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Vertigo22


To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.

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Apr
10th
2019

Vertigo Reviews: Please Downvote, I Hear The Stars, Pinkie Pie 0rigins: A Family Recipe, The Seasons of Earth and Love, Fire Flu Protection, Asleep, Press Start to Die, and A Simple Truth One Must Face · 10:55pm Apr 10th, 2019

I really gotta think of a better way to title these blogs. If anyone has any ideas, please suggest them. It'd mean a lot. Anyways, on Saturday, I mentioned a hiccup in my schedule caused me to forego some stories. I'll be getting to them today, starting with Please Downvote by Super Trampoline.

Now, before I cover anything about this story, it’s worth mentioning that this story is a crackfic through and through. Because of this, I’ll be reviewing this story from the angle of how much it made me laugh. With that said, let’s take a gander at its long description.

My OC, Super Trampoline, is dating all of the Elements of Harmony plus the Princess plus the major antagonists plus the minor antagonists too! That's a lot of work! Also, he's obviously the seventh element. Read on for his many amazing adventures in Equestria! This will be tagged slice of life though because it's mostly slice of life except when it's not.

I WANT TO MAKE THIS VERY CLEAR FOR ALL THE HATERS: MY OC IS NOT A "MARY SUE" BECAUSE HE IS NOT AN ALICORN!

Also, he's dating Applejack.

Given the reputation that the author has, I can’t say I expected anything less. Yet, in spite of that, I still feel bamboozled by this description—let alone the premise.

As for the actual story… well, I think the first sentence to it perfectly encapsulates the entire thing.

It was a bright sunny day in Equestria, or at least the part where Ponyville is situated, as days in Equestria are wont to be, except when they aren't, which is a non-trivial amount of time.

This should just about summarize the entire thing. If this type of humor isn’t your thing, then you aren’t going to enjoy the nine and a half thousand some odd other words. If you did find that sentence funny, then I’m almost certain the rest of the story will appeal to you. Given that I do enjoy this type of humor—to a certain degree anyways—then I can say that in spite of the monumental insanity that is Please Downvote, this story did tickle my funny bone more than once, though to a major fault. So, let’s look at this story for what it is.

To start: this story jumps around from chapter to chapter—never exactly having a beginning or end whatsoever. The chapters, all 49 of them, vary in length, but are on average about 250 words. They tell no story and are about as inept as one can imagine. In fact, I'd go so far as to say as they're surreal. What little story there is centers on the character of Super Trampoline and his adventures in Equestria. They’re indescribably bizarre and although I laughed, I can’t quite tell whether it was at the story or with it—if it was even laughing at itself at all.

The most cohesive “story” in this thing involves the “Magical Elixir of Wellness”. This storyline comes towards the end of the entire story and yet I couldn’t make heads or tales of it. But it’s a thing that happened and I believe it made me a lesser person by the end of it all.

Now, with all of that said: as a crackfic, this story’s appropriately stupid. The problem is that it’s frequently too stupid; the comedy being lost beneath the mound of ridiculousness that this story is built upon. The best way I can describe it is that this story is the epitome of “throwing stuff at the wall and running with whatever sticks”. However, because not a single chapter lasts more than 900 words, nothing has a chance to breathe. The entire story—and likewise, the comedy—suffocates beneath its bloated nonsense. If this was intentional, then fine. I still laughed at times. But there’s no reason to not at least give a little breathing room for your silliness.

As for the characters, they’re atrocious. As for how they are in the way of being a crackfic: they’re… well, still atrocious. They’re the weakest part of this entire story since they only exist to be thrown into random situations. In that regard, they function, but I can’t quite say anything is exactly memorable. Nothing they say or do is interesting, save for Super Trampoline being with John Henry which made me laugh.

Grammatically, this story is a catastrophe. I’m pretty sure you’ve guessed that by now.

As for this story’s comedy, it’s a mixed bag. Yes, I laughed. Some of the randomness was genuinely funny and I give the author a lot of credit for managing to make me laugh given just how incoherent this thing is. However, I really wish—as stated before—that there was more breathing room. I also wish the story had a less fourth wall breaking tone. While I don’t hate that style of comedy, I find it distracting. It’s one reason I hate reading fanfics featuring Pinkie Pie if I’m to be honest. Nevertheless, I laughed. If that’s all you wanted to know, then sorry for rambling.

Overall: this story is… a thing. As an actual story, it’s one of the worst I’ve ever read. As a crackfic however, it’s a mixed bag. Yes, I laughed. Yes, I enjoyed it at times. But ultimately: it goes on for too long and being 49 chapters makes it annoying to follow. I feel that crackfics can be ridiculous, but also easy to follow. They just need to be zany and silly. This story doesn’t abide by that, instead opting to be maximum stupidity in the name of being a crackfic. That’s fine on its own, but I feel it could’ve been more. Then again, the title should speak volumes to me.

