Friday, November 20, 2015

Mini-Reviews Round 106

I spent all day stacking firewood, and now my back hurts.  I know that's not a big surprise, but I'm still not altogether used to being sore after doing things.  I really hope it doesn't mean I'm getting old.  From what I've seen, getting old is awful, and the only thing worse is the alternative.

Anyway, get some short-form reviews, below the break.

I Can't Stay For Long, by naturalbornderpy

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Sweetie Belle shows up at Rarity's house in the middle of the school day, acting very strangely.

A few thoughts:  This story is thoroughly and entirely devoid of subtlety, which made it a miss for me.  I knew what the plot was going to be just from the title and description (mine is, if anything, less suggestive than the author's), and the story is basically just two thousand words of portentous foreshadowing.  With that said, the actual writing wasn't bad--just extremely heavy-handed.  And since the entire story is built around the reveal and re-framing the conversation which precedes it, there's really not any other draw here.

Recommendation:  I suspect this will be more successful with younger and/or less experienced readers.  That is to say, readers who haven't seen this kind of story many times before, in both original and fan-fiction.  For them, this might pack some punch; for more experienced readers, it's likely to prove too obvious for its own good.

Lest We Remember, by KingMoriarty

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  A soldier from a war that never happened remembers atrocities that were never committed.

A few thoughts:  There's some really lovely imagery in this story ("His coat, his mane and even his scraggly excuse for a beard are as gray as looming rain clouds. His eyes were once the piercing gray of polished steel, but they have dulled over the years and become the gray of discarded nails. He so scarcely opens his mouth that some believe even his tongue is gray, and when he does, his words are so gray that they make him seem as though he is gleaming alabaster white"), and although the author sometimes edges toward stock imagery, there's enough originality and thought here to keep this from feeling like a paint-by-numbers (post)warfic.  The thing that held me back from enjoying this was the total lack of Equestrian-ness (Equestrianity?) in both the premise, and the presentation of Celestia specifically.  That Celestia's behavior isn't what we see in the show may be kind of the point, but both her cold pragmatism and lack of actionable empathy were too far removed from her canon personality for me to buy.

Recommendation:  For those who don't mind stories far removed from both the tone and lore of MLP, this is an elegant and chilling look at the price of forgetting.  Check the publication date: this is a rare pony-themed Veteran's Day fic which doesn't feel lazy, ill-advised, or both.

Post-Posthumous, by totallynotabrony

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Rainbow Dash breaks her neck during a high-speed collision with the ground.  Then, she gets to hang around above her body and watch her friends screw everything about her death up.

A few thoughts:  This is one of those revels-in-its-own-stupidity pieces of character- and setting-destruction, and if I say that I didn't much care for it, it's also fair to say that those aren't usually my cuppa.  I did admire how the story managed to constantly escalate, and I can certainly see the humor in Dash treating death as an annoyance rather than a disaster, but most of the jokes here are grounded in flaunting or simply ignoring things like "characterization" or "common sense," rather than in reflecting twisted versions of the same, which is more to my taste.  Also, the punchline isn't worth it, even as a groan-inducer.

Recommendation:  If "random character-and-setting-destruction" is more your speed than it is mine, this might be worth a look.  I wouldn't recommend it outside of those interested in that specifically, however.


  1. "... and the only thing worse is the alternative."

    I dunno, seems a bit mixed to me. Starts out crappy, but you've got a pretty good 30-year run in the middle, and you could date increasingly younger men/women (sorry, I don't know your preference). Kinda sucks when your son starts making you call him "uncle", though

    1. I thought the alternative was death.

  2. I don't know why so many old people put up with it, to be honest. Back in the day, we used to gather adventuring parties and quest to find the Fountain of Youth when this started to be a problem. People these days just have no motivation to do anything.