Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Some Updates for the Rest of the Month

First thing's first: I'm about 90% sure I'll have my review of Summer Days and Evening Flames done by Friday.  Sorry about the unusually long wordcount/wait ratio, but it's nearly there!

For now though, I've got some news about where the site is going, both for the next month or so, and in the long term.  Click down below the break to see what's on the horizon.

Now then, after Summer etc. comes The Immortal Game, and then... well, that's it for completed 6-star fics (as far as I know--if I'm missing any finished ones, let me know).  So, what comes next?

Well, there are a few 6-stars that are still incomplete and haven't been abandoned; if any of those finish up, I'll go ahead and hit them up as well.  And I'll keep doing mini-reviews and the like.  But I really like the "breaking down fan favorites" dynamic that the 6-star reviews bring, so I'm going to move to something similar.

After The Immortal Game, I'll begin reviewing other highly-regarded stories.  I've already started putting together a list of popular and generally well-liked stories to continue with, but there's a problem.  See, the 6-star fics had the advantage of being a concrete, easily-accessible pre-made list (I picked them initially for pretty much that reason).  So, right now my list is pretty heavy with "things Chris has heard of that sounded okay enough that he either read them, or at least remembered them" bias, whereas I'd prefer to work from as unbiased a list of fics as possible.  Well, biased towards popular stories, but you know what I mean.

To that end, I'm looking for fanfic suggestions.  I'm looking for fics that meet the following criteria:

1) Are complete
2) Exist in a broadly available format (Equestria Daily, FiMFic, somewhere else, as long as there's an easy place to download it from and link to it)
3) Are reasonably well-known
4) Are positively regarded by the vast majority of readers

Note also that there's nothing on that list about it being your favorite story; by all means, send me a link to something you despise, and we'll see if I hate it as much as you!  I'm trying to put a list of well-known, mostly well-liked stories together: nothing more, nothing less.  In a week or so, I'll post a list, and from there on I'll add on to the back of it, so that those of you who like to read ahead will have something to consult and see what's on the horizon.  

So, that's it!  Feel free to send in one or two suggestions, or a list of a few dozen, to  Then, I will continue my quixotic quest to agree with or contradict the fanfic-reading public, as I see fit.


But, back to The Immortal Game for a moment.  That fic's really, really long, you know?

Lucky for me, I'm going on vacation with my family for the last two weeks of July, and should have plenty of reading time then.  So I'll plan to read it then.  Those of you who were around this time last year will remember that I did the same thing with Fallout: Equestria, and that seemed to work well enough.

Of course, being gone for weeks at a stretch means I'm going to need some guest columns.  I've already begun contacting authors to see who might be interested in writing reviews or fandom/fanfic/writing commentary, and I can tell you right now, there'll be some stuff you don't want to miss coming out during the back half of the month.

So anyway, that's the plan: a couple weeks of guest columns, The Immortal Game, and then off to uncharted waters.


  1. Have no suggestions for stories to read, since I don't really read fanfics other than a few you've reviewed that I liked. However, a more general suggestion occurs. You could always review other stories by authors of the 6-star stories you've already done.

  2. Well there's "Thrown Abroad" by Niaeruzu and its sequel (which should probably be reviewed separately due to being very different in style). I'd also like to see "Minuette's Lesson". When "The Sweetie Belle Chronicles" is done that could work well giving the crossover fics you haven't reviewed as additional material.

  3. I'll just throw anything I can think of your way... (Sorry for the lack of links. Too much work. Google should find all of them easily.)

    * The "Time Loop Trilogy" (Hard Reset, A Stitch in Time, and You Can Fight Fate) is popular. You read the first one, if I recall correctly?
    * Post Nuptials and its sequel, Families, also seem to be rather popular at the moment.
    * Asylum. That's a big one. You should read this first before the above two, actually.
    * After Project Horizons (a Star-6) you also have the other two major Fallout: Equestria stories (Heroes and Murky Number Seven) to read through, if you can take it.
    * Quantum Castaways. The story exists in this weird state where it's super popular while simultaneously being relatively unknown.
    * Someone already mentioned The Sweetie Chronicles, but I'm mentioning it again. You have to review this at some point.
    * Mood Wings stands out to me as having lots of thumbs-ups...
    * I can't remember if you've already read The Moonstone Cup or not...
    * Twilight's List is being made into a hardcover book soon, must be popular?
    * Finally, Without a Hive. It isn't all that popular, it's just that I really like it, so I'm adding it to the end here.

    That's all I can think of for now. The majority are incomplete,

    1. The first requirement is...

      "1) Are complete"

      ...and I completely missed it. D'oh.

      My list has been cut down to A Stitch in Time, Post Nuptials, Mood Wings and Twilight's List.

