Monday, September 29, 2014

Fandom Classics Part 73: Melt

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

My cat has figured out how to close my laptop screen by head-butting it while balancing on my knees.  On one hand, I marvel at his ingenuity.  On the other, he seems to be doing it just for fun--it's not like he's necessarily looking for a lap, sometimes he'll push down my screen and then hop off and wander away--and it's getting old pretty fast.  Plus, it just makes writing these reviews take longer when I've got one more interruption, even if it is a cute and fuzzy one.

So, ambion's Melt.  Review below the break, as always.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Fandom Classics Part 72: The Assumption of Applejack -or- Appletheosis

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

I was thinking about fashion, recently.  I'm pretty fashion-blind, but even I can date a show or movie to within a decade or two based solely on the hairstyles of the female characters.  And yet, if you asked me to describe modern female hairstyles using the same kind of adjectives I could apply to 70's hair or 80's hair, I'd be at a total loss.  I mean, I flipped on the TV just now and went channel surfing to see what I could come up with, and I've got nothing.  Looks like I may have to wait twenty years or so before I can tell what modern hair looks like.

Anyhoo, my review of Blue Print's The Assumption of Applejack -or- Appletheosis, below the break.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Mini-Reviews Round 52

It's been a good week for my writing, this has.  First, I managed to snag a tie for first in the Writeoff--there were a lot of good stories in the mix, and I honestly didn't feel to positive about my entry, but as a policy I try to take all praise at face value.  Those of you who like seeing me write stuff can look forward to (a fixed-up version of) The Sweetest Water being posted soon, by which I mean "hopefully in the next couple of weeks, we'll see how it goes."

Second, xjuggernaughtx pointed out to me a couple of days ago that my fanfic Going Up is currently on the first page of FiMFic's "Top - All Time" list!  I'm not entirely sure how that list is calculated (only one other story in the top ten has less than 10,000 views), but that's pretty darn neat to me.  So, thank you to all of you who continue to like it when I write things: you make me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

But enough about me!  Let's look at some of the fanfics I've recently read, below the break.

Monday, September 22, 2014

A Quick Trip Down Ponyfic Memory Lane

You know, I've got my problems with FiMFiction (still no bookshelves system; the Feature Box is, well, the Feature Box; people are allowed to clog up their page with a trillion .gifs so that I can barely load the dang thing; etc.), but on the whole it's a pretty nice setup.  I don't know of any other fanfiction site--pony or not--that combines it's ease of use, readability, and social features, and even if the thing's not perfect, it's a fair sight better than any other fanfiction platform I'm familiar with.

But I want to talk about the Before Times, or rather, about one specific aspect of them: filled-up Gdocs.  Those of you who've been around for a few years no doubt remember those, but some newer fanficcers might not know what I'm talking about.  So, indulge me as I ramble about the old days, below the break.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Mini-Reviews Round 51

Today's post was going to be my review of The Assumption of Applejack -or- Appletheosis... until I went to type it up and realized that I'd read the wrong story again.  Stupid FiMFic authors need to stop giving their fanfics similar names; it's Daring DONE!/Daring Don't all over again!

That being the case, we're doing a round of mini-reviews today so I have time to go read the story I'm supposed to be reviewing.  And naturally, we're leading off with...

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Writeoff Menagerie

Well, I'm back to being behind.  I spent most of the weekend rushing to get a story done for the There Is Magic In Everything Writeoff, and then far more time than I intended over the last few days reviewing all the entries.  This was the first time I'd done a three-day, 2000+ word writeoff, and... well, that is not the speed I normally work at.  The end result has a few glaring, painful mistakes (I don't think I'm giving anything away by saying that; most of the entries have a dumb slip-up or three.  Par for the course with a time crunch, I guess), and needs some polish before I'll be happy with it... but I think I'll end up being able to turn it into a new fic, so I'm counting that as a plus!

Now, normally this is where I'd tell you to go read those stories and review them in the thread I linked above and/or vote on them, but 90,000 words by Sunday is a pretty tall order.  So instead, I've grouped all the stories into broad categories below!  Some are genres, some are stylistic similarities... basically, I tried to put three fics which all shared some significant features into each category.  If 23 stories is too much, consider seeing if one or two of the categories below appeals to you, and sample from those!  Or read all the fics in one category and see how they compare.  Do whatever you like with them, really; I'm just trying to provide some more manageable chunks for people who'd like to read some fanfic, but aren't interested in committing to tackling the whole list.  Check out my story groups, below the break.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Fandom Classics Part 71: Life on the Frontier

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

For those of you who aren't keeping track of such things, this month's writeoff will have entered the voting phase around the time this post goes up.  If you want to do some reading and/or voting and/or reviewing, check out the entries and see what you think!  Or, if you're just here for me to tell you what I think, check out my review of Starwind Dood's Life on the Frontier, below the break.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Mini-Reviews Round 50

