Sharktavia 74 members · 16 stories
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What's up guys?! I'm gonna do some reading and reviews of the various contest stories. Anyone feel free to join in if you want. If you're familiar with the way the Writeoffs work, I figure it would be cool to do something along those lines. Except that there's no anonymity and none of our votes count.

And sharks. Lots of sharks.

...All around the extended shark family of Octavia Philharmonica, lasers and ropes were relentlessly bashing against their force of nature...

This was a great piece to kick-off reviews with. It's funny and absurd throughout, which is what you'd hope given that it's Sharktavia, but you never know. It gets in there and gives us enough of a view of Octavia's domestic life and interplay with Vinyl to be amusing without overstaying its welcome. IMO the story's biggest strength is the sheer absurdity of Octavia struggling to eat. Then when (dare I say it) Shark Happens, the ridiculousness of the situation stays amusing through to the end.

I do have some quibbles though. For the most part the prose is clean, but I felt like there were just enough typos to be distracting. The one that really pulled me out of the moment was "french" -- IMO this would be better as "Prench" anyway, but at a minimum I'd capitalize it. I also felt like the perspective shift that happens right before the end wasn't used to maximum effect. Consider what would happen if the story instead just jumped from "...Oh my god, just stop!” to "And they all flew..."; I submit that this might be even funnier, because then it's like they're listening to her, albeit to disastrous effect.

Overall enjoyable. I do wish we could've seen them actually get to dinner, though. :trollestia:

"OWIE-ZOWIE!" Sunshine cried with a grin. "That hurts a bundle!"

WOW. Strong story. Beautiful at moments; genuinely frightening at others. On that note, let me get my biggest quibble out of the way right off the bat: this story is mis-tagged. You could argue that Slice-of-Life belongs, but there isn't (IMO) enough Romance to justify that one. Meanwhile, there's a massive undercurrent of Horror up in here. Something is becoming increasingly wrong with Octavia, and the journey through that descent (as well as its final destination) is creepy in the good way. The decision to cast Sunshine Smiles (Moonlight Raven fans represent!) as the shop owner is brilliant; she injects a comedic element that makes for more effective horror as we get to the climax. And while I love how that moment plays out, I think for poor Sunshine's sake that it might warrant a Gore tag. I dunno.

My only other nitpick is that there's some tonal inconsistency with Vinyl's parts. IMO she's written like she's speaking into a Comedy, but again, no Comedy tag, and I don't feel like Comedy is either the focus or the strength of this despite what Sunshine brings to the table. The part at the end in particular feels like it misses a chance to fully embrace the body horror that's going on, and in part it's because of how Vinyl approaches things.

But this is a case where I nitpick the story because it's got a very strong core which makes the "off" bits feel even more out of place. The shark-vision sequences in particular were captivating and otherworldly and effective for me.

“Nice try, hot shot,” she said, giving them a grin full of sharpened teeth. “But pretty much all I do all day is listen to EDM. Well, that and banging anything in sight, and taking massive quantities of drugs.”

“How stereotypical of you,” Nutmeg said, struggling to his hooves as well.

Ah yes, le self-review. A proud Writeoff tradition faithfully bastardized replicated here for your enjoyment. And speaking of enjoyment: this story. It's a surefire 10/10 from :trollestia:

In all seriousness: having some degree of familiarity with Warhammer 40,000 would probably help open up some of the humor. The story also suffers a bit from being rushed. This is especially true at the end, where it finishes with a joke instead of showing us the climactic battle that's been set up. However, for the most part I think it manages to tell a complete and absurd story in the time it has, which is pretty much what one hopes for with Sharktavia, right?

You must go! The joyfulness is over, your playing has kill it. What I already hear will haunt me to grave. I cannot to listen to more.”

Before I get going here, I should disclose that Moose had me comment some on this while he was writing it, so there's reduced objectivity. I also failed to catch and point out a couple of capitalization typos. :raritydespair: But I think it's a good and funny start to a longer tale (note that it says it's currently incomplete). The humor lands nicely and the situation it sets up looks like it can only go downhill (in a good way). The "morning after" moment toward the end was doubtlessly its strongest; there's something so delightful and endearing about the blood-soaked Octavia that we get. Also, the ending joke is fantastic. :heart:

Octavia flopped onto her back, flipping her tailfin in the air. Vinyl’s eyes went wide in shock.

“W-wait, what? ‘Tavia, you can’t romance the entire station! It’s not possible!”

I have never played a Mass Effect game in my life. My excuse is that they came out after I had passed the point where I had adequate free time to get into much in the way of RPGs. (I'd blame my children, but this may have been even a little before them.)

This was absurd enough to make me laugh anyway, though. I've heard about the romance simulator aspects of MA and I can only assume this skewers them reasonably well. The whole ridiculous thing about playing it straight that she's a shark was funny and made for an enjoyable read. No real quibbles, either; this might be my favorite of the comedy Sharktavias from the contest.

Sharktavia i: Sharktavia Evolved
by FanOfMostEverything

"On the one hand, I'm hurt that you're accusing me. On one of the hands I don't have anymore—long story—I'm glad to see you're learning."

I'll confess that I bounced off this story on my first read-through. I'm not familiar with the source material that this crosses over with, and I haven't read the story that this is a sequel to... and as much as I hate to say it, to me this doesn't feel self-contained enough to be very forgiving of those impediments. Most of the indentured servitude and Lyra stuff works on face value, but the part at the end especially seems a bit too lore-dependent to serve as a satisfying conclusion to this story. And while I'm doing nitpicks, I would argue that this needs a Comedy tag; I found Lyra really off-putting on my first read-through because the Random tag alone doesn't feel like a match for what she's doing. She's trying to make us laugh and there's nothing wrong with that, so tag away.

That's enough nitpicking. The story itself flowed well and exhibited quality writing. The scene descriptions were sparse but sufficient. Overall this might just be a case where I'm not in the target audience, which is a bummer given that it's Sharktavia, but I can't fault the work itself beyond the aforementioned nitpicks.

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