    2. Oh, and Moonstone Cup, if you haven't already read it.

    3. As far as FoE ones go, there's Pink Eyes too. It only got up to 5 on EQD, but it (along with the other three you already mentioned and the original) generally seems to be considered one of the "big five" of FoE stories. Plus, it's actually done, whereas those other three aren't yet and are unlikely to be finished anytime soon. Really, with as many side stories as that has now, one could almost start a different blog with the same goal as this one that focused solely on that genre.

      I can't think of any other recommendations that haven't already been covered at the moment.

    4. MN7 is reasonably close; it could theoretically be completed within the year, as long as Fuzzy doesn't take any more massive breaks. The other two...yeah, no so much.

    5. I was under the impression that Pink Eyes was considered one of the Big Three. I don't know much about the side stories, though, so I could be wrong

    6. It is, I just didn't mention it because it never got Star-6...only to remember right now that Heroes was published back when the star system was still being used, and it wasn't a Star-6 either. Whoops.

  4. The Pony Fiction Vault might be a good place to start. Arddun Lleuad and Darkest Before Dawn have been sitting in my to-read queue for the longest time. I'd be interested to read your thoughts on them, though I'm not sure if the latter qualifies, as I've only heard about it through this blog. I'm most interested in knowing how Apotheosis compares to Off the Edge of the Map

    Posting these in the comments is fine, right? Your wording made it sound as though you only wanted them via e-mail, but that seems silly

    1. I'm going to agree with this. I'd also like to see future blog reviews draw from the vault.

    2. Are these stories well-known enough? A Vault feature doesn't say much about how popular a story is, it just means that the story had enough of an impact to attract RBDash47's attention.

      Of course, whether a story meets the well-known requirement depends on Chris's idea of what is well-known, but I don't see how Darkest Before Dawn and Arddun Lleuad fulfil this criterion. The only good indicator for a story's popularity that I am aware of is the number of story views on the most common websites for ponyfiction (or the number of comments / favourites / other stats, depending on what statistics are available on the respective site). The stats for Arddun Lleuad and Darkest Before Dawn suggest that both stories are not unpopular, especially considering their age, but not particularly well known by 2013 standards.

      Arddun Lleuad has
      - 247 comments on EQD
      - 272 comments (all chapters taken together) on deviantart
      - 40 faves on
      - 540 views on (the submission has been revoked)
      - 8455 views (all chapters) at the Pony Fiction Archive

      Darkest Before Dawn:

      - 164 comments on EQD
      - 4 favs on
      - 3489 views on fimfiction

      None of these numbers are what I'd consider to be big enough to label the stories as popular. AL's 8500 views at the Archive look like much, but this is the number for all chapters taken together, and the Archive hasn't had much traffic since fimfiction was created. Most people who joined the fandom after 2011 have probably never heard of Arddun Lleuad.

      DBD's 3500 fimfiction views make it, according to the fimfiction search engine, the 2684-most viewed story on fimfiction. Is this enough to count as "reasonably well known"? I don't know.

      Still, ordering the "Top Rated" story list on fimfiction by view count seems to be a much better way to find popular stories than the Vault, which doesn't necessarily feature well-known stories.

      Apart from that, the fourth of Chris's requirements ("Positively regarded by the vast majority of readers") is also a bit too vague. Rainbow Factory, the sixth-most viewed story on fimfiction, has a 14/1 up/downvote ratio, but I don't think that it's positively regarded in the fandom. It would probably be useful to have more clearly defined parameters for the "popular" and "positively regarded" criteria (or maybe I'm just being horribly petty about this :/).

      And while I'm at it, here are a few more suggestions for Chris that most likely meet all his requirements either way:

      - Wild, Sweet & Cool by Kwakerjak
      - Petriculture by Kwakerjak (the last sequel will be finished soon)
      - In Memory Of by Obeselescence
      - The Games We Play by Absolute Anonymous
      - Veil of Thoughts by Starwin

    3. If you consider a thumbs-down as a 1-star rating, and a thumbs-up as a 5-star, any fic with a like-to-dislike ratio of ~40 might be considered as an EQD 6-star fic. It is not perfect, sure, but it is a baseline.

      I don't have many suggestions that haven't already popped up here (and aren't incomplete), but I'd love to see you tackle Whom the Princesses Would Destroy..., by GhostOfHeraclitus, or Friendship is Optimal, by Iceman.

    4. I was deliberately vague about what constitutes "popular," because there are a number of ways something can be popular. As anon noted, anyone who came to the fandom within the last year has probably never heard of Arddun Lleuad, yet it was incredibly well-known in its day. So it's definitely one I'd say meets the criteria, despite not being a My Little Dashie-type enduring presence.

    5. Okay, then here are a few more stories I haven't seen suggested yet which may not all meet the criteria (all of them have 3000 - 16,000 views on fimfiction).

