s Deep South. Writes horsewords and reviews. New reviews posted every other Thursday! Writing Motto: "Go Big or Go Home!"

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    Paul's Thursday Reviews CCCLXI

    Is that all you've got, Beryl? Thought it would be easy, I bet. Just steal my electricity and everything would be ruined. You're gonna have to try a lot harder than that. Maybe you would have stood a chance if you'd taken after your big brother Harvey in 2017 and took my car too. But no, you weren't clever enough to consider that, were you? You neglected it. Just how you neglected that a car can charge an iphone, and an iphone can generate a personal wifi hotspot, and a laptop can use that hotspot to do whatever it needs so long as it has the juice! Perhaps you were unaware that I have two laptops, so twice the battery power, or that I would carefully conserve that power, awaiting the moment I would need it most. Or maybe you thought I would just roll over and die.

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    21 comments · 1,017 views
  • 2 weeks
    Paul's Thursday Reviews CCCLX

    Before anything else: Viking ZX has a new book available for pre-order.

    Also, help Estee get to Ponicon 2025 in Tokyo.

    And finally: I have hit the 2k follower milestone. It only took me 10+ years! Alas, I have nothing special to do for this milestone, because I wasn’t watching for it and none of the stories I’m currently working on are anywhere near ready for primetime. I recall one milestone (500, I think?) where every word in the celebratory blog was a link to one of my followers, but yeah, I’m not doing that for 2k. Regardless, I am certainly grateful for the attention. It’s kind of amazing that 2k is still attainable at all in this day and age of FIMFiction.

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    24 comments · 2,463 views
  • 6 weeks
    Paul's Thursday Reviews CCCLVIII - It's Showtime Edition

    I've always wanted to start a blog with that.

    Good evening, FIMFiction!

    Those of you unfamiliar with my sleepy avatar, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking: Who is this weirdo and why is he suddenly invading the site-wide news feed? Allow me to illuminate you.

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    50 comments · 4,139 views
  • 128 weeks
    SA: The Last Round

    "So, what do you think, Corejo?" Wanderer D asked, politely showing off the stack of papers in his claw.

    The burlap sack with the printed (in color!) face of Corejo remained silent.

    "I see, yes, yes!" Wanderer D cackled. "Ahahaha! Yes! I agree! This story should do fine! So, who's reviewing it? RT?"

    The sack that had the picture of RTStephens on it tilted just enough for a single potato to roll onto the table.

    "And we have two! Alright, team, I expect you all to figure out who's doing the next one, okay? Let's not keep the readers waiting!" He glanced expectantly at the several sacks with pictures around him. "Alright! Dismissed."

    "Sir?"

    "Ah, intern. Is that my coffee?" Wanderer D took the proffered mug and downed the contents in one go. "Excellent! No time to rest! We have to edit what the guys just handed to me."

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    110 comments · 9,385 views
  • 149 weeks
    SA: Round 186

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


    The Dodge Junction train ramp was not where Floydien expected to be part of a reunion.

    He especially didn’t expect it to happen four times in a row.

    “Wait, Winter? What are you doing here?”

    Winter’s eyebrows raised. “On Summer vacation. What about you?”

    “Uh, same.”

    “Guys!”

    The two Angels looked to where the voice came from. Cynewulf came running up to them, a wide brimmed sunhat and sunglasses adorning her head. “Fancy meeting you two here!”

    Floydien scratched his head. “Same. Are you on vacation too?”

    “Yep! Had a blast down on the Horseshoe Bay coast.”

    “Well, ain’t this something!”

    All turned to the fourth voice. Knight strode up, his body decked out in fishing gear, complete with a fishing pole balanced over his shoulder. “Haven’t seen so many of us in one spot since vacation started.”

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    12 comments · 5,126 views
  • 164 weeks
    SA: Round 185

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


    Winter and Knight stared out at the bleak townscape. All around them, the fires raged unchecked as Ponyville's former occupants stumbled mindlessly about, their undead faces ravaged by rot and decay as they moaned for sustenance. Knight turned to Winter.

    "Ready to go?"

    Winter nodded and shifted a backpack. "Got everything with me. I guess it's now or never."

    Knight gave a wry smile. "That's the spirit. You do have your reviews, right?"

    "Of course!" he said, patting his chest. "Right here."

    Knight nodded and said, "Alright, here's the plan: we stick to the shadows as much as possible. From what I can tell, their eyesight isn't that good, but their sense of smell is excellent. We just have to stay upwind."

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    10 comments · 4,705 views
  • 171 weeks
    SA: Round 184

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


    “I see. Alright, I’ll let him know.”

    Intern twisted a dial on the small mechanical piece attached to his ear, retracting a blue, see-through visor from across his face. He turned to Floydien, crossing his arms. “It’s confirmed. Generation 5 is on its way. Season 2 of Pony Life is just around the corner. And the series finale of Equestria Girls was scrapped for a holiday special.”

    Floydien lifted an eyebrow. “And, what does that mean for us?”

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    10 comments · 4,854 views
  • 175 weeks
    SA: Round 183

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


    Over their heads the flak guns peppered the sky. The planes roared and sputtered. The clouds were dark, heavy with the child that was war. It was all noise.


    Cynewulf looked around the bend. “You know, I’ve been reading old fics. Remember Arrow 18?”


    Floydien slipped—a Floydien slipped—One Floydien came through the fractured time in the lower levels of the Sprawling Complex. “Uh, human in Equestria?”


    “Yeah. You know, we were probably too mean about those.”


    “They were terrible. I mean some of them. I guess a lot of everything is terrible.”


    “Well, yes. But anyway, I was reading it, and it occurred to me that what I liked about it was that it felt optimistic in the way that Star Trek was optimistic. It felt naive, but in a way one wanted to emulate. To regress back into it.”


    “Uh, that sounds nice?”

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    7 comments · 6,058 views
  • 180 weeks
    SA: Round 182

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


    “Okay, Winter, hit it!”

    Winter pulled a lever that ignited a rocket placed underneath the communal Christmas Tree. The tree blasted through a cylindrical hole and out into the skies beyond. It only took seconds for the tree to become a tiny red dot against the blue sky.

    Winter stepped away from the control panel and down to where Intern was standing behind a fifty-five millimeter thick glass wall. “We could have just picked up the base and tossed it in the garbage bin outside, you know.”

    Intern scoffed. “Yeah, we could, or we can go over the top in a comedic and entertaining manner that leads into our reviews.”

    “You’re getting all meta, now.”

    “Exactly! On to the reviews!”

    ROUND 182

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    6 comments · 8,082 views
  • 185 weeks
    SA: Round 181

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


    For the first time in the year that he worked there, FanficFan finally experienced quiet in the Seattle’s Angels Compound. All the other reviewers had gone home for the holidays, leaving him and Intern to submit the last round of reviews of the year. However, with Intern off on an errand, FanficFan was left alone.

