• Member Since 3rd Sep, 2011
  • offline last seen 5 hours ago

PresentPerfect


Writer, RCL co-curator, EQD prereader, dramatic reader, VA, fic reviewer. Vote for my next fic to release!

More Blog Posts2250

  • Monday
    I want everyone to be proud of me

    Even though the story I just posted -- Applejack Is an Alicorn Now, I Guess? -- is nothing but 3.5 thousand words of bad jokes, references and inanities, I started writing it the day I posted The Marchioness and the Urchin, and I actually followed through on completing it instead of falling into a deep depression for two months like I usually do. :)

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    5 comments · 70 views
  • Sunday
    Present Perfect vs. Looking Glass

    I'm sure you're all sick of seeing blogs that start with these words, but it's the year 2020 — and I have no idea what successful ponyfiction looks like anymore.

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    17 comments · 287 views
  • Friday
    Fic recs, August 7th: iisaw edition!

    Starting this blog off with sad news, I'm afraid: Warren Hutch, author of Windfall and the Screwball series, apparently passed away earlier this year. :( Thanks to Jake the Army Guy for figuring this out for us.

    Hard to transition out of that kind of thing. :(

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    6 comments · 247 views
  • Thursday
    Notes on the Marchioness and the Urchin

    It's funny to think that this story begins with me getting involved in a popular D&D Youtube channel last year. It's just a quirky place to start. Well, that and a global pandemic.

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    0 comments · 90 views
  • 1 week
    Fic reviews, August 2nd!

    Ugh, why is it August already? D: Why do I feel like shit? Why did Flash Fiction Online have a bunch of stories this month that didn't make sense?

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    6 comments · 170 views
Jun
23rd
2018

Fic recs, June 23rd! · 2:14pm Jun 23rd, 2018

Shrinky Frod needs your help, or at least your good wishes!

My newest reading is horizon's minific Eponalepsis!

Illya Leonov's newest is The City That Breathes by Pearple Prose! The latest from Scribbler is Skye Silverwing's Never a Wonderbolt, with Caitbug and CassyPony! She's also done psp7master's FoE: Vinyl and Octavia's Story, with Wuten, Thelifeoncloud9, Starryflame, Chaotic, Illya Leonov and TheBronyWithTheBowTie, but unfortunately the story's gone! D: psp7master apparently DFE'd, I don't remember hearing anything about this! :(

Also, I wrote a new SCP! It's about tall bees. :B The 4k contest is on, which means reduced non-SCP output from me for the next month!

Thank goodness the show's on summer hiatus, right? Now you lucky, lucky people have all the time in the world to read this bigass review blog and its plethora of excellent stories! :D

H: 3 R: 3 C: 1 V: 0 N: 0

Aubade by TheJediMasterEd
Paid Review for Icy Shake
Genre: Romance/Crossover
How remarkable. I looked at the description of this story and thought to myself, "Ah! Another Jeeves and Wooster crossover! Those are always fun, I'm sure this will be no different." But it was different. And so good, too! This is, in short, one of those brief, intense romances that's just deeply, deeply about two people, and did I mention intense? Yes, pony Bertie Wooster has been shipped with Pinkie Pie, but that's all in the background; this is about Cheerilee and pony Jeeves having a deep, intimate understanding of one another. And, as explained in the author's note, there might be a few things in here that take a little getting used to, not to mention the whole crossover series didn't pan out, so there's something to be said for this not needing to be one, but… Damn, it's really good.
Highly Recommended

Beyond Achlys by Snuffy
Proofread by Me
Genre: Sci-Fi
The arrival of a strange and powerful alien creature on Equus sends Equestria into a panic.
So this is a fun first-contact HiE scenario, the human of course being the alien in this case. We're given a very unusual setting, too: a galaxy populated by long-lived humans, and only humans, for all that various empires stretching across the cosmos have created numerous different societies. From this comes Helena, who is completely out of touch with reality due to the nascent godhood her technology grants her, everything from telekinesis to the ability to slow time. Once she finds Equestria, of course, with its sapient horses, et. al., she is fascinated at once and tries her best to get to the bottom of things. What follows is some exciting "failure to communicate" situations as the ponies try to figure out what she's doing. I know a lot of readers took issue with Helena; her motives are opaque at best, even when we're in her head, and she's often harsh and blunt, singly goal-focused and willing to crush anything in her path. She's definitely not a great person. But I was not one of those readers; I figured she was working on some internal logic, and I was rewarded with her true motive at the very end of the story. Suffice to say this is original and fun, though you might be a little disappointed at how thoroughly it explains the everything of what Equestria and ponies are. (Seriously, there's no magic left to magic by the end.) Still a good read, especially if you like sci-fi.
Recommended

