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Titanium Dragon


TD writes and reviews pony fanfiction, and has a serious RariJack addiction. Send help and/or ponies.

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Mar
26th
2015

Read It Later Reviews #14 – Grey, A Tale Told, Table For Two, Of Pony Princesses and Persistent Protectors, Forged in Tartarus · 9:09pm Mar 26th, 2015

A review a day keeps the doctor away, as they say. This is a bunch of short stories I ended up reading yesterday, whittling away my time while pretending to be productive.

All of today’s stories are very short, with most of them clocking in under 2,000 words and none of them breaking 3,000.

Today’s reviews:

Grey by Foehn
A Tale Told by Foehn
Table for Two by KitsuneRisu
- Wings
Of Pony Princesses and Persistent Protectors by The Ponytrician
Forged in Tartarus by The Ponytrician


Grey
by Foehn

Sad

Some say the world is balck and white, others shades of grey.

The truth is, as always, somewhere in-between.

In which a precocious filly contemplates context.

Why I added it: Present Perfect highly recommended it.

Review
Foehn is a new writer; this was the first story he ever wrote for FIMFiction, though he has since written another story.

The piece is about Octavia moving with her mother to Manehattan and not really fitting in; Manehattan is a darker, nastier place (at least as far as she is concerned) than Canterlot was, and the other kids don’t really like her. She thinks that if she proves herself to be really awesome at playing the cello, she will fit in, as everyone likes successful ponies – but instead, finds it only isolates her further.

Written from the first person perspective of Octavia as a child, this is a very literary piece with a focus on emotional imagery. It is not a happy piece, and Octavia never really understands what is going wrong in the world around her – or right inside herself, for that matter. The fact that they are ponies is pretty much entirely irrelevant – this might as well be a piece of original fiction.

A fairly highbrow story, if you don’t like the sort of stuff which is deliberately written to be highbrow, you probably won’t like this. If you do like that sort of thing, however, you will very likely enjoy what was done in this piece.

Recommendation: Worth Reading if you like literary stuff.


A Tale Told
by Foehn

Slice of Life

Sometimes, reality is best understood through fiction.

Other times, the two are harder to distinguish between.

Family is often such a complicated matter.

Why I added it: I thought Grey was interesting and I figured I might as well read Foehn’s only other story.

Review
This is a story about someone – probably Prince Blueblood’s son, judging by the tags, but the character is pretty much irrelevant – going to a family reunion and having to deal with his family, who he hates. They’re a bunch of racist pretentious jerks, but he never says anything, because he doesn’t want to confront them.

And yet, his father scheduled the family reunion without checking the weather forecast because that would mean acknowledging that pegasi even exist, let alone have control over his plans, however remote, and so we find him standing out in a rainstorm swearing at a bunch of pegasi who are just doing their job.

And the son doesn’t stop him. He wants to tell him a story, a story that might make things better, or so much worse, because he himself is friends with – probably in love with – a pegasus mare (very possibly Fluttershy, judging by her description) and he has come to realize she is more his family than his dad is.

Like Grey, this is a piece told in the first person, and again feels very literary. Unlike Grey, this is unmistakably pony – clearly, this was a piece written for the pony universe’s equivalent of The New Yorker. This story, however, does have an ending, with the protagonist coming to true, conscious understanding of why he has been avoiding his family for so long.

The piece is very nicely written, but doesn’t really seem to say a whole lot that I haven’t heard before. Racism is bad, and dealing with racist family members can often seem a choice between rejecting them as family and just shutting up about it.

If you really liked Grey, and like literary fiction in general, you might enjoy this, but this story didn’t really excite me. It is hard to say it was bad, but it just didn’t really feel gripping. But then again, I hate most of the stories in The New Yorker, so maybe that’s not surprising. I feel like this is the sort of story I’m supposed to like, and yet, somehow, I don’t.

Still, I do hope to see more stuff out of Foehn in the future.

Recommendation: Not Recommended unless you really like literary fiction.


Table For Two
by KitsuneRisu

Comedy, Slice of Life

There's a cafe at the edge of town, a place where most ponies go to unwind from the rigors of life. A perfect little place, cozy, warm, and inviting. And what better way to enjoy your free time than with a friend and a cup of coffee?

But here, in this cafe, ponies talk as equals. Ponies share. Ponies love and laugh and cry.

And over this cafe, the Gods watch silently.

Table for Two is an experimental story about conversation, through conversation.

Why I added it: KitsuneRisu wanted my reaction to Wings.

Review
This is a short story collection of stories about ponies sitting in a cafe talking to each other.

