Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Mini-Reviews Round 141

So, y'all have been following the Tour, right?  It's just occurred to me that I won't be back home until about halfway through (it starts on the 2nd), so you've already missed the first week and change of it.  But not to worry; even by the 11th, you haven't missed the mountains, and that's typically where all hell breaks loose (in the best possible way (from a viewer's perspective, at least)).  Set your alarm clock and get up early!  And during the inevitable commercial break, occupy yourself with these mini-reviews, below the break.

Best Friends, Too, by shortskirtsandexplosions

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Minuette and Sparkler may be friends, but thank goodness they aren't goofy/creepy "best friends" like Lyra and Bon Bon.  ...It... it is a good thing that they aren't like that, right?

A few thoughts:  This story is about the kind of argument I often find myself in with my friends, where we end up talking at cross purposes because we mean different things by the same words, and SS&E does a nice job of keeping a relatable core to the conversations even as they get/stay patently silly in their content.  It's typical skirtsian prose, toned down somewhat from his most verbose but still rather denser than a fic about ponies brushing each others' teeth seems to me like it ought to be.  On the other hand, this isn't just a jokefic about Lyrabon being way too "friendly"--it looks, with a surprisingly light touch considering how direct the story is about addressing it, at just what friendship is, and... well, the Romance tag gives a few more clues, but don't expect an "and then they kissed" conclusion.

Recommendation:  If Lyrabon being super creepy and other pairs of friends struggling to define their own relationship in the face of that particular oversharing seems like your thing, this is a short, pleasant look at the same.

A Toast to Friendship, by Esle Ynopemos

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Rarity attempts to murder Fluttershy.

A few thoughts:  The larger part of this story is the setup and execution of that single sentence, though the ending goes in a direction that left me at once relieved and annoyed--it's not "it was all just a dream," but it still feels like it undermines the importance of everything that came before, albeit to a lesser degree (and, perhaps more importantly, even the lampshading doesn't quite convince me that it's in Fluttershy's character).  It also ends up being mostly thriller/action in tone, which wasn't really my cup of tea (heh), but that's a reflection on personal preference rather than quality; for what the story is, it's tense and well-written.

Recommendation:  If you like darker twists on ponies (though not as dark as that summary makes it sound) and don't mind having to wait for the twist to get a sensible justification, this is a solid choice for fans of cat-and-mouse-ing.

Still Life, by SugarPesticide

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  A description of a picture of Featherweight and his father, Bulk Biceps.

A few thoughts:  This is a thoughtful little piece that doesn't overplay its hand nor overstay its welcome.  The way it cuts between describing the picture, describing the ponies involved at various points before at after it is/was taken, felt a little disjointed to me, but never actually left me confused or uncertain as to the direction of the story.  And there are some wonderful turns of phrase, here; from near the end, for example, we have "In all this, the unseen photographer does not count. He is an invisible nonentity, a tool to facilitate the process and nothing more. The colt knows this better than any; the stallion could not care less. No one will remember his face or his name."  These kinds of quick little digressions aren't uncommon, but I found them a net positive in terms of my appreciation of the fic.

Recommendation:  This is less "contained" than some stories with similar premises; it doesn't confine itself strictly to what can be seen in the photo.  If a broader explanation which circles around a single snapshot sounds up your alley, this would be a good selection.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad to see Still Life get some attention; it very pleasantly surprised me when I read it a few weeks back. Perhaps some of the disjointedness was related to its "exactly 1,000 words" nature, but it's still impressive to have those little digressions you mentioned within that word count and still have such a worthwhile read.