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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 #51 – Plainswalker; The Brief, Torrid Love-Affair of Fernando the Straw and Madame le Flour; “So… what IS your call sign, anyway?”; The Gentle People; The Element of Audacity; The Mechanical Donkey · 7:03pm Jun 8th, 2016

Procrastination on writing creates a surprising amount of motivation to review stories.

Today’s stories:

Plainswalker by Burraku Pansa
The Brief, Torrid Love-Affair of Fernando the Straw and Madame le Flour by CoffeeMinion
“So… what IS your call sign, anyway?” by Vivid Syntax
The Swap by Monochromatic
The Twilight Zone by Bad Horse
- The Gentle People
-The Element of Audacity
-The Mechanical Donkey

by Burraku_Pansa

2,931 words

In the Zebrican tribes, for those zebras who have the talent, becoming a shaman is not a duty, not a responsibility, and certainly not a choice—it is a necessity. Some adjust to the role differently than others.

Why I added it: The Royal Guard queue.

A new shaman contacts Zenna, the Bane of Night, a zebra shaman who previously fought demons. Unfortunately, the whole thing felt a little bit pointless; the framing story didn’t really seem to add much to the story itself, and the story itself was a fairly standard adventure story that didn’t seem to have a greater meaning or context. While the spirit leaves us with the idea that the shamans are responsible for protecting and guiding spirits, in the end, none of the characters in this story particularly drew me in or made me care about their fate or struggles.

Recommendation: Not Recommended.

The Brief, Torrid Love-Affair of Fernando the Straw and Madame le Flour
by CoffeeMinion

Crackfic, Random, Comedy, Romance, Sex
2,794 words

Sometimes Pinkie sees the world in ways that others don't. To her, a bendy drinking-straw might serve as a debonair traveling companion, and a humble bag of flour might offer a comforting shoulder to cry on.

But what would happen if that straw, and that bag of flour, came to see each other as more than mere support for Pinkie? What if a flame of raw, unbridled passion began to burn between them?

Wonder no more, gentle reader! For within these pages lies a tale parody of tragic love in the tradition of such timeless classics as Romeo and Juliet and/or Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. But be warned, for within ye shall find such passion as to stir thy soul, regardless of whether thou art spending this Hearts and Hooves day nestled in thy lover's arms, or tucking into a resplendent tub of ice cream by thy lonesome...

Why I added it: The Royal Guard queue.

This story is exactly what it says on the tin – the imagined love torrid affair of Fernando the straw and Madame le Flour, as probably imagined by Pinkie Pie. It personifies Fernando the straw and Madame le Flour, and posits that they are having a steamy love affair, despite their inability to move or talk or do anything, really, seeing as they’re inanimate objects probably given imaginary personalities by Pinkie Pie.

This is 100% a crackfic, specifically cargo shipping and crack shipping.

The biggest problem with this story is that it fundamentally centers around a single joke – basically, the entire story centers around the fact that these are inanimate objects which really cannot do anything. This is what the story hits on for its whole length, and the whole thing hinges around it. And frankly, I got bored with the joke after the introduction.

If the repeated absurdity of a joke like that can amuse you, you might like this more than I did. But for me, it just felt very one-note.

Recommendation: Not Recommended.

“So… what IS your call sign, anyway?”
by Vivid Syntax

Comedy, Slice of Life
1,202 words

Spitfire has a call sign, just like every other Wonderbolt. However, she tries to keep hers a secret, and it's FAR worse than "Rainbow Crash."

Why I added it: Vivid Syntax is a good writer.

Soarin tells the Wonderbolts the story of Spitfire’s call sign.

This is one of those anecdotes which would be funny to tell of someone else at a party, but really isn’t that amusing as a story. It also feels too long for what it is, and I just didn’t get enough of a feeling of tension for the payoff/punchline.

Recommendation: Not Recommended.

The Swap
by Monochromatic

Comedy, Equestria Girls, Slice of Life
1,490 words

Twilight thought she'd had enough excitement for one day after meeting her human counterpart. Or so she thought until she was met with the uncanny feeling that Pinkie Pie was acting, well, a bit too equestrian.

Why I added it: It was featured.

After the Friendship Games, Twilight realizes that Pinkie Pie is her Pinkie Pie, and confronts her about it. Meanwhile, in Equestria, the human Pinkie Pie gets very excited about Rarity’s magic.

The end.

This is one of those comedy stories where the joke is in the description and cover image, and like many of them, it doesn’t go beyond it. It is hard to really love stories like this; a lot of the time, they’re better as comics or little cartoon shorts… which is what this, not ironically, was based on.

Recommendation: Not Recommended.

The Twilight Zone
by Bad Horse

The Gentle People
743 words
The gryphon tribe that tried to follow a pony goddess.

The Element of Audacity
Dark, Crossover, Lovecraft
It would take a very brave, very stupid pony to defy the Eater.

The Mechanical Donkey
A colt working for the school paper uncovers an old donkey’s secret.

Why I added it: All were in the writeoffs, and Bad Horse is a good author.

