Friday, April 29, 2016

Mini-Reviews Round 131

For those of you with some marginal interest in hockey: yesterday was game 1 of a Washington Capitals/Pittsburgh Penguins series that pits perhaps the two most talented players since Gretzky (Washington's Alexander Ovechkin and Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby) against one another.  I can't tell you how the first game went, seeing as I'm typing this up before it happened, but it's likely to be the most exciting matchup of the playoffs, featuring the sport's biggest names.  If you're looking for a good place to jump into the sport, this series is it!

Or, if you don't care about hockey at all, you could try my mini-reviews on for size.  Get them below the break.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Fandom Classics Part 162: The Moon, The Flower, And The Door

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

So, I've been tipped off to an interesting literary hack: if you find Lovecraft's prose too dense to slog through, try replacing every adjective and adverb with "spooky."  Comprehensibility is improved, and the meaning barely changes!  Plus, you get wonderful paragraphs like this one from The Call of Cthulhu:
In a spooky glade of the swamp stood a spooky island of perhaps an acre’s extent, clear of trees and spookily dry. On this now leaped and twisted a more spooky horde of human spookiness than any but a Sime or an Angarola could paint. Void of clothing, this spooky spawn were braying, bellowing, and writhing about a spooky ring-shaped bonfire; in the centre of which, revealed by spooky rifts in the curtain of flame, stood a spooky granite monolith some eight feet in height; on top of which, spooky with its spookiness, rested the spooky spooky statuette. 
Feel free to try it out for yourself; enjoy!  Also, enjoy my review of Bucking Nonsense's The Moon, The Flower, And The Door, below the break.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Some People Claim They Come Here for Reviews, but We All Know They're Really Here for Pictures of Carrot Top

I've been having a tremendously difficult time getting anything done--both in real life, and in the world of fanfiction.  I keep sitting down to read something, and instead I end up playing a rubber of bridge against the computer, or I'll go to practice a piece of music and end up just staring out the window at the squirrels.

So instead of a post consisting of actual content, here's a post to notify y'all that I've added a new tag the the site.  In addition to being able to use the tags on the side to sort out various types of reviews and other content, you can now also use it to find any post that has one or more pictures of Carrot Top in it!  This is clearly what the masses were crying out for, and is definitely what I should have spent time on Sunday afternoon doing instead of actually reading and reviewing some fanfiction.  Or doing literally anything else.  You're welcome!

In addition to being the best pony, she's also the cup holder of choice for discerning cup holder connoisseurs. 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Mini-Reviews Round 130

I must be getting old; I completely failed to realize that Wednesday was 4/20 until the next day.  Boy, you become an adult, you start losing touch with all the memetic touchstones.  But even if drug puns are passing me by, at least fanfiction is here for me!  My thoughts on several recently-read stories, below.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Fandom Classics Part 161: Upheaval: Breaking Point

To read the story, click the image or follow this link.
I remember that cover well--back when this story was being written, the author published chapters at a quick clip, and with 48 chapters, "Twilight stares at you" got used as an EqD cover image a lot.  Now, it's finally time to see what lay behind those unblinking eyes!  My review of Visiden Visidane's Upheaval: Breaking Point, below.

Monday, April 18, 2016

First Sentences In (Fan)Fiction the 10th

In a lot of ways, I don't think Gauntlet of Fire was a very good episode.  Twilight and Rarity were entirely superfluous as characters in the second half, Ember's big realization happened off-screen and without obvious impetus (rather than, say, realizing that she's getting farther by working with Spike and seeing that friendship isn't a weakness), the beats of this episode are basically the same as every other "minor antagonist thinks friendship is stupid, eventually changes mind" episode to date, and Carrot Top doesn't even get a cameo actually, I think she was probably just as happy to sit this episode out; the dragon-lands are no place for a produce farmer, what with the rocky, dirt-poor soil, the absence of nearby agricultural infrastructure, and the presence of a whole bunch of pony-hating dragons.  But for all that, I still really enjoyed the episode; I thought Ember's VA was excellent, the (previous) Dragon Lord was hilarious (between him, the Yaks, and Maud, I think it's becoming clear that I'm just fine with one-dimensional characters... as long as they're funny), and I love how he clearly set the challenge up for his daughter to win (despite his "strongest blah blah" lines, it's all agility and problem-solving... Ember's alleged forte), then forbids her to compete despite knowing full well she's going to go behind his back, so that her victory isn't tainted by hints of nepotism.  Clever devil!

But now, let's move on to some first-sentence reviews.  Check them out, below the break!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Mini-Reviews Round 129

This is a special juxtaposition of funny and depressing: apparently, the internet's premiere white supremacist website comes complete with a massive collection of neo-nazi-themed poetry, creative writing, and filk, and according to this article, it's almost exactly what you'd expect.  On one hand, I kind of want to check it out myself, to see whether the samples that article's author pulled out are really representative, or if they're cherry-picked worst-of-the-already-intrinsically-awful; on the other, I think my faith in humanity is probably best served by not spending a lot of time looking at racist screeds set to the tune of Let It Go.  Besides, nothing good could possibly come of filling one's browser history with white power fanfiction.