    With stories ready to be read by his partner, all the reviewer could really do was wander around the empty building, taking in all the holiday decorations left behind from the Office Christmas Party a few days prior, like office space holiday knick-knacks, lights strown about the ceiling and wreaths on nearly every door. Plus, there was some leftover cookies and egg nog, so that was nice. 

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    8 comments · 6,489 views
Jun
13th
2024

Story Reviews » Paul's Thursday Reviews CCCLIX · 8:47pm June 13th

Hello, FIMFiction! It’s time for another round of reviews.

Over the last two weeks I have been pondering what I could use this introductory segment for. I always seem to have something to talk about, but I don’t know if the public at large is interested in most of those things. Do I bring up my own attempts at writing, at the risk of it looking like self-promotion? I’d discuss writing in general, but there are plenty of places that already do that. I used to talk about things going on in my own life, but that feels inappropriate. I am, at least for the moment, at a loss. Suggestions would be welcome!

There is one subject that I want to bring up though. Seeing as I’ve made the non-fanfiction entry a regular thing on this blog (this week’s entry is a doozy!), I’ve finally gotten off my butt and started a tab just for them in my archive. When I’m done, people who want to can check said archive and find all the non-fanfiction stories I’ve read with links to their reviews. As of writing, I’ve yet to finish populating the current list. Prior to my current methods I only reviewed one of these sporadically, and since I never bothered to note where said reviews are I have to go through my blog entries one at a time in search of them. I’m making steady progress though, so hopefully it’ll be complete soon. Maybe after that’s done I’ll add the authors of those stories to my author list as well.

That’s all I’ve got for today. Underwhelming, I know. Mayhap today’s reviews will make up for it!

Stories for This Week:

The Midnight Run by Midnightshadow
All because of a test by DitsyDerp
Counting Noses by Kris Overstreet
Finding Home by Krickis
The City Upon a Hill by GaPJaxie
The Place I Feel Safest by Lucky Seven
Play My Track, Vinyl by iDash
Changeling: The Movie by Obselescence
Gee, Tempest, Why Are You So Tall? by Super Trampoline
Rainbow Dash Digs Herself Into A Hole by Thanqol

Total Word Count: 228,915

Rating System

Why Haven't You Read These Yet?: 1
Pretty Good: 4
Worth It: 4
Needs Work: 0
None: 1


The Midnight Run

3,133 Words
Midnightshadow failed to provide cover art.

Applejack invites Twilight Sparkle to participate in something that ponies don’t talk about: the midnight run. Twilight doesn’t understand why it’s such a big deal, nor why Applejack insists on secrecy. Not until she participates in the run, that is.

This was curious, and perhaps mysterious. It involves the normally civilized ponies of Ponyville coming together to form a herd and go back to their native, animal roots. In some nebulous way, this concept is linked directly to earth pony magic.

I’ve never heard so much as a hint of earth pony magic being related to the baser animal instincts of pre-civilization ponies, but that is the clear implication of this story. It’s fascinating, and leads to a ton of unanswered questions. In particular, I find myself wondering if pegasi have their own variant of the idea; seasonal migrations, perhaps? And if this is meant to be some form of earth pony magic, how does it relate to the more commonly accepted variants, if it does at all? And all of this comes up before the cultural aspect of the ritual, which is never brought up beyond the fact that it is some sort of public secret.

A curious idea, and quite original even considering the story’s age (it’s among the first 1,000 stories on the site). Highly recommended for anyone looking for a most unusual concept of equine culture and behavior.

Bookshelf: Pretty Good

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
New Author!


Well. This was a… thing. A something.

It is genuinely hard to tell if DitsyDerp is a crummy writer or they’re using this story to troll. I’m leaning towards the latter. The story is written in a fashion that makes no sense from start to finish, with the writing being such that it feels unnaturally bad. By that I mean this doesn’t strike me as the ignorant workings of someone who isn’t a native English speaker, nor does it feel like a person who's never written before trying it out. The errors don’t feel organic, but rather like someone who is intentionally trying to write bad for the lulz. Couple that with how ‘normal’ the story’s front page reads and I have to believe that this is made to look bad on purpose.

And no, it is not funny. I get the distinct impression the only person who might appreciate this is the author as they watch people react. That goal was apparently defeated, given that this is the first (and will likely be the only) time it ever garners any commentary. I’ll let you all decide what that means about yours truly.

Oh well, this is what I get for deliberately seeking an uncommented-upon, unrated story out of curiosity. Moving on…

Bookshelf: None

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
New Author!


Changelings are not the brightest bunch, a fact Queen Chrysalis is all too painfully aware of. Recently, she’s been made aware of something else: a few changelings have been captured by Celestia. But there’s no way to confirm to Equestria that the captured changelings are, in fact, Chrysalis’s changelings. If she wants them freed, she’ll have to find a way to prove that. Cherry Berry’s recommendation? A census.

Perhaps it would be better for (almost) all involved to let the incompetents rot.

This was simultaneously great and confusing. On the one hand, we’ve got Best Chrysalis back to star in a story, and I do love watching her work. On the other hand, the point of the story is hard to make out. When it opens, we’re told that all of this is about creating a census so that changelings can be readily identified via paperwork. But then the entire point gets set aside in favor of instead tracking down a highly forgettable changeling named Paussus who might be a covert spy from another hive given how effectively and consistently he eludes attempts to keep track of him. That topic hijacks everything.

Oh, eventually we come back around to the census, namely after the truth of Paussus is uncovered. But even then there are a lot of questions on my mind. For example, remember how the whole reason this census idea came to light was because Celestia has some changelings in prison? If not, I don’t blame you; I’m honestly not sure Kris Overstreet remembered that part, because they are never brought up again past that first scene, to say nothing of how said imprisoned changelings were able to fill out the forms in a way that would convince Celestia that doing so wasn’t merely an attempt at misdirection.

There’s also this pony, Paper Plane, who announced her intention to quit her job in the hive within two weeks. Which, you know, fair enough. But then we get to this scene with Paussus, and I just knew Kris Overstreet was going to link her departure thematically with his manner of departure to have Chrysalis realize a pertinent point. Which…. never happened.

In summation, while reading this (more specifically, watching Best Chrysalis in action) was a consistent pleasure, the actual plot felt… meandering, I guess? Like there wasn’t really any point behind it except perhaps to revisit the AU and write more of Chryssy being hypocritical, selfish, frustrated, and generally acting like a royal terror to (perhaps unwittingly) disguise her lack of fangs. Metaphorically speaking; I’m sure her literal fangs could do a lot of damage if she could ever muster up the willingness to use them.

