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As a matter of both district policy and common sense, I try to be very careful about what information I publicly share about students I work with. I think it's safe for me to reveal, however, that yesterday I had the opportunity to read a creative writing piece titled "Booger Boy vs. Boring Guy vs. Batman." Honestly, it wasn't half-bad--I liked it better than the typical "[pony] [verb]s a [noun]" stories which are so prevalent in fanfiction, at any rate. Then again, that may just be a product of expectations.
Anyway, and on a (thankfully) unrelated note, my review of shortskirtsandexplosions' Hiccups, after the break.
Impressions before reading: I've pretty much had SS&E's entire oeuvre recommended to me--at least, it feels like it--so I chose this one based on the fact that it was among the most-recommended (and, judging from viewcount, most popular) of his shorter stories. I may hit up another story or two of the author's, but as I know I've mentioned before, I'm making an effort to space things out with these reviews.
As for the story itself? The tense slip in the last sentence of the description is worrying, but I've come to expect technical competence (if not necessarily excellence) from the author, so I'm going to hope that's not indicative of story quality. Judging from the description, it's hard to tell going in if this is going to be full of Rockwellian charm or absurdist sexualness, though I'm definitely hoping for the former.
Zero-ish spoiler summary: After a slumber party prank, Rainbow Dash's friends discover that she reacts very... strongly... to tickling.
Thoughts after reading: Well, this one definitely went for "sexualness," though "absurdist" might be a stretch. "Awkwardness" would probably be a more apt description. And that is perhaps my biggest problem with this story.
You see, Hiccups is written with the structure and attitude of a show-style slice-of-life fic... except that about halfway through, it veers into unintentional forced orgasms. Even more bizarrely, this is treated as a natural extension of the story's previous tone. If suitably mocked-up, this could easily be absurd... but here, it's kept firmly in the realm of awkward believably instead. The result is not altogether unlike watching a mother loudly swear at her children in a restaurant: you can't quite bring yourself to say it's wrong, but you'd certainly rather be anywhere else.
Beyond the strange, ill-fitting amalgam which is the story's tone, there are other problems, most notably pacing. The first half of the story doesn't tie into the last half, and not only because of the aforementioned tone issues. The two halves both share a setting, true, but there's nothing in terms of plot, action, or story design which tie the two together in any way; the storytelling which opens this fic serves no purpose beyond any inherent entertainment it provides. It wouldn't quite be proper to say that Hiccups meanders, but it is certainly disjointed.
The editing of the story is mediocre. Few if any issues impinge upon readability, but there are a noticible number of spelling and grammar errors, mostly homonym mixups (fare/fair and the like). Character voicing is, frankly, pretty bad ("'I haven't heard anythang so grotesque in my life!' Applejack added"), though the characters themselves are all readily identifiable--at least, until near the end of the story. Once talk turns to uncommon turn-ons, I lost most of that connection to the characters--and I don't think it was only because I'm a prude.
Star rating: ★☆☆☆☆ (what does this mean?)
This story can't decide whether it wants to be risque and ridiculous, or faithful to the tone of the show. The end result is neither, and the story doesn't have much in the way of redeeming qualities to make up for that.
Recommendation: I'm sure I lost a lot of people at "forced orgasm." For the rest, I still only recommend this to those with a specific appetite for adult-themed (but not X-rated) SoL stories with little direction or purpose.
Next time: Distorted Perspective, by Vimbert the Unimpressive