      Reasonably popular:

      - My Little Pony's Little Ponies by Baby Boo
      - Que Sera, Sera by Ponydora Prancypants
      - Night Guards by Raugos
      - Let's Just Say... by Obselescence (it's not as "lolrandom xD" as description and cover picture make it seem)

      Somewhat popular:

      - Within and Without by Cloudy Skies
      - Somewhere Only We Know by PatchworkPoltergeist
      - Yes, Apple Bloom, there *is* a Santa Hooves by Lucky Dreams (I recommend the scanned in version for maximum reading pleasure)
      - Dancing On Silver Strings by Mystic
      - Under A Luminous Sky by Jake The Army Guy

  5. If I haven't suggested them before, Austraeoh, Eljunbyro and Innavedr, once it finishes. They're really singular things, all told, and I've only heard good news about them.

    I'll also second Oats's suggestion of going off the Vault. There's doubtless a lot of overlap, but where there isn't...


      Watch this space!

    2. Ooh, that was an interesting piece! I'll second the nomination for White Box

      I actually read that one after hearing a reading of it on YouTube and got tired of waiting for the second part to release

  6. How has no one suggested Anthropology yet?! It's the highest viewed story on FiMfic!

    1. He already reviewed it.

      And My Little Dashie is actually the highest, by a long shot.

    2. MLD's apparently the only fanfic, if some other fans are to be believed. I swear, it's only getting worse as time goes by. I used to defend it somewhat - not as a good story, mind you - but now I can't even stand to see it mentioned

  7. (I don't know how to do italics and such in Blogspot)

    *Words Failed Her by Nonsanity
    *The Ship-Off by TheBrainJ
    *Memory Pending by Kiroberos
    *The Diary Of An Evil Pony by TheBrianJ
    *White Box by Chromosome
    *The Wind Thief by Cold in Gardez
    *Nopony Needs To Know by shortskirtsandexplosions
    *No Quixote Here by RedSquirrel456
    *And A Dark Wind Blows by RazedRainbow
    *Not My Destiny by Smayds
    *Home Is Where The Harp Is by Blueshift
    *Tired by Ebon Made
    *The Pony In My Pocket by BaroqueNexus
    *Daylight Burning by Guesswork
    *Anno Domini by Chromosome
    *The Last Tears In Tartarus by shortskirtsandexplosions
    *Twilight, Revised by Vimbert the Unimpressive
    *Beyond The Wall by Filler

    1. It's just HTML tags. <­i>Italics<­/i>

    2. Tired is not well known in the fandom by any means, even if it is my best work. If he wants to review something by me that's well known, it would probably have to be The Cough, which is coming up on 25k views on Fimfic.

  8. Professor WhoovesJuly 3, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    Some of these fics I liked, some of them I did not. Some are still in my reading queue. I'm interested to see what you make of them. All have 1000+ thumbs up.

    [Title] by [Author] (#upvotes/#downvotes)
    My Roommate is a Vampire by Dennis the Menace (3759/103)
    Fun With Changelings by Shukumei (2607/71)
    The Golden Armor by Comet Burst (2320/58)
    Ascend by xTSGx (2308/48)
    What Princesses Need by Aegis Shield (2230/107)
    Thrown Abroad by Niaeruzu (2045/32)
    Of Challenges and Kisses by RavensDagger (1846/71)
    The Return of Princess Nightmare Moon by Aegis Shield (1835/71)
    The Games We Play by AbsoluteAnonymous (1639/47)
    Post Nuptials by Darth Link 22 (1561/33)
    Accidental Harmony by errant (1514/28)
    The Empty Room by Wanderer D (1495/47)
    Not My Destiny by Smayds (1425/46)
    Fallout Equestria: Pink Eyes by mimezinga (1413/44)
    The Sisters Doo by Ponky (1403/20)
    Friendship is Optimal by Iceman (1238/41)
    Third Time's a Charm by RazedRainbow (1229/24)
    A Bluebird's Song by Ardensfax (1190/34)
    The Best of All Possible Worlds by McPoodle (1079/21)
    Mendacity by Dromicosuchus (1039/15)
    Hiatus by Vargras (1035/26)

    Happy reading.

  9. I would throw out some suggestions, but everyone else have covered the ones I would recommend, so...

    Who do you have lined up to do guest posts this time around?

    1. Well, I just finished sending out the last "round one" of requests a half-hour ago, so I don't know exactly who yet :)

      I've already got a few confirmations back though, so I can tell you that the people I asked first are folks who 1) have written fanfics and/or reviews that I particularly enjoyed, 2) I have reason to believe at least know about this blog, and 3) haven't written a guest column for me previously. So, it should be interesting!

  10. You're in luck, Crhis. A six-star just wrapped up on EqD.

    Also, I'll toss my lot in for Arddun Lleuad as well. Probably one of the best HiEs around with absolutely amazing writing, as long as you can swallow the somewhat hammy shipping.

