• Member Since 3rd Sep, 2011
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PresentPerfect


Fanfiction masochist. :B https://ko-fi.com/presentperfect

More Blog Posts2399

  • Sunday
    Fic recs, December 5th: Internet's Out edition!

    So there I am, over at my friend's place on a Saturday, and he's still having very bizarre internet issues, by which I mean all that works is Youtube, Fimfiction and Google Drive. For me, anyway. He has a completely different set of usable websites on his computers. <.<

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    7 comments · 165 views
  • Saturday
    I go fourth!

    Fourth Deltarune fanfic, that is! :D

    This one's horror. :B Y'all know I ain't good at it, but I been wanting to write horror for some reason. So there ya go.

    3 comments · 69 views
  • 6 days
    It's technically fanfic

    Did you know I have like a half-dozen audio clips I've recorded since last year but have yet to release? Fic readings and SCPs and all the stuff I used to do before the world turned into a shit popsicle.

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    0 comments · 97 views
  • 1 week
    State of the Writer, November 2021!

    Yaknow, I was gonna complain about having gotten my COVID booster shot yesterday (and walked halfway across town to get home afterwards) and feeling like crap, but honestly? Between posting this week's video on my Youtube channel and writing this, I feel fine. :O It might be because the Tylenol is working, but I don't think I spent a whole day feeling like shit with the actual vaccine, either.

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    3 comments · 126 views
  • 2 weeks
    Fic reviews, November 21st!

    This is a short emergency review blog to help get the word out about a couple people on this site who need help!

    B_25 is in a situation
    Nailah has suffered a loss

    Read More

    11 comments · 194 views
Oct
19th
2021

Present Perfect vs. The Night That Never Ended · 8:39pm October 19th

Hey, remember when I was like, "I've got over 400 audiobooks and some of them are really long, so I may be doing vs. posts on the some of the longer stories"? Well, here we are.

And surprise! The reader I'm currently browsing through is Plagen Shiki. The actual blog with all his deets will be coming much later.

For now, we turn out attention to our subject, BronyCray's The Night That Never Ended. Looking at it, it may not seem like much, having garnered only 10k views in its 9-year presence on Fimfiction. But hey, I have a lot to say about it, and it was also 6 stars on EQD, so that's good enough for me.

Here's the playlist of the readings, if you want to go check it out before you read this review. Because, full disclosure, I'm gonna be spoiling main parts of the plot, because I kind of hated this, and also it's 9 years old, you had your chance to read it already. <.< Here we go.


So, BronyCray. Now that's a name I haven't heard in a long time. He was, if I'm not mistaken, an EQD pre-reader once upon a time, and I think it was the good graces bought from that station that are what got me through this.

Because if I didn't bury the lede too much, this is not good! Not at all! It starts with Twilight fucking up a spell, which is where its charm stops. It passes the Zecora Test, but the writing in general is awkward and amateurish. It does get better toward the end, but it's still full of POV switches, LUS, you name it. Also, it gets a :rainbowhuh: for all the mentions of "hands" and "men", and a few times it even calls her "Midnight Moon."

So what's this about? Well, Twilight fucks up the aforementioned spell, and instead of teleporting herself and Rainbow Dash to a normal place you might teleport to, she sends them into another dimension where Nightmare Moon won so everything is grimdark and terrible. They quickly find out that Ponyville was burned to the ground, with a crazed Pinkie Pie its only inhabitant, and pretty much everypony else is living in New Ponyville, in a cave somewhere that I never bothered to remember where it was. They also find out that this world's Twilight and Rainbow were both killed by Nightmare Moon after the sixth Element failed to make an appearance.

So, nighttime gets a full moon and stars, while 'daytime' is pitch black. Everyone lives off of mushrooms, the ponies are running out of wood, everything just really sucks, which, to be fair, is pretty realistic. But to illustrate just how grimdark it is, I should've stopped reading this story during the chapter where we find out Fluttershy has been using animal-talking powers to trap her animal friends so she can kill them and feed them to ponies on the sly. Mushrooms aren't sufficient nutrition by themselves, you see.

I really should have stopped reading there, but the B-plot about the Captain of the Shadowbolts feuding with Trixie, Captain of Nightmare Moon's Royal Guard, kept me hanging on. See, the story kept making a big deal about the Captain, no one knowing her identity other than her Queen, the fact that the Shadowbolts all looked alike because of enchantments on their uniforms and never used each others' names. I figured, oh, she's gotta be either Derpy or Spitfire. And then we get to the scene where the New Ponyvillians have successfully captured both the Captain and her Lieutenant and sentence the latter to death, revealing her to be Spitfire.

"Oh," I said, "so she must be Rainbow Dash, then."

There was literally no reason for me to think this. And yet, I was right. So I should have stopped then, because nothing got any better. And I haven't even gotten to the rest of the characters yet, so let's do that!

