Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Fandom Classics Part 57: In Celestia We Trust, All Others Pay Cash

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

After seeing that they'd added a "My Little Pony" category, I tried going a few rounds at it on the smartphone app Quizup.  I quickly discovered that I'm remarkably bad at it for someone who's seen every episode, most of them multiple times.  Ah well; normally I'm pretty good at trivia games, too.

Anyway, my review of Georg's In Celestia We Trust, All Others Pay Cash, below the break.

Impressions before reading:  Hey, comedy!  I like funny things!  Actually, it's not tagged "comedy," which is a little concerning given that the description is pretty clearly of a comic piece.  Not that I should cast stones, given what a poor tagger I am; whether this turns out to be comedy or SoL, I'm mostly just hoping it's enjoyable to read.

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  When she finds herself needing a couple of bits to pay for an ice-cream cone, Celestia discovers that the state of her finances has somewhat deteriorated over the past thousand years.

Thoughts after reading:  Yup, definitely a comedy.

Specifically, a comedy which peddles on a ridiculous premise and steady escalation for its humor.  To his credit, Georg doesn't shy away from either; this is a silly story through and through, and doesn't let itself bog down as it moves through its beats.

However, I do wish that it had taken the time to invest in its humor a little more.  The world of finance is wonderfully opaque and arcane, and while this story does make a few easy jokes along those lines, it largely eschews parody or commentary in favor of the "obvious" joke: that Princess Celestiais is broke.  In fact, those easy jokes almost make the story less enjoyable (for me, at least), because they call attention to what the fic isn't, rather than focusing on what it is: a breezy, don't-think-too-hard-about-it bit of fluff.

There's not much to say here, really.  The story delivers exactly what it promises.  The ponies' behavior isn't terribly believable (the ice cream seller's unwillingness to just spot her the cone would be funnier if more was done with it; as is, it's one in a long line of "just go with it" moments), but this is forgivable insofar as it drives the joke.  This story also has the decency to wrap up before its premise gets stale, which is something far too few fics of the sort seem to manage.  But in the end, All Others Pay Cash is a transient, mild pleasure; good for a smile so long as one doesn't dwell on it, and quickly forgotten.  That's not a terrible thing for a fic to be, but... well, it's quickly forgotten and doesn't bear much thinking about in the first place.  That makes it hard to recommend this with much enthusiasm.


I don't hold anything against this fic--heck, I enjoyed reading it.  But I think one of the hallmarks of a good story of any genre is that it gives the reader something to think about.  Whether that something is a piece of deep, meaningful insight into the human psyche, an increased appreciation for someone or something, or just a warm, fuzzy feeling that you carry around with you for the rest of the day (or a bit of delicious gloom that makes the rest of your day seem brighter by contrast, if it's that kind of story), the best tales are the ones that you take something away from.  This fic entertained, albeit in a "go with it" sort of way, but it didn't do much more.

Recommendation:  Anyone specifically looking for something quick, funny, and not at all heavy should look for this, but those who are seeking a story with a bit more heft (or even just one that holds up to cursory inspection) will want to give it a pass.

Next time:  Forever Is Forever, by Fon Shaolin


  1. Well, that makes me feel better. This one came up 'complete non-entity' for me – the time invested softened only by the fact that it is so much shorter than Princess Celestia Hates Tea and somewhat less raved about.

    Not funny, nor anything else.

  2. Not a bad review. Thanks.

    I intentionally focused more on making it short and sticking with the topic (two things I'm bad about) rather than to expound on side topics because it is exactly that. A short story with one topic. It can be a lot harder to write something in under 3k words than to expound on for a novel, but this one just poured out in an afternoon. I blame a mis-aimed muse.