• Member Since 20th Aug, 2015
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A British Gentleman


I am a fan of many things, particularly the fine works of Sir Terry Pratchett (may he rest in peace). After spending a long time lurking, I have elected to create an account.

More Blog Posts74

  • 205 weeks
    Too Funny Not to Share

    Good evening, my fine ladies and gentlemen. I may be a touch late with this, but I feel it's too good to pass up on. Behold, fanfic, as written by predictive text:

    Read More

    6 comments · 587 views
  • 279 weeks
    [Non Pony] Purest Snake Oil

    Good evening, my good ladies and gentlemen. I hope to find you alive, well and, preferably, tipsy.

    A video recently dropped on YouTube, concerning the vexing topic of Anti-Vaxxers. Some of it, however, featured a firm called Coseva. A seller of outrageously overpriced snake oil, it's claims about its products are mindbogglingly stupid and wrong.

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    12 comments · 1,485 views
  • 281 weeks
    I Really Hope That This Guy is a Troll

    Good morning, my good ladies and gentlemen, and a Merry Christmas to all.

    I'm hoping that the guy I'm about to show you is a troll, but, having looked at his posting history, there's a very real chance he's the real deal. If so, I present to you the least self-aware arsehole on the internet. As you read that statement, consider the state of the competition...

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    9 comments · 644 views
  • 287 weeks
    Excelsior, Stan Lee. You Will be Greatly Missed

    Stan Lee has died, after a long, full life.

    We will never see his like again. Let us celebrate his legacy.

    1 comments · 499 views
  • 293 weeks
    [Non-Pony] CERN Controversy: An Impartial Scientist's Perspective

    Greetings my good ladies and gentlemen. I hope to find you well.

    For the benefit of anyone who hasn't been following the news on the matter, an Italian physics professor, Alessandro Strumia, was invited to participate in a workshop on gender in physics by Cern, with an audience largely composed of young, early career (Ph.D students and Postdocs) female physicists.

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    9 comments · 675 views
May
13th
2018

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Reviews #09: Aphrodite's Dance · 7:30pm May 13th, 2018

Greetings my good ladies and gentlemen on this lovely late spring afternoon. I hope to find you cool, refreshed and revitalised.

Today I bring you a review written on request of Admiral Biscuit, following his victory in Rare Story Prompts Contest #01, with his fic Hannah Hawes, Shop Assistant, which is not the fic being reviewed today.

The fic actually being reviewed is quite interesting, as it's a very rare type of fic itself. It's also porn. There's no way around that. Therefore:

WARNING: The following review is of a fic which contains material of a graphic sexual nature. M-rated quotes will be kept to a minimum, but proceed at your own risk.

For those of you who remain, a reminder of our scoring system:

The Good: Fics of clear high quality, showcasing the work of an excellent or promising author.
The Bad: Fics of clear low quality, showcasing the work of a poor or inexperienced author.
The Ugly: Fics blighted by an underlying nastiness, against characters or real people, showcasing the work of an unwise author.

Onward, then, to today's fic:

Aphrodite's Dance
By
Admiral Biscuit

Tags: Sex, Romance, Second Person, Human

Description:

You reluctantly accept an invitation to a college party with your friend Phil, but you weren't expecting to have a good time.

You certainly weren't expecting to hook up with Meadow Song.

The party might not have been great, but what came after was.

First Impressions:

One thing became clear quite quickly, before I ever read a sentence of the main text: this is a pornographic story. Don't get me wrong: it's not so blatant or vulgar in that regard as many of it's contemporaries; there are no spoilered porn tags, the cover pic isn't treading the line of what is acceptable, or anything of that sort.

Instead, the description bluntly states the scenario that will be taking place: you (in the second person) are at a party, and you're going to hook up with a Meadow Song, who, one must assume, is the stallion in the cover pic. The rating (Mature) and the sex tag tells the rest of the story.

Taken together, there is enough information here for the reader to get a good idea of what they're getting themselves in for, with only a few mysteries. With that in mind, I went forth.

Story and Characterization:

This is a fairly simple story in terms of its structure, as it only really has two characters (Meadow Song and the Protagonist) and two scenes (nightclub, the Protagonist's home) the only other named character (Phil) is a plot device who exists to get the second person protagonist to the nightclub in the first place, as said protagonist would generally rather not be there, as the opening paragraphs demonstrate:

You hadn't really planned to go to the party, but Phil had insisted it would be good for you to get away from books for a little bit and cut loose, and youweregetting a bit blurry-eyed from studying.

Plus, there was essentially free beer. Oh sure, there was theoretically a cover charge, but since you’d come to the party late, nobody was actually bothering to collect it.

As an opening, this isn't too bad: it efficiency establishes the scene, the location, and gives the reader a fair understanding of the current mindset of the protagonist in a way that is relatable.