I digress. If, by some absurd chance, you don't know whether or not you'd know if you'll enjoy this story simply based on the long description, then I don't know what to tell you. This story is everything it advertises itself to be. For me, it's enjoyably dumb at times and insufferable at others. To you, it may not be. Or maybe it will. Either way, go up downvote it. With that, here are the two final scores.

if you love to laugh at stupidity or just enjoy what I’ve described: C+

If neither of those apply to you: F


Moving on, the second fic is I Hear The Stars by my friend Whinifree.

Cruel. Heartless.
That's how some would describe what those two did. Maybe they're not wrong. But, we were just foals, and after everything I've done since then, how can I possibly consider myself any better?

These thoughts have plagued Fizzlepop Berrytwist, a.k.a Tempest Shadow, ever since the Storm King invasion was thwarted several months ago. Unable to run from her demons any longer, Tempest returns to the place where it all began in the hopes of reconnecting with all those she left behind.

The author told me she wrote thus story to add some difference to the numerous ship fics featuring Tempest and Twilight, along with the stories where Tempest becomes Twilight's captain of the guard. I'll give her credit for doing so—I feel diversity in stories is always a good thing. So, I'll give the story this.

As for how it actually handles its plot: that's another thing entirely. I'm very mixed on it. As I've always stated, I try to keep these reviews objective. However, I'll make an exception here to give my personal opinion since there are a few things I really want to point out.

First, let me get the positive out of the way. While I may not be a fan of the story, the story is extremely well paced—save for the opening feeling a bit rushed. I can overlook that however since the rest of the story is very brisk in its pacing, the story never feeling like it never deliberately slows down at sad moments to try and milk them for every tear they're worth. This is something I'll commend the story for a lot since one of my biggest fears going into it was that it'd try way too hard to be sad.

The second thing is that it's a very simplistic story. Anyone who knows me is very aware I like simplicity. I believe in building a complex story from a simplistic concept. While this story doesn't evolve beyond its simplistic concept despite showing signs of it at few points ( I'll get into this shortly), it does handle its premise very well and skillfully.

The story’s handling of the characters is its biggest strength. Tempest, Spring Rain, Tempest’s parents, and even Grubber are all extremely well handled. The emotion between them is great, their personalities are all terrific, and their dialogue is really good. This is probably one of the best stories I’ve seen where Tempest and Grubber share scenes and I truly hope the author writes more with them in the vein of this story. Kudos, Whinifree.

Grammatically, the story is impeccable. However, it’s the first story I’ve read where there are four periods in an ellipses. Apparently, this is actually a thing. It was a bit distracting, but I guess I learned something new.

The last thing I’ll mention before I get to a personal section is the emotional strength of the story. Given that this is a sad story, its ultimate goal is to elicit an emotional response.

Well, I can’t say that I exactly felt much.

I will fully admit that I felt a twinge of sadness once or twice, mostly thanks to my own experiences where friends expressed overwhelming joy when I returned from being gone for a period of time on World of Warcraft, but I can’t quite say that the story did much more than that. I never shed a tear, nor did I exactly choke up.

That said, the story’s handling of those scenes is very good; the reactions of the characters is extremely good and the dialogue following those scenes is even better. However, I can’t help but feel disappointed that I didn’t feel much beyond what I felt. I don’t quite know what was missing, but I feel let down by it all. Nevertheless, I must give credit where credit is due.

Now onto my personal grievances; there being two and both getting under my skin as they really made me feel this story could’ve been a lot more than it is; really shining a light on how safe this story played out overall.

The first issue comes in a few forms. The first is when the the Mayor of the town mentions to Tempest that there was a missing ponies folder on her—something that really piqued my curiosity since I’ve always been interested in things like this.

Here’s the issue: this is never brought up again.

Now, in all fairness: the story doesn’t center on this; it’s merely passing dialogue to establish this fact. However, it’s moments like this where I feel the story shows signs of having more to it than merely being a “different” story on what Tempest does after the events of the movie. Given that this story never really deviates from the goal of being a tear jerker, I found myself sighing more than I did feeling myself choke up. From the mention of a missing ponies case to the history of what Tempest’s friends did in the twenty years she was gone to why her parent’s looked at the stars (and why exactly her father saw and heard Tempest in them), I constantly wondered what this story would’ve been like if it delved into the more personal effects that Tempest’s disappearance might have had on those who knew and loved her.

This leads me to the second part. The fact that the story ends, more or less, on a happy note. Granted, the ending scene isn’t hunky dory, but ultimately: Tempest has reunited with her friend and family and now they know she is safe.

