Friday, November 14, 2014

Mini-Reviews Round 59

At work today, I discovered that a student had carved "YOLO SWAG" into his desk.  Is that still a thing?  Is yolo/swag still something we're doing?  I thought we, as a society, were past this, but our sixth-grade population hasn't gotten the message.  Seriously, is this 2012?  I think not.

Okay, on to fanfic reviews.  Three stories that don't deface school property with out-of-date catchphrases, below the break.

Foreigner, by AugieDog

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Three years removed from her pony-harassing days, Praetor Gilda is in charge of a contingent of griffons guarding an ancient city which no pony has ever set foot in... until today.  And, it turns out, maybe much longer ago, too...

A few thoughts:  This story ends up being a conspiracy/action tale, though that doesn't really come into play until about halfway through; prior to that, it's more of a character/cultural dramedy.  Surprisingly, this transition works pretty well, and both parts of the story play nicely together.  Moreover, the griffon view of ponies which Augie posits is interesting and well-realized.  What I was less impressed with was the staccato pacing; not enough weight is given to things like the pony intrusion into Catlatl (or at least, no character exists to strenuously enough oppose it) to make it feel like it's nearly as big a deal as it seems it ought to be, and there are enough under-stressed events here to make the story's pace feel almost frenetic at times.

Recommendation:  That said, I'd still heartily recommend this to readers who enjoy well-written stuff generally, and who like cross-genre and wide-ranging novellas specifically.

The Lotus Eaters, by horizon

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Four tales of other ponies who...

A few thoughts:  Okay, so: this story is a psuedo-sequel to No Regrets, which I reviewed just recently.  It's also basically impossible to talk about or describe without spoiling No Regrets, so go read that (or read my review, and decide if you care about reading it) before clicking over to The Lotus Eaters.  Anyway, this is a story about four ponies who did that same thing Celestia did, and how they felt/acted when they were done.  It's an odd beast; the stories are mostly humorous, but vary widely in tone and scope.  It's not really a story, or even four stories, so much as it is a bit of conceptual playing-around; a chance to go, "what if...?" with a few fun or interesting characters.

Recommendation:  I definitely don't recommend this independent of No Regrets, but if you read that story and wondered what hmm-hmm were up to before shhaaahh, this will offer a few takes on that question in several tones.  I'd recommend it not as a sequel or direct follow-up, but more as an add-on of questionable canonicity.

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Now that Discord's back and sorta-reformed, Prince Blueblood demands that he return Blueblood's wings which he stole a thousand years ago.

A few thoughts:  This was a perfectly serviceable, if predictable, story.  In fact, it was rather better-written than I expect of a typical monopremise short story, and it had a few genuinely funny moments.  But it's still certainly true that this is a single joke, ultimately.  I was a little disappointed, actually; at one point, I thought the story might dive into Blueblood's questionable past a little bit, but instead if romps off on an extended chain-of-favors quest which is serviceable, but not much more.

Recommendation:  If you're looking for a story "of this type," this is an above-average example.  It doesn't do anything to make it worth recommending to someone not looking for a short, single-theme vehicle, though.


  1. I dunno, the premise of that last one sounds fantastic. Also, it's 2222 words long!

  2. 1) Your "Foreigner" link is broken.

    2) I consider it a collection of themed vignettes, kind of like the Machine of Death anthologies. (I actually wrote a bonus MoD minific in comments to Lotus Eaters, if that's any extra incentive to click through to it!)

    3) Pretty much agreed. Pleasant reading for what it is, but could have been better if it had allowed itself to run to even more outrageous places with its premise.


    1. "Themed vignettes" is a much better and more elegant phrasing than I came up with, yes. I seem to be losing my verbal touch.

      Also, thanks for catching the screw-up on the link; it should be fixed now.

  3. Thanks for the:

    Kind words. I've lately been wondering if the frenetic pace of my stuff is more a bug than a feature. As much as I continue to enjoy putting together that sort of thing--a romp, I think is the word TheJediMasterEd has used to describe several of my stories--trying something slower and more thoughtful might not be a bad thing... :)