Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Fandom Classics Part 158: Pinkie Pie is an Eldritch Abomination

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

Over Easter, my family and I engaged in one of those classic hypotheticals: if you had to pick one actor or actress who would appear in a major role in every movie you saw for the rest of your life, who would it be?  To be clear, that's "every movie you see will magically have them cast as a major role," not "you can only watch movies they actually had a major role in."  Then we went to second, third, fourth, and fifth choices.

Between Sean Connery, BRIAN BLESSED, John Rhys-Davies, Christopher Lee, and John Hurt, it turns out that my hypothetical world of cinema is rather heavy on elderly/dead white British men.  I should probably expand my filmographic horizons, shouldn't I?  Oh well, I've got plenty of time left to start learning to appreciate actors and actresses who are... well, anyone other than old white British men.  Meanwhile, how about we get on with the reviewing?  Click below for my thoughts on PonyAmorous's Pinkie Pie is an Eldritch Abomination.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Episode Talk: S6E1-2: The Crystalling

Hey, you're here for fanfic, right?  Well, DannyJ just published a new story that I did a spot of editing for: The Devil's Dues is the story of Discord, post-reformation, seeking to reconcile his desire to be a good "person" with his fundamental nature--all while confronting beings whose very nature is antithetical to his.  Go check it out!

But of course, we also have the show coming back, so let's not forget the source material!  As a refresher, this is not a review of the episode; I'm sure plenty of youtubers are already putting together far more thorough analyses of the season six premier than I would.  Instead, think of this as "a few of Chris's opinions, observations, and tangents," more designed to frame what I thought of the episode than to provide any sort of objective commentary.  That said, let's dive in:

Friday, March 25, 2016

Fandom Classics Part 157: The Witch of the Everfree

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

I realized yesterday that I'd let my short list--the list of the next few stories I plan to review as Fandom Classics (find it under the "Fandom Classics" link at the top of the page, if you want to keep tabs on what's coming up!)--dwindle to almost nothing.  So, I went ahead and populated it with another dozen or so titles.  Two notes on that: first, your semi-annual reminder that I'm always happy to accept reading suggestions.  Stories of any length are welcome, but shorter ones are easier to schedule, so they tend to get on the list quite a bit quicker.

Second, I've got an over-200,000 word fic coming up, and while I've tried to schedule it to coincide with my spring break, early April-ish would be a great time to be able to post a guest column or two, if you've got something ponyfic related you've been hankering to share via another person's fanfic review blog.  Just sayin'...

But enough about epic-length stories of the future!  For now, let's focus on the merely novel-length stories of today.  My review of MagnetBolt's The Witch of the Everfree, below.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Mini-Reviews Round 126

In honor of nothing in particular, let's do a few dark stories!  Check out my thoughts on three creepy, macabre, or otherwise lightlesshearted stories, below the break.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Fandom Classics Part 156: Regarding the Need for Sex Education

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

I tried scanning that barcode on the bottom of the picture; to my mild disappointment, it's not real (or at least, not tied to any actual product).  IMMERSION: RUINED.

Can any story win me back after such a bitter betrayal in the cover art?  Find out below, in my review of GaPJaxie's Regarding the Need for Sex Education.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Mini-Reviews Round 125

Let's start with a little housekeeping: in my last set of mini-reviews, I commented on the fanfic Lilies of the Field.  After the review, though, I was the author pointed out (very politely, I might add) that he'd revised the story the week before I posted my review, and that what I'd reviewed was the defunct version!  I've since read the current version, and modified my comments appropriately.

Head back to round 124 to see my updated opinions.  And then, if you still haven't gotten your fix of fanfic-commentary, click down below the break to see a few more.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Fandom Classics Part 155: Schemering Sintel

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

Question: has anyone written a ponification of The Red Headed League starring Carrot Top?  Well, I guess starring someponies else as Holmes and Watson, and featuring Carrot Top as the titular redhead, but you get my meaning.  I don't particularly want to write it, but I'd really like to read it.  And surely there are enough Holmes crossovers out there for that particular story to have been done before.  Right?

