• Member Since 17th Aug, 2013
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Singularity Dream

The pony processing organ in my head still has some foreign non-pony contaminants.

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R4 (Reactions, Reviews, Reference, Redirection) #0001 · 5:40pm Oct 25th, 2014

[<<<Previous] [Index] [Next >>>]

Here are slightly edited versions of five old reviews:
Long Distance by EZN
Eternal by Device Heretic
Tales by George Pollock, Jr.
The Old Stories by Thanqol
For Those We Left Behind by Drakmire

Long Distance by EZN
(story link) (my original review)

This particular story was pretty good. Little slow in places, not quite as polished in places, but I spend an entire day reading it because I wanted to know what happened next. That’s the best compliment a story can get in my opinion so I would recommend it. It mostly involves exploring the non-pony civilizations of the MLP world and does so quite well. So I would recommend it, but only to people who have some interest in MLP and like interesting worldbuilding.

The story at the heart of it is a look into unintended consequences, small business mangement, and the dangers of he ends justify the means. Its hard to get that much depth in mainstream published books a lot of the time. It certainly has me interested in reading more well-written pony fan fiction in the future.

Eternal by Device Heretic
(story link) (my original review)

This is one of the best stories I have read in a very long time. Not just in the looser quality of fan fiction, but of any kind of story. I might even have to add this one to the very short list of stories that got a strong emotional reaction out of me while I read it. Especially the epilogue. This author should be writing best seller fantasy novels, but I’m glad I got to read this story for free. It is long even for a proper novel, the internal kindle calculation was about 500 pages of about paperback sized blocks of text, or approximately 150,000-plus words. It took me a day and a half of fairly dedicated reading to get through it and it was worth every minute.

This story touches on a lot of things I adore in a good story. The price of immortality, the difference between truth and dreams, how relationships between people change (not personal relationships exactly, but what happens when teacher and student become equals, things like that), mythology, the burden of leadership, and the corrosive effects of guilt and worry. When well done any one of these can make a great foundation for a story. In this one they consist of only about half of the foundations for this story.

This story is so tied up to the particulars of the MLP universe. Or at least a version of that universe at the time of writing. The tv series has gone on to show things that don’t exactly contradict parts of this story, but certainly make them a lot less likely. Which I am okay with. I decided a long time ago that my personal experience with any particular canon or world would not be limited to what the creators of a show or series insist is the universe. Just as a story happens in the space where the text on the page and the mind of the reader mixes, a fan’s picture of their favorite setting/world is going to be different than what the creators of that world might intend. This fan fiction proves that this is a strength by giving us a very vivid picture that is wildly different from what the MLP creators could have intended. Yet, unlike some fan fiction, this is not a story you could change by filing off the serial numbers and changing the names. The story is thematically and structurally tied into the world of MLP to the point that you would need to see at least a few episodes to understand a lot of the subtleties. At the very minimum you would need to watch the two-part pilot of the tv show to have at least a basic understanding of what is going on. Not just to understand cartoon ponies and know who the characters are, but to understand the basis of the problems that this story explores.

I really can’t say much about the story itself. There is almost no action to comment on and most of the story takes place in dreamworlds that represent states of minds, fears, and desires of various characters. So just describing them would both be spoilers and would lack the punch of the emotional build-up to those scenes. I will say that at least once I was favorably reminded of the Amber books by Roger Zelazny, and comparing any author or story to Zelazny is absurdly high praise. This is a book that takes a bit of effort to fall into, but once you do it will make you think deeply about things.

I do have to admit that I might be a little biased about how good this story is. It hits so many of topics that I enjoy reading about, it was basically a ‘I like this book’ from start to finish. So I was less than critical while reading it. Even then there were a few pacing problems, among other things. But in the end this is a book that flipped so many switches in my head that I wouldn’t want to read it again right away because parts of my brain are either still pondering things, or would just be pushed off-kilter completely by flipping all those switches again before they can recover. My brain is just weird like that.

Tales by George Pollock, Jr.
(story link) (my original review)

It’s about Twilight Sparkle looking back at her life from her old age. It is a bit depressing, but has some interesting elements in it. A lot of it contradicts the show as it went on, but I don’t hold that against it. Most of my personal headspace MLP canon contradicts the show on some level or another. This didn’t really feel like MLP to me though. To gritty and life-is-random sort of thing. In the show there is this element of faith in most of the stories. Not any particular religion, but the idea that things happen for a reason. Could be a good reason or a bad reason, but the idea that intention and action shape the world is a core concept. Of most shows, but MLP specifically. Doing things for good reasons leads to good results, eventually, and doing things for bad reasons leads to bad results. In Tales there are several instances of ‘the world sucks’ that are strong emotional moments, but they just aren’t MLP for me. So good story, but just too different. Plus it had Celestia as just another pony instead of a semi-divine immortal. As you may have noticed in my Eternal post, that is one of my favorite aspects about her. So the story gets huge negative points for that. Also this was done as separate chapters on a website with a wonky interface so I couldn’t just download it easily to read on my kindle. That was annoying too.

The Old Stories by Thanqol
(story link) (my original review)

The Old Stories by Thanqol was the second of the two I read. It was quite good. A excellent example of myth making/telling. One or two parts fell a little flat, but overall excellent. It really did feel like MLP. This story inspired me to try my hand at some mythical creation stories for one of the stories I’m working on right now. Not sure I’ll actually get around to doing it, but any story that gives the spark of inspiration is to be honored. I would recommend this one much more than the previous one. They are both wonderfully written, but only this one was proper MLP fiction in my mind.

For Those We Left Behind by Drakmire
(story link) (my original review)

For Those We Left Behind by Drakmire is just a little vignette that would make just a single moment in a longer story. Well, perhaps moments. It is sweet, sad, everything cut out to get down to the pure sincere emotion at the core of the story. A perfect example of how to extrapolate from a single shred of inspiration to make it into a touching story.

As with the other fanfics I’ve been reading you might miss out on some of the nuance here is you aren’t familiar with MLP, but this story is such a basic elemental emotional story that lack of familiarity with the show will not stop you from getting into it. A story about loss, regret, acceptance, and the desire to keep remembering those that have died.

It is a sad story, but not unreasonably so. There is no despair or anguish, well, not really. It is about a daughter who loses her mother so there is great depth of the sadness, but the story does not get lost in the negative emotions. It has incredible writing to the point that the events of the story have become a part of my personal MLP headspace, to the point that if the show contradicts this story then the show is the one in the wrong.

As always, The Big Master Review List is here: {THE MASTER LIST}
If you know of a reviewer I'm not keeping track of, please let me know and I'll see if they meet the criteria to be assimilated into the list.

If you are an author who wants a more detailed review of a story feel free to message me. My reviews tend to be fairly light. Reactions to a story right after reading it. I am happy to give a more careful read and reply to anyone who wants more precision and/or feedback.

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Comments ( 4 )
Author Interviewer

Ooh, new versions of old reviews! :O Cool!

Sort of. Mostly just edited out the typos an the non-review context stuff. A lot of the early ones were kinda me rambling about semi-related stuff mixed around with the reviews.

At this current rate (3 new / 5 old) I'll have caught up to the current reviews in 2-3 years.


That reminds me that I need to edit this again! Le gasp redux!

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