Friday, June 29, 2012

Guest Review: Background Pony (C.1)

(Background Pony can be read here) 

[Now, a story review by Inquisitor M!  You may recognize him from his regular comments on this blog.  I'd say more, but 1. He doesn't have any published stories (yet) which I can link you to, and 2. He wrote his own bit to go above the page break.  So without further adieu, I cede the stage to him.  -Chris]

By Order of the Inquisition:

A Chapter 1 Review of Background Pony

Well the Chris is away, so I get to post stuff to his blog. I had a few ideas, but with the number of short stories that have come up lately, one thing stuck out that I wanted to talk about: the beginning. Rather than have me wax lyrical about what I think makes a good opening to a story, I would like to do a review of the first chapter of Background Pony, by short skirts and explosions, and see if my comments can spark some discussion.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Guest Review: Somewhere Only We Know

(Somewhere Only We Know can be read here)

In this post, Sessalisk (author of Darkest Before Dawn and frequent depositor of long, rambling missives in the comments section of this very blog (much obliged for the regular insights, by the way!)) breaks down one of the better-known stories in this fandom.  If you haven't read it already, you might want to before diving into this post: although it's (correctly, IMO) labeled a review, there's really no way to talk about the story without spoiling a lot of the effect of reading it the first time.  Besides, Patchwork Poltergeist's Somewhere Only We Know is only a few thousand words.  But whenever you're ready, you can read her thoughts below the break.

Monday, June 25, 2012

When the Cat's Away, and All That

So here I was, enjoying some moderately-priced scotch and enjoying my vacation, when I decided I should check in on the ponyfic world.  Surely, nothing important has happened in the last few days that-

>EqD eliminates all Star Ratings going forward

Huh.  Well, that wasn't totally unexpected, but it does put a damper on the long-term viability of the review format I've settled into.

To be frank, I'm not sure what I'm going to do about that yet.  Short-term, I'll keep plugging away at the 6-star stories once I come home.  Long-term... in truth, I haven't given it a lot of thought yet.  Feel free to leave suggestions in the comments, but don't expect me to respond to them right away (also, sorry for not commenting on the last few posts at all.  I'm working with an ancient computer and dial-up, and it takes more than five minutes just to load the blogger main page.  I'll ever-so-belatedly get to responses and e-mails and stuff once I'm back home).  But for now, the plan is to stay the course.  Guest posts will continue for another week, and then I'll be back with reviews of Fallout: Equestria (which I'm a little more than two-thirds done with as I type this, so I don't expect any delays on that front), and the Bronies anthology.

So, that's pretty much where things stand at the moment.  Now, back to sipping scotch and losing at cribbage.

Things We Love to Hate

Today, we have some commentary from Mystic: a ponyfic author, a law student, an Aussie, and the only visitor to this blog who cares when I talk about professional cycling.  He's come up with an insightful bit of commentary on how many readers seem to react to stories they dislike--or more often, to stories they think they're supposed to dislike.  His thoughts, after the break.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Stories About Ponies Are Stories About People

And now, it's time for a few guest columns.  First up, we have the inimitable Cold in Gardez, author of too many great fanfics to list (though you can check them out for yourself on his fimfiction page), who has provided some insights into what makes for a story, pony or otherwise, work.  Also, he's got a few fanfic recommendations, some insight into modern politics, a bit of self-inflated humor... look, he's pretty much produced the total package in terms of guest posts.  Find it all, after the break.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

6-Star Reviews Part 79: Blueblood Returns

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

I don't know why people use the expression "would you like some cheese with that whine?"  Personally, I'd much rather have a porter or oatmeal stout with my cheese--maybe it's the midwesterner in me speaking, but beer seems like a much more intuitive match for dairy than wine does.

My review of Geldon's Blueblood Returns, Blueblood's Redemption, and The Blueblood Conspiracy, after the break.

