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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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Read It Later Reviews #21 – Forever and Again, Where the Heart Is, Happily Ever After, The Day of the Million Billion Octavias, Swan Lake · 6:19pm Jul 17th, 2015

Apologies for my laxity in posting this week; I spent a great deal of time twisting myself in knots over what to work on next, and thus ended up not accomplishing much of anything until yesterday, when I simply decided to go ahead with whatever struck me next.

Consequently, I polished up and published a writeoff story:

As He Lay Dying
by Titanium Dragon

Sad, Slice of Life
1,018 words

Jonagold Apple made his family swear on their hats that they wouldn't come to see him, not in the state he is in after the accident.

But Granny Smith isn't about to let her only son die alone in the hospital.

While this is a bit of a feelsy piece, it is not just melodrama over the end of Applejack’s father’s life, but also explores a bit of Jonagold Apple and Granny Smith’s characters. Folks in the write-off generally seemed to find it pretty decent – it won 7th out of over 100 entries – so I hope you all enjoy it as well. It is also quite short, so none of you have any excuse not to read it!

But my stories are only a part of why you’re here. Onto the reviews!

Today’s stories:

Forever and Again by Nyronus
Where the Heart Is by Pascoite
Happily Ever After by Dark Avenger
The Day of the Million Billion Octavias by Horse Voice
Swan Lake by 314

Forever and Again
by Nyronus

Romance, Slice of Life
1,293 words

As Twilight draws towards the end of her life, death and the effect it will have on those she is closest with weighs on her mind. One night, seeing her distress, Celestia shares with her a secret belief she holds about death, life, magic, and the connection between them.

Why I added it: I read this previously, and it was my response to this story that inspired me to write Forever and Again and Again.

Twilight Sparkle is old and is scared of dying. Her wife, Princess Celestia, comforts her, and in the process, tells Twilight about her views on death and reincarnation.

This is a cute little piece, showing a bit of serious-yet-silly interplay between a very old Twilight Sparkle and Celestia. It is very short, but it does a good idea of communicating its central ideas in such a short space, and there are a large number of clever little lines packed into this thing. The characters came off quite well, and I bought into the premise pretty quickly based on their behavior.

If there was one thing that disappointed me about this, it was that the story didn’t imply that this was a previous incarnation of Twilight, and that the present one was the reincarnation.

I wonder if anyone might write a story like that? Hmm…

Recommendation: Recommended, especially if you liked Forever and Again and Again.

Where the Heart Is
by Pascoite

Sad, Slice of Life
2,569 words

Dogs act like they love their families, but nopony will ever know for sure. More importantly, Winona's family loves her. She couldn't ask for more. But she does love them. She really does.

Why I added it: Pascoite is a good writer, and it was in the Royal Guard story queue.

The summary of this story in the short description is about the best description you can give of this story. I had actually totally forgotten what this story was about, despite having read it previously in the write-off, and so I was surprised when I got to the end of it and remembered just what story it was.

I think that this story is too long, even at 2,500 words; the original version was much shorter and punchier, and while this version gives you more time to recognize some of the oddities in the scene of Winona with the family, the scene of Winona with her family just wasn’t that interesting and felt kind of dull.

Still, the ending of this story is great, and it makes the first part of the story worth reading through.

Recommendation: Worth Reading.

Happily Ever After
by Dark Avenger

Tragedy, Sad
2,837 words

It's the perfect bedtime story: the tale of a brave colt who wants to become a knight. A kingdom in peril. A loved one imprisoned. A quest to slay an evil dragon. A fight to save the world.

Why I added it: It was in the Royal Guard queue.

Told from the point of view of an earth pony colt who wants to become a knight, this is a fairy tale about his desire to go and save his sickly mother from a terrible dragon who has kidnapped her. She has been taken far away, and his father must pay a ransom to keep the dragon from devouring her. Maybe if they had magic, they could save her, but they don’t.

But not everything is as it appears…

This is one of those stories which is heavy on metaphor, and reliant on a child’s inability to understand what is really going on – especially when the adults aren’t being entirely honest with them.

Recommendation: Worth Reading if you like symbolism.

The Day of the Million Billion Octavias
by Horse Voice

Comedy, Adventure
4,784 words

Once, Octavia Melody had a Really Bad Day.

She tried to fix this by spreading the Really Bad Day to the ponies who caused it.

As it happened, the scene was set for the Really Bad Day to spread hither and yon, until everypony was having it.

The history books called it "O-Day." The survivors knew it by another name.

This is not a clopfic.

Why I added it: Horse Voice is a good writer, and this is the only story of his I haven’t read.