Wings:
This piece is a conversation between Vinyl, who gets the most awesome coffee ever, and poor Fluttershy, who is struggling to keep up with and understand the DJ. This story is great because Vinyl Scratch is a total terror in it as she tries to discover all of the non-standard uses pegasi have for their wings, and innocent little Fluttershy is the perfect victim for her nonsense.

This bit in the story especially made me snerk:

“Look. Us monobones use magic, right? But you know, sometimes we do other things with ‘em.”

“Oh, that’s none of my b–”

“Like I hang my headphones on ‘em when I’m lazy, right? Or sometimes if I gotta point at somethin’, it’s like a big old arrow, right?”

“Yes. I… I think I see what you mean.”

“Yeah!” Vinyl sat back. “You can ask any ‘corn. We all do stupid things with ‘em.”

“Oh well… that’s…”

Also:

“W-why are all your stories about terrible things happening to your housemate?” Fluttershy whispered.

The comments section also had this little gem about pony racism:

You could think about how Hearth's Warming Eve is the national holiday that celebrates the three tribes and no one else. I forget who came up with it, but I love the idea that all the donkeys are quietly celebrating Assover at the same time, and the bitter herbs represent Dave Polsky.

Recommendation:
Wings: Worth Reading


Of Pony Princesses and Persistent Protectors
by The Ponytrician

Slice of Life, Bait and Switch

When Second Lieutenant Flash Sentry gives his superior officer Shining Armor a request for transfer, Shining Armor is curious about his motives.

Why I added it: I enjoyed several of The Ponytrician’s other works.

Review
The freshly-promoted Second Lieutenant Flash Sentry requests a transfer to guard a pony. A specific pony. A princess, in fact. There are better-qualified guards for it – both Captain Shining Armor, now Prince Shining Armor, and Flash Sentry know that – but Flash Sentry would lay down his life for her. He would do anything – scrub latrines, peel potatoes – just so he could be near her and keep her safe. He loves her.

Of course, given that certain aforementioned princess is a part of Shining Armor’s family might make that last thing a really stupid thing to fess up to…

You might think this is a typical “Flash Sentry is in love with Twilight Sparkle” story from this description, but it is anything but a typical story in that vein. I may like it more than it deserves because it is exactly the kind of story I like - the kind that finishes strong, with a reveal at the end that makes me realize that I was missing some obvious clues earlier in the story - but I think it is still enjoyable.

Recommendation: Recommended.


Forged in Tartarus
by The Ponytrician

Slice of Life

Imprisoned in Tartarus, Tirek receives a valuable lesson in the importance of friendship from a most unexpected visitor. Friendship lessons are always a good thing… aren't they?

Why I added it: I enjoyed The Ponytrician’s other stories.

Review
Tirek is trapped in Tartarus, and Chrysalis comes to set him free once more, offering her friendship and allegiance as he does in turn to her, in an attempt to weaponized friendship.

Of course, neither of them truly understand friendship, and they’ll stab each other in the back the first chance they get, but that’s what friends do, right?

This story is fairly dark in tone – two villains are plotting together, and one is trying to set the greatest threat in Equestria free, very possibly to her own detriment, even if Tirek would make a useful distraction.

My biggest complaint about the story is in the prose itself – the descriptions at the start of the story felt pretty awkward, and it wasn’t until the dialogue really started running that the story really picked up for me. There is an odd bit of telling in the conversation as well.

At its core, though, whether or not you like this will likely be driven by the conversation and the interplay of Tirek and Chrysalis’s ideas for how power and friendship work. If you enjoy that sort of thing, you might enjoy this.

Recommendation: Worth reading if the idea of Tirek and Chrysalis working together interests you, and you don’t mind a few rough patches in the writing.


Summary
Grey by Foehn
Worth Reading

A Tale Told by Foehn
Not Recommended

Table for Two by KitsuneRisu
- Wings: Worth Reading

Of Pony Princesses and Persistent Protectors by The Ponytrician
Recommended

Forged in Tartarus by The Ponytrician
Worth Reading

Man, I’ve been reading a lot of stories I’ve kind of liked recently.

Clearly it must be something they added to the water. I’ll have to switch drinking sources, before it becomes permanent.

Number of stories still listed as "Read It Later - Recommended": 275

Number of stories listed as “Read It Later”: 1548

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Comments ( 26 )

Why I added it: KitsuneRisu wanted my reaction to Wings.

I also explicitly said I didn't want a review of it >=(

Although I am pleasantly surprised that I finally got a positive response from you =D

I love you and your jimmies, TD.

2913750

I also explicitly said I didn't want a review of it >=(

I LIKED IT SO YOU'RE GOING TO GET A REVIEW AND LIKE IT MISTER. :flutterrage:

I mean, hi.