Let's call this the Outside Insight not-even-close-to-a-wrapup: four stories, all of which are from that contest, that I've read recently for fun (as opposed to for Fandom Classics or for the RCL--I've read at least a couple for the latter, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if one or two eventually end up on the former).  Click on down below the break to see what I read, and what I thought of it.  Them.  Whatever.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Fandom Classics Part 70: Twilight's List

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

Over the past few years, I seem to have developed a weakness for tattoo-themed reality competitions.  I mean, I keep watching them, and while I'm usually only half paying attention, they're still something I keep up with.  There's just something horrifyingly compelling about the idea of people being willing to get themselves permanently marked by contestants of uncertain skill, working under strict time limits in a foreign, unfriendly setting.  Getting a tattoo is one thing, but getting one on a reality competition is a whole different level of dedicated/idiotic.

So, yeah.  That out of the way, let's move on to my review of kits' Twilight's List, below the break.

EDIT: Because I can't figure out how to put multiple spoiler tags in the text without one overwriting the other's text, the rating today is unspoilered.  Just a heads-up, if you're one of those "don't want to see it until I've finished reading the review" folks.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Cleaning Up After, Um, Myself

Sometimes, not thinking ahead can make a mess of things.  Case in point: my mini-reviews.

See, I started doing them back when I still had plenty of 6-star stuff to get through, when the Fandom Classics that you've all come to know and blindly adore weren't even conceived yet.  As such, the first dozen or so mini-reviews had some pretty major stories in them, because they weren't 6-starred and I didn't realize I might want to "save" them for later.  For example, Hard Reset, The Flight of the Alicorn, and The Keepers of Discord are all scattered in thereabouts.

Now, I could just leave well enough alone, but several times now I've had people ask why I've never reviewed one of those stories (and probably one or two others that I don't remember off the top of my head) or suggest them for me to do a "real" review of.  I mean, it's kind of silly that some of the biggest stories in the fandom don't get on my list, when said list is ostensibly about looking at the biggest stories in the fandom.  And the mini-reviews... I mean, it's not like I don't try when I'm writing them, but those are fics I read casually; the depth isn't there, and my comments are more "biggest impressions" than "here's what did and didn't work for me" (also, no stars.  I know some of you love those stars).  So, I'm looking for some suggestions: what should I do with the big stories that got mini-reviewed?  My options as I see them are:
1) Do nothing.  This is what I've done so far.  Pros: it's the least amount of work.  Cons: see above paragraph. 
2) Throw some of the big stories up on the fandom classics list, maybe in an "other" or "N/A" category at the bottom.  Pros: only slightly more work than #1.  Cons: doesn't really address the issues; more "shunts then to the side, says 'eh, good enough.'" 
3) Re-review the stories as Fandom Classics.  Pros: results in reviews of those stories!  Cons: to do it properly, I'd need to re-read and re-review those stories, which is fine in and of itself (I've re-read plenty of stories for Fandom Classics or 6-Star Reviews), but probably means retreading areas I've already covered.
So again, I'd like to get some suggestions.  Does one of those stick out to you?  Do you have some brilliant alternative (no sarcasm; brilliant alternatives would be welcome)?  If you've got any sort of opinion, I'd love to hear it.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Mini-Reviews Round 49

Good news: while doing some start-of-the-school-year cleaning, I found a few fanfics I read and wrote some comments to myself about last year that got filed away with my work stuff (sometimes I print fanfics to read; deal with it).  So, here are some 3+ months-late reviews!  Get 'em below the break.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Fandom Classics Part 69: The Celestia Code

To read the story, click the image or follow this link
Heh, sixty-nine.

...Okay, I've got it out of my system.  Do your giggling up here, then click down below for my review of iisaw's The Celestia Code.

Monday, September 1, 2014

"Whoppers Junior," However, Remains the Epitome of Class

Yeah, so, no reviews today.  I'll be back in business Wednesday, but this weekend's turning out to be a long one in both senses of the word for me.  Yay Labor Day!  Boo things that require actual effort out of Chris!

If you're looking for something to read in the meantime, well, I'm sure I don't need to remind you all that EqD is doing there Outside Insight thing, and although the winners should be announced any day now, there are plenty of good stories in the mix.  Read them all, and find out which are worth the time!

...No?  Okay, lucky for you, there are a few people who've risen to the challenge.  Both Present Perfect and InquisitorM have both taken it upon themselves to read and review every single one of the hundred-odd fics involved!  In PP's words, that's "1.09 Fallouts Equestria" (I'm pretty sure that should be "Fallout Equestrias" since "Equestria" isn't really an adjective in that title, but I'll admit that PP's way looks way classier), so if for some reason you aren't already reading either of their blog posts, go check those out.  And, if you know of anyone else who's managed to review everything, let me know and I'll toss their names up here, too!

Anyway, that oughtta keep y'all busy.  I've found some good ones through the two of them--a couple I've mentioned in previous mini-reviews, and a few more will probably show up in upcoming installments--so go try their words about horsewords on for size.