Still, it’s a fun story, as any story starring CSP’s Chrysalis must be. I recommend it for that alone. Here’s hoping the author writes something else involving her between now and when I finally get around to reading The Maretian.

Bookshelf: Pretty Good

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
Chrysalis Saves Hearth's WarmingWHYRTY?
Changeling Space ProgramWHYRTY?
Rarity Dreams of Non-Electric SheepPretty Good
SeneschalPretty Good
I Don't Want to Be a Tree AnymoreWorth It


Her relationship with EqG Fluttershy ruined and her friends all living their own lives, an emotionally traumatized Sunset Shimmer decides she has no reason to stay in the human world. Thus does she return to Equestria to live with pony Fluttershy and Princess Twilight Sparkle. Who are currently dating. This would be great… if Sunset didn’t have long-buried feelings for Twilight resurfacing and found pony Fluttershy to be so damn attractive.

This is essentially a story about Sunset Shimmer, Princess Twilight, and pony Fluttershy getting into a polyamorous relationship. It does get a bit deeper than that, but compared to the long and intense struggles of Inner Strength and especially Playing House this one’s a cake walk. For readers, that is; our protagonists still have their work cutout for them. It’s a bit surprising; after how heavy the last two stories were I really expected more of the same here, but instead we get something a little less focused on the fine details of the struggle. There’s nothing wrong with this approach, but it does make for something different from its predecessors. Whether it’s a ‘good’ different or a ‘bad’ different will be up to the audience.

For example, Inner Strength put a lot of focus on how a large (but not majority) portion of Equestria’s population vehemently opposed Twilight’s and Fluttershy’s homosexual relationship. The same kind of issue comes up here due to polyamory, but it’s nowhere near as deeply honed in on as it was in the prior story. The main problem comes in the form of Twilight’s parents being… hesitant, while the overarching population’s reaction is more of a side note than anything. This is at least partially due to how Krickis chose to put a lot of large time jumps in there, skipping much of the minutiae of these particular conflicts in favor of getting to the “good stuff”. Although sometimes Krickis passed the good stuff too, such as when Twilight decides to visit Cadance for advice and the entire visit – from getting off the train at the Crystal Empire to getting back on it – is skipped. It seemed like an odd choice to me.

Again, I’m not saying this is a bad decision on Krickis’s part, only that it’s a deviation from what we’re used to seeing in this series.

And the topics are still heavy. There is the obvious triangle between Sunset, Fluttershy and Twilight, all of which starts awkwardly considering the latter two are already engaged. We’ve got a custody battle involving Spike, however briefly. Sunset keeps a lot of secrets from her new marefriends – and continues to do so by story’s end – while also struggling with alcoholism and her apparent status as a one-mare relationship wrecking ball. There’s occasional appearances of the EqG cast and a hint that the human world isn’t quite done with Sunset Shimmer, no matter how done with it she may be.

Celestia is a curious case. When they go to her for support, she doesn’t immediately give it. The exact why of this is only vaguely explained. I got the impression that Celestia heard a controversial term and unintentionally, instinctively went into “politician mode”, and of course politicians react to anything controversial with word salads that means nothing but fools the easily manipulated. So yeah, it kind of felt like Celestia didn’t support the girls in this story, and that’s its own thing to deal with.

My favorite part of the story was Fluttershy. Just everything Fluttershy. If there’s any doubt who might hold the reins in such a triad, Krickis clears that up quick. Fluttershy is consistently shown to be the mature, in-control member of the trio, making the big decisions while Sunset and Twilight are busy panicking and beating themselves up over mistakes both real and imagined. Even better, this is done without sacrificing Fluttershy’s character. While it’s never expressly stated, it felt to me like Fluttershy is so used to being uncomfortable and frightened that she already knows how to handle it, which put her in the perfection position to keep the others together long enough for them to recover and finally start tending to her issues. She really was a delight to watch.

Not that Twilight and Sunset are slouches, not by any means. Twilight is ever-adorkable and prone to Twilighting, Sunset continues to have an ego that might rival canon Trixie’s (believe me, that “canon” distinction is important), and they both have their arcs to follow. They just weren’t as interesting to me as Fluttershy.

Ultimately, this was every bit as fascinating a read as the prior stories in the series, despite its change of pace. All the characters and especially their relationships (both good and bad) are interesting to watch as they evolve, and even with a good ending this time there’s always a sense in Krickis’s stories that things aren’t completely resolved. The story does reference things that happened in the past, but does so in a way that doesn’t feel invasive; I think you could read this on its own with no previous knowledge and still come away fine, albeit curious about certain things. All in all, it’s another solid entry in this series, and I am looking forward to whatever comes next.

Bookshelf: Pretty Good

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
Looking GlassWHYRTY?
Playing HouseWHYRTY?
Breaking the IcePretty Good
By Blood or ChoicePretty Good
Inner StrengthPretty Good


The City Upon a Hill

12,638 Words
By GaPJaxie
Requested by Stellar Serene

Rainbow Dash has problems. What kind of problems? That’s not really clear, except that it often leads her to violence. But her mother loves her. Her mother wants her to be better. Soon Rainbow Dash will be sixteen, and when that happens… Rainbow doesn’t want to think about it.

Things in this story felt “off” from the very start. Not because it opens with Rainbow Dash assaulting a filly for thinking she’s pretty. I mean, yes, obviously that’s “off”, but it’s not what I’m talking about. The moment that really started to feel off to me was when Rainbow had her first conversation with her mother.

That conversation left me uncomfortable. I strongly suspect that was intentional.

This is a prequel of GaPJaxie’s Familiar, which is set in a sci-fi AU where all the world is one giant party with all of society governed over by an all-powerful AI known as Celestia. All ponies receive “familiars”, sentient robots designed to love their selected pony master and provide them with whatever they need to lead a happy, successful life. This story, set when Rainbow is fifteen, reveals that ponies receive their familiars when they turn sixteen, which is also when they are officially adults and can do all the adult things, like drink and live on their own.

But, seeing as she’s still only fifteen, Rainbow is stuck living with her unicorn mother (it’s anypony’s guess where her father is). She is constantly getting little notices about her behavior. A wrist communicator tracks Rainbow’s eye movements and provides (or removes) points for her behavior, encouraging her to socialize and date and warning her when she’s antisocial or isn’t doing what she’s been told she should be doing. It doesn’t help that she doesn’t have a cutie mark. Rainbow lashes out at all these controls, to the point of attacking fillies whose primary fault is being attracted to her.

For years, Rainbow was convinced all of this was due to being part of a massive surveillance state. Turns out the problem is much closer to home, and neither she nor said problem are aware of it.

