Now, it's no secret how I pick stories for the Fandom Classics: people recommend them to me (which you can do anytime! I have plenty to get through the next couple of years, but more suggestions are always welcome, and if several people are asking about the same fic, it's more likely to make it to the head of the list), and I keep a list of what the next five-ten fics will be based on spacing out genres, lengths, authors, and the like.
But what about the stuff for mini-reviews? Well, it's a mix. Some of it is stuff that's been recommended to me, but doesn't fall under even a very generous definition of "Fandom Classic." Sometimes it's something I see another reviewer recommend, or just talk about it a way that piques my interest. And sometimes, it's just something that grabs my attention on its own. So for the last couple of mini-reviews, I kept track of how, exactly, I came across each story, why I decided to read it, and what the results were. Click below the break for a look at how Chris picks "Chris Fics!"
And say that one ten times fast, too.
Stories From Round 158:
Undeliverable, by ocalhoun
Why I picked it: ocalhoun is one of those authors who I'm convinced has written something great that I just haven't read yet. You know the type: you read several of their stories, and you don't really love any of them... but you see enough talent hidden behind poor plot decisions and subject material that doesn't interest you personally to believe that, if you keep looking, you'll find the fic they've written that's right for you. Anyway, it was on this basis that I was paging through his oeuvre a while back, and settled on this fic as a good bet: a character I like in Derpy, a writing style I'm amenable to in the form of letter-vignettes, and a proofreader credited (which is pretty much never a bad sign).
Did it deliver?: Not per se. As I said in the review, "this doesn't really feel like a story to me, but it's an interesting piece of writing." That said, it also did nothing to disabuse me of my impression that ocalhoun can write good stuff, so it wasn't exactly a disappointment.
Promised Land, by Obselescence
Why I picked it: I saw an intriguing review of it somewhere (this was a while back; I couldn't tell you offhand whose it was) and threw it on my RIL list. While scrolling through that list, the cover art caught my eye, and I picked it ahead of the other 200-odd stories on there pretty much solely for that reason. Well, that and because, at about 7000 words, it was the right length for reading while drinking a large cup of coffee, which I was in the process of brewing. Look, these reasons aren't all going to be deep.
Did it deliver?: Absolutely. The description is confusing, and that confusion is well-paid off in a story I found highly engaging. Not bad for a story I picked off my list almost at random! Granted, the fact that it was on the list in the first place wasn't random, so... thanks to whichever reviewer pointed me at this!
Why I picked it: I had read the original version of this, written for a secret santa event, and enjoyed it, so I figured I'd like the slightly more edited version even better.
Did it deliver: It was basically the same story, but with somewhat fewer writing errors. So... yes. Yes it did.
Stories From Round 159:
Why I picked it: This story caught my eye more