Instead, let's talk about fanfiction that won't hurt your soul just thinking about the fact that it exists!  My thoughts on a few short fanfics I've recently read, below the break.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Fandom Classics Part 160: Martial Bliss

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

The NHL playoffs start today!  I won't be doing a fanfic-expy bracket like I did the previous year--too many of the teams are the same, and there're a limited number of super-well-known stories to draw from for comparisons (I think the humor gets lost if you aren't talking titles that most fanfic readers would recognize right away).  Nevertheless, y'all should go watch some hockey!  And watch it soon, because my Wild are probably going to get swept in the first round, after backing into the playoffs by losing their final five games, all in regulation.  Well, at least iisaw will be happy; the Capitals, who were The Celestia Code in last year's bracket, come into the playoffs as clear-cut favorites to claim the Stanley Cup.  When you have a little time around your busy schedule of hockey-watching, though, feel free to nip down below the break and check out my review of Skywriter's Martial Bliss.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Episode Talk: S6E4, On Your Marks

The CMC are back in a meaningful role for the first time since they got their cutie marks!  Oh, uh, spoiler alert, I guess; sorry if you were half a year behind on the show but still holding out hope of catching up someday.  Well, now that you're caught up (don't worry, I'm pretty sure that absolutely nothing else of note has happened between that episode an this), let's talk about the newest show episode.  As always, this isn't a comprehensive review; instead, it's more of a collection of the individual things that stuck out to me, together with some images of Carrot Top.  Actually, a bunch of images this time, at least relatively speaking--we're moving ever closer to the day when I make a post that's nothing but screenshots of every individual frame in which she appears.  Check it out, below!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Mini-Reviews Round 128

I was looking at some of the barely-started stories and notes-which-I-never even-started-to-turn-into-stories, and let me be the first to say, I am completely incomprehensible.  I've got one "idea" that's just a word document with the title "Gilda doesn't speak Quenya."  I've got another one that's titled "Museum story," and the only things in the document are:
Dash is first to leave
Fluttershy is friendly
Twilight's okay
It's an almost surreally Ronnie-esque experience.  I mean, I still remember what both of those stories were going to be about, but man am I bad at being coherent for myself.

Anyway, reviews!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Fandom Classics Part 159: Gods-In-Law

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

You know how some ethnically/culturally insulting names lose the "insulting" aspect as society changes?  Like, "french toast" was orignally a method poor people used to make stale bread palatable, but now that the food item's lost the connotation of poverty, nobody thinks of it as being a slight against the French?

I find myself wondering if, in the not-too-distant future, "going dutch" will also lose its stigma.  As dating slowly, haltingly moves away from some of its traditional gender norms, e.g. "the man should pay for everything," will "going dutch" stop meaning that the guy's a cheapskate and just become a synonym for "fair?"  Maybe!  Who knows?

Okay, tangent over.  Let's get on to the matter at hand: fanfiction reviews.  My thoughts on Pearple Prose's Gods-In-Law, below the break.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Mini-Reviews Round 127

So, Gift of the Maud Pie over the weekend: it wasn't exactly a groundbreaking episode, but I enjoyed it a lot.  Maud remains an unending source of amusement to me, the plot was just enough of an alteration of the source material to keep me from getting bored of it, and Rarity's heel turn (which she's seemingly been continually making for the past six seasons) reached a new high (low?) as she turned to aggressive threats against an honest (if hard-bargain-driving) citizen in order to browbeat him into submission and force an unequal exchange of goods.  But let's get to the important stuff: Carrot Top!

Carrot Top's going to Manehattan!  And even after all these years, she's still nonplussed by Pinkie's random bursts of exuberance.   For pity's sake, she says to herself, I'm going halfway across the country, and I STILL can't escape Twilight's friends.  So, what's she going to Manehattan for?

 ...Oh.  Apparently, she went to Manehattan to do some shopping at the open-air market?  And to check out the local fruits and vegetables, specifically?  Because if there's one thing that's easier to get in the big city than in an agrarian village, it's produce.  Well, that or she's here to visit Written Script's brother (opposite color schemes obviously means they're related!), and he needs some tomatoes so that he can make her his famous spaghetti sauce.

Also, Lyra's in Manehattan for some reason, so it'd be rude not to meet up with her before going home on the red-eye Friendship Express back to Ponyville.

Okay, now off of the show and on to fanfiction.  My short-form thoughts on a few stories I recently read, below the break!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Fan Un-Classics Part 1: Alicorn

In case you're wondering what's up here, check the date.  April Fool's pranks are generally pretty dumb, but I reckon simple silliness is another matter.

I've been doing those Fandom Classics posts for a while, now--number 158 just went up on Wednesday, and that's not even counting all the structurally identical 6-Star Reviews I did before that--and I figure it's time to change things up a bit.  So, what's the opposite of a well-known, generally well-regarded story?  Why, a story that literally nobody has ever read!

Well, wouldn't you know it, I happen to know of such a story... a story with an audience of zero.  An un-story, if you will.  So sit back and buckle your seatbelts, because today, we're reviewing Alicorn, by A Timewarped Dinosaur.