Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Fandom Classics Part 173: Princess Celestia? Do You Have a Belly Button?

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

Tuesday is (as I type this)/was (as you read this) primary day in my state, which makes this a good interval to remind all of you American-types to make sure you're registered to vote this November!  If you voted in the last election, you're probably already already set, but if you haven't, then now's a good time to make sure, while there's still time to get any issues addressed.  The U.S. Vote Foundation can help you find out if you're already registered, and tell you what you need to do if you aren't.  Make sure you're ready for the election proper!

Okay, civic-duty time is over.  Now, on to reviewing!  Click below to see my thoughts on Foals Errand's Princess Celestia? Do You Have a Belly Button?

Impressions before reading:  First impression?  I really want to put an apostrophe into "Foals Errand"s name.  As for the story itself, it's hard to say from just first impressions; this could be nothing more than a one-note joke, or it could be something more.  But hey, I'll take that over "definitely nothing but fluff" any day!

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  After a classroom activity gets Twilight thinking about... well, the title... she asks Princess Celestia... well, the question which is the title.

Thoughts after reading:  There's almost nothing to say about this story: it is what it is, which is a fluffy slice-of-life piece with no higher aspirations.

Although you would think "do you have a belly button" would be fertile ground for some light worldbuilding and/or theology, this story forgoes either altogether, save perhaps implicitly in Twilight's asking the question in the first place.  I must admit that I was rather surprised to see, at the end, that the question was answered... and then the story ended without any further exploration.

That all would be fine (if shallow, but "shallow" doesn't have to be a dirty word with short comedies), but there's not really anything else here, either.  Comedy tag notwithstanding, there's very little humor in this piece--a bit of "Celestia loves cake sweets" and the like, but all as minor asides played straight--and much of the fic's verbiage is dedicated to a very expository classroom setup.  That expositoriness isn't helped by the tendency of characters to ponder in a distractingly explicative manner ("Oh, how I adore this little pony. She is so honest," reflects Celestia, deftly elucidating two statements which are obvious from canon and context, respectively).  Meanwhile, the classroom portion of the story could be cut in its entirety without losing anything other than the 1000-word minimum wordcount which FiMFiction requires of stories published.

That's not entirely fair; while the classroom portion may be totally unnecessary in a narrative sense, that doesn't mean there's no reason for it to exist.  But that entire portion of the story has little to no comedy, repeats a bit of common fandom ("earth ponies aren't useless") without meaningful expansion, and generally doesn't do much other than exist as a bit of inoffensive fluff.  It's certainly not something I minded reading--but that's the most I can say for it.

Star rating:

This is fluff, pure and simple, and fluff gets a one-star around these parts ("I would not assign it a place of prominence in any discussion of 'great fanfics"').  That said, there's nothing really wrong with this story, beyond lack of ambition and purpose; it's about 2000 words of nothing in particular, presented without any aspirations higher than existing and being readable and internally consistent.  By those standards, this is a success.  It's just not anything more than that.

Recommendation:  If you're looking for a light, fluffy time-waster, this is a perfectly serviceable story for sinking a few minutes into.  It is not something I would otherwise recommend.

Next time:  Applejack’s Tax Relief Plan, by Seether00


  1. "Tuesday was (as I type this)/is (as you read this) primary day in my state..."

    Holy crap! Is this some Early Edition deal where we read posts the day before you write them? *checks calendar* No, just a typo

    Sorry, I couldn't resist :p


    2. Come on, Early Edition was awesome! I was morally obligated to make that reference — much like Gary Hobson was morally obligated to use the paper to help others. So, in a way, I'm kind of a hero

  2. Never mind the fact that horses don't have belly buttons anyway... though that's never deterred a large number of the fandom's artists from including them.

    1. Yes they do. It's where the umbilical cord connects when they're in the womb. It just heals up and becomes very difficult to see once the horse gets a little older.

      Now male horses don't have nipples, so maybe that's what you were thinking.

    2. Don't worry, Joel Schumacher's working on a solution for that