Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Mini-Reviews Round 122

Any of you who like to download stories to an e-reader and are tired of FiMFic's broken epub downloads, take note: FiMFetch is a site that offers souped-up story searching for, and as a nifty bonus, comes with fully-functional epub and mobi downloads.  Handy stuff!

And, if you're looking for a story to try it out with, perhaps you can see if one of the stories below works for you.  Check out my thoughts on them, below the break.

The Guard Dog Paradox, by Metool Bard

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Cerberus is a good boy.  He/they have just two jobs: to keep the baddies in Tartarus, and to do what the Princesses say.  But when the Princesses are the ones who are sent to Tartarus, what's a good dog to do?

A few thoughts:  This is a pretty simple story, essentially just the above moral dilemma, with a bit of "What was happening with Celestia, Luna, and Cadence during the whole 'Tirek' thing" thrown in to make for a complete story.  What really sells the story is the way the author presents Cerberus' POV, though: the plural sense of self is a clever touch, but more than that, its/their intelligence level and worldview are pleasantly consistent.  Even though this story doesn't go far beyond its core conflict (and the necessary setup for it), that presentation is strong enough to make Cerberus feel very fully realized.

Recommendation:  For fans of animal-character portraits, this is a well-done example of the style paired with a simple and straightforward plot.

A Bug's Life, by Honeycomb

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  One day, a changeling drone has an unsettling, unhealthy, and probably unnatural thought: maybe there's more to life than the Lovenet.

A few thoughts:  A dark piece of thoroughly un-subtle metafiction, this story uses explicit (though punny) real-life references to cast its message about the pressure to conform.  That level of pop-bluntness isn't something I generally enjoy in fiction, but I'll give this story credit for staying focused (and short) enough that it doesn't turn into a blustery slog through a bunch of pseudo-intellectualism.

Recommendation:  This is a story with all the bluster and explicitness of Rent's Over the Moon; if that's the kind of presentation that appeals to you, this is one to check out, and if not... you probably shouldn't.

Funatics, by Baal Bunny

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Luna and Celestia become embroiled in a heartwarming (not to be confused with a Hearth's Warming) gift-off.

A few thoughts:  This is a syrupy-sweet story, and one that's full of amusing wordplay and general goobery goofiness.  But along the way, it also manages to shed a bit of light on its principals, showing Luna as she comes to terms with her role as Equestria's "other" princess in a manner that's both affirming and surprisingly adult.  Those are all the kind of things I enjoy in stories, so it's probably no surprise that I enjoyed this one, but even outside of my biases, the writing here is a treat: not only is the general construction strong, but the above-mentioned wordplay is a pleasant feature throughout, and the dialogue is written in a crisp, droll, but in-character manner which suits the story perfectly.

Recommendation:  This would be a good choice for readers looking for something sweet and clever, and for fans of quality writing in general.


  1. When it comes to reading fanfiction on an ereader, I strongly recommend using Calibre and its "FanFicFare" plugin. It's really easy: just paste the URL of any story on any site into it and it creates an EPUB for you, already included in your Calibre library. Completely hassle-free.

    1. Calibre is wonderful. I really don't know how I could even begin to keep track of the ponyfic I read without it.

    2. Do either of them grab author notes too? I had a comment from one of my readers that putting important side-stuff in the author notes meant he missed it, since he used a reader to read downloaded Fimfiction on his commute to work by subway.

    3. FimFicFare gets the Author Notes. They appear as a distinctive light-grey text.

  2. I don't know how to evaluate that second review. c.c

  3. Honeycomb here,

    What the hell? How did you find my weirdo shortfic?

    I've never had a story reviewed before. This is a strange feeling. Do... do I matter now?

    Anyway, I agree entirely with your review.

  4. Glad you:

    Enjoyed "Funatics," Chris. It was a very therapeutic story for me.

    See, when I submit my non-Pony writing to magazines or publishers, the usual response from the editors is, "We won't be buying this one, but please send us your next." And after, oh, let's say a decade or so, this response starts to weigh upon the mind a bit.

    So taking the idea of always being in consideration without ever quite making it all the way and addressing it through Luna's feelings toward Celestia let me kick around some of my personal frustrations in what I hoped would prove to be an entertaining fashion.