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.

Ponies are squishy, by Erised the ink-moth

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  A young changeling panics and flees when he accidentally knocks a pony off a high balcony while in disguise.  His big brother explains that he hasn't just committed murder, and proceeds to show him just how different pony and changeling biology can be.

A few thoughts:  The editing on this one is a little rough, as I probably should have suspected from the title's formatting.  Nevertheless, I was pleasantly surprised by this fic: it's got a goofy premise, but one that fits well into what we know about Equestria, and there's a pleasantly unforced humor to much of the story (lots of comic reflections on how ponies/Canterlot/love and hate work, and fairly little explaining of the joke or beating a straight line into the ground).  The story does get a bit too wrapped up in its crack-lore for my taste, though; a good chunk of the fic is just "explaining that ponies are squishy," and while the presentation at least avoids dullness, it still feels like a major slowdown/infodump compared to the rest of the fic.

Recommendation:  As "silly idea, expounded" stories go, I'd rate this above-average; it's likely to appeal to readers who like their silly ideas wrapped in some pleasantly comic moments and hooked back to canon with just a hint of cleverness.  It's obviously not going to be for anyone looking for a lot of depth or realism in their fanfiction, though, and there are enough writing issues that I would hesitate to suggest this to someone sensitive to the same.

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night, by Erisn

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  The tale of how Maud acquired Boulder, as she related it to Rarity.

A few thoughts:  There are some very clever moments to this story (Maud's self-awareness, and the the way it ties back to canon, at the end of Maud's story, in particular), and the narrative itself is interesting.  Given the unavoidable ties to direct canon, though (i.e. this is literally supposed to be happening during an episode), I had trouble accepting the very dark, violent backstory.  Gore and murder always require a certain amount of suspension of disbelief from the reader vis-a-vis ponies, of course, but I find it rather more difficult to do so when I'm being explicitly invited to imagine it in this context.  That aside, I also found Maud's voicing somewhat problematic through the middle section of the story, as her loquaciousness grew.

Recommendation:  For readers who aren't averse to a little(/a lot) of combat and killing without a lot of narrative groundwork, this would be a good choice (and it has an excellent callback ending, even if it does paint Maud as rather... unconcerned with other ponies' well-being).  For people who are, though, this is probably one to pass over.

The Kindness of Strangers, by Llyander

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Forced to confront her own inadequacy yet again, Trixie does what she does best: run away.  Unfortunately, a pony doesn't get far on three legs.

A few thoughts:  Unfortunately, there's not a lot here beyond "Trixie remembers screwing up, then somepony is nice to her and she's tsundre about it."  This story is also held back by some extremely hokey dialogue and contrived sadness.  If you can get past that, though, this is a perfectly serviceable entry into the "sad Trixie" genre, which does a nice job of providing an optimistic ending without undermining itself in the process.

Recommendation:  If you don't have a fairly high tolerance for cliche and fiction/fandom standbys, this isn't the story for you.  But if you have some affinity for "sad Trixie" fics and are curious about magical pony prosthetics, this is probably worth checking out.


  1. On the one hand, it's Gawker, so I'd say cherry-picking is likely. On the other hand, it's also neo-Nazis, so maybe it is representative. I wouldn't be surprised. In my experience, neo-Nazis doing unintentionally hilarious things like this is pretty common.

  2. Since the beginning I've been saying that ponies are made of marshmallows and dark matter. I'm glad to see that there are other theories out there along the same lines.

  3. Feinberg? Of course a filthy Jewess would be behind that article! Those Zionists are always conspiring to make us whites look bad. Buncha no-good mudbloods... :p

    Stormfront's always good for a laugh. I like to check it out every now and then

  4. So does Trixie literally lose a leg in that third fic? c.c