This was a fascinating story, with its primary themes revolving around the bad side of helicopter parenting (which is likely a misstatement as it implies there’s a “good” side to helicopter parenting). It’s an interesting ploy, setting the story in a culture of total government surveillance (Celestia really does see all) so that Rainbow (and perhaps the reader) can be misled into thinking that said culture is her primary problem. At the same time, the writing of Rainbow’s everyday activities and her interactions with her mother leave this surreal, unpleasant sensation. For me, it felt clear from the start that there was something wrong with how Rainbow’s mother was treating her – the medication, the manipulation, the commands made to look like requests – but at the same time it was not clear to me whether Rainbow’s strong reservations regarding familiars were without merit.

Then Cloudchaser comes into the picture, and in so doing she changes said picture drastically.

I thoroughly enjoyed this one. It paints a vivid picture of how easy it is to misjudge the cause of misbehavior, and how suffocating it is to be forced to live in a way you don’t want. At the same time, it’s a story that further explores the AU of Familiar, such as the education system and parenting in general, which is something fans of that story will look forward to.

Pity about Fluttershy, though.

A great story from start to finish, and exactly the kind of content I’d expect from GaPJaxie.

Bookshelf: Why Haven’t You Read These Yet?

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
Siren SongWHYRTY?
FamiliarWHYRTY?
The Third WheelWHYRTY?
A Foreign EducationWHYRTY?
I Forgot I Was TherePretty Good


Roseluck tends to her garden every day. It’s not just for her sake.

This is a bittersweet fic in which we discover that Roseluck had a fillyhood friend named Sundew, who was every bit as interested in flowers as she is. It is told by alternating between the present trials of tending to a garden and their childhood together. Eventually it comes to light that Sundew died of a prolonged illness before Roseluck got her cutie mark.

The story gives out mixed signals, but in a way that feels intentional. Despite it having been fifteen years since Sundew’s death, Roseluck apparently still thinks of him every day to the point of breaking down in tears. Despite this, there’s this insistence that her work honors his memory, and that makes everything okay. Roseluck is proud of her work and the challenges she regularly overcomes because of how it respects his legacy.

I admit, a certain crass and unsympathetic part of me rolls its eyes at the entire premise. It strikes me as unrealistic/ridiculous that Roseluck still breaks down in tears regularly – possibly daily – because her best friend died fifteen years ago. I can certainly understand honoring someone’s memory with your daily actions and/or career as Roseluck has done here, and I would absolutely get the whole crying bit if this story was set on, say, the anniversary of Sundew’s death. But on the regular as this story implies? It’s a bit much.

That doesn’t change that this is a pleasantly bittersweet tale (uh, that makes sense, right?). It’s about coping with pain and sadness, trying to look on the bright side, and letting the inevitable negatives of life strengthen us. I might question some of the details of how the message is presented, but I wholeheartedly endorse the message itself. If anything, Roseluck as depicted here is a character to appreciate for the subtle strength she displays in the face of what appears to be a lifelong weight.

Easily the best story I’ve read by this author so far. Still not quite enough to land on one of my upper bookshelves, but that’s likely more to my own subjectivity regarding Roseluck’s behavior than to any flaw in the writing.

Bookshelf: Worth It

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
Freak Like MeWorth It
In Amber CladWorth It
Chaos TheoryNeeds Work


Octavia is home. Home, where everything is still. Octavia typically doesn’t like “still”, but in this place she’s willing to make an exception.

There’s not much to this one. It’s a simple slice-of-life story in which Octavia relaxes at home with her best friend after a particularly exasperating recital. Perhaps I should emphasize “best friend”, because there is no romance tag here and iDash specifies in the story blurb that it is specifically not a romance. I will note, however, that the shippers among us will easily be able to interpret this as they desire, regardless of author intention.

About the only hang ups that might come out of this are that the pair are depicted as living in Manehattan and Vinyl is not mute, either of which could cause consternation among certain members of the audience. But as long as you don’t care about such things, this is a pleasant little slice-of-life fic about our favorite musicians relaxing at the end of the day.

Bookshelf: Worth It

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
And We DancedWorth It
Their Last DanceWorth It
My Little DJNeeds Work


While lazing about on her ugly dirt throne, Chrysalis comes to a startling realization: she doesn’t know what a pony is. And if she doesn’t, her stupid minions sure as Tartarus don’t. Maybe that’s why they keep losing to the stupid meat sacks; “know your enemy” and all that. But how in the Hive is Chrysalis supposed to learn about ponies?

Why not make a documentary about them?

This was endearingly silly. It’s one of those stories in which changelings are depicted as bumbling buffoons and Chrysalis, while certainly the smartest of them all, is not much better herself. But in turn, your average pony citizens aren’t exactly bastions of intellect either.

The story follows Chrysalis as she leads a sort of cultural exchange with Twilight Sparkle by filming a documentary while receiving a royal tour of Ponyville. Twilight doesn’t trust Chrysalis even the tiniest bit, but she’s willing to tolerate it, mostly because Celestia is willing to do so. What follows is a lot of stupid questions and activities by a bunch of stupid minions (be they pony or changeling) and the two present royals (being a pony and a changeling) unexpectedly bonding over their shared pain of ruling over idiots.

I am entertained. It’s nothing amazing, just a bout of silliness intended to make you smile, but it didn’t need to be anything more. Give it a go if you feel like seeing Twilight and Chrysalis put up with one another for a day in the name of cultural exchange, mutual deception, and coming to appreciate one another’s royal plights.

Bookshelf: Worth It

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
This Holiday is Going to be PerfectPretty Good
Upon ReflectionPretty Good
Let Sleeping Gods LieWorth It


Alternate Title: An Alicorn and a Traitor Walk Into a Bar…

It’s a couple weeks after the events of the movie when Princess Twilight Sparkle and Tempest Shadow go to a bar to get plastered and share stories. In the midst of her fries getting stolen and confessing to her extreme levels of perversion, Twilight decides she wants to know why Tempest is such a big pony. Tempest, possessing more fries than she ordered, is thrilled to explain!

This is a feghoot. It’s a very cringy feghoot at that. Are you the sort that rates a feghoot by the quality of its pun, or the stupidity of it? That will determine your enjoyment of this piece. Well, that and an appreciation for irreverent humor, references to incest, Twilight having the vocabulary of a sailor, some surprisingly good pony swears, and Tempest trolling Twilight for the lulz.

This is all about what I expected going into a ST feghoot crackfic. Take that as you will. I’ll be rating this one on the middle ground, because while I’m surprised to say I liked it, I’m not sure about its reach.

