First, a notice: for unexpected, personal reasons, there will be no post on Friday. I'll either resume normal posting on Monday, or put up another notice before then, depending on the circumstances.
I had a few mini-reviews already typed up, though, so I'm going to go ahead and post them. Below the break, as usual.
A Hiccup in Time, by Pascoite
Zero-ish spoiler summary: Twilight's figured out how to effectively use her time-travel spell, so long as she doesn't go back too far. Unfortunately, temporal magic and hiccups turn out not to mix...
A few thoughts: By far, my favorite thing about this story is the fact that the various incarnations of Twilight, and their interactions, hang together if you think about them enough (or, more likely, too much). Without delving into the details, Twilight meets herself a lot, and while this technically isn't a time-loop story (the past is fluid rather than fixed despite her interacting with her "past" selves, so it's more of a time baklava, really), you can track the actions of the Twis who've been through x number of times and figured out y, z, and h, and they all make sense from "her" perspective. The story itself has some nicely comic moments, but is mostly an excuse to create a Gordian Knot and then unravel it... but excuse plots are nothing new in short-storydom (see: Asimov, Issac), and the excuse here is more than enjoyable enough to justify reading.
Recommendation: This is definitely one to check out if you're into logic puzzles with a bit of fiction wrapped around them, or if you like time play in general.
Glimmerhorn Vale, by Abalidoth
Zero-ish spoiler summary: Twilight meets with her personal student in a special place, to teach her a bit about the nature of Unicorn magic--and for ulterior purposes, as well.
Thoughts after reading: This story was a real disappointment for me, because through the first half or so, there's a lot of potential for interesting worldbuilding (lest the "student" thing give you the wrong idea, this story was written long before Twi's alicornification), and I was looking forward to finding out more about that side of the story. Unfortunately, the story doesn't really resolve any of its worldbuilding in a satisfying way; the questions left are more frustrating than conducive to immersive sub-creation. Also, I was really hoping this wasn't going to turn into second-act shipping... and it did. Not aggressively in-your-face illogical shipping, granted, but "why is this even here?" is only a short step up from that.
Recommendation: People who aren't put off by pointless shipping may be able to enjoy the first act for the great setup without finding the ending to be too much of a letdown, but I'd still have trouble recommending this to most readers.
The Collected Poems of Maud Pie, by Titanium Dragon
Zero-ish spoiler summary: The title on this one is pretty self-explanatory: twenty of Maud's rock-themed poems.
Thoughts after reading: I absolutely loved this collection. A collection of Maud poems could easily turn into an extended one-note joke, but the author here doesn't fall into that trap. The collection opens with pieces which play to that single joke, before branching out into new and unexpected avenues--from the comically surprising author's note in Soil to the surprisingly serious Farming Rocks. There are a lot of pleasant surprises in this collection--and with most of the poems coming in at only a few dozen words, they make great bite-sized bits of fiction.
Recommendation: With quick-turnaround stories like this, I always wonder about staying power; will this collection still resonate with FIM fans in a month? In a year? For now, though, as we sit less than a week out from the episode in question, I'm comfortable saying that this is likely to be an enjoyable expansion for anyone who enjoyed the show's poem gag.