This bothered me.

Now to be fair: I prefer stories that get into the more psychological effects that running away from home can have on people. If I ever wrote a story about this, I definitely wouldn’t have the parents and friends exactly be happy with the run away. I feel they’d be much more angry overall than happy; especially after learning that they did so deliberately without thinking about the effects such an action would have. That isn’t to say I’d place the blame on anyone, but there’s a lot more to such an action than, “Oh, I’m so glad you’re okay!”

With this story, I feel it overlooked a potentially more interesting and deep story by exploring that angle, especially with how it set itself up and given Tempest’s backstory of her being hurt by her friends. This concept could’ve lead to an extremely emotionally powerful story that could have ended on an even more powerful note with Tempest and Spring Rain reconciling. One can argue that the guilt the two have felt has led them to set that aside, but emotions are a very powerful thing; Spring Rain could feasibly overlook the guilt he’s felt and believe Tempest’s actions to have been selfish and lash out at her. The fact the story didn’t go down that route irked me, but I will fully admit that story’s like the one presented aren’t necessarily my thing. While I don’t dislike them, they skirt along the line of what I enjoy and what I find to be too safe in the way of the topic(s) they explore.

Nevertheless, I must admit that beyond my praise: I ultimately didn’t really enjoy this story.  In spite of my praise, the route it took—playing it safe from start to finish—really left me feeling like there was an entire ocean of missed potential. The possibilities for more emotionally fueled responses—both positive and negative—made me feel like this story was all too safe in its execution. It’s a rare story where despite thinking that the execution of what it did is good, I was more let down by it not trying to go above and beyond that with the potential it had. Perhaps that contradicts my philosophy of keeping it simple. Heck, I’m almost certain it does. But with what I can see this story brimming with, it bothers me it didn’t try to do something more than just be a simple tear jerker.

That said, I’m of course foregoing my opinion in favor of how this story is as a work of writing. So as a whole: it's competently written, well structured, handles its characters very well, and flows nicely. While I may find it mediocre, I recommend reading this if it sounds like something you'd enjoy. If sad stories aren't your thing however, I definitely suggest steering clear of it.

Final Score: B-


With that story out of the way, we get to our third story and it's one I’ve been aching to review for a while now: Pinkie Pie 0rigins: A Family Recipe by Knackerman.

There was no talking, there was no smiling, there were only rocks. But how then did Pinkie Pie first learn about parties? How did she learn to be such a great baker working on a farm full of rocks? Why did she leave her happy family?
Not everything is as it seems with Pinkie Pie, but she'd be happy to tell you in her own words how she came to be in Sugarcube Corner...why she loves cupcakes...and why she giggles at the ghosties. Pinkie Pie 0rigins is secretly a prequel to the story 'Cupcakes' and deals with her relationship with her family and how Pinkie changed from being a depressed little filly to one who's happy and full of smiles.

Indeed, this story is a prequel to a story I’m not a fan of. In spite of that, I’m pleased to say that this story is the polar opposite of that the infamous Cupcakes—and is the author’s first story from all the way back in 2012. A pretty good first story in my eyes too, but not without some flaws.

Plot wise, our story is narrated to us by Pinkie Pie as she tells us about her life on her farm and how it’s less-than great. It’s nothing quite exceptional, being a rather slow paced story that relies quite a bit on setting up for what’s ultimately a very visceral ending. Spliced in through the build up are a few well placed shocking (for the lack of a better word) moments.

If there’s anything I’ll criticize the plot for, it’s that ultimately that by today’s standards, it’s nothing exactly groundbreaking. We’ve seen numerous spinoffs, sequels, and prequels to Cupcakes that I’m sure there’s one out there where Pinkie goes crazy by listening to Madonna for 72 hours on end without a break.

Character wise, we’ve got a bit of everything in this story. While not named, Pinkie’s sisters are here, as are her parents. I quite enjoyed the (admittedly sparse) interactions that Pinkie has with her parents and it’s a shame that there wasn’t more. As for her interactions with her sisters, they’re practically non-existent and I found that a bit disappointing. This is partially due to the story lacking any dialogue, instead being pure narration. Or, well, I think there was no dialogue. We’ll get to that in a little bit.

Coming in at 5,318 words, 0rigins is pretty well paced. While its build up is slow, the payoff is quite good and I half expected it to not go there purely because I figured it’d be cliche. Had I know this was the author’s first story, I would’ve prepared myself for a pretty gory end. To the story’s credit however, it’s gory ending that is really enjoyable. While I’m normally not a fan of gory stories, this one was entertaining and didn’t linger on the grisly details for too long.