Internal Huggery by Frostworthy
Paid Review for Majin Syeekoh
Mature: Sex
Genre: What
Rainbow Dash needs some 'special' help from Shining Armor.
I'm starting to think this whole "I will read stories for money" thing may not have been the greatest idea ever. c.c I have to say, if nothing else, I'm glad this site has room for descriptions, because the disconnect between that and the alternatingly saccharine and goofball first scene is astonishing, and really sets the tone for the whole piece. Shining Armor and Rainbow Dash are, it would seem, mental infants, with Shining in particular not even qualified to feed himself, and all I could think was, "How is this story so true?" :V But yes, this is intensely bizarre, enough that it jarred loose the memory of Scootaloo and Celestia: Adventures in Twilight's Gall Bladder, which is about the only thing I could compare it to. And it's not even particularly sexual? Like, there are body parts involved, but not necessarily for doing what they usually do. If you want some surreal — and I mean surreal — comedy starring two dumber-than-bricks ponies and maybe a vagina? This is the story for you.
Recommended If You Like Sexual Comedy and Really, Really Weird Shit

You and Her by fourths
Genre: Romance/Emotional
You said you were just going to show her around to your friends, but I knew. I knew.
I'll admit up front, I had a hard time believing Rarity would sleep with Fancy Pants while knowing he's married. Her reason for doing so isn't revealed until almost the very end, and YMMV on whether or not it resolves the issue for you. But oh boy. This could have been just another excellently written story about a wife finding out her husband is having an affair, save for one very big and unexpected aspect of Fleur's character, which I shall leave for the reader to discover. Just know that, if you're into personal drama and have an interest in cheating stories, this one stands well above its kind.
Recommended

Trains, Tesseracts, and Alicorns by Captain_Hairball
Genre: Drama
Twilight Velvet doesn't exactly think highly of her daughter-in-law.
A great story should make you forget that canon has passed it by. I really liked this portrayal of Twilight's mom — off from what we got in Once Upon a Zeppelin only due to a one-line comment on a fear of heights — specifically because, as she's silently criticizing Cadence's supposed shallowness, we get to see just how shallow she herself is. That hypocrisy really makes this work. Well, and I still love anything that takes potshots at Cadence. :V The one thing that felt actually off was the whole 'tesseract' angle, which has to get explained entirely within the text and lends a Blinkfic feel to the affair. But if nothing else, this absolutely feels like a true-to-life, hard-and-dirty look into the dynamics of the Sparkle family. I mean, these ponies have a bunch of nasty things to say about each other.
Recommended

Who We Are in the Dark by NaiadSagalotaOar
Genre: Romance/Tragedy
Adagio is ready to give her girlfriend the perfect night, except for one little thing…
Oh boy, is this a lot of things. Beautifully written. Characterized by a protagonist who can't read faces. Sexy as hell with barely even any kissing. And deliciously, heart-wrenchingly tragic. Not only have I never seen Adagio Dazzle written this way, I've never seen fanfiction written this way. (I read a book written by someone with prosopagnosia once, that's the closest I can think of.) The fact is, if you don't care about Adagio, you will by the end of this story, and you will have your heart broken into a million pieces as her world crumbles around her. This is my favorite kind of tragedy.
Highly Recommended

Celestia XVII by brokenimage321
Reading (part 1) by Scarlett Blade
Genre: AU/Drama
Cece is just like any other teenaged unicorn… If you ignore the wings, the ancient harridan she calls "Auntie" and the fact that she's the Princess of Equestria.
Alternate universes: one hell of a drug. The fascinating thing about this one is that all of its changes — and there aren't too many, all things considered — are entirely necessary to tell the story being told here.

Like, look, a cynic could characterize the main character of this story as a whiny teenager who's super-special because she has wings and a horn, and she's related to the Princess by virtue of being one herself. One could complain that Cece — and can I just mention that this is the second story I've read this month where Celestia is called "Cece"? I'm glad the fandom is coming up with new ways to shorten her name — is just terrible, angsty and entitled, and Luna was totally in the right about everything. But you would be wrong short-sighted. :V

The fact is, this is a story that is easy to underestimate, but that will ultimately school you for thinking less of it. Everything here is carefully crafted around a tale about the balance between selfishness, self-care, duty and sacrifice. An angsty teenager is the perfect character to place at the center of that conflict. Having her be Celestia catches your attention — let's be real, I am all about teenaged Celestia in a ponytail, who is a band geek :D (and on that note, I hope you like buns and glasses) — but also gives the reader a template against which to judge her, which is great, since she's basically learning how to become the Celestia we all know.

