Friday, August 12, 2016

Mini-Reviews Round 145

I have been feeling exceptionally tired in the afternoons, the past week or so.  That's not ideal, as I'm trying to get back onto a school year schedule with my body.  Waking up early isn't too hard, but staying alert and un-grumpable at the end of the day is sometimes more difficult.  Hopefully, I'll be able to convince my body over the next few weeks that taking a nap at two just isn't in the cards, so stop asking.

Anyhoo, mini-reviews!  Check them out, below.

Shining Armor's Amour's Armour, by Loganberry

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Shining and his wife have an incredibly contrived conversation in order to set up an incredibly stupid pun.

A few thoughts:  Look, this story is like some of Pearls Before Swine's more infamous strips; the joy here is in watching a convoluted setup unfold for the sake of something which is in no way worth that kind of effort.  If you think that kind of thing is funny, you'll enjoy this story.  If not, it will be 2000 words of frustration, culminating in a brief crystallizing moment of disgust.  Now, I happen to be in the "think that kind of thing is funny" category, but there's not a lot here to recommend beyond the tortured pun (the only other things to recommend are equally tortured puns).

Recommendation:  This is my favorite PBS strip.  If you can appreciate that brand of humor, give this story a try.  If not, don't.

Whatever Happened to Starswirl the Bearded?, by chillbook1

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  When Twilight asks the titular question, Celestia makes the hard decision to tell her the truth--even if it's definitely not something Twilight will have wanted to have heard.

A few thoughts:  This story was a little too scattershot for my taste; while I won't deny that SStB casually dropping in on Satan to collect a gambling debt is funny (in both theory and the specific presentation it's here given), it and other wacky inclusions gave the story too much randomness for me.  Of course, the story is tagged random, so perhaps that's not so much a criticism as an observation.  Structurally, this ends up being more a series of scenes with a connecting thread than a full story; large sections of the text could be abridged or excised entirely without loss of meaning, but that would get rid of all the funny bits, and that's what this story is really about: being a vessel for those scenes to exist in.

Recommendation:  If you're looking for a bit of over-the-top goofiness, this will provide.  It wouldn't be a good choice for readers looking for more than a set of scenes, though.

Daring-Do & The Rookie Editor, by Naughty_Ranko

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Twilight Velvet goes to visit a first-time author, to offer some editing advice and help her get her book published.  Only it turns out that the book in question isn't as fictional as Velvet had assumed...

A few thoughts:  I mostly read this because it sounded like it might have predicted my A.K. Yearling-authorship theory by a year and a half.  Otherwise, there are a lot of things that would have kept this off of my reading list: the "anatomically focused" anthro cover art (even with the author's assurance that it's not an anthro story, it still doesn't set a great tone for a leery reader), the author name... there are some warning signs here, is what I'm saying.  Anyway, it turns out this isn't particularly similar to my theory (to start with, Velvet is there to make Yearling's story more exciting and less academic), and it's also a lot better than I expected/feared.  It's true that the setup is a bit over-expository, and that the tension between Velvet and Yearling is underdeveloped, but the core idea here is solid, the dialogue fun and snappy, and the overall product a pleasant bit of light reading.

Recommendation:  If "a pleasant bit of light reading" sounds good to you, this might be worth a look.  Its lesson/moral does take a backseat to the exposition/fantheorying, though, so if you're looking for something with a strong message, this might not be the best pick.


  1. Velvet is there to make Yearling's story more exciting and less academic

    So wait, what this actually predicted was the return of "Twilight's mom at least helped work on the Daring Do novels" headcanon after Stranger Than Fanfiction? Because that's what I've heard from people who can't let the comics go, though I think it might have been reversed (there early books were more academic because Velvet was ghostwriting/editing them, and once Daring's contact was over, she could break out and do her own thing, leading to an entirely different voice).

  2. "A brief crystallizing moment of disgust" may be the best phrase anyone has ever used in a review of one of my stories. And it's not even your one-line verdict!

  3. Never underestimate the power of a story that spends the entire text setting up a one line joke.

    (Insert humorous quirky quip here)