However, there’s a major plot hole towards the end that bothered me a lot. Pinkie eventually finds herself in the cellar of a cabin and she finds it caked in blood with a plethora of innards and other body parts. She also describes an unbearable stench. This begs the question as to how she never smelled this up until now. Wooden cabins shouldn’t be able to keep out the stench of death whatsoever. Without any sort of explanation to this, I can’t help but be taken out of the story six ways from Sunday. Especially when most of my life has been spent reading and learning about crime and reading cases about murderers.

Grammatically, this story is for the most part good. I did, however, notice a fair number of errors. The first of which was this:

They’d hide from me in the woods at the edge of the farm and make scary noises to frighten me and they’d push the rocks together to make frightening faces to scare me.They said I should have been born yellow instead of pink.

There isn’t a space after the period that ends the first sentence.

Another thing I noticed—which I don’t believe to be an error—was:

She told me, Pinkie, you’ve got to stand up tall and face your fears. She said you’ll see that they can’t hurt you, if you can laugh at them they’ll disappear.

The first sentence lacks quotation marks. I don’t believe this to be an error, but I’m still mentioning it just to be on the safe side.

A third error I noticed was:

I think it was later that day, when I was falling down tired from all the work and the sleepless night, that I began to realize this wasn’t the life I wanted. When I was finally allowed to sleep that night I dreamed of the big town’s Granny Pie had told me about that were lit up so brightly at night they made the stars pale in the sky.

I’m pretty sure that should be “big towns”.

The fourth error I noticed was:

After that, things were a lot more bearable on the farm. Everyone laughed more easily and smiled, even Father had seemed to forgive me for all my shirking and my sisters didn’t tease me quiet so much.

That should be “quite”.

Error five was:

he warmth of the fire was indeed welcome, and after awhile the grown ups didn’t seem quiet as scary as they had when I first walked up to their feast.

Once again, that should be “quite”.

A potential sixth error bears the same style (I think) as the second error listed.

I thought to myself, well, maybe Granny had gotten up early and was in her cellar taking inventory.

The seventh error I noticed was:

There were...parts...peices

That should be “pieces”.

The eighth and final error I noticed was:

Granny pie

That should be “Pie”.

The final thing I’ll say about this story is that while it’s classified as a horror story, I wasn’t really scared. There are a few moments that surprised me or caught me off guard, I’ll give it that, but I found this story to be more purely dark than scary. However, I’ll concede that gory stories don’t scare me as they will others. This is purely me throwing this out there to address the genre tag in case someone wishes to know.

Errors and one glaring plot hole aside, Pinkie Pie 0rigins was pretty good. It was enjoyable grisly, tense, and a surprisingly good fan prequel to a story I absolutely loathe. Good job, Knackerman!
Final Score: B+


The fourth story for this week is The Seasons of Earth and Love by RainbowSparkle3.

Sunset asks Rainbow to come meet her at Sugar Cube Corner. She has a confession to make, one which she'd been keeping secret for a long time. When Rainbow accepts, a wonderful relationship blooms...But, will it last?

There’s actually a postscript in parenthesis in the paragraph I removed. I recommend removing it, Rainbow. Beyond that, the idea behind this story is simple: a romantic drama that’s focused on a crush. It’s one of my least favorite combinations of genres with a premise I really dislike. But, bias isn’t the law of the land around these parts. What matters is if the story is good or not. And in this case… it isn’t.

Coming in at 6,106 words, The Seasons of Earth and Love is a four chapter long story that takes place over four seasons, starting with Spring and ending with Winter. During these four chapters, we see a relationship between Sunset Shimmer and Rainbow Dash blossom and ultimately fall apart. Don’t worry, that’s not a spoiler if you look at the chapter titles. Now, these chapters are of rather short length and as such, I’ll go over each of them.

The first one is 1,369 words long and centers on Sunset inviting Rainbow to Sugarcube Corner so she can confess her love to her. Rainbow’s feelings are mutual and the two begin to date; the chapter ultimately leading to them having a date and some cutesy stuff happening. It’s by and large fine and fluffy, nothing exactly wrong with it.

The second chapter is the longest, coming in at 2,461 words and feeling the most complete. It centers on Sunset and Rainbow having a date, starting with them at a picnic and ending with them playing a fighting game at Rainbow’s place. It’s cutesy, fluffy, and nothing worth writing home about. However, the scene where the two play the fighting game felt like it went on forever and began to grate on me. However, I’ll commend the author for at least giving it some descriptiveness.

The third chapter is 1,207 words and is a disaster. It begins with Rainbow visiting Sunset’s place and the two getting into an argument due to Rainbow treating everything at a competition. Sunset believes that Rainbow sees her as another trophy and that’s about it; they argue and the chapter ends. Whatever sort of emotional tension that could be there is instead thrown aside by a word length that’s shorter than most of Sony Picture’s pre-Venom hopes and dreams at making a cinematic universe.