Bookshelf: Worth It

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
Feeling That Way & AnytimeWorth It
These Are the Days of Our LivesWorth It


“Special Lieutenant” Rainbow Dash has been given an assignment by Spitfire: inspect Ponyville’s auxiliary militia for combat readiness. Puffed up on bravado and her own awesomeness, Rainbow is far from impressed by the militia headquarters (read: Roseluck’s house) and what seems to be a total lack of awareness for what being part of the militia really means. Then she sees what they dare to call a “trench”, and she’s outright insulted. It took a week to dig that? Rainbow could dig something far bigger and better in a week!

Applejack: “Prove it.”

What follows is Rainbow Dash, in typical Rainbow Dash fashion, demonstrating how she has no idea how to dig a trench or even what the trenches are for. Issues include beating oneself up with a shovel, breaking construction equipment, and (of course) attempting to cheat via magic. The best parts include Applejack’s amazing ability to maintain her calm veneer despite Rainbow’s behavior and the individual reactions of Spike and Celestia when they bear witness to Rainbow’s Rainbow-ness.

This was everything I’d hoped it would be and then some. Thanqol never fails to entertain. Give it a go if you enjoy Rainbow doing silly stuff in the same vein as, say, Tanks for the Memories.

Bookshelf: Pretty Good!

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
A Study In RainbowsWHYRTY?
Yours TrulyWHYRTY?
The Hound of PonyvillePretty Good


Bonus Review: The Fall of Hyperion

517 Pages
By Dan Simmons
Sequel to Hyperion
Published 1990

The pilgrims have reached the Time Tombs, where the mysterious Shrike awaits. While they await destiny in whatever form it may take, the planet Hyperion is under attack by barbarians from the dark depths of space. Hegemony CEO Meina Gladstone struggles to conjure the military strength necessary to withhold the onslaught, balancing the complexities of worlds interconnected by a complex network of teleporters criss-crossing her galaxy and the unclear whims of an AI race that may or may not have her empire’s best interests at heart. And throughout all of this, the cybrid clone of John Keats watches… and wonders.

Ho. Ly. Shit. This was amazing. I was told by others that the final two books set in this universe aren’t as good as this, and at this point I can only respond: How could they be?

Hyperion set the stage for this tale, so it bears a bit of retread here. In that story, seven individuals are chosen to visit the planet Hyperion and, more specifically, the Time Tombs, where a mysterious and deadly creature called the Shrike defies all known science with its inconceivable abilities. We learned the stories of most of these people, including in no particular order:

  • Martin Silenus, a famous poet old enough to have lived on Earth before its utter destruction and who longs to complete his magnum opus, the Hyperion Cantos. He believes the Shrike is his muse.
  • Sol Weintraub, a minor scholar and teacher whose daughter was cursed by the Shrike to age backwards and now has only a few days to live. He goes to the Time Tombs with his now-newborn child hoping that the Shrike might reverse her curse.
  • Fedmahn Kassad, a famous soldier turned pacifist after having a vision of humanity’s total eradication through war. Now convinced that the Shrike will be responsible for this, he travels to the Time Tombs with the goal of killing it.
  • Lenar Hoyt, a priest of the gradually dying Christian religion who lives in constant agony from a seemingly parasitic lifeform he inherited. He goes to the Shrike, hoping it can remove the pain… one way or another.
  • The Consul, an ever-nameless politician whose parents were rebels against the Hegemony of Man and who, somehow, became the primary liaison between the otherworldly Ouster Swarm and the Hegemony. He’s been playing a very long game, and his visit to the Time Tombs marks its end.
  • Brawne Lamia, the private detective who fell in love with an artificial human that died in her arms. She carries his memories – one might argue, his soul – to the Time Tombs to finish what they started together.
  • Het Masteen, True Voice of the Tree, whose great ship was destroyed over Hyperion. His purposes are a mystery, for he has yet to have the opportunity to tell his tale.

These seven individuals arrive at the Time Tombs at the start of The Fall of Hyperion. The events that play out afterwards feel chaotic and disjointed. Some disappear to places unknown, some begin all-new struggles, some learn amazing things. There are epic battles that cross time, space, and even dimensions. Mysteries unfold only to lead to more mysteries. The Shrike, ever-present and ever-dangerous, watches it all with unknowable intent.

And while all of this is going on, an artificial human named Joseph Severn finds himself directly linked to the pilgrims. In his dreams he sees what they are going through in real-time, despite being on a completely different planet in another solar system untold lightyears away. This makes him of particular interest to Meina Gladstone, Hegemony CEO, who keeps him close as she leads humanity in defense against the Ousters invading Hyperion space. Exactly why Gladstone is so focused on the plight of the pilgrims is unclear, but Joseph has no reason not to stick around.

The overarching story is startlingly complex in its themes and messaging. Dan Simmons is trying to say something with this one, and it’s not any one topic either. There are questions about the nature of God as the AI superpower The Core tries to create a “supreme AI” and humanity unwittingly produces its own. A sub-element of this is “Abraham’s Dilemma”, a recurring discussion on the nature of sacrifices made in God’s name. There is a warning in there about the hazards of artificial intelligence run rampant and our seemingly boundless dependence on technology. There are allusions to the cost of humanity’s march of progress and how nature suffers for our constant expansion. There’s a moral in there about the dangers of gargantuan government bureaucracies and how humanity can thrive without a single unifying watchdog legislating their every move. There’s the horrible calculation of killing billions if it means saving the whole, and whether we as a people have the ability and willingness to go through with such an atrocity. There’s the dangers of time travel and the potential in the alternate realities it may produce. Last but most certainly not least, there’s the idea that for all our knowledge and technology and self-confidence some mysteries may never be solved… and we can learn to be okay with that.

The best part is that all of these things – all of them – are written in such a way that no single topic overwhelms the others. The plot of the story is shockingly easy to follow considering all the things Dan Simmons is throwing at us all at once. And when we finally get through the struggles and the philosophies and the mysteries, it all ends in a nice bow that weaves everything together as a remarkably intact whole. All the things that the pilgrims and Gladstone and Joseph Severn are doing which are completely unrelated to one another in ways that feel so disjointed? It is related. All of it. Every character’s actions impacts another character’s actions in some way, directly or indirectly, in a mesmerizing and kaleidoscopic puzzle that you don’t see coming until the very last few chapters.

It is, to sum it up in but a word, amazing.

And after writing all of that, I come to realize I’ve barely scratched the surface. I haven’t gone into the long physical and mental journey of Joseph Severn as he ties everything together in so many ways. I haven’t said too much about the constant three-way balancing act of the great powers of the AI Core, the Hegemony, and the Ousters, to say nothing of the true nature of the Ousters themselves. The idea of properly summarizing the activities of the pilgrims with all their interlocking parts in a way that would fit in a review is laughable at best. Let us not forget Gladstone and her ceaseless struggle to hold an empire together in a time of coming strife. I’ve not even mentioned yet how the story directly calls back to and integrates classical works and concepts from multiple sources, by far the most notable and recurring being the poetry and life of John Keats.