Well, let me know if you're aware of one.  And if one doesn't yet exist, consider this an excellent way to get yourself on the Chris-review shortlist!  Meanwhile, let's turn our attention from things I hope exist to things that demonstrably do exist, to whit: my review of N00813's Schemering Sintel.  Check it out, below the break.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Reviewing: What's Good vs. What You Like (Part 2 of 2)

Today, we finish up what we started on Friday!  If you haven't read that post already, you'll probably want to look at it before going on, as it sets out the premises on which today's post is based.  Once you're ready, though, head down below the break, and read what I have to say about identifying your opinions, and framing them in an identifiable, useful manner!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Reviewing: What's Good vs. What You Like (Part 1 of 2)

One of the easiest difficulties to encounter when reviewing--and one of the most common criticisms leveled at reviewers--is an inability to separate the quality of a story from one's enjoyment of it.  So... here are my thoughts on the matter, and on how to (try to) avoid conflating the two.  This all will be phrased specifically in the context of writing reviews of fanfiction, but it's equally applicable to any form of reviewership.

I'm going to start with this post, which is going to establish what I mean by "what's good" and "what you like;" despite seeming like pretty self-evident phrases, it turns out that there's a stunning amount of ambiguity lurking there.  Then, in part two, I'm going to discuss how to accomplish those things.  But to start: part one!  Check it out, below the break.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Fandom Classics Part 154: Rarity Loses Her Innocence In a Poker Game

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

Fluttershy, what are you doing?  If you hold your cards like that, Rarity will have no trouble seeing them!  Sure, your head is blocking her field of view now, but as soon as you lean forward to bet, she'll hardly be able to help seeing your hand!

...Sorry, people not knowing how to hold their cards triggers my instinctive need to correct, and apparently that need applies to ponies, too.  Anyhoo, my thoughts on Mr.Numbers' Rarity Loses Her Innocence In a Poker Game, below.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Mini-Reviews Round 124

So, new episodes of the show confirmed for March 26th!  That's pleasantly sooner than expected, though scheduling the premier over Easter does seem weird.  I mean, I don't know what my plans are for that weekend yet, but there's at least a decent chance I'll be with family (i.e. in no position to watch the new episode right away), and I really doubt I'm the only person who sometimes travels and/or gets busy over holidays.  But hey, I'm sure the master scheduler over at Discovery Family knows what he's doing, so who am I to second-guess?

One thing I am good at second-guessing, though, is fanfiction.  See if any stories I recently read required it, below the break.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Fandom Classics Part 153: Twice as Bright

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

So, I'm pretty sure Rocky IV is the most rewatchable movie ever made.  I mean, whenever I notice that it's on TV, I always watch it.  In fact, I've done exactly that twice just in the past week.  Those would be something along the lines of the 150th and 151st times I've seen (at least most of) that movie, and I can't say that my appreciation has significantly diminished.  I'm not prepared to call it the best movie ever made--although, seeing as it was single-handedly responsible for the collapse of the Soviet Union, it might be the most important--but I can't think of any film that holds up as well to scores and scores of viewings.  Something about the combination of robots, communism, 80s chitz, and sweaty dudes smacking each other around defies disinterest, I guess.

Now, on to a story that (spoiler alert!) has none of those things!  My review of Cloudy Skies' Twice as Bright, below.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Who Doesn't Love a Top-Five List?

There are lots of ways to write a bad fanfic, most of which are self-evident.  If you can't construct a comprehensible sentence, that puts a pretty low ceiling on your writing quality, to go with an obvious example.  But what are some of the more minor yet insidious pitfalls to which a writer can fall prey?  More than that, what are some pitfalls specific to MLP?

Head below the break for my thoughts on what semi-inobvious mistakes can ensnare an unsuspecting ponyfic author.  These aren't major plot decisions or basic construction questions; rather, they're the "little things" that can take a reader right out of a story.  They're self-inflicted wounds which are frustrating to see precisely because avoiding them wouldn't involve a complete re-write.  Now, without further adieu, my top five.