2913755
Hey so... our appointment in the weird plastic-wrap alley....

that thing still on?

(( Also, Pony Princesses looks... curious, if only because I want to know why I'm enjoying it in the way that I don't know until I do. ))

2913767
Revised a bit. The story is a subversion of the way those stories normally go, as his motivation is much more complicated than it would seem at first glance.

Or you could just mouse over the spoiler in the genre.

I distinctly remember the dawning horror as Vinyl just kept going and going and being so wonderfully horrible in Wings. Poor Octavia, really, and possibly anyone else who accidentally interacts with Vinyl.

2913798
Pretty much. She's a little horned monster with purple sunglasses.

2913778
I really love subversion stories. I'm probably going to give this a gander. Mmmm.

2913817
It is really more of a subversion of your expectations than of the genre.

It looks like it's Shark Week all of The Ponytrician's stories here on TD's reviews. :derpytongue2:

Thanks for the reviews. I'll see what I can do about polishing up the prose a bit for future stories.

2913750

Although I am pleasantly surprised that I finally got a positive response from you =D

Pssst! I've found TD's weak spot - he's got a thing for feghoots and bait-and-switch stories. Don't tell anyone, though.

2913778

Or you could just mouse over the spoiler in the genre.

There is something wrong with this statement. See if you can figure out what it is. :raritywink:

2914829

Pssst! I've found TD's weak spot - he's got a thing for feghoots and bait-and-switch stories. Don't tell anyone, though.

Yes, that's why I asked him to read that one chapter that FOR SOME REASON IS APPEARING IN THIS REVIEW BATCH EVEN WHEN I TOLD HIM IT WAS OKAY NOT TO REVIEW IT. Because I thought I figured something out, and I was using this as a test for my own curiosity.

Don't worry, we'll crack this yet. With your new information, we'll eventually be able to replace him with a robot and no one will be the wiser, which is of course, my final goal here on FimFic.

I'm gonna bait-and-switch his face so hard. SO HARD I TELL YAS.

2914857
I've previously posited that Titanium Dragon is in fact three changelings in a dragon costume. I'm starting to think that the nature of the story reviews varies depending on which changeling's turn it is to play the "head" of the dragon.

Based on this comment:

Man, I’ve been reading a lot of stories I’ve kind of liked recently.

I'm thinking I lucked out and got the friendlier changeling to read my stuff.

2914903
You know, that isn't a bad theory. I mean, after all, we've never seen the REAL TD, have we?

I say we need to find pictures, stat.

2914958
2914903
Like Horizon, I am not a changeling.

See? Proof.

2914857

Don't worry, we'll crack this yet. With your new information, we'll eventually be able to replace him with a robot and no one will be the wiser, which is of course, my final goal here on FimFic.

It is so cute that you assume that I'm not a robotic replacement already.

2914995
2914903

See? Proof.

i0.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/facebook/000/024/183/500pxShopped.jpg

It is so cute that you assume that I'm not a robotic replacement already.

So you're a ROBOT dragon now? Your deceit is slowly becoming undone, sir. J'accuse!

2915025
A robotic changeling dragon... TD is a Transformer? :pinkiegasp:

We're getting closer to the truth.

2915123 Egghead and proud :twilightsmile:

I must agree Tale got reviewed far more leniently than I expected. I got frustrated with the story part way through writing it, forced myself to finish it, and I feel it shows.

Still, none of that matters as long as someone out there enjoyed it. Thanks for the reviews TD!

Praise from the likes of you and Present Perfect means a lot.

2915123
I've read a few stories that I downvoted in the last several days, but I didn't review them because I didn't feel like there was anything worth saying about them other than "avoid this", but they were so obscure that no one would have ever found them anyway so there was no point in giving them attention.

Also, a lot of these were recommended to me in various ways, rather specifically in fact, which probably increased their hit rate.

Plus, I don't really have any category between "worth reading" and "not recommended".

2915302
I think that paragraph that you wanted to put colons into was fine the way it was.

Also, "resume" wouldn't work there; it is the wrong word. Change back is fine; change isn't a really expensive word, and the fact that it is deliberately used as a reversal means the repetition isn't problematic.

2915510

Hmm, I'd actually agree with the paragraph edit, save for that I maintain the last colon should remain a semicolon.

Missing empty line.

Ah yes, my first experience of the horrors of pasting text from Word into Fimfic's text box...
Thanks for catching those :facehoof:

I read "A Tale Told"; comments here. It's one of those stories that confuses my thumb: told with a skill level far above the average on fimfiction, yet devoid of meaningful content.

3121608
Pretty much. I'm not sure why the RCL picked that story; Grey is the better of the two, I think.

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