One of the things that was turning me off early on was Rarity. She's written as incredibly vain and shallow, you see, an interpretation I assumed was due to the story's age. It was commonplace, back then, to write characters you didn't like in the worst light possible whenever a chance presented itself. But actually, this is kind of the whole point. Because this is a story all about corrupting the Element Bearers. And yes, they refer to themselves and each other in terms of their Elements a lot. Standards were a lot lower back in 2012.

So Rarity -- who's the mayor of New Ponyville, by the way -- is being overly generous, making sure the ponies eat like kings and live lives of luxury despite the fact that the town is on the brink of running out of supplies if they don't start rationing, a solution whose mere suggestion drives a wedge between her and Twilight. Of course, until you hit the point where it becomes obvious that this is all intentional, Rarity is completely insufferable, and it is a long time until that happens.

Applejack is also in a leadership position in the town now, something like a chief of security? Also the town's link to the Resistance, who we get very few details about. Only, it turns out this is also intentional, because Applejack made them up just to give the ponies hope and something to live for.

See, this is a very philosophical story. It's constantly asking the question, "Is it acceptable to set morality aside when survival is paramount?" It explores this from a lot of different angles, but I'm not sure it ever comes to a conclusion. Or maybe it's a very low-key "yes", I'm not sure. Point is, this revelation of Applejack's, that the Resistance doesn't exist, gets Twilight ready to tell everyone the truth... except she stops and really considers AJ's motivation, ultimately keeping the secret herself. And this after she went on a moral tear about how both Applejack and Rarity were horrible ponies, nothing like the friends she knew back home.

So that's them, Fluttershy is of course killing animals, Pinkie is holed up in Sugar Cube Corner by her crazy lonesome because I guess being crazy means you can't be the Element of Laughter??? That just leaves Rainbow Dash, the Captain of the Shadowbolts. Once her backstory is revealed, it turns out that Rainbow Dash, both of them, is in fact the most important character in this story, despite the fact that Twilight's who gets things started. Because it was Rainbow Dash's betrayal of her friends, taking up the fake Shadowbolts' offer in the Everfree Forest, that actually kicked off this AU's divergence from canon.

Which was good, because another one of the major points bothering me in the early parts of the story was, "How in the fuck can there be a dozen actual Shadowbolts fiercely loyal to Nightmare Moon on literally the same day she came back from the moon?" News of Rainbow Dash's death was greatly exaggerated, that's how. Have to say, I kind of liked her motives, too, though of course that made her later face-turn really hard to swallow.

Trixie was honestly a fun choice for the Starscream role. She's a schemer, she wants Nightmare Moon's power, she hates the Captain, and she does everything in her power to use the Captain being captured by New Ponyville to try and leverage her position with the Queen. Like I said, her rivalry with the Captain was a highlight of the story, and it was really easy to buy her role in it from start to finish.

Another highlight were the few scenes told from Nightmare Moon's POV. They come really late in the story, but... I dunno, I thought her characterization was solid all around. Though eventually, this does turn into an agentless Luna story, with the Nightmare taking over Trixie for a climactic final battle, but what can ya do?

Though this also leads me to another problem with this story: Too many goddamn POV characters. Seriously, I'm pretty sure there's at least one scene from each of the Mane Six other than Pinkie Pie. We get into the Captain's head before we actually know who she is, which is honestly neat. We get scenes from Trixie, Big Macintosh, Nightmare Moon, a warrant officer of Trixie's who is heavily implied to be Snips, and a whole host of OCs. And on that latter note, I really have to wonder what Cray was going for. Why introduce a bunch of OCs in season one, when you've got all these background ponies everyone loves? I can't count the number of times a character would suddenly show up en scene and leave me wondering just who the hell they were. And then I was expected to give a damn when they died later on.

Oh heck, I almost forgot what might easily be the worst part of the story. So that segment where the Shadowbolts get captured? That happens out in the forest. (Side note: The action scenes in this story were by and large very difficult to follow, and quite often added absolutely nothing to the plot.) The Captain and Lieutenant are following Spike, trying to get him to lead them back to New Ponyville, when Rainbow Dash and Soarin catch up with them and eventually win.

And in the middle of that battle, a tree is knocked over. It falls on Spike. In the next chapter, we find out he is dead. And literally no one reacts to this. It was season one, I understand, Spike was not a hugely important character, but come the fuck on, dude.

Oh yeah, and Soarin kills himself after Spitfire is murdered by mob justice. Hah, and Applejack just up and dies at the end by taking a hit for Twilight, so we can have a big Element swap before the finale. Big Mac dies off-screen, even. What the hell is with this story?

But the actual worst part... My god. Okay. So Twilight fucked up a spell, right? The spell she cast should not have done the thing it did. She needs to find a way to get herself and Rainbow Dash back to their own dimension, somehow. She's of course distracted from this a bit once they get to New Ponyville, because impending war, fighting with her friends, and spending lots of time whining about philosophical issues. All very important things to do, I'm sure.

