Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Fandom Classics Part 17: Whom the Princesses Would Destroy

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

I'm having problems with the squirrels in the backyard, lately.  See, I put out an ear of corn on a tree spike every day for them, and in exchange they come eat it and wrestle each other for control of the ear and are generally adorable.  But lately (and they do this every year, around this time), they've started pulling out the kernels, just eating the very inner tip (the white part), and dropping the rest on the ground.  So after a few days, I come out and there's, like, a pound of barely-eaten corn kernels in a pile at the foot of the tree.

I tried not feeding them for a few days, on the theory that desperation would teach them not to get all picky with their food, but they retaliated by refusing to come be entertaining for me.  Long story short, I caved first.  But that doesn't mean I'm happy about it.

ANYWAY... click below the break for my review of GhostOfHeraclitus's Whom the Princesses Would Destroy.

Monday, October 28, 2013

A Lesson in Procrastination

I want to start by saying that I had plenty of time to read and review Whom the Princesses Would Destroy this weekend.  The problem was, I knew I had plenty of time, so I kept putting it off.  On Saturday, I said to myself, "I've got nothing planned on Sunday, I'll do it then."  On Sunday morning, I said, "I've got nothing planned this afternoon, I'll do it then."

Then Sunday afternoon came, and I suddenly discovered that I didn't have quite as much free time as I thought I did.  In fact, it wasn't until just a few hours before post time that I got back home, story unread and review un-prepared.  Oops.

Anyway, the moral of the story is: don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today.  A moral which I'm reasonably certain has never been used anywhere else prior to this.  And in that vein, I plan to get started on Princesses tonight and finish the review tomorrow, so that it's ready with time to spare for Wednesday.  And after that, hopefully I can get back to having a one- or two-post buffer.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Mini-Reviews Round 20: EqD Nightmare Night Contest Edition!

Earlier this week, Equestria Daily posted the five finalists for their Nightmare Night 2013: Spooky Harder event.  I have now read each of them and voted for my favorite, and you should, too!

...Unless you don't have time to wade through 35,000 words this week, or you just aren't interested in reading five Halloween non-holiday-specific spooky-themed fics, or you've stumbled onto this post some distant day in the future, and the vote's been over for weeks, months, or even years.  In any of those cases, allow me to offer my patented brand of mini-reviewership, below the break.

A note before we begin, though: I've done my best not to spoil the endings; suffice to say, there are both uppers and downers in this bunch.  Collectively, I'm referring to the ultimate moment where the fic establishes that it will have a "good" or "bad" ending as "the reveal" for purposes of this post, terminological accuracy be damned..

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fandom Classics Part 16: Princess Celestia Hates Tea

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

In case you aren't in the habit of obsessively checking every few days, I suppose I should mention that I added four new stories to the upcoming Fandom Classics list over the weekend (you can get to the list from the "Fandom Classics by Star Rating" link at the top of the page).  Once I knock another four or five stories off, I'll update it again!  As always, you can e-mail me with any suggestions, and I'll continue to draw on previous recommendations as well.

For now though, click below the break for my review of Skywriter's Princess Celestia Hates Tea.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Fandom Classics Part 15: My Roommate is a Vampire

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

Although I didn't plan it that way, it seems appropriate to review a vampire fic as we approach Halloween.  Go me!  Then go below the break, to see what I thought of My Roommate is a Vampire, by Dennis the Menace.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Gradually Crawling into the Twenty-First Century

Although I'm not aggressively luddidic, it would also be fair to say that I'm not usually on the cutting edge of technological advances.  I tend to learn how to use something well enough for my purposes, and then just sort of stick with it... forever.

With that in mind, is it any shock that, until yesterday, I was still using a computer which I got in 2004?  A computer which was, even at the time, considered nothing more than an affordable starter computer?  A computer which was, frankly, incapable of doing more than the most basic of computer-related activities?

Well, that's all changed as of Thursday.  My parents, clearly well aware that I would continue to clunk along on this dinosaur of a PC indefinitely if they didn't act, splurged and bought me a new laptop as a birthday/Christmas/every other gift-giving occasion for the rest of the year present.  I've got 6 GB of RAM to play with now, baby!  I'm not entirely sure what that means, other than "faster," but compared to the 512 MB I was previously running on, it's supposed to be a major upgrade.  I'll finally be able to watch videos on my computer without first disabling any other programs!  If I ever decided I wanted to get into some of these "computerized games" that are all the rage, it would be my skills and interest level that would stop me, instead of an inability to run the games in the first place!

