Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Mini-Reviews Round 78

I know most of you will have seen this already, but there's been a minor kerfuffle recently over a certain website hosting (and charging for) peoples' fanfics without their permission or knowledge.  More information can be found here if you want to make sure your story or stories aren't among the appropriated, along with info on how to get said stories taken down if they are.

Of my stuff, it turns out that The Purloined Pony is available there, at least for the time being.  So, if you've ever wanted to pay for the privilege of reading my fanfic, now's your chance!  Of course, you wouldn't be paying me, but I'm sure the sketchy hippy (an IP check turns up San Francisco; no reason to trust that, particularly, but I like to imagine he's a sketchy hippy (and a he)) who runs the site would appreciate it.

Anyway, reviews!  All after the break, just enter your credit card number in the comment section to view.  I totally promise to bill you*

*Technically, it's not a "bill" if I just empty your account, right?

Together We Can Name This Town, by Justice4243

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Starlight Glimmer gets the ponies of "Our Town" together to communally name the place.  It doesn't go well.

A few thoughts:  Yeah, I read episode hot takes a week too late; what's it to you?  As for the story itself: as you can probably guess from the fact that it came out mere days after the season five premier, this is very much a reactionary fic.  I don't consider that a bad thing, particularly, and in any case, there's some good humor here based around how silly taking the "everypony is equal" concept to its illogical conclusion is ("[S]ome ponies tried to establish some “enforced inequality” regarding town council members being of a ‘certain age’, or ‘literate’, or even ‘able to speak in coherent sentences’, and even ‘potty trained’").  As that example also shows, though, there's some repetitive phrasing throughout the fic, and at it's heart, it's very much a one-note joke.  Even at just under 2300 words, this felt like it could have been shorter; well before the end, the centerpiece idea had been run into the ground.

Recommendation:  It may be one one-note joke, but that doesn't mean it's not funny.  If you're looking for a short work that plays with the ridiculousness of hyper-equality, go ahead and give this a try.  If you aren't interested in a lot of variations on a single theme, though, this probably isn't a good fit for you.

One Fine Day at Quills and Sofas, by MyBoyJ

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  When Twilight discovers that the quills she usually gets from Davenport are now cheap Griffon imports, she goes to ask him about it, and finds that he's involved in something questionable.

A few thoughts:  This is a very oddly put-together story.  While the writing's not bad and the overarching concept is serviceable, there are a lot of seemingly purposeless additions, detours, suppositions, and add-ons, from Spike's out-of-nowhere gusto for learning to play oboe to Twi's casual racism to the ending, in which the story just sort of... stops.  There are several funny moments along the way, but more often the effect was just one of mild strangeness.

Recommendation:  There's one really good bit to this story, I'm going to spoil it here:
     "[...]after all, where would you be without your number one assistant?” Spike confidently asked.
     “I'd be—,” she began.
     “You'd be living in the smoldering ruins of Canterlot under the rule of Nightmare Moon. Having never been the Princess' student, maybe even being a perpetual blank-flank. Scavenging for years-old preserved food during an eternal night. Don't think I haven't thought this through, Twilight,” Spike declared.
Beyond that bit, I'd only recommend this to fans of low-level randomness.

Brontide, by calmcalmcalm

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Cheerilee is feeling unsure of herself, until one of her students teaches her a new word... and a bit of philosophy.

A few thoughts:  I never bought into either of the main characters; Cheerilee and Scootaloo sound almost nothing like themselves throughout.  Beyond that, this is a story of a type I don't particularly care for--something about "wise student imparts revelation upon failing teacher" tends to rub me the wrong way, and in any case this is a story of the type in which story takes a backseat to concept--but the revelation itself is a decent one, and if the presentation is a bit patronizing, it's at least not offensively so.

Recommendation:  If you enjoy simple life lessons, this delivers on that front.  If you're concerned about characterization or story pace, however, it's probably one to pass on.


  1. Thanks for the spoiler! Based on your review, I wouldn't have read the story, but that bit is priceless!

    1. I couldn't help reading Spike's part it in a Scottish accent. It sounds like something out of the Mentally Advanced Series

    2. Spike and Twilight's interactions in MAS were always the best parts.

  2. Totally forgot to say this earlier, but shouldn't you be promising not to bill us?