The mystery second person protagonist is actually rather well done in this fic, which is quite an accomplishment; second person is notoriously difficult to pull off, and is often off-putting for readers due to the frequency of which it is done badly. Twice shy, and all that.

Here, however, the tricky balance of making the protagonist enough of a character to be engaging and relatable, whilst keeping the character sufficiently indistinct to facilitate immersion and prevent rejection of said immersion is pulled off well. A particular problem with second person is that the reader must feel sufficiently comfortable with the actions of the character on page to accept the character as a representative of themselves, and immerse themselves into the story via the provided self insert.

Thus, as soon as they encounter a "you did" that they strongly disagree with, they will be jarred out of that immersion, and will likely disengage with the story completely. Second person is a hard trick to pull off.

One ongoing mystery in the early stages of the story is the gender of the Protagonist. We don't get the reveal until about the mid point of the story, at an early point in the sex scene, which is a brave choice by the author; the readers are being asked to insert themselves into the story via a gender ambiguous avatar. Said readers are well aware that the story will be leading to a graphic sexual encounter with a stallion, as the description and cover pic make that plain. Further, Meadow Song's gender is made clear from his first introduction:

This really isn’t your kind of party, and you’re debating whether you ought to track down Phil and apologize for leaving early, or if it’s even worth the bother—he probably won’t notice you’re gone, anyway—when you spothim.

He'd found a chair in the corner, on the opposite side of the room, and he's got a half-finished beer next to him and a neglected plate of food beside it. He's kind of looking around as if he's seeking a way out but can't quite remember where it is, a look which is all too familiar to you.

It is ambiguous, at first, whether this will be a heterosexual or homosexual encounter, and the fic requires its readers to keep an open mind. Whilst in second person. And whilst immersed via an initially ambiguous avatar. The author does an excellent job of pulling this off.

The remaining time in the nightclub is summed up in two paragraphs, which takes us from introduction to hook-up:

They say opposites attract, but it's been your experience that that's not true at all. Like seeks like, that's what your brother said, and it's true. Without really thinking about it, you squat down next to his chair, your arm almost pressing against his furry forelimb, and the two of you together start to pour out your life stories, interrupted only by occasional trips to get more beer.

You hadn't planned to hook up at the party; but in some ways there's a natural progression of events, and before too long you discover that you're holding his hoof, and then the next time that you get more drinks, you wind up sharing the seat.

Here the author falls down a little, mostly due to the lack of space, and pacing considerations, but we simply don't get to see enough of Meadow Song's character. We are a told a few things, came we can certainly infer that he's a good, considerate guy based on his actions later in the story, but it would have been nice to see more of his character prior to that.

Still, the author has to consider pacing, and elected to move things along quickly at this point.

From here, things rapidly turn intimate. We have a quick scene where the Protagonist and Meadow Song get to know each other a bit more over a movie:

When you run out of smalltalk, you turn on a movie, but neither of you actually care what it is. You've already lost your shirt—he can't get any more naked than he already is—and you're exploring his body with your hands while he does the same with his muzzle. It's so right, and yet so deliciously forbidden because you know where this is going to go, and so does he.

A couple of key words here, which the author has helpfully emphasized: "so right" and "deliciously forbidden", which serves to sum up the Protagonists current emotional state, whilst also summing up the appeal which such stories and scenarios have for the audience. Who are being asked to fully embrace the role of said (as yet) gender ambiguous Protagonist.

Moving on from here, things get more or less completely pornographic. However, there are a couple of points left. This is a nice little section:

He suddenly notices that there's nothing between him and you but a thin bit of fabric.

This is it; this is the last moment to turn back.

This serves a few purposes. First, it acts as a pause for the audience before the fic begins it's sex scene in earnest. Secondly, it acts as a question. For the Protagonist, who must now decide if or if not to go through with this, or if they should do so now; a relatable conundrum for one in a new relationship.

Secondly, for the audience, who still don't know the gender of the Protagonist, or the form the coming sex scene will take. They must decide if or if not they will be accompanying the Protagonist on this journey regardless. In presenting the audience with so direct a question, the author is showing considerable faith in his own writing and characters to guide the audience onwards.

From here, we finally get the answer to the matter of the Protagonist's gender. Anyone who wants to read this fic should stop reading at this point, so it's not spoiled:

He responds by leaning his head back in and gently gnawing on your shoulder, the strap of your bra a plaything for his tongue

Yep. The Protagonist, it turns out, is a woman. Which makes this fic a very rare beast: a Stallion on Earth fic (SoE), written in the second person from a female point of view.

It's pretty much all porn from here.

Conclusion:

This is a very brave fic, which asks a surprising amount of it's audience for such a short and simple piece, and particular for an erotic story. It's surprising that the author managed to pull it off, but he did it.

All in all, an enjoyable read, and one I do not hesitate to name among the Good:

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