Friday, May 6, 2016

Mini-Reviews Round 132

Hope you all had a pleasant Cinco de Mayo!  I mean, it's not like you should ever need an excuse to drink a margarita, but you could say the same about St. Patrick's day and eating corned beef.  Incidentally, when I first found out that corned beef isn't an Irish thing (it's an Irish-American thing; Irish immigrants used it instead of the more traditional boiled bacon, it being easier to obtain on account of Irish and Jewish populations settling in the same neighborhoods), it blew my mind.  Every now and then, some incidental bit of historical trivia does that to me.

But enough about the culinary; let's turn our attention to the literary!  My thoughts on a few old (all 2012-dated, this post!) fanfics I've recently read, below the break.

Swine Flew, by Blue Print

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Porkmethius is a pig of uncommon intelligence and motivation--well, uncommon for a pig, anyway.  So when he sets his sights on the skies above, there's nothing--except, perhaps, reality--that can stand in his way.

A few thoughts:  This story is good enough that I feel cheated by the author not having logged on to FiMFiction in two years.  It's a short, straightforward tale that's brimful of puns, alliteration, and other goofiness, and which has plenty of fun poking at its entertainingly "limited" protagonist without ever feeling too mean-spirited or self-aware ("Gleefully, he charged into the yard, scooping up chickens[...] One, two, two, two, one, two, one, one, two! He had lost count several times, but he was pretty sure he had two chickens on his back. Maybe even twos of twos!").  It's true that there's not a lot of depth here, but the story's a good length (under 2k words) for its premise, and ends on a staid but satisfying note.

Recommendation:  This would be an excellent choice for readers looking for something short, simple, and funny, which (unlike too many things which purport to be such) actually is all three of those things.

The Snailmancer and the Long Winter, by HareTrinity

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  A fairytale of how the legendary Snailmancer--a unicorn whose shelled-gastropod-based magic is unrivaled--was able to aid even the mighty Celestia.

A few thoughts:  Although "Snailmancer" makes this sound like a comedy, it's played very straight (he comes from a comic by the author, which the story links to).  And conceptually, this is a fine, if rather bare-bones, fairytale, with an obvious moral spelled out in unambiguous terms.  The writing is a letdown, though, full of mixed vernacular and more than a couple of basic construction errors.

Recommendation:  For readers who enjoy children's-lit folklore, this is probably worth checking out.  I don't know that it has large appeal beyond that, though I imagine most people would find it, at the very least, unobjectionable.

The Great Equestrian Picture Book, by Church

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  After a bad dream, Fluttershy goes to check on her friends.  A couplet-based poem.

A few thoughts:  The big draw here is the art: the author describes this story as "pretty much a drawfriend with words," and this definitely does provide a modicum of plot the accompany a wide variety and styles of pony art.  But the poem itself is rather lackluster, full of barely-rhymes, not-even-rhymes, and little sense for syllable count ("'I m-must find my friends!' she said with a stutter. / To Twilight's house first, for our pegasus of butter!").  That said, it's undeniably cute, which is clearly what the author was going for.

Recommendation:  I can't recommend this as a well-written, well-structured, or well-anything-ed poem, and for me personally, that's a deal-breaker.  But... if you're just looking for a little verbal accompaniment for your eye-candy, this fills that need perfectly well.


  1. The Snailmancer, I remember that! :D I had no idea anyone had written a story about it!

    Thanks for the save on that last one. :B

  2. When talking about stories for younger readers, I find the concept of exact rhymes and syllable count to be totally optional. (One of the great things Dr. Seuss could do to stick to his patterns was invent words out of whole cloth. Still, he's the exception. And exceptional.) I found it cute and adorable, even if it was a little chunky.

    And Swine Flew. Priceless. Thanks for the pointer.