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As we start to get close to season three, I find myself wondering what effect the new episodes will have on fanfiction, numbers-wise (obviously, they'll have plenty of impact on the content of new fanfics). Last year it seemed like there was something of a lull following the premiere of the new season, at least for a couple of weeks. It'll be interesting to see if the same thing happens this time.
Below the break, my review of Cloud Wander's The Rummy Business of Old Blooey.
Impressions before reading: I have read far, far too little Jeeves and Wooster, but I have read enough to be justifiably excited for a story told in that style, as this would seem to be. Plus, Cloud Wander is an author whose other stories I've quite enjoyed, so I'm feeling pretty good about this one going in.
Zero-ish spoiler summary: When Prince Blueblood comes to one Barney Trotter with a terrible dilemma--apparently, he has accidentally become engaged--the two of them, assisted by Mr. Trotter's valet, set out to clear up this regrettable miscommunication in a way that leaves as little egg on the faces of all involved as possible.
Thoughts after reading: I will happily admit my weakness for linguistic humor, clever phrasing, and other punnery, but this story truly is a sublime example of witty wording. From the very first line ("'I say, Cheese,' I said, to Cheese") on, the use of language in this story is consistently both clever and amusing. Enough so, in fact, that I'm sorely tempted to simply quote a dozen or so of my favorite lines, to show the gamut this wit runs: from punctuation puns to satirical understatement to brilliantly evocative nonstandard wording (okay, I'll quote an example of the last: "I think you can perceive the type of pony this was: the drooping, soupy sort of saucer-eyed young prune that dotes on the fluffiness of bunnies and the preciousness of pangolins. Probably commits poetry in secret, I shouldn't wonder") and beyond, the writing in this piece is positively brilliant, both a wonderful satire of Wodehouse and endlessly amusing in its own right.
Of course, smart writing only takes one so far, if the story proper isn't up to snuff. However, the plot which Rummy Business follows is both amusing and engaging. This is a classic example of a "behind the scenes" fanfic, showing how a particular scene or episode from canon (in this case, the events of The Best Night Ever) came about, but it doesn't tie itself to closely to the episode in question. Instead, it tracks its primary characters faithfully, and uses its ties to the show as both setting and accent, rather than as a raison d'etre.
Although this ties into what I said above about the writing, the character voices were excellent throughout. Trotter, both as narrator and in his dialogue, displays a charming and very readable combination of high class self-importance and good humor, along with that touch of dullness desperately masked by an extensive education which is the hallmark of upper-class twits everywhere. He and his fellow Canterlotians (Canterlotites? Canterlotists?) make a nice contrast to the Ponyville contingent when they do enter into the story, and show that Cloud Wander is equally comfortable writing in the affected style of his main character and in the voices of the canon ponies.
Frankly, there's not much more to add. I have nothing negative to say about this story. I loved it. It is an intelligent comedy, yet extremely accessible--a rare enough feat on its own--and a wonderful farce of a tale to boot.
Star rating: ★★★★★ (what does this mean?)
I'm not sure what to put here without repeating myself, so I'll do exactly that: this is a brilliantly clever and endlessly amusing bit of writing, and I enjoyed it immensely.
Recommendation: Between its brevity, its wit, and its ability to meld show moments with a distinct and engaging storyline, this is a story I'd recommend to almost anyone. I would especially point those who adore wordplay and smart writing in its direction, however.
Next time: The Hiccups, by uSea