The fourth and final chapter is the shortest, being a paltry 1,069 words long. This chapter centers on Sunset and Venom meeting up; Rainbow kissing Sunset, the two breaking up, Sunset crying, then deciding to go to Rainbow’s place to try and fix their relationship. This chapter feels like it was slapped together in about 15 minutes and published.

To put it simply: this first half of this story is harmless, if uninspired, fluff that I’d find to not be particularly good, but passable. However, the second half throws that good will I have for it out the window of a Boeing 747 and jumps out after it when it realizes it threw its iPhone out with it. There’s no excuse for this story to go downhill so quickly. Look, I love stories that tackle the more emotionally devastating aspects to life—or most of those devastating aspects—but this story trivialized it to no end by not actually exploring how people react to these events. The argument in the third chapter is treated more akin to how two siblings act when they disagree over whose turn it is to play a video game, not an actual couple in high school.

Moving on however, the handling of both Sunset and Rainbow is so-so. On the one hand, the first of the story handles them pretty well. Their lovey-dovey chatter is appropriately cutesy and fluffy, though I feel the initial meet-up they have in the first chapter may be a bit too casual; Rainbow’s reaction to being kissed out in public feeling more akin to something I’d expect to see out of Pinkie Pie. Nevertheless, the first half of this story is functional with how it handles our leads.

The second half is… not terrible, but what’s there could be significantly better. To start: the argument that’s had in chapter three isn’t necessarily bad in the way of something that could strain a relationship. The personalities of Sunset and Rainbow are different in many ways and if the goal for this story was to explore the idea that “opposites attract”, this story could work very well in that regard. Since Sunset is who the story focuses on, we could see how Sunset comes to realize that she has to learn to live with Rainbow’s competitive nature at times while Rainbow has to learn that not everything is a competition; the two of them learning valuable lessons by the end.

However, what we get in the way of exploring the characters here is the two fight and that’s that; Sunset realizing that she overreacted. This isn’t something I see as out of character for Sunset, but given her empathetic nature, it feels weird that this is confined to her thoughts rather than her saying, “Oh, I’m sorry. I overreacted.” Now granted, my version of how she’d say it is about as robotic as the main cast to Ex Machina. However, my point is that for an empathetic character, Sunset really doesn’t seem to try and fix the situation. Instead, we’re told the two just sit there and watch TV.

For Rainbow’s part, she’s appropriately cocky in the third chapter. My grasp of her as a character isn’t exactly terrific, so perhaps I’m wrong, but she seemed to be in character for the third chapter. The fourth chapter I’m a bit skeptical of as I think Rainbow would be too prideful to break off a relationship, but I could be wrong. As for Sunset, she was fine in the fourth chapter too.

Grammatically, the story’s great, but I noticed two errors; both in the first chapter. The first is this:

Rainbow spoke with an uncharacteristic softness, her tone along with her words pleasing Sunset.
"So, how about we go see a movie?" Sunset asked, a wide smile on her face. She then recalled something and added, "The new Daring Do movie is in theaters now."

You didn’t space the paragraphs. The second is:

She turned around when Sunset shouted a quick “ Bye!” in her direction and answered it with a smile before continuing on her way home.

Got an unnecessary space there.

Overall, The Seasons of Earth and Love was everything but my cup of tea. Even setting my biases aside, the final two chapters move way too fast and destroy an otherwise cutesy story about love. It rips through what causes relationships to fall out and end, instead opting to just have one argument lead to what we’re told is “more arguing” in the final chapter. As a result, we have nothing but that little bit of passing dialogue to tell us that they’re relationship fell apart, which would have made an otherwise bland story feel emotionally impactful. How painfully droll.

Final Score: D+


Our fifth grand old tale of magical ponies is Fire Flu Proof by Mystical Rainboom. This story has been on my to-review bookshelf for a very long time, so I apologize to the author for taking so long to get to it.

When Twilight wakes up and finds smoke and melted crystal all over her castle home, she follows the trail and finds an age old enemy that she couldn't avoid any longer, Dragon Fire Flu.

With Spike sneezing flames like an erupting volcano, it's up to Twilight and Starlight to get together and help cure him, before he burns the whole place down.

Conceptually, this story is pretty dang good. It's something that offers a lot of comedic potential; Spike is sick and he's been turned a sneezing flamethrower. Hijinks of the greatest caliber should ensue.

Here's the problem: this story begins and ends at the first sentence.

While this story had the concept down, it never evolves beyond that point. This story is littered to the brim with telling. So much of the story is told to us without there being any shown. A good example of this can be seen with this part.

