Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Mini-Reviews Round 38

The next two weeks are busy ones for me, as we come to the end of the school year.  Luckily, I think I've got enough stuff to write about to get me through without interruption.  Like today's post, for example!  Click down below the break for a look at my thoughts on a few fics I've recently read.

Filly Do and the Temple of Groceries., by MoltenXKid

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  A young Daring Do Goes on a grocery run with her mother raids an ancient temple with the help of her trusty sidekick.

A few thoughts:  In terms of concept, you probably know what you're in for coming into this: a lot of playing around with childlike imagination/actual events dichotomies.  And on that front, it's fine (though the "canon" ending is too much for me; I much preferred the alternate ending given as a second chapter).  Unfortunately, that odd period in the title is indicative of the larger work: in terms of punctuation, word use, capitalization, phrasing, and pretty much everything else remotely technical in nature, this fic leaves a lot to be desired.

Recommendation:  If you aren't put off by writing problems, this one's perfectly legible, and it does deliver on its premise with competence.  If these kind of stories are your thing, it's an otherwise fine example of the type.

Blinded by Fashion, by Esle Ynopemos

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Rarity suffers a minor mishap, which leaves her temporarily blind.  The good news is that she'll be better in a few days.  The bad news is that she's got a dress to create, and it can't wait.

A few thoughts:  This story got a lot better once I forced myself to stop comparing it to Bitter Harvest, the only other story of the author's that I've read (and a wonderful fic in case that wasn't clear).  Fashion suffers in several places from comedy-less conveniences, by which I mean things which happen to move the plot forward, but which aren't particularly funny by themselves.  These kind of connecting scenelets may get you to the next funny thing, but they create a sense of unevenness in the work overall.  That notwithstanding, though, I did enjoy this story.  Rarity's panic comes through very nicely, the comic setpieces all work well (though some were a little too entendre-y for my taste, they were still well-executed), and although the broad strokes of the story and resolution are no secret to anyone who's even paying a moderate amount of attention as they read, enough of the details of how those strokes unfold are unique or interesting to keep the story engaging.

Recommendation:  Anyone looking for a low-stakes comedy with a solid mix of character humor, setpieces, and misinterpretation should give this a try.

The Library of Discord, by Chinchillax

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  After he reneges on his promise to play nice, the girls are forced to turn Discord back into stone.  But when they do, they discover that Spike is missing, and somepony's going to have to go into the draconequus's mind to find out what he's done with him...

A few thoughts:  History time!  Back in the misty days of the internet, by which I mean the late 90's, there was this site called Book-A-Minute.  Go check it out, it was good stuff.  Anyway, one of my favorite entries was for Isaac Asimov's I, Robot, reproduced here in full:

Isaac Asimov:  Here's a logic puzzle thinly disguised as a story.
Reader:  Hooray!

Replace "logic puzzle" with "mind-bending math," and you've got a pretty good description of this fic.  As a story, it has a lot of conceptual problems, not the least of which is how strikingly out of character Discord seems to be at the end (story events notwithstanding).  But man, there's a lot of really neat math here, and the author does a great job of making huge numbers, distances, and concepts accessible.

Recommendation:  It says that Book-A-Minute last updated in 2012.  Huh; I just kind of assumed it had been dead for at least a decade.

...Anyway,I'd say that Library is a good one to give a chance to if you like early Asimov.  If you found his shorts unexceptional, though, this is going to suffer the same kinds of problems.


  1. The prologue for The Library of Discord seems extremely familiar. I swear I've read that exact scenario in another ponyfic before

  2. I've read these last two!

    I enjoyed Blinded by Fashion much like I enjoy almost all of Esle's stuff. It's definitely and older fic though and Esle has improved as a writer since.

    The Library of Discord was less impressive to me mostly because of those aforementioned conceptual problems. The math stuff didn't impress me, I guess because I'm quite used to doing such calculations.

    Word of the Day: Renege.