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!

Everypony Lives, by Chinchillax

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  In Equestria's future, Twilight has cured death--even for those who would wish otherwise.

A few thoughts:  This story suffers somewhat from a lack of explanation: it asks the reader to buy this particular vision of Twilight as a well-intentioned tyrant with only a passing "she felt bad when her friends died, and doesn't want that for anyone else," it asks us to believe that Discord is an active participant in this world with no explanation at all, and so on.  These sorts of things aren't irreconcilable with the characters, but they're pretty significant leaps to ask the reader to make unassisted.  Beyond that, it ends on a very unresolved note--Discord's "solution" doesn't seem like it would be satisfying to Twilight or Care Free, in more of a "worst of both worlds" than "reasonable compromise" sort of way--and ultimately isn't much more than a glimpse at a pretty standard "enforced happiness"-type dystopia.  Still, those those kinds of dystopias are popular for a reason, and the writing quality here is well above average.

Recommendation:  Whether you're enjoy this story or not probably depends on how far the premise will carry you.  If a brief exploration of somepony wanting to die, but being prevented from doing so, sounds inherently interesting to you, this is likely to prove a good choice.  If that sounds more like a jumping-off point than a raison d'etre, though, this might leave you wanting.

Cyclicality, by DwarvishPony

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Twilight recounts Cadence's descent into darkness and subsequent banishment.

A few thoughts:  This story is at its best when, as the title and description do, it directly connects Cadence and Twilight to Celestia and Luna's earlier, corollary struggle.  The writing is telly by design, but I nevertheless found this wasn't a choice I appreciated.  Twilight doesn't appear to be "telling" this to anyone (or writing/recording it) in-universe, and the style doesn't support that interpretation anyway, which left me feeling acutely aware of the non-meta medium (i.e. I had trouble with immersion).  It's probably also worth noting that the season 6 premier trashed this story's ability to fit into canon pretty thoroughly, despite the fact that this was published the day after the S6 premier.  Presumably this is the source of the AU tag, though it seems like it would be easy enough to alter the story to fit canon without making any major changes to the tone or other events of the fic.

Recommendation:  A lot of the reason this story didn't grab me came down to the style, honestly.  If you enjoy first-person recollections which aren't grounded as in-universe stories, memoirs, or the like, this does make for an interesting alternate future.


  1. Hey, Discord's Deli of Chaos sat in my workfile as only a title for probably two years before finally becoming a full-fledged story. Not that I'm saying you should follow my example, only that you're not alone. :B

  2. You're lucky. I make cryptic story notes when an idea hits me, and thirty minutes later, I have no idea what I meant by "magical reverse-osmosis applied to books."

    1. My guess would be that the books fill themselves with information based on their surroundings. In Starlight's Equestria, books learn you!

  3. Ah yes, cryptic story notes. I have one that reads: "Horseshoe Event Horizon. Spike doesn't. Special or ordinary? Cadance teleporting. NB: civil engineering." I have absolutely no idea what I was going for there.

  4. I have an ending I wrote once that I've never managed to put a middle and a front onto. Something along the line of Fifty First Dates, where a mare's cutie mark is being seriously forgetable.

    K: Hello, beautiful. What’s your name?”
    C: Confesses to having been watching him.Wall of text. My name is —”
    K: Cameo, which is short for Camouflage. Your mother worries about you not having enough money to send you to college, your father moved away to Van Hoover when you were little. He writes, but he never uses your name. You like peppermint in your tea, you love Hearth’s Warming gifts that rattle, and you’ve always wanted a pet rabbit, but with the odd hours your mother and you have at work, you worry that it might suffer. You make the best watercress and cucumber pickle sandwich that I’ve ever tasted, and even if you still use a little too much dill, I’ve gotten used to it. Someday you want to travel all of Equestria, from Zebrica to the Crystal Empire, and sample every dish on the trip so you can open your own restaurant where ponies will return again and again for the food even if they don’t remember you. You love foals, but hate changing diapers, and want to name your first child Alfredo. I told you that was just setting him up for a lifetime of playing the accordion, and you laughed, your eyes sparkling in the moonlight as I walked you home for the fourteenth time. And if I don’t get on that train when it shows up, I may never leave.

    C: You remember.
    K: How could I forget?

  5. Cryptic notes drive me crazy. I'm always afraid I'll forget my ideas later. Even my most undeveloped ideas have at least a paragraph of detail.