Monday, November 18, 2013

Mini-Reviews Round 22

A short one this time.  You all know the routine; click down below the break for some short reviews of short fanfics.

Unprofessionalism At Its Finest, by RainbowBob

What it is:  An incompetent squad of night guard trainees are sent out to patrol Canterlot's streets.

A few thoughts:  First thought: how does a story that made the feature box, written by a guy who has 1700 followers, only have 200 views after two weeks?  As for the story itself: it reads more like a rough draft than a finished product.  This is true from a technical standpoint (despite a dozen pre-readers being credited, spelling and grammar errors are constant), and from a story construction standpoint.  The batponies' backbiting is funny enough, but the motivations and other non-comic characterization elements on which the dramatic moments of the fic rely aren't developed well enough to give those moments any, well, drama.

Recommendation:  This story did have some funny moments, but readers looking for a polished product will want to look elsewhere.  Also, those put off by pony drinking, swearing, and what have you are warned that those are all present here.

Let Them Eat Cake, by Ogopogo

What it is:  Celestia internally monologues about cake.

A few thoughts:  I didn't finish this story.  Stories which are nothing but a character narrating to the reader are hard to pull off, and this one lacked much sense of purpose; it's just Celestia reminiscing about cake, and how it ties into her past, her appearance, and her personality.  Couple the lack of direction with what I felt was some mediocre characterization of Celestia (she comes across more as a rambling grandmother than anything else), and I found the story didn't hold my interest.

Recommendation:  Although I may not have been sold on the voicing, this story does a good job of weaving a lot of little bits of characterization in as it goes along.  Readers looking for that, and who don't mind a bit of directionlessness, might enjoy this.

Ponyville & Other Poems, by AugieDog

What it is:  A collection of poems by and about Equestria(ns), written in a variety of traditional styles.

A few thoughts:  For reasons that have never been entirely clear to me, lots of people have tremendous difficulty counting syllables and/or figuring out stressed and unstressed syllables.  So, the fact that the venerable Mr. Dog can write a sonnet which has the proper rhythm and rhyme scheme is a rare pleasure in the world of fanfiction all by itself.

There's nothing that ties these poems together, and only some of them have a meta-context which explains their existence (the sonnet is explicity written by Twilight; the limerick set, on the other hand, is in AJ's voice and from AJ's POV, but isn't obviously intended to have been written by AJ), so there's not a lot of overarching connection between the "chapters."  That said, I still enjoyed the poems as individual elements, even though they weren't really part of a larger whole.

Recommendation:  This is a good one for fans of well-constructed poetry, though readers looking for a "story," rather than a series of short, unconnected bits of verse, will be more happy seeking out a prose story.

Cloud Stories, by Bob from Bottles

What it is:  Derpy, Pinkie Pie, and Sweetie Belle explain to Rainbow Dash how an entire storm's worth of clouds vanished during Dash's ten-minute break.

Recommendation:  Bob writes wonderfully comic stories, and this story has some wonderful comedy.  All three storytellers show an endearing unawareness of the gaps in their sometimes-nonsensical logic.  This is normally where I'd say something negative about the story, but nothing comes to mind.  This is a short, lighthearted jaunt through a day-in-the-life misadventure of the sort Ponyville seems to be regularly bedeviled by, and the multiple narrators added a nice touch.  Though, come to think of it, the way that the POV transitions were handled wasn't 100% consistent, so I guess there's that.  Okay, I've got my negative in.

Recommendation:  Anyone interested in a goofy but not random SOL/comedy should definitely give this a look.


  1. Cloud Stories! I quite enjoyed that one. Bob is one of the few who consistently produces truly wholesome stuff, and it's refreshing compared to the tons of [Teen][Sex] stuff out there.

    1. Guessing you mean Bob from Bottles, not RainbowBob :P

  2. Read Cloud Stories awhile back (good story, but Pinkie's characterization could've been better), so it looks like I'll only be adding one fic - Augie's - this round. I should probably make tomorrow a reading day, seeing as both my reading and music queues have been growing lately

  3. For reasons that have never been entirely clear to me, lots of people have tremendous difficulty counting syllables and/or figuring out stressed and unstressed syllables.




    But you totally sold me on Augie's poetry now. :B Cloud Stories is really amazing, too.

  4. Oh, how I'm grinning right now!

    Writing Ponyfic is a labor of love--legally, it can't be anything else--but writing Pony poetry, seems to me, hasta be a couple circles deeper even than that on the Venn Diagram of Obsessions.

    But, yeah, this is all about me doing the Pony version of the Spoon River Anthology when you get right down to it. Because you can add Ponies to anything!

    Of course, all the Spoon River poems are supposed to be free-verse graveyard epitaphs while mine will all be fixed-form and a tad more sprightly in theme, but still... :)

    Thanks, Chris!


    1. You are, of course, altogether welcome :)

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  6. Cloud Stories was good. I liked Cloud Stories.