There’s so much crammed into these 517 pages, your average author would question how it’s even possible. Dan Simmons makes it look easy.

This falls into the category of one of the best stories I’ve ever read. Absolutely, if you can get your hands on both books – because make no mistake, you need to read both to grasp the full picture – then do so.

Bookshelf: Why Haven’t You Read These Yet?

PS — Yes, I do intend to read the sequels. I have zero expectation that they’ll be a tenth as good as this, because from here the only way to go is down. My storyteller instincts suggest that Dan Simmons knew this as well and wrote the sequels only to sate his own interest/curiosity. And perhaps for the money, but someone who tells stories like this doesn’t do so for financial gain.


Stories for Next Time:
When I Rule The World, I’ll Plant Flowers by SpiderSilky
One Fated Night by Dreams of Ponies
Our Winter Story by Meteor_Mirage
Rainbooms and Royalty by Trinary
Requiem for a Friend by Math Spook
Author Insert by Warren Hutch
May I Have This Dance? by Nordryd
An Apple a Day by The Fool
Find Out Who I Am by Miller Minus
Dazzle for President by Spyder27


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Reading Progress:

Friendship Is Monsters
63.83% (59,518 / 93,242)

The Education of Clover the Clever
61.39% (100,159 / 163,145)

The Olden World
5.47% (110,507 / 2,020,718)

Blogs Completed Through:
14-NOV-2024
(Blogs are currently scheduled up to this date. Any requests made as of this blog will have to wait until at least after this date.


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Comments ( 56 )

Solid bunch this week!
Time to catch up on those cool AU tales~
So much potential and so rich!

I actually hate reading about Finding Home these days because ultimately it's, in my opinion, the weakest link in the series. It was the second novel written, with the first being Inner Strength. But while I've reworked Inner Strength to make myself happy with it, I've never managed to find time to do the same to Finding Home, aside from some minor text cleaning.

I have a lot of thoughts as to why this story doesn't meet my standards, but ultimately, that's something better suited for a blog I'll maybe write someday than your comment section, so it is what it is. I'll just say that I agree with your criticisms but feel you were too kind in them lmao, and you missed a few key issues the story has as well.

I'm so glad to see you read through this one though, because it means you'll get to better stuff soon. There's a lot of stuff in this series that I'm not happy with, as you've likely noticed by my responses to your reviews, and some of that is still to come. But imo you've crossed the biggest hurdle in this story by way of getting through this one. I know it's near and dear to a lot of people, and what it does well (Fluttershy, as you mentioned), it does very well. But it's so uneven. I was still learning to write, this was my second ever novel (of course that makes Inner Strength the first!), and I was far from experienced. But I was getting the hang of things, believe me, you wouldn't want to read the first version of IS hahaha

Edit: I once told you that there was only one story in this series that I fundamentally don't like, but I didn't want to color your opinion of it before you read and reviewed it. This was the one!

I really appreciate the honesty in your review. I don't entirely disagree that the emotional weight of the story can feel a bit lost due to the fact that this is seemingly daily occurrence for Roseluck. But honestly as I wrote it, I was more thinking that he's just someone she thinks about as she gardens because the roots of her garden were founded in his back yard.

Either way, I'm glad you enjoyed it those most out of my world that you've read so far! I'll have to recommend another and try to break into those top bookshelves :raritywink:

I have zero expectation that they’ll be a tenth as good as this, because from here the only way to go is down.

The problem with the Endymion duology isn't that the books are bad, exactly (though neither of them holds a candle to the original Hyperion or Fall of Hyperion), it's that they are unnecessary.

At the end of FoH, the setting is metaphorically blown up and opened wide, for the humanity to move on without the AIs or the dead hand of Old Earth's history holding them back. This promise is not lived up to in the final duology, and that alone makes me dislike those books.

TCC56 #5 · 4 weeks ago · · ·

Gee, Tempest, Why Are You So Tall?

Bookshelf: Worth It

I object to such a travesty of a rating! This story is art!

I'd like to see you review one of my stories one day. I did write quite a few.

I’d love to see you review my story…

… but at the same time, mines pretty much a shitpost, so I don’t mind if you don’t.

kits #8 · 4 weeks ago · · 3 ·

Why is this a site blog?

5786179
Except Paul doesn't have an art shelf. he should though.

Oh, gosh, The Midnight Run -- that really is going back a bit! I really enjoyed it when I read it, and even then (August 2015) it was pretty old. I actually decided to read it in the first place after seeing it referenced by GroaningGreyAgony's Riverdream at Sunset: a Manuscript (a fic I adored) and wanting to know more.

I have seen so many conflicting views on those other Hyperion books. I'll admit I've not read any of them (I recall picking up the first one at a library several times when I was a teen, but never being swayed by the blurb), but man, when they get brought up online? I've seen them suggested for "least needed sequels" or "worst sequels in existence" before, with varying levels of agreement or disagreement.

Oddly enough, I think I've actually seen that for this one too, though not as commonly. Some people really felt strongly that it should have just been the one book, I guess.

Maybe I should put it in the queue at last, though.

I've read "The Midnight Run" and liked it. As I understand it, there's also a clop version.

I recognize the cover art to GaPJaxie's story as being on the cover of one of the books he sold at the final Bronycon, and he gave me a copy, so I don't want to spoil it, so I skipped that review.

"The Place I Feel Safest" is one I rather enjoyed. Yes, Roseluck may be overly dramatic about this loss as you say, but I don't think it's beyond the realm of possibility so much to kick me out, and with accepting that, I thought it dealt with the situation well.

I've read Super Trampoline's story, but he added the epilogue afterward. Feghoots will always be hit or miss, but I thought it was pretty funny.

While I don't read because I'm illiterate (and really, who has time for that?)

Rainbow Dash Digs Herself Into A Hole

Is my absolute favorite way to use Rainbow in any story I can. She's sincerely the best source of her own misery and I live for that.

IMHO, you could do a 'stuff I like' segment to replace the intro. Be it something that happened, something topical, or something you enjoyed in the couple weeks leading up to the post. If you're giving out reviews, you might as well give out recommendations too.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

Yooo, The Midnight Run! :D A classic that never garnered enough attention if you ask me, midnightshadow was one of the site's first perennially overlooked authors, and that's his magnum opus. A story that, honestly, scared the shit out of me, but which I nevertheless found equal parts fascinating. I even wrote a song about it once!

That goal was apparently defeated, given that this is the first (and will likely be the only) time it ever garners any commentary.

Don't be so sure... 👀

Man, what a slate you picked for this. City Upon a Hill was great, Changeling: The Movie was hilarious, and so was Rainbow Dash Digs Herself Into a Hole. :) Gee, Tempest, Why Are You So Tall? is definitely a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfiction that I read once!