At one point, a link is made between the spell Twilight used and a mass teleportation spell that seems to be a specialty of Trixie's. Oh, I thought, surely we're going to be getting an answer soon.

Well, we didn't. In fact, we never get an answer. We get to the end of the story, and they're still in Grimdarquestria. It was a "question [the author] wanted to leave hanging". And I think that is bull shit. Because the crux of this story, the inciting incident, the main problem, was Twilight sending herself and Dash to this world! So it absolutely should have been the final answer! Free Luna from Nightmare Moon, she can send them home, bada-bing, bada-boom. (Because I think she beat Celestia to death when she first returned from the moon or something.) But no, she just mopes off with the Captain (side note: why was there no goddamn shipping in this story so much ship bait and yet) and everyone is like, "Guess we rule Equestria now!"

I was so peeved.

So between the middling-at-best writing, the aggravating character beats, the lengthy, irrelevant and incomprehensible action scenes, and the supremely unsatisfying ending, I have to say this was a complete waste of my time. :| But hey, I read the whole thing! Coulda stopped at any time but didn't! I only have myself to blame.

2/5

Even if you like grimdark "What If?" scenarios, this is not likely to please.

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Comments ( 11 )

...we find out Fluttershy has been using animal-talking powers to trap her animal friends so she can kill them and...

Yeah... :ajbemused:

I started reading this when it came out years ago (when I was still desperate for any half-way decent pony words) and DNFed the hell out at that point. It wasn't the Eeevil Grimndarkz™ that got me, it was the sheer stupidity of... well, everything really.

And, damn, dude! It's nice to know where the story went (or failed to go), but I was actually wincing in sympathy at a couple of points in this review. I don't know about the rest of your readers, but if you just nope out of a stinker and say so in your review, I will totally understand your completely legitimate pain-avoidance reflex!

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

5597637
After putting two more chapters in to find out who the Captain was, I think I hit sunk cost fallacy at that point. D:

I mean, actually reading the story is not that painful, it just isn't worth it in the end.

Heh, I actually loved this story way back in the day. It was the first dark fic I ever read aside from Silent Ponyville. So I didn't even notice the writing, because I didn't know better. However, what officially made me lose interest was when Soarin killed himself. That was the point I realized it was being dark for the sake of being dark, especially after he killed Spike so flippantly. And this was back when I didn't even have my man-crush on Spike! I did still grumble about Twilight barely reacting to his death, though.

I did keep reading, if for no other reason than curiosity and stubbornness. I legit laughed out loud when the warrant officer said, Snip!" Like, come the fuck on, dude! That, and the big climax dropped all at once after like a four year hiatus, and it felt like it. BronyCray said this is how he always planned on ending it, but it just reeked of, "Holy shit, just get this over with." And after all that, it ends on a bullshit, vague ending that was so unsatisfying I wanted to send BC a box of Viagra.

So, yeah. I liked until I knew better.

I love how Stockton's response to literal death threats in the wake of "The Lady, or the Tiger?" was to do a sequel where the story is about people who want to know the answer to "The Lady, or the Tiger?", and then says if you can guess the outcome of this story he'll tell the protagonists... and the story abruptly stops.

19th century master class in :trollestia: right there.

Wait, hold on, why is there a 6-star story that I never reviewed? Where did this come from? My whole schtick was that I reviewed all the 6-star stories oh god my life is a lie

Though, reading the review, I can't say I'm too bummed to have missed out on this one.

Sounds like you earned your masochist label.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

5597697
orly :O I was gonna go look for your review, too.

Unless I misread the tags, this one's 6-star!

5597724
Oh, just you wait...

I checked and I have each chapter listed as read. I can't for the life of me remember any details. I must have skimmed through.

5597724
He's earned all his labels fifty times over.

5597811

Well, I only reviewed all the completed six-star fics. Looking at this, it seems that although it was six stars, 1) nobody told EqD that it finished (the page is still tagged incomplete, and doesn't have the ol' "Update: Complete!" re-titling), and 2) it finished well after I was done reviewing the 6-star fics, at which point I was just checking in every few months to see if anything had gotten the "complete" tag.

Most of the (like, less than a dozen) 6-star fics that finished after I'd moved on to Fandom Classics, readers immediately e-mailed me to tell me that the story was finished, and to ask if I'd review it. I think it's telling that nobody messaged me when this one wrapped up.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

5598235
Maybe! I wonder if they'd take a poke to let them know it's finished...

Wow apparently i read the first two chapters a million years ago. This sounds impressively bad, like the Airbender movie where they knew enough to do the exact opposite of what should have been done. It's such a trip to read this review late at night because there have been soooo many fics and the tropes have been beaten to death. But hey maybe this was the first fic to invent the mushroom as food trope. It even misled you because the zap back to OG equestria was barely a concept then.

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