Octavia Medley has been kidnapped and taken to a super secret hideout, where no one would ever come looking for her – namely, near the mirror pool. Fortunately for her kidnappers, she’s tied up. Unfortunately, she remembers the Pinkie Pie incident, and realizes that the mirror pool doesn’t replicate bonds…

Of course, things go from bad to worse when a hydra shows up, with the only possible counter to such a huge monster being even more Octavias. Not even a hydra can stand up to that.

But there’s this changeling horde in the way of the hydra’s retreat, and they certainly want to cause as much confusion with the Octavias as possible…

This story lumps absurdity on absurdity as the number of Octavias increases for the first half of the story, wreaking massive havoc across Ponyville.

Alas, I was not tremendously amused by this piece. The whole thing was certainly ridiculous, and serial escalation continued throughout the piece, but there were precious few actual jokes, and very few of them actually landed for me. The closest thing to real amusement I felt was when Vinyl Scratch got excited about there being so many Octavias.

Recommendation: Not Recommended.

Swan Lake
by 314

Slice of Life
7,588 words

After running across the Crusaders in Manehattan, Rainbow finds out a little secret Scootaloo had been keeping from her.

Why I added it: It is one of the highest rated stories on FIMFiction.

Rainbow Dash finds out that Scootaloo does ballet, and secretly watches Scootaloo perform in a ballet performance, with some help keeping hidden from Princess Luna.

This story is one of those pieces where the “slice of life” bit should serve as a warning to me, but alas, the fact that we use the slice of life tag for such a broad swath of pieces where makes me figuring out which stories meet the Wikipedia definition of slice of life difficult, which is a pity; while there are some such pieces I enjoy, many of them bore me.

That being said, I do think this story suffered in one major way: it was trying to impress me with how good at ballet Scootaloo was, but in the end, it felt like it was telling me that Scootaloo was really good at ballet. Actually showing someone being good at ballet in prose is probably difficult, but the story ended up coming off as trying to impress me with Scootaloo’s skill by having Rainbow Dash talk about how impressed she was. And that just didn’t work for me emotionally or intellectually; being told that someone is good at something and actually seeing it are two very different things, and as they say, seeing is believing.

Another issue with the piece is that Rainbow Dash has to avoid interacting with Scootaloo, but the net result is that she really doesn’t spend much time interacting with any one pony, and there is little real interesting interplay. A great deal of the story is consumed by extremely mundane actions, such as helping younger ponies into outfits, or Rainbow Dash being sort of bored by what is going on – a feeling which communicated itself to me in the form of me feeling bored as well, which is definitely not an emotion you want your reader to be feeling while reading your story!

The story may or may not have accurately depicted a lot of the stuff that goes into ballet, but I just never really ended up engaging with it; it just felt like a ton of descriptions about stuff that I didn’t really care about, and the story never really gave me a reason to care about it.

And in the end, I don’t know if I ever really bought Rainbow Dash’s reaction to it; while the idea of Rainbow Dash appreciating ballet for the athleticism of it is certainly believable, the whole thing felt very fluffy, and Rainbow Dash didn’t show a lot of the “edge” that she typically has as a person. It felt almost like what Scootaloo – if she did do ballet – would want Rainbow Dash to do.

Recommendation: Not Recommended.

Forever and Again by Nyronus

Where the Heart Is by Pascoite
Worth Reading

Happily Ever After by Dark Avenger
Worth Reading

The Day of the Million Billion Octavias by Horse Voice
Not Recommended

Swan Lake by 314
Not Recommended

I may have cheated a bit, putting a story that I’d already read into this set of reviews, but I needed to do a review of Forever and Again at some point, which has, by the looks of things, gotten something like 700 views and 100 upvotes in the last week or so thanks to a note in the footnotes of a certain other story.

Number of stories still listed as Read It Later – Important: 1611

Number of stories still listed as Read It Later – High Priority: 296

Number of stories listed as Read It Later: 67

Comments ( 9 )

Do you think it's safe for us by this point to officially knight Pascoite as Pascoite the Worth Reading? :trollestia: You really need to stop being such a grouch about his stories. He's one of the best one-shotters in this fandom!

You might wanna check your formatting in the summary.



Thank you!

More! Moar!

Hmm, my comedies can't seem to measure up like my horror stories have. I'll have to step up my game next time!

The closest thing to real amusement I felt was when Vinyl Scratch got excited about there being so many Octavias.

Now I'm definitely glad I published this one before episode 100, since this wouldn't have worked after it, and it's the one bit absolutely everyone laughs at.

Author Interviewer



I actually feel kind of bad that some folks thought I was going for some reason, as now I disappointed them all with my non-appearance. :ajsleepy:

Author Interviewer

It's okay, we still have Bad Horse. :B

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