Quite a selection I recognise today! A Kris Overstreet fic the same week as my spotlight on him, and a CSP fic at that? Lol. Obviously coincidence, given how far out your schedule is planned. I get mixed feelings from your assessment of it, but Kris did say Counting Noses would be a good barometer of how I'd take to the style and vibe of the wider CSP Verse, so… I'll probably give it a look in.

Changeling: The Movie must be a lot funnier than I remember, given I gave it a Really Good. That, or back then, simply being a goofy show predicated on characters being goofballs more easily won me over. I've read Gee, Tempest, Why Are You So Tall?, but don't remember much, and between my general distaste for feghoots, plus your assessment here, don't see that changing. And, sadly, I found Rainbow Dash Digs Herself Into a Hole to not work much for me, having weird, unfocused way of expressing its plot points and comedy, plus said comedy veering from the inventive to the more groan-worthy fandom clichés. But Present Perfect adored it, so evidently it has that x-factor for some people.

And yes, The Midnight Run! It's an unsettling one at times for sure, but that contributes to the vibe alongside the animalistic beauty of it too. Hard agree with Logan and Present Perfect, especially that it's very overlooked for what should, be all rights, be a minor fandom classic (though the lack of cover art certainly didn't help its prospects).


As for next blog… what's this? I've… read the longfic you'll be covering?!? :applejackconfused: How long have I been asleep? What… what year is this? :twilightoops:

But yeah, that'll be a doozy to read your thoughts on! Only one other fic there I've read, and too old to remember why I rated it as I did, so your words on Rainbows and Royalty will form the bulk of my discussion (curious why you read the original rather than the remake, but never mind).

Well, now I really want to reread the Hyperion cantos, haha.

Suggestions would be welcome!

I dunno, maybe sharing site/fic history? Some trivia kinda thing. You're an old player even if I only go by the date you joined the site, so I bet there are things you could share. Like, not everyone is a site veteran, so it could be insightful and interesting to the newer folks.

Thanks for your review! I also agree that the feeling of unease in The City Upon a Hill, the 'something is brewing below the surface' feeling is intentional (and very well-crafted). This feeling was also present in the first chapter of Familiar. These two fics excel at showing that in a world where material needs are met, there can still be deep societal problems waiting to be seen and solved, much like in our reality.

PaulAsaran
Site Blogger

5786169
For such an early story in your literary carer, I'd say you did well! But yeah, I do have to acknowledge that it is distinctly different from everything I've read before.

PaulAsaran
Site Blogger

5786171
Even considering that, I wouldn't call Roseluck's melodrama "normal". That being said, I have indeed met people who tend to break down in tears at the slightest provocation. So it's weird and off-putting for me, but not beyond the realm of possibility. Come to think of it, in this day and age maybe I'm the weird one for thinking it's weird.

PaulAsaran
Site Blogger

5786178
Because of all the negative commentary regarding the coming books, my expectation about them is that they'll tell entirely new stories unrelated to the previous ones in any way except in that they'll be set in the same universe. I expect them to be smaller in scope and consequences, and maybe with a smaller cast of characters too.

PaulAsaran
Site Blogger

5786182
Well, maybe I'll do one someday. Or you could request, but that depends on if you can catch me when requests are open.

PaulAsaran
Site Blogger

5786185
If it were a shitpost, I'd probably give it a negative review. I tend not to care for those unless they land just right, and even I don't know what that would look like.

PaulAsaran
Site Blogger

5786186
TL;DR answer: The admins offered me the position and I accepted.

Longer answer: Apparently someone among the admin/mods thought the site news feed was lacking and wanted to spice it up. There used to be a regular review series in the news feed a few years ago, of which I took a minor part in. Seeing as I've been doing this for almost a decade and have a reputation, they asked if I'd like to "go public" (inasmuch as one can do so when all user blogs are technically public here) with my reviews. After much debating with myself, I agreed.

PaulAsaran
Site Blogger

5786203
I believe I first heard about it from Ghost Mike.

PaulAsaran
Site Blogger

5786210
I happen to agree that it being one book would have been apropos, but at the same time both books are already pretty big. For the sake of those whose wallets aren't stuffed with throwaway cash, it does make sense to have it available in pieces like this.

...although I have indeed seen that someone out there compiled it into a single big book. I think I saw it on the Barnes & Noble website.

At any rate, right now I'm only stomping for the first two. I can't vouch for the lat two yet. My bet is that they'll be good, but vastly underwhelming compared to their predecessors.

PaulAsaran
Site Blogger

5786211
Part of me wants to say "You got a ponebook at the last Bronycon and still haven't read it? For shame!" But I can't, because I'm in the same boat in that regard. :twilightblush:

I recall seeing something about a clop version of The Midnight Run, though I didn't investigate as it holds no interest for me.

PaulAsaran
Site Blogger

5786225
5786242
These two comments give me an idea of pointing back to stories I read way back when. I don't want to make re-reviews of older material a regular thing on this blog, but I don't see why I couldn't point to stories I liked in the past and give them a fresh boost.

PaulAsaran
Site Blogger

5786226
You're not the only one to reference The Midnight Run as disturbing or scary. Which is odd to me. I found it fascinating, confusing at times, but not at all disturbing.

PaulAsaran
Site Blogger

5786228
"Mixed feelings" is an appropriate assessment. I absolutely love CSP's tsundere Chrysalis, she makes the series, but Counting Noses felt a little like false advertising in regards to its dominant point. On the other hand, it did give us a nice overview of how the changelings were integrating into pony society.

Aaand there's someone else calling The Midnight Run unsettling or something similar. I think I get what people are talking about, but for me those parts were more confusing than anything.

Wait, you actually read longfics? Are you really the same ghost? :trixieshiftright:

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

5786283
The idea of subsuming your will, personality, and sense of self to that of a collective is something I find inherently terrifying, but it's a theme that occurs a few times in midnight's work. :B

5786272
Yeah NGL I cry at a lot of stuff 😂

5786278
I wonder whether Mike found it via my review? I wrote that before he came to this fandom, so it's possible. Also perfectly possible he found it elsewhere. I can't remember now.

PaulAsaran
Site Blogger

5786288
...fair enough.

PaulAsaran
Site Blogger

5786290
<.<
...
>.>
...
I might have cried at a story yesterday.
...
:twilightblush:

PS — Yes, I do intend to read the sequels. I have zero expectation that they’ll be a tenth as good as this, because from here the only way to go is down.

I get it, but also, like, who cares? Sure, they might just be bad, and that would suck. But just because they're [a flavor you find medium] ice cream instead of [your favorite flavor] is whatever, ya know? It's still ice cream, and ice cream is great.