At first, Twilight was confused, but the she put it together and realized her mistake. The fire from Spike's sneezing would just shoot a large amount of heat into the air sparking a wave of heat to fly around Ponyville and she could see sweaty ponies far off waiting to buy lemonade. In a flash, she teleported back to the top of her castle and told Spike to stop.

Rather than writing out a funny descriptive of how Twilight pieced together her mistake through narration or even Twilight's inner thoughts, the author instead provides us a quick, slapped together line that tells us she figured it out. For a comedy story—something meant to be fun, that's the exact opposite. That sucks the fun and joy out of reading a comedy story. Now, that isn't to say every part has to be shown to us, but when almost the entire story reads like the provided line, there's a serious problem with your story.

For comparison, it would be like saying the oil rig is safe to work on and then clocking in for your stay on board the Deepwater Horizon.

Now beyond that, one other major issue with the story itself is its pacing. This story flows like it's strapped to the front of an F-22 Raptor, speeding through events. This largely thanks to the ridiculous level of telling in the story, which allows for events to be conveyed 1-2-3, instead of events playing out for us to enjoy.

As for the characters, they're… okay. Spike, Twilight, and Starlight all share banter—what little there is. How, little is done with them. They don't exactly share a lot of time together. As a result, they feel really wasted. Its yet another aspect of the story that fell victim to the atrocious level of telling. How lovely.

Grammatically, this story has far more errors than I can list in this blog. If the author would like for me to point them out, I'll leave a comment on the story. Otherwise, the grammar is shockingly bad. I can't begin to describe it, so let's move on.

Comedy wise… I'll concede here. There were a few moments that got me to chuckle, which ultimately makes this story more frustrating to read. When I find moments that are genuinely funny in stories like this, I wonder how on Earth the author didn't see that they had some sort of winning formula through, you know, showing events transpire.

It’s so aggressively apparent here when the author writes scenes like Starlight's reaction to some beloved books belonging to Twilight, but merely tells us, “Twilight figured out her mistake”. What we're left with is a story that feels like written out with a lot of telling to act as a plan, but was published out of sheer laziness. It honestly leaves me more saddened than anything else.

With a pace that's way too quick, a woeful lack of description, and terrible grammar, Fire Flu Proof has the makings of a good comedy story, but squanders it. If you want a quick chuckle, you can do better. But, to the story's credit, you can also do significantly worse.

Final Score: D+


Our sixth story is Asleep by Regidar.

All Rainbow Dash wants is a dreamless sleep.

I gotta give Regidar credit. That’s about the most blunt and simple long description I’ve ever seen. Also a pretty foreboding.

Now as for the actual story, it’s very interesting. It’s centered on a dream that Rainbow Dash has. It’s enigmatic to say the least and it was by far and away one of the most interesting stories I’ve ever read. Dreams aren’t something I’m particularly interested in as a serious topic, but I feel they make for some of the most interesting stories to tell. This one is, while I can’t say if it’s based on one the author might have had and he simply replaced the characters with ponies, was a joy to read. It’s appropriately cryptic and even gave me some inspiration for my own writing.

To bring up the characters is difficult. Given that it’s a dream-based story, I feel that one is free to twist and stretch how the characters act since, well, it’s a dream. In the case of this story however, the focus is purely on Rainbow Dash and as such, we’re treated more to a lucid dream where she lies and struggles. It’s handled fairly well. As for the other characters, they’re more or less there as props for Rainbow to interact with before waking up. I feel that more could’ve been done with them, but that’s just me.

Grammatically, the story’s impeccable and I’ll also note that its descriptives were inspiring. I want to write my own dream-based story and this one’s about as good as I can get in the way of what I want it to be like. Fantastic job, Regidar.

The last thing I’ll make note of is that this story is categorized as a “sad” story. I don’t get why it’s not a Slice of Life story. To me, this story didn’t strike me as sad in the slightest. Now, admittedly, that could just be me; maybe I missed the ultimate point. But this I never felt emotional reading this. If I missed something, please let me know.

Overall, I highly recommend this story. Seriously, go read it. You won’t regret it.

Final Score: A+


The seventh story on this crazy train is Press Start to Die by self proclaimed lady killer JackRipper.

Button Mash finds a video game that kills him in real life if he dies in the game.

He can't stop playing it.

This premise reminds me of the 2006 film “Stay Alive” from director William Brent Bell about a video game that kills you if you die in the game. That film received widespread critical acclaim, holding a 9% on Rottentomatoes. It also featured infamous serial killer Elizabeth Bathory as the killer in the movie. Needless to say, this story reminds me of a classic from the director who went on to direct the unforgettable classic “The Devil Inside”.