Anyway, I'm pretty excited.  So I hope you'll forgive me if I spend the weekend getting this thing set up and figuring out how to use Windows 8.  Then on Monday, I'll have a review delivered, for the first time ever, via a computing device that... well, it's not some souped-up gamer station, it's true.  But it's also not a decade old, and for me?  That's awesome.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Mini-Reviews Round 19

Welp, I don't know what it's like where you all live, but we've skipped straight past autumn and on to winter over here.  I'm getting out the electric blanket tonight, and I wish I'd thought to yesterday.

But you didn't come here to listen to me complain about how cold it is (too), right?  No, you came here for fanfic reviews.  Get several short ones, after the break.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Fandom Classics Part 14: A Candle to the Sun

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

Ooh, I like the cover art for this one!  Shame the artist seems to have deleted it--I'd have liked to take a look at a higher-resolution version of the image.  Oh, well.

Now that you know what I think about the picture, click below the break to check my review of the actual story: Moabit's A Candle to the Sun.

Friday, October 11, 2013

An Old Thing Passes, and a New Thing Arises

I imagine this will be old news to most of you by now, but if you haven't heard, today marks the end of the Pony Fiction Vault.  Never fear, the site itself isn't going anywhere, but today is the last day it will update.  RBDash47 has done more than 100 author interviews, and I'm pretty sure I've read every single one; rare is the author who didn't have something interesting to say.

Now, to that new thing: today also marks the first story feature/author interview for The Royal Canterlot Library, a site which Benman, Horizon, Present Perfect, Vimbert, and I (all reader/writer/reviewer types, if you don't recognize the names) have put together to find, promote, and offer author-guided insight into the best fanfics around--and a spiritual successor to RBDash's site.  Like the PFV, the RCL is primarily author interviews; one big difference is that we'll be asking authors specific questions about the stories which we're featuring, in addition to some more generic questions.  Having already gotten to read the first posts we'll be putting up, let me tell you: there's some stuff in these first few interviews you're going to want to read.

If you would, head on over to the PFV and give RBDash some love, if you haven't already; between the interviews and the story formatting he's done, he's provided an incredible service to the ponyfiction community over the past years.  And once you've done that, drop by the RCL.  The Vault may be closing, but the Library is just getting started.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Fanfic Classics Part 13: Brony Hero of Equestria

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

Although the official line is still "we're working on it," it looks and sounds like all the Blogger-era comments on Equestria Daily are dead and gone for good.  That kind of upsets me; while I realize that nothing on the internet is permanent, there were lots of comments on my older stories there that I wish hadn't vanished into the e-ether, and (although I'm sure it's been a year or more since anyone looked at any of them) it's sad to think that my own comments and reviews from back then are gone as well.

With that as context: does anyone know an easy way for me to back up my blog, including all the comments?  I don't expect anything to happen to this place anytime soon, but I'd feel better if I had some insurance against the vagaries of fate and/or obsolescence.

Now, with all the business out of the way, let's turn to a review of something which is the precise antithesis of "serious."  Click below the break for Blueshift's Brony Hero of Equestria.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Mini-Reviews Round 18

(insert lead-in here)

(no, seriously, I had to insert it after forgetting to write one up when I first posted this)

(reviews below the break)

Friday, October 4, 2013

Between Discerning and Closed-Minded

If you read Wednesday's review, you'll recall that I liked the story I read a whole lot better than I thought I would.  Nothing wrong with that; there've been plenty of other stories which I've reviewed (here and elsewhere) which I liked significantly more or less than I thought I would.  But it did get me thinking about what an appropriate level of pre-judgement is when it comes to reading, fanfic or otherwise--as I also said in that review, I never would have read Pipsqueak's Day Off were I not planning to write a review of it.  Click down below the break for my thoughts on the line between reasonable and unreasonable pre-reading discrimination.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Fandom Classics Part 12: Pipsqueak's Day Off

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

Hockey's back!  By the time you read this, it'll already be too late to catch Tuesday's Chicago/Washington opener.  Don't worry, you've still got 81 chances to watch a game or two before the playoffs.  If you're looking for something to do in the meantime, click down below the break for my review of Chuckfinley's Pipsqueak's Day Off.