The Gentle People is a Lost Cities style story about the Farisi, a tribe of griffons who tried to live like ponies, and whose civilization has now fallen into ruin. The story is short, but surprisingly twisty for something that clocks in under a thousand words; there is a great sinister undertone to the piece, and the start of the story acquires new meaning and context as you go through it. It is a fun if slightly nasty piece, and a dark warning to the reader – and is all the darker when you realize it is based on a true story.

The Element of Audacity is a crossover between MLP and a sort of Lovecraftian story. This is basically impossible to summarize without spoiling it, but I felt like this did a very good job both of playing with the idea of a Lovecraftian monstrosity, as well as presenting an interesting contrast to the usual such stories. Really, if you love Lovecraft, or love Rainbow Dash, this is a must-read, but it is a fun thing.

The Mechanical Donkey is a story about two colts who don’t really like an old, cranky donkey (sound familiar?) and are intent on taking a picture of him while he is out in his shed with a mechanical donkey that he built, with the idea that he will be so embarrassed that he will have to leave town.

This is a kind of subtle and sad piece about loneliness; the narrator never really understands what is going on, but the reader can and does. It works well, but it isn’t the sort of thing that knocks your socks off.

The Gentle People: Highly Recommended.
The Element of Audacity: Highly Recommended.
The Mechanical Donkey: Worth Reading.

Plainswalker by Burraku Pansa
Not Recommended

The Brief, Torrid Love-Affair of Fernando the Straw and Madame le Flour by CoffeeMinion
Not Recommended

“So… what IS your call sign, anyway?” by Vivid Syntax
Not Recommended

The Swap by Monochromatic
Not Recommended

The Twilight Zone by Bad Horse
- The Gentle People: Highly Recommended
-The Element of Audacity: Highly Recommended
-The Mechanical Donkey: Worth Reading

I was just remarking to Horizon that it had been a while since the last time I gave out a Highly Recommended, so I was kind of glad to see these come along. Bad Horse’s The Twilight Zone is full of interesting stories, and a lot of them are well worth your time in reading them. I’ll have to remember to go back and review more of them in the future.

Number of stories still listed as Read It Sooner: 132

Number of stories still listed as Read It Later: 483

Number of stories listed as Read It Eventually: 1920

Comments ( 11 )
Author Interviewer

Just what I need, another shortfic compilation. D: My unread chapter count's up over 1600!

Bad Horse's is really good, too! I'm surprised it wasn't on your list already.

Author Interviewer

I try and avoid them unless A) I can review the whole thing all at once, or B) some jerkass fic reader does a reading of one of them. :V

Looks at review of The Swap.

I actually found that fic an okay read. Not worth saying that it's not recommended but rather worth a glance through reading.

Makes me wonder if my review of Sunset Sunrise is okay since the story synopsis and cover image gave away a large portion of the story....

Well, I am not the ultimate arbiter of taste.

Other people are allowed to be wrong, after all. :ajsmug:

More seriously, just because I don't enjoy something doesn't mean no one else will. Also, I've generally struggled with Monochromatic's writing; I figured trying out something of hers that wasn't RariLight might have gone better for me than my previous sojourns into her RariLight story. Alas, didn't work out for me.

People are allowed to like other things. But I just found that The Swap ended up kind of not doing it for me.

Also, the real problem with stories whose premise is in their summary/cover image/title is mostly really a problem when there is only one joke, and the punchline is given away. A story which starts out with something funny happening and then the story is about the aftermath is fine and dandy, as are stories which also include a bunch of other jokes.

I think the real problem with The Swap was that the story basically didn't end up going anywhere else with it. It isn't that the idea of them swapping places isn't potentially amusing as that the story did nothing but sort of focus on Twilight figuring out they'd swapped, which is probably the least funny thing about Pinkie Pie swapping places with Pinkie Pie.

For an example of a story which seemingly gives itself away but is actually still really funny, A Princess By Any Other Name is about Princess Cadance changing her name, but the vast bulk of the comedy comes from the process - it isn't that she's changing her name, it is that the whole, insane struggle to change her name, going through absolute reams of paperwork, is incredibly frustrating, and her baby book is possessed by evil spirits. Thus, even though "the joke" is given away in the cover art/summary, there are many jokes throughout the piece which work to make it a comedic masterpiece.

I think you are a tad soured.

Your tastes, while honestly displayed, are getting too refined to fit outside a very narrow niche.

Alas! Thank you for reading the Affair, and sorry it was not your cup of tea. :heart:

You're welcome!

Good luck with your future writing. :heart:

4009121 Guess that makes sense.

Anyways with what you said about if the story offering something else as well is completely understandable. And looking back to my review of Sunset'so Sunrise by The Abyss I recall saying how much I loved how after the fic ended there is a hidden underlying tragedy that happens thereafter as I mentioned in my review.

I wonder if I didn't see this until now? I just found it through the Master Review List. You're still the only person on it who's reviewed any of my Twilight Zone stories, so thanks!

I enjoy your stuff! And a lot of your short stories are quite good. I've read all of them, even if I haven't reviewed them all.

I've been kind of out of the loop for a while, so I didn't even see that you'd posted another story. I'll have to get on reading that.

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