Monday, June 18, 2012

6-Star Reviews Part 78: Ditzy Doo and the Blustery Day

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

By the time you read this, I'll be far from home, in the heart of the American southwest.  Why do I only visit the desert in the middle of summer?  I'm like the anti-snowbird, heading south for the hot season and going north come winter.  Clever, clever me.

Below, my review of uSea's Ditzy Doo and the Blustery Day.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Here's How the Rest of the Month is Gonna Play Out: Hope You're All Kosher With It

So.  Things are going to be a little different around here for the next few weeks.  Behind the break, I'll explain what's going to be happening, but if you want the short version, here you are:

tl;dr:  I'm going on vacation for a couple of weeks.  Posts will continue at the usual intervals in my absence.  Also, there's some cool stuff coming up in the near future.

For all the details, see below.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

6-Star Reviews Part 77: The Light in the Darkness

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

When I'm not reading and critiquing 6-star stories, one (fanfic-related) thing I like to do is go look at fimfiction's most recent updates.  It's a very unpredictable lot; sometimes, I'll find a couple of surprisingly good stories floating in the mix.  Other times, like a few afternoons back, I find three Conversion Bureau spinoffs and seven plotless grimdarks (pony torture porn: apparently, it's a pretty big thing?) occupying the ten most recent posts.  Eh, they wouldn't call it a crapshoot if you didn't roll snake eyes every once in a while.

Below the break, my review of zaptiftun's The Light in the Darkness.

Monday, June 11, 2012

6-Star Reviews Part 76: My Faithful Student

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

To start, a brief explanation for why I'm skipping Secret Tub Fun, despite saying otherwise last post: I'd read the first six, and thought that the stories were all loosely connected at best.  So, I figured I could review what was already written and it would stand alone just fine.  Turns out that there's now an overarching plot, and the author still has two "chapters" to go before the story's complete.  So, I'm holding off on that for now and moving on to PhantomFox's My Faithful Student.

And in non-pony news (those of you who aren't professional cycling fans can skip down to the review now), the statuses of Andy Schleck and Thomas Voeckler for the TDF are uncertain after they both withdrew from the Dauphine due to a crash and knee trouble respectively, and Thor Hushovd is going to be out with a viral infection.  That's my favorite racer, my second-favorite big-name contender (after his big brother Frank), and my favorite sprinter, all out or in doubt.

I sure can pick 'em, eh?

Friday, June 8, 2012

6-Star Reviews Part 75: Past Sins

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

Yup, it's time for another one of the fandom's heaviest hitters.  Not that anyone reading this probably doesn't have their own opinion about this story already, but why not throw my two cents in anyway?  Below the break, my review of Pen Stroke's Past Sins.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

And Now, an Unconnected Amalgam of Links for You to Enjoy While Waiting for the Past Sins Review

As of Tuesday late afternoon, as I sit down to write this post, I'm a bit less than two-thirds of the way through Past Sins; barring setbacks, my review of that should be ready for Friday.  In the meantime, I thought I'd share a few articles/posts I've read recently which seem likely to have some relevance to the folks who visit this site.  Enjoy.

Monday, June 4, 2012

6-Star Reviews Part 74: Stargate: Equestria

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

Summer doesn't really start until you haul the snow shovels back up into the rafters and out of the way, if you ask me.  So if you were wondering, the official start of the season occurred over the weekend.  Next up: clean the gutters, which could really use it.  I can literally see corn stalks (planted by overzelous squirrels, who harvested them from our corn feeder) sprouting out of the gutters from the ground.

My review of Stargate: Equestria, after the break.

EDIT:  Sorry guys!  After I wrote the review for this story (I write them in word docs), I forgot to paste it into Blogger.  So if you came here right at midnight and found the entire review part missing from my review, mia culpa.

Friday, June 1, 2012

6-Star Reviews Part 73: The Sock Swap

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

And with this fic we leave happy Luna behind, and move on into the realm of really freaking long stories.  Stargate: Equestria, Past Sins, the Secret Tub Fun series... I've got a lot of reading to do if I'm going to keep up.  But for now, you can read my review of ProBono's The Sock Swap, tastefully stowed behind the break.