Monday, September 9, 2013

Fandom Classics Part 7: "For I Am A Jelly God"

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

Whenever someone tells me that they only need five hours of sleep a night, I am consumed with jealousy.  I mean, I need seven just to function--how nice must it be to have two to four extra hours every day?  It may not be a superpower on par with flight or telekinesis, but I'd still take it.

Below the break, my review of Posh's quotation mark-bedecked "For I am a Jelly God."

Impressions before reading:  Hey, looks like this is a story based on that sight gag from the Hearts and Hooves Day episode!  I do have a soft spot for fics with take throwaway jokes or asides and expand them far beyond any logical extremes, so I'm hoping for good things here.  The [dark] tag does seem like an odd choice for such a fic, though--when I think black comedy, I don't think deific jelly.  But maybe that's just me.

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Sentient jelly overruns Ponyville, consuming any and all who stand in its way.

On the whole, the town's residents aren't too pleased about this.

Thoughts after reading:  Let me start by saying that there's a lot of great comedy in this story.  Spike is at his snarkiest, and has some absolute gems (especially when he's talking about gems), but Posh mines plenty of humor from multiple straightcreatures, often alternating who's playing straight to whom within the same scene as characterization and circumstance dictate.  Moreover, the story's setup is patently ludicrous in the best possible way--Twilight discovering why there's sentient jelly in Ponyville, what it wants, etc. had me grinning throughout.

Next, let me quote a passage from the beginning of the story, where AJ encounters the jelly for the first time:
Applejack felt her senses dulling, her body shutting down.  She feared that she was suffocating, but despite being unable to inhale, her lungs did not burn for air.  Instinctively, she opened her mouth to scream, and got a mouthful of red goo for her trouble.  Her last sensation and thought before the world went dark was that the blob's body tasted oddly like cherries.
Now, that's not exactly [insert gorefic of your choice here], but it does make for something of a downer, somber counterpoint to the goofiness which fills the larger part of the story.  The biggest problem with "For I Am A Jelly God" is that it is a dark comedy which doesn't mesh those two defining characteristics particularly well.  Instead, the story lurches back and forth between mild horror and deadpanning, without integrating the two terribly effectively.

That said, I still found this to be an enjoyable fanfic.  Although the author tries for darkness, he wisely eschews any blood, guts, or other dramatic violence, which would have quickly taken this story from "unsteady tone" into "two different fics thrown in a blender" territory.  And the different elements do work well enough independently; the jelly is suitably menacing when it needs to be, and the funny parts of the story are still funny.

One more note: the story resolves abruptly and with little fanfare.  I thought this to be a rather poor fit for the overall work, which definitely doesn't fall into the "random comedy" category; this work has a well-defined buildup, and the sudden ending is a minor letdown.  To be fair though, it's not like there's no resolution, and all the (most) important plot threads are neatly tied up by the end.

Star rating:  ☆ (what does this mean?)

I spent a while debating between two and three stars for this one, but the quality of the comic dialogue pushed me over the lip.  There are a number of genuinely funny scenes here, and I laughed aloud a few times.  That said, I still had some issues with the work overall.

Recommendation:  Anyone looking for a short comedy built mostly on humorous dialogue will get a kick out of this.  Readers averse to mood swings and abrupt resolutions may be less enthralled.

Next time:  Smoke and Mirrors, by TeaPartyCannon


  1. I immediately bookmarked this fic after it got on EqD, but didn't get around to it until recently. My impression was similar to yours, and 3-stars is about what I would've given it. I'll add that it felt somewhat of a chore to read certain sections, though I've thought the same about so many stories lately that I'm wondering if I've grown less patient with age (I can't put up with the grind in Pokémon anymore either)

    1. Forgot to comment on the sleep thing. Back in high school, I only slept maybe four hours a night, with an extra hour shortly after school. Since college, I've needed about eight hours a night, though sometimes I can get away with six. I really miss all that extra time

  2. To rub it in even more, I once knew a guy in college whose natural sleep pattern was eight hours every other night. That motherfucker had a whole four extra hours every day for getting things done. :| Me, I have to stick to a regular eight a night to regular a heart condition. Life ain't fair.

    And yet, as much as I've always wanted to reduce my sleep needs to say, maybe an hour or two a night at most (because dreams, let's face it, are ample fodder for the creative mind), I fear I would just squander the extra waking time. :/

  3. I'm mostly nocturnal when I can manage it. Too many American friends who themselves work late. All the fun seems to happen at night. The price is that since I still have college and other such things, my sleep schedule is erratic to say the least. Sometimes I get by on two or three hours just fine, but every once in a while, I need to sleep for half the day before I'm willing to crawl out again.

    Though, like Present Perfect said, sleep is always good for another reason. Almost every story I ever wrote was at least partially inspired by nightmares.

  4. I get by on about 5-6 hours a night, mostly because I'm a night owl and don't tire that abruptly, and because those late hours when I'm the only one awake in the house are the prime time for getting writing and reviewing done. And then morning is awful, and I drag through the day. So it goes. Poo tee weet?

  5. Only one of these comments is about the fic or the review. And it's not this one!

  6. Bullshit troll posting aside, I agree with your analysis of this fic with one modifier. I think the blend of humor and horror actually is not that much of a problem. When I am scared or stressed I tend to resort to humor, but without being there it does feel jarring. Also it works way better in a British Humour-esque visual medium.

    I have to disagree about the abruptness of the ending though. I felt it was like a Hail Mary pass, wins the game all of a sudden. Everyone cheers, noone complains it was abrupt. So why here?