While I was sick and homebound earlier this week, I decided to make use of some of that free time to look up a few "dead" fics, and see if maybe they'd updated without my noticing. I don't know why I thought that was a good idea; they hadn't, of course, and then I felt sad. Smart move, Chris.
Anyway, in lieu of something more taxing, today I put together a top-5 list of abandoned or indefinitely-hiatused fics that I miss. Not necessarily the ones I consider "the best," even considering the list is (mostly) limited to stories I've read, but the ones I most wish would pick back up. Click below the break for a countdown.
Honorable Mention: It's Not Where You Go... by Cottonmouth
Okay, so this story wasn't really very well written. And the author was quite often personally unpleasant. And he was a serial fic-abandoner. But this one gets a mention because dangit, Snails running away from home to learn magic from Trixie is a great idea, and the idea of this fic carried me a long way. This was early enough in my fandom days (looking at dates, a bit over four months after I started watching MLP) that fanfics were still shiny and new, and long ones that were at least semi-competent were a rarity.
You know what? I still like the idea of this fic. I wish I at least had a summary of the missing chapters--that'd probably be enough closure for me.
5. The First Prince, by Chaucer345
So, I'm a sucker for Blueblood stories, I guess. Anyway, this one was told in a series of flashbacks, as Celestia related to Blueblood the tale of the first pony of his name. Full of politics, big personalities, and a little bit of character development. The writing was a little on the rough side, but a quick glance at the commenters dropping praise (in addition to me, there's Cold in Gardez, LadyMoondancer, and Wanderer D, and it wasn't a fic with a large readership) reassures me that my missing this isn't just the rose-tinted glasses talking.
4. The Canterlot Follies, by LadyMoondancer
I also want the author to come back and write more of Gobbling and Other Traditional Pursuits, while I'm at it. This story doesn't rate higher on the list because its chapters are self contained enough that one could stop reading where she abandoned it... but that doesn't stop me from wishing for more.
3. The Tragic Story of Twilight Sparkle, or, Twilight, by (A) Fistful of Apples
Unlike the first three, where the author seems to be gone for good, Apples is still putting around the fandom. He even put up a blog post recently in which he assures us that Twilight hasn't been abandoned... there's just no progress on it, and no definite plans for progress. And the last update was about a year ago. In a way, that almost hurts more--that niggling hope that it'll come back some day eats at you far more than the certainty of a dead fic does. Anyway, this story does some of the best mixing of hard sci-fi and magic talking horses I've ever seen, all while exploring the way that knowledge can change a person.
2. Luna's Goodwill Tour, by WTFHIW
The only fic on this list which I haven't read, and it's in the penultimate spot. Why? Because, to this day, I get occasional e-mails from people asking me when I'm going to review it (it was a six-star story), or if I know if the author's still working on it. To the best of my knowledge (it's been months since I talked to him), Mr. HIW still hasn't 100% abandoned this fic, and I hope that's still true; I've heard literally nothing but good things about it, have a lot of respect for the author's skills, and would love nothing more than an excuse to review the completed product. For now, though, I'll just keep holding off, like I always have.
1. As the Sun Sets, by Mystic
A classic epic adventure, full of grand emotions, heavy Tolkien undertones, and all-around Chris fodder. The last update was over a year ago, and the author hasn't visited FiMFic in about half a year. Like with #2, I'm hoping that this fic isn't quite dead (Mystic was getting slammed with studies... maybe he'll come back over the summer? Maybe?), but it looks like this one's forever going to be left on one hell of a cliffhanger.
...And there we go! Even without getting into fics I haven't read or don't have any investment in, there are a bunch of stories I left off. Some I wasn't all that interested in to begin with (e.g. The Ballad of Twilight Sparkle (which, to be fair, had some pretty funny bits early on)), some I liked, but was more trepidatious than excited for the endings of (e.g. the Secret Tub Fun series), and others I've just come to terms with the abandonment of better than others (e.g. Fair Feather Friend, Administration is Magic).
I don't read a lot of incomplete fics these days--I've got more than enough to read just sticking to finished fics!--but every now and then, one will suck me in. Dropped stories are one of the hazards of fandom reading, and while I understand that real life and/or lack of desire can intrude (I've abandoned stories before, though none since ponies (and I plan to keep it that way, if only by writing mostly one-shots)), that doesn't make it hurt less when something you're really looking forward to never shows up.