  11. I suppose you could start plying the top rated list on FIMFiction for complete stories.

  12. Chuckfinley's Pipsqueak's Day Off could work, but having a low total vote count the best argument for it is probably that Banishment Decree may never be finished, and certainly won't be completed soon.
    After that, I'm afraid I don't have any legitimately prominent stories to suggest, but I'd love to see mini-reviews featuring In a Tavern, Down by the River by Lysis (FimFic) and Horizon's No Regrets and The Lotus Eaters (likewise).

  13. I'm not going to go through and reply to everyone's recommendations individually, but I just want to say thanks for giving me a good start: between the comments here and the e-mails I've gotten, it looks (at a glance) like I have at least fifty or sixty fics to consider! Please, continue sending any in if you think of them, and I'll put together a preliminary list in about a week's time.

    1. I can't believe I didn't think of this sooner, but you have to review Blueshift's Brony Hero of Equestria! Partly because you've also written a (better structured) CYOA, so I think your review of it would be especially insightful. Mostly, though, I just love that fic. I even went through every possible path and constructed one I considered the best (I don't recall what the criteria for that was): START 27 4 5 10/12/20 5 22 8 6 5 14 19 23 7 9 16 3 9 34 52(42)/56(50,38,41,54)/59(49) 34 51 45 35 53 43

    2. Time&#39;s the CharmJuly 4, 2013 at 7:34 AM

      I have to second Brony Hero!! You have no idea how I've scoured your blog in search for a review on it. It's just pure unadulterated hilarity.

  14. I have three that I could suggest.

    The Secret Life of Rarity by BronyWritter.

    No, I Am NOT A Brony, GET ME OUTTA EQUESTRIA!!! by BronyWritter

    Canterlot Cantata by Ringcaat

  15. Here's a few off my head.

    The Archer and the Smith/The Heart Thief by Sharaloth.
    Lines and Webs by Airstream.
    This Platinum Crown by Capn Cryssalid (Not quite finished, though it's nearing that point and would be by the time you got to it.)
    Anything written by Cold in Gardez.

  16. Fics I've read that I'd be interested in hearing Chris's take on:
    * The Games We Play by AbsoluteAnonymous
    * Fluttershy's Night Out by Bad Horse
    * Who We Are by kits

    Fic on my to read list that I'd be interested in seeing reviewed:
    * Hard Reset by Eakin
    * Words Failed Her by Nonsanity
    * Minuette's Lesson by Airstream
    * Pipsqueak's Day Off by Chuckfinley
    * Derplicity by Skywriter

    1. I'll second Hard Reset and also Friendship is Optimal.

  17. This IS a complete EQD six star. It was just taken down by teh author for a rewrite and then the rewrite was abandoned and the original republished, but not restored on EQD:

    My fave fic:

    Emotional TwiDash friendshipping:

    Comedic TwiDash friendshipping:

    Insanely popular, not on EQD:

    Solid dark action/adventure:

    Very experimental shipfic:

    Excellent yet ridiculous:

    Some interesting True Grit inspired AJ:

    Decent dark yet reasonable adventure:

    One of my fave oddfics:

    Cautionary satire about fandom obsession:

    One of the funniest shipfics:

    The only trollfic I recommen to anyone:

  18. Aw, no love for The Descendent? Pick virtually any of his fics.

  19. I second Whom the Princesses Would Destroy... and The Best of all Possible Worlds. I would also recommend How to Remove a Unicorn Tooth and Contraptionology! by Skywriter.

    1. If we're talking Skywriter, Heretical Fictions and its follow-up Beloved are excellent reading. Observatory Hill is very much episode-style and enjoyable too. I'd say his stories are reasonably popular too.

    2. Seconding Contraptionology for sure.

  20. I'd love to recommend something but all I can think is "oh god oh god oh god I have to finish asap"

    Dammit, Chris

  21. Treat all your 6-star reviews as a 148(?) chapter fanfic and review them.

  22. I think you should review Twilight Sparkle and The Crystal Heart Spell. A title I personally completely disregarded, until I ran into this review of it.

  23. What about

    -Hoardsmiths, by Skywriter
    -The Proper Care and Feeding of Monsters, by Cold in Gardez
    -The Glass Blower, by Cold in Gardez
    -Gift, by SSnE

  24. Here's some I would suggest.

    Breaking Twilight
    by OrphiusOlyandra

    Rainbow Factory
    by AuroraDawn

    The Lunaverse by Rainbowdoubledash

    Story of the Blanks
    by Aoshi Stark

    The Monster Mash
    by FredMSloniker

  25. The Kindness of Strangers by Wheller

    On a Cross and Arrow by Terrichance

    Hands by Andrew Joshua Talon

    Growing Up by A High-Tech Burrito