This story is relatable in many ways. Button Mash is bored. After his mother suggests he go outside or help her around the house, he instead opts to go into the attic and finds a game there, which kills him in real life if he dies in the game. To my dismay, this story doesn’t feature Elizabeth Bathory as the one to kill him, but it is nonetheless pretty entertaining, featuring plenty of absurd, silly shenanigans that never feel too absurd or silly. This is easily the story’s greatest strength and I wish more comedy stories followed it.

Coming in at 2,714 words, this story feels remarkably short. I’d normally chalk that up to being really fast paced, but this story—while it doesn’t exactly slow down—didn’t feel like it moved at a breakneck speed. Despite that, I must say I was pleased with how it flowed; thankfully not opting to describe every last detail of the game that Button Mash was playing. Much appreciated, Jack.

Grammatically, the story’s impeccable. There is, however, this structuring error.

With a flash of light and a puff of smoke, Button Mash was standing on all four hooves again, significantly less dead than he was moments ago.
“Huh?!” Button spun around, eyes wide, scanning his body for the mortal wound that should have killed him. It was gone, as was the blood.

You didn’t space the paragraphs you lady killer.

Our last stop before my final thoughts is that since this is a comedy, I should address the ever important question as to whether or not this story made me laugh. The answer is yes. Yes it did. This story is pretty dang funny. Though I kind of wish it went a bit farther with its premise; it feels a tad on the tame side given the possibilities that are presented with a game that kills you in real life when you die in the game.

Overall: this story was enjoyable. There’s not much more to it than that. I recommend it.

Final Score: A


Last, but not least, is our eighth story: The Simple Truth One Must Face by The Bricklayer. It's worth noting that he told me not to review fifteen stories. Sucker.

Fizzlepop Berrytwist, the mare once known and feared far and wide as Tempest Shadow. But before that, she was just another pony like you or me. As much as she's been wanting to avoid it, not everyone can run from their past forever. Has a way of catching up to you like that. And now Tempest has to face hers, and she returns to her home village to see just what became of her fillyhood friends. And perhaps, just perhaps make a few amends.

A few things bother me about this description. For starters, “she was just another pony like you or me.” While not an error or even out of the ordinary given there exist books and press releases for both movies and video games that do the same thing, it just feels… off. The second is this segment.

Has a way of catching up to you like that.

I don’t believe this to be a grammatical error, but it reads oddly to me. The third and final thing is actually an error.

And perhaps, just perhaps make a few amends.

There should be a comma after the second use of perhaps.

Beyond that, this story is conceptually similar to I Hear The Stars; even plot wise. Though I must say that I preferred this story to that one.

Centering on Tempest Shadow, this story follows some of the same beats to the aforementioned I Hear The Stars, though it’s a slower and more personal story that has a tighter focus on Tempest and her emotions. This gives the story a bit more room to allow for Tempest’s reactions to blossom. And, for the most part, they do. This story has quite a few genuinely heartwarming and wholesome moments that made me smile and even caused my heart to melt.

So after the EMTs managed to bring me back from the afterlife, I had to concede to Brick over Discord that his ability to make these moments as good as they were made some of the story’s more sluggish moments more than worth reading. Said sluggish moments mostly come in the form of the opening, which is a tad bit lengthy in its narration. While not necessarily bad, providing something I would’ve liked to have seen in I Hear The Stars, I feel it might’ve been benefited by being trimmed down. Especially since Grubber isn’t around—something I think seriously works in this story’s favor. Nevertheless, as a whole: the plot’s tighter focus on Tempest herself, the slower pace, and those heartwarming moments all help create an adorably somber story. More on the “somber” part later though.

Being that I’ve talked so much about the more personal focus of this story, I guess it should go without saying that the story’s characterization is pretty good. While I think the story’s focus on narration might be a blessing and a curse if I look at this from a much more critical lens—ultimately hindering what could be a much more emotionally fueled story that I described above in my review for I Hear The Stars—it’s nice seeing a more paranoid and fearful Tempest. It at least delivers a bit on what I wanted.

As for the other characters, we don’t spend too much time with them. However, their reactions to Tempest being back were, much like in I Hear The Stars, really good. Especially Spring Rain’s, which was a scene that made me smile far more than I care to admit. As for Tempest’s father, it was a scene that broke the cold shell I call my soul. Good on you Brick. I hate you.

Where this story ultimately fumbles is the grammar. Spelling wise, I didn’t catch any typos. Punctuation wise, such as missing commas and the using of hyphens over em dashes, is where the story faltered. Given there are too many to list in this blog, I’ll leave it up to the author for me to send them the errors via either Discord or in a comment on the story.

