Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Fandom Classics Part 58: Forever Is Forever

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

My sister was recently overseas, and (mostly to make fun of my pony interest, I'm guessing), she got me a Croatian pony magazine as a present.  Joke's on her, though; it came with a little plastic Rainbow Dash that actually looks pretty decent.  He'll be hanging out by the computer for now.

Speaking of Rainbow Dash, get some Dash (and Applejack) stuff with my review of Fon Shaolin's Forever Is Forever, below the break.

Impressions before reading:  Well, the fic's description reads, "I debated on updating this or changing it or even not posting it, but a quick google search showed that a lot of people still remember this (bad) fan fiction of mine and wondered where it went. Therefore, I'm posting it here unaltered so you won't have to dig around for it anymore."  So... yeah, that's not inspiring a lot of confidence going in.  I appreciate that he put it up, though (the story, that is); I've got some stories I feel kind of the same way about, in fact.  Still, I'd feel better about this if there was at least some description in that description.

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  An elderly Applejack accompanies her daughter and granddaughter to see the still-new Princesses and their advisers in Canterlot at the Summer Sun Celebration--despite the unresolved issues that still lie between them.

Thoughts after reading:  I was kind of afraid from the description that this would be some barely-coherent pile of mush.  After reading, I'm happy to report that isn't the case.  However, there are some pretty noticeable issues here, it's true.

While the editing is fairly good, and character dialogue is pleasantly on-point and distinct, the narrative voice is dull and prone to interrupting the flow of the story with various interjections about characters' backstory or bits of worldbuilding.  I don't mind either of those things in principle, of course, but the placement of those elements was often an issue.

On a larger level, I wasn't terribly impressed with the way that this fic dealt with immortality.  A lot of stories, including this one, assume that princessdom=immortality (by the by, this is an old fanfic; written during season one, I believe.  Make sure you adjust your "what we know about princesses/alicorns/etc." expectations accordingly).  A surprising number, including this one, make the assumption that not only are princesses immortal, but that they can dole out immortality to whomever they chose... and that they chose to make few or no ponies immortal, and that everypony is more or less okay with this state of affairs.  That right there doesn't pass the smell test; indeed, it gives me more than a whiff of "not thinking one's premise all the way through."

If you can get past that premise, there is some nicely depressing drama here, but again, the reasons why Applejack's being so stubborn don't necessarily hold up logically as well as they do in terms of story-needs.  But with that caveat, this fic does a good job of creating the mood it sets out to, and readers looking for an evocation of sadness will find it here.  Moreover, although the scenario may not lend itself to permitting reader credulity, it's also fair to say that (except possibly for the last revelation, which some might find to be one too many plot conveniences) it doesn't cloyingly tug at the reader's strings without earning any emotional investment, as so many "sadfics" are wont to do.

Star rating:

While it's certainly got its flaws, there is a certain uncomplicated charm to this story.  It might be a bit clunky, and perhaps it doesn't hold up to much scrutiny, but there is a sense of emotional honesty to it which is refreshing.

Recommendation:  Anyone who's going to be put off by a bunch of retroactively uncanon stuff can give this a pass, obviously (you guys probably have more stuff you can't read than can, four seasons in).  For the rest, this might be worth a look if you're interested in something somber from the early days of the fandom, but readers looking for something that holds up under consideration will want to look elsewhere.

Next time:  The Irony of Applejack, by Mister Friendly


  1. Hate to break it to ya, Chris, but Rainbow Dash is a mare

    Passing on retroactively uncanon works sounds like an easy way to lighten the queue, but it completely goes against my (archival?) instincts. I'd rather restrict my choices based on quality concerns anyway

    1. Weird, I just unintentionally bypassed the CAPTCHA system. Didn't work twice, though

    2. Clearly, Chris was referring to the Rainbow Dash toy in the same way that a boat owner might refer to their boat, only with the gender swapped. He must subconsciously feel that Croatian pony figurines are intrinsically masculine for some reason. *nods head sagely*

      I wonder how many people actually mind stories that contradict the canon post publishing. I appreciate having it pointed out because it prevents some confusion, but I haven’t been pulled out of a story because of it. Then again, if I saw every single episode of the show before ever reading fan fiction, I’d probably feel differently.
      - TorpidBerg

    3. Picky as I am, that's one thing that doesn't bother me. In the end, if it made sense at the time it'll make sense later, canon or otherwise. Half the problem is that they don't always make sense at the time and that amplifies the mess by an order of magnitude.

      Here, the problem was mostly that the older mares were still emotionally retarded cretins who couldn't have a real conversation to save their lives. It doesn't make for good reading.

    4. Stories that contradict canon are usually a-okay in most people's books, or at least I don't know a single person who dislikes that. The only exception is pre-S2 Luna, because that angsty OC that 90% of ponywriters chose to portray can get really tiring.

      But then again, if people can enjoy an AU, I don't see why something that made sense in its time but is against canon at the moment would be bad. Hell, my most popular story is about Velvet being Daring Do's author, and that got doomed like a month after publishing, so there's that.

      Now, about the story, I think I'll give this one a pass. I don't really like when fics do that "the Princesses can turn anypony immortal and nopony really gives a damn" thing. It's just a little too much for me. Then again, princesshood = immortality is also a pet peeve of mine, so I wasn't going to read this one anyway : P

    5. Personally, I only recently got done reading Paradise, and it was the best fic I've read for quite a long time, despite being very far from the current state of canon.

    6. There are definitely people out there who don't like to read retroactively un-canonned fanfics. In my experience, they mostly don't mind stuff that was written after they joined the fandom, even if it contradicts later canon, but some readers don't like stuff from before they hopped on the bandwagon (e.g. I don't know of anyone who watched MLP prior to the S2 finale who minds old stories where Celestia and Luna are the only two alicorns ever to live; I know at least two people who got on later who do).

      Personally, un-cannoned stuff doesn't bother me a bit, but if some readers would rather avoid it, I figure that's up to them.

  2. You got that Croatian Rainbow Dash I am so jealous D:

  3. A good review, as usual. Based on the issues you outline, I'll probably give this one a pass, (I can't stand intrusive narrating, and that immortality trope is getting old too) but it doesn't sound as bad as SOME I've read.

    Also, there were two errors I noticed:

    "I don't mind either of those things in principal"

    Principle. While we're on it, "character" is misspelled in the prior sentence.

    "(except possibly for the last revelation, which some might to be one too many plot conveniences)"

    I know there's a word missing in here after the "might", but I don't know which idiosyncratic verb you intended to place there. "Believe"? "Consider"?

    "The Irony of Applejack"

    Ooh, this is going to be interesting, all right! :-)

    1. Thanks! Imma go clean those up now.

      Somehow, a thousand words without a stupid mistake or three seems to be a bit too much for me... must be a character flaw.