But oh boy, the drama! It's so good! Cece is, like I said, young and hurting; that teenage angst comes from a combination of having ascended to the throne directly after her mother's death, and the reappearance of her "Great Aunt", Princess Luna, a wrinkled crone of a pony who's back from being imprisoned on the moon for a thousand years. See, like most if not all great Celestia fics, this one's about her relationship with Luna, and it turns out it doesn't matter how they're related. Luna is upright and rigid, obsessed with decorum and propriety, and Cece's just trying to be a teenager, you know? They butt heads is my point.

Supporting the two of them are Twilight, Cece's best friend, who's maybe a bit more similar to Sci-Twi than pony Twilight, but still recognizable; the ever-patient Twilight Velvet, who is Celestia's mother in all but blood relation; and Prince Blueblood, her jerkass, philandering older brother, who I have to take a minute to talk about. Because wow? It almost comes out of nowhere, but I have never seen anyone write Blueblood with this much nuance. Like, he's absolutely what you would expect from the character, don't get me wrong, but an event near the end of the story gets him to realize what a terrible person he's been and start changing his tune. It was some intense character-building, and I loved the hell out of it.

I also wanted to mention some of the repurposing of episodes. The longtime MLP:FiM fan will of course recognize the broad strokes of season one: Applebuck Season, Suited for Success, A Bird in the Hoof, even Best Night Ever. But brokenimage changes things up in unexpected ways, like melding SfS and ABitH into one 'episode'. Most importantly, the chapter which brings everyone to the Gala reads like BNE fixfic… until the next chapter comes and things don't go quite as planned. I was really impressed by that subversion, and I hope you will be, too.

I can't end this without talking about the one major downside to this story, because I know I'm not the only one who noticed it: infodumping. The one problem with AUs is trying to unload all the kickawesome world-building you've done to change things up, and this falls into that trap with both feet forward. Yes, the world-building is cool, and often fascinating, but whether it comes in the form of a faux history lesson, a conversation between two ponies, memories, or just Cece contemplating the stained glass images of her princess predecessors, it always comes in a big, sloppy heap.

That should not be enough to turn you off this story, however. Hopefully I have left more questions than answers for you in this review, because Celestia XVII is, all told, really damn good. You just don't see interpersonal drama done this well often, and it's got a happy and very well-deserved ending. :)
Highly Recommended

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Comments ( 17 )

One I've had on my RIL until it finished (Beyond)
One I've placed on my RIL (Who We Are)
One I've read, wholly enjoyed, recommended to others, and mirror your exact commentary on! (Celestia XVII)

Oh wow. It isn't often that one of these is filled entirely (apart from the one I commissioned, sure) with things I end up really wanting to read. And it kind of amazes me that Celestia XVII is as short as it is; considering how much implied content is in the review, <60k words is remarkably digestible. Though I suppose the infodumps have something to do with that. :V

Kudos for Who We Are in the dark. Awesome story, seriously.

I've finished reading and reviewing Celestia XVII, yet I shall hold off on commenting until said review actually comes out July 19th. But I will note that I gave it high marks.

DFE'd? What's that mean?

Sexy as hell with barely even any kissing.

:pinkiehappy:
I’d like to think it’d be missing something if it didn’t have at least one kiss, though.

Thanks for the review! I’m glad to have written something you found so unique :twilightsmile:

And I’m also happy you recommended Internal Huggery--it got quite a few chuckles out of me this morning :rainbowlaugh:

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

4888105
"Delete Fucking Everything"

He's nuked his account. :C

Beyond Achlysby Snuffy
Proofread by Me

*Indignant huffing*

:derpytongue2:

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

4888161
This is full disclosure, not an exhaustive list. :V

4888186
I know, I'm joking :raritywink: Also, a possible counter to there not being magic left to magic in the end: It might not be magic like supernatural-magic, but it's arcane, and just like today it means scholars are given powers and abilities beyond the ken of normal folk. Like how having a modern gun would be pretty much a super-power for people a few hundred years ago, the tech in Beyond Achlys would for all intents and purposes be like magic for most humans :eeyup:

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

4888191
Well, it's the whole "super-advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" thing. There's nothing wrong with it at the core, he was just very thorough with it. :B

4888196
You mean he was thorough as in there's absolutely no mystery left?

Majin Syeekoh
Moderator

I think you taking paid reviews is an excellent idea.

This is a very kind review of what was, basically, a vanity project--but one I've always been fond of. Thanks :pinkiehappy:

Celestia XVII is amazing so far.

Aubade is like an insultingly small cupcake that makes you want to eat 6 of them

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

4888380
Oh okay. I was wondering what you meant by 'he was just very thorough with it'.

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