Now onto the “somber” part that I mentioned before. Given that this story is categorized as a “sad” story, I steeled myself for some feels. Unlike I Hear The Stars—which I’ve mentioned far more than I care to admit, but it’s the best comparison and I feel it’s necessary to mention (please don’t kill me, Brick)—I didn’t quite feel as choked up as I did here. However, I feel this story is significantly more heartwarming and joyful than that story. While there are one or two moments that I guess warrant the sad tag, I feel can’t quite say I ever felt emotional in a way that made me want to cry. But, this is definitely a subjective thing.

Overall, I can’t quite say there’s a lot to say about this story. It works; a heartwarming, adorable, and upbeat tale about Tempest going back to her childhood town. I definitely recommend it if you want something fluffy with a dash of emotional reunion feels. Good job, Brick.

Final Score: A-

And that ends this batch of reviews, of which I got to just barely over half of what I wanted to do. Alas, my stomach's a bit uppity. I think I ate a few too many cookies. Ah well: I hope you all enjoyed the reviews! So until next time: thank you so much for reading and to the authors, I hope my criticism was helpful!

Report Vertigo22 · 294 views · #Vertigo Reviews
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Comments ( 16 )

Nice to know I can still melt your stone cold heart. But in all honesty, I would take "I Hear the Stars" over my story any day. I know self-criticism is a common thing amongst authors but I'll be honest, I felt I ripped off too many damn plot points from Whinnifree's story. More emotional moments really, at least in my opinion. But what do I know. Two minor things though.

Has a way of catching up to you like that.

That was actually meant to be written like that, like a person speaking instead of just words in a story. I wanted Tempest's internal monologues to feel natural, not stiff. And secondly, I was going for more of a bittersweet thing, which I suppose is why there are more happy moments than Whinnifree's take on the idea. The sad parts I suppose, come from the reunions and Tempest's psyche which is a definite mess all over the story.

5042388
I figured the "Has a way of catching up to you" part was intentional. I wasn't sure though. Same with the sad angle. Thanks for confirming my suspicions.

I don't quite know why I Hear The Stars didn't do it for me though. Something about it just didn't fully click with me.

Thanks for the review. I see what you mean. I did sort of rush because I had a few days to finish the whole story, and there was a word limit, which made my initial idea of the story less expansive. That meant when I tried to complicate things and make it not a cliche fluff romance, it kinda fell flat on its face. At the time, I thought it was my greatest work, but on retrospect, it's pretty meh. Just to be curious, if the story ended on the second chapter, what do you think you would rate it? Also, why'd you favourite it if it's a D+?

5042403
1. Had it ended at chapter two, it'd be a... C+ or B-. I'm not sure. It'd be around that.

2. I give an upvote (save for Please Downvote as that's what it asked me to do) and favorite every story I review to show I mean to illwill. I don't want anyone whose story I give a negative review to believe I'm being mean.

5042408
Makes sense. I'd probably rate it that too.

That's a way to handle it. But honestly, I'm not sure if it's good to blindly make everyone happy when it won't help them. I like and favourite if I enjoyed, and I don't if I didn't.

5042412
I understand that perspective. It's likely not a great way to handle it, but I want folks to understand that despite me being harsh, I don't mean to deter them from writing. It's a very bad trait of mine to try and make everyone happy. I may change this policy in the future, but until then: I'm going to keep it. At least until I hit a certain point. I do know that there will be stories I don't favorite; those that are offensively bad.

Nevertheless, I appreciate you being understanding.

I see the issues. And I'm very grateful for the honesty. :)

In hindsight, I can see exactly what you mean. Thanks for the review. :D

5042425
I greatly appreciate your kindness to my criticism. I'll be sure to check out some of your other stories in the future. Thanks for reading the review by the way. :)

5042427
Oh no problem. I’m slower to writing these days from all of my work, but for any future stories, I’ll greatly remember this topic.

5042434
I wish you the best of luck. I know how it feels to be slower to write. I've been focusing heavily on writing non-fiction, but am trying to write some stuff on here.

5042415
I actually think I was really similar around 2/3 years ago. Being always nice does seem very appealing when you first think about it.

My shitty shitfic did not deserve a thoughtful, in depth review, and yet you gave it one. And for that, I can only say, thank you!

5042457
Aye. I'll be sure to mayhaps change it. For now, I've got a massive backlog of other things I need to do. I appreciate your concern however. ^^

5042496
If I'm to be honest: I'd started to write when I'd read only 5 chapters, then gave in and read the rest. I'm glad I did finish it.

And while I'm guessing you'd requested the story be reviewed as a joke, I normally aim to give as complete of a review if I have something to say. Your story was a good challenge since it was the first time I've reviewed a full-blown crackfic/shitfic. A subgenre I like, but didn't know how to really go over. So, thank you for requesting it.

Where's the thread where you can request reviews for stories? I've got something you might enjoy.

JackRipper
Story Approver

Ayyy. Cheers mate. :heart:

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