...Or you've heard lots of bad things about the sequels, and I'm just not familiar with the series, so I missed the boat there.

5786280
Jaxie gave me a whole bag of all the books he had there, so it takes a while to go through. Trick Question also gave me one of hers, and I think georg gave me one too. That’s a massive haul for not spending a dime… Trying to remember if there were others, but I’m out of town right now and can’t look at the pile.

PaulAsaran
Site Blogger

5786307
I'm seeing a lot of consensus that people were unhappy with the sequels. So I'm bracing myself.

5786309
Ah. I missed the boat, then. Hopefully they're exaggerating for your sake (or they're not exaggerating enough, and they're so bad they're funny?)

5786210
Well, Hyperion was a SF novel with an unusual amount of literary ambition and reference. John Keats' person and poetry are woven through it, in and out of universe; the structure of the novel is modeled on Canterbury Tales; and each pilgrim's story goes for a different genre or theme. (Brawne Lamia's story, which is noir-flavored cyberpunk, or vice versa, is the most obvious of these.)

In comparison, Fall of Hyperion is a lot more traditional novel in structure and style. It's still an excellent SF novel, but it's not as ambitious or experimental as the first one, and quite a few people were disappointed by that.

5786284
Yes, ponyfics over 100K, I know. :derpyderp2: Twas a long time ago, in the bowels of 2018-2021, when I had no review schedule obligations, and just read what tickled my fancy, then moved on. And when I was more naive and had less obligations in the real world. Especially in the first two years; while I would still err on the side of caution for any especially long longfic (if you're breaking 200K, you'd better have a damn good reason), I read many a novel then. Not always good one, and more than enough "reimagine the show's pilot" longfics than I ever want to read again, for one thing.

But plenty of gems in there, well known and which have flown under the radar. Hopefully I'll be able to come the odd one here and there going forward. :raritywink:

5786296
Not likely: generally for a review of yours that's from before I came along and started reading Ponyfic Roundup on the weekly, I'll probably only come to an older review if you refer back to it (sequel or same author, you know), or have a comment on the fic referring back to it (which would mean you weren't why I found it).

I'm drawing a blank on how I found this fic, but it was around the same time as I did the spotlight on Lucky Dreams, and for some reason my mind draws a connection between this and their fantastic In the Place the Wild Horses Sleep. Beyond just the connection of a beautiful nighttime scene scape of stars and horses running under them. Maybe it was a suggested fic on that? You never know. :rainbowderp:

Present Perfect's comment on Lucky's fic does refer to The Midnight Run, so that might have also played a part. :ajsmug:

5786306
If you can read "Past Sins" without crying, you are not human.
:fluttercry::fluttercry::fluttercry:

Good luck on reading "The Olden World." The first time I read it, it took three months. Valey is my favorite character on Fimfic. Watch out for Jamjars. I love the backstory for Chrysalis.

PaulAsaran
Site Blogger

5786350
When I read longfics, I read them at 10,000 words/day on average. So it is guaranteed to take me exactly 202 days to get through The Olden World.

(I do it this way to leave time in my day to read shorter stories to fill my blogs with in the meantime.)

Why is this guy in my blog feed?

5786373
Ah i see. Good for you 👍

Thanks for the review.

Counting Noses was an entry in Imposing Sovereigns IV, and thus for me the whole census issue was mainly an excuse to show what amounts to "A Day In the Life of CSPrysalis." (Don't try to pronounce that.) The story's about her dealing with her "problem cases"- and given the changeling baseline, that's a pretty high threshhold.

(Come to think of it, and this wasn't in my conscious mind at the time, it also demonstrates a two-sided nature to Chryssy: although she detests change, she's also honestly curious about where the change is going to go. Rather than dig in her hooves, as practically any other incarnation of Chrysalis would, she observes, accepts, and tries to adopt change to her own purposes. (Well, with some exceptions.) And this curiosity is what opens the door for Chrysalis herself to change- but that's well outside the scope of this short bit of fun.)

Anyway, the census without Paussus wouldn't have sustained even this chain of vignettes. Celestia wants the changelings to have IDs; after a bit of blundering, the changelings get IDs, and Chrysalis is able to bail her subjects out of jail again. Nothing important beyond the comedy bits I put in ("Y-O-U-R-E, N-A--"). The saga of Paussus gives the story a small measure of dramatic structure- establishment, buildup, resolution. (And it also made me give Uncle Pointy a proper changeling name...)

And I never had any intent of using Paper Plane as any sort of thematic or metaphorical tool. She's mainly present to demonstrate just how much both the hive and Chrysalis herself have changed- they've become used to ponies being inside the hive itself, in positions of responsibility instead of positions inside a cocoon. She's also a stand-in for one of her predecessors, who appears in a CSP footnote- as do most of the other non-Chrysalis characters in the story, The slice-of-life setting gave me an excuse to give some of my favorite off-screen characters some actual face time. (Well, mostly. Sorry, Gandy Dancer, I tried...)

I'm a simple horse. I see PaulAsaran review a story, I read it. I see him review one of my stories, I am happy.

Things in this story felt “off” from the very start. Not because it opens with Rainbow Dash assaulting a filly for thinking she’s pretty. I mean, yes, obviously that’s “off”, but it’s not what I’m talking about. The moment that really started to feel off to me was when Rainbow had her first conversation with her mother.

That conversation left me uncomfortable. I strongly suspect that was intentional.

Absolutely was. I wanted to produce a feeling of creeping horror, a discordant feel like the monster is going to jump out at any moment.

For years, Rainbow was convinced all of this was due to being part of a massive surveillance state. Turns out the problem is much closer to home, and neither she nor said problem are aware of it.

Describing her mother as "The Problem" is perfect. The problem is not aware of it indeed.

This was a fascinating story, with its primary themes revolving around the bad side of helicopter parenting (which is likely a misstatement as it implies there’s a “good” side to helicopter parenting).

I was a kid who got helicopter parented hard, and so writing this was deeply cathartic for me. This was me dealing with some real-life issues, and I feel that bled through and made it a better story.

A great story from start to finish, and exactly the kind of content I’d expect from GaPJaxie.

Thank you, man. It's really nice to know there are still people out there who enjoy my writing. :)

5786211

You still haven't read the books I gave you!? :facehoof:

I should ask you to edit them, it would be a faster way to get you to look. :moustache:

5786534
I've read some of them, but not all, and not the story reviewed here. Seriously, I didn't expect people would want to give me free copies of stuff, especially since it became quickly apparent everything would easily sell out, so it's not like they'd be leftovers. I was touched that people wanted to do that. But it also means I got a sizeable pile of them to go through.

Nice burn on the editing thing. :pinkiehappy: Though you are one of the few people who has a standing offer, ponyfic, non-pony fic, whatever.

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