Friday, September 21, 2012

Even Yet More Stories You Haven't Read (But Should Have)

After making an open request for links to severely underrated fanfics last week, I got plenty of responses--enough that I was able to put together this post and still have plenty of excellent little-known leftovers, even after ruling out several stories which were too well-known (sorry, Centerpiece of My Collection), too long for me to read in a reasonable amount of time (sorry, Stories of a Warden), or in one case, which were in fact Chronicles of Narnia fanfics (sorry, South).  That, and turning away a few which weren't actually all that wonderful--I don't particularly enjoy playing gatekeeper, but ultimately I'm the one making the recommendation.  Still, I couldn't have done this without all of you who sent in stories.

Speaking of, I'm not sure whether etiquette dictates that I should or shouldn't credit the people who pointed me towards the stories I'm linking to here.  Since several people specifically asked not to be identified, and since for several more I have no name or handle, but only an e-mail address, I'm going to leave the recommenders unattributed--for now.  If you suggested one of the stories here and would like some recognition, just let me know and I'll credit you appropriately.

So now, on to the stories!  As always, they aren't necessarily the absolute best things ever written.  What they are are short stories which are much, much better than their meager number of readers would seem to indicate, spanning multiple styles and/or genres.  Check them out below the break.

     1.  In The Twahlaht Of Her Youth, by TwahlahtSporkle

How overlooked is it?:  It's only got about 450 views on FIMFiction (for reference, pretty much any story posted there can get 150-200 views just by existing), and I, for one, had never heard of it.

Why it deserves better:  Sometimes, it's hard to explain what you like about a story; this is one such example.  It's about an alternate-universe Twi (the titular Twahlaht Sporkle) whose specialty is spork-related magic, who has a spork instead of a horn, and who gets magically transported to the "real" Equestria.  At three chapters and over 8,000 words, it seems like it should be too long to support such a silly premise, and the lengthy, semicolon- and aside-filled writing (it's like I'm describing my reviews...) ought to make it nigh-unreadable after the joke gets old.

Well.  Despite those apparent problems, I eagerly read the whole thing.  Honestly, I couldn't tell you why; there are so many things wrong with it, and yet... I really enjoyed reading it.

Recommendation: There's nothing wrong with a stupid story, as long as it's stupid in an amusing and/or compelling way.  If you're looking for some fairly dumb humor, this might be worth checking out.  At the least, it's probably worth reading the first few paragraphs for the sake of giggling at the premise.

     2.   Something to Look Forward To, by Anonymous

How overlooked is it?: With over 800 views, this story's almost twice as read as Twahlaht.  A glance at the story's stats, however, reveals that most of those views come from TVTropes and reddit pages for Human in Equestria stories.  In other words, this one's probably almost completely unknown to people who don't read HiE.

Why it deserves better:  I'm one of those people who very rarely reads HiE, and I admit that when I first saw this suggestion I was extremely skeptical.  "How could a story justify dropping a real person into Equestria, and still have time to spin a meaningful story, in less than 3,000 words?" I wondered.

I was pleasantly surprised by what I found.  Sensibly skipping over the arrival itself (and questions of how and why), the story briefly but perceptively examines at what the psychological impact of permanent, irreversible separation not only from everyone you knew, but from your entire species, could do to a person.  The recollection-style writing provides a sense of distance which is very appropriate to the story being told, and stories with ambiguous viewpoints, such as this, are a perennial favorite of mine.

Recommendation:  At a glance, it would be easy to dismiss this as a story which doesn't go anywhere and which is full of tell-y narration, but that's not altogether fair.  Something is a story which invites the reader to fill in the blanks by offering tantalizing hints, and the "tell-y narration" clearly has a purpose, in this case.

     3.  The Road to Ponyville, by GlueFactory

How overlooked is it?:  This is one of the few stories I know of which EqD has rejected based on its "three strikes" policy.  I guess there's a difference between being rejected and being overlooked, but eh; po-TAY-to, po-TAH-to.

Why it deserves better:  If you're waiting for me to call the Pre-Readers a bunch of elitist snobs who are the worst kind of anal-retentive and obsess about things that "normal readers" wouldn't even notice... well, you're going to have to keep waiting.  They provide a valuable service, filtering stories so that fanfic readers who want to read something guaranteed to be of a minimum quality level don't have to play story roulette, and by cracky, I appreciate it.

I will say this, however: The Road to Ponyville is the best story I've ever seen them absolutely reject for reasons other than inappropriate content.  It's still got a few editing problems, but they're relatively minor and never impinge on readability.  I found the central conflict amusing, and it ramped up nicely.  Telling the story of how Pinkie and Rarity got back to Ponyville after the events of The Last Roundup, I thought this piece did a great job capturing both characters, and of being consistently amusing.

Recommendation:  Those looking for silly, show-style humor might want to consider this story.  Also, this is a classic example of a "fill in the gap" fanfic, and fans of that type of story should definitely give this a look.

Stories You Haven't Read (But Should Have) is an irregularly scheduled feature.  Since I'm unlikely to have heard of any given little-known story by definition, you can help make this feature more frequent by suggesting exceptional or unique underrated fanfics.  Please e-mail me if you can recommend a short, high-quality, and under-appreciated piece of pony fiction.  Thanks in advance!


  1. I'm the one who sent the Narnia fanfic! :D

  2. And oh my god. I'm like 200 words into that Twahlaht Sporkle fic and it's amazing.

  3. Aw, I was hoping that last one would be a Road to Wellville parody :(

    I love how short these all are! I'm going to start calling these "Poe-ny fics," because I'm a horrible person

  4. "In The Twahlaht Of Her Youth" was my submission.

    There's just something about the way the story is written. It's just endearing and genuine, with enough strangeness to keep you from glossing over. And I'm glad more people are getting to enjoy it now.

    I agree with your review, for the most part (never really minded the asides or punctuation).
    Also, I would not describe it as a comedy, though. It has an undercurrent of humor, matching the show's own, but is not really presented as such.

    1. Also, I've added "The Road to Ponyville" to my reading list. Thanks for that one.

  5. Thank you for the... somewhat flattering review? :D If it helps, i had never heard of you either.

    Chapter 4 will be coming soon, if you're still following along! It'll be considerably less silly, and hopefully less "stupid".

    1. I'm pretty sure the "silly stupid" comment was related to the concept, not the writing or plot. So do't take that overly hard.

      Also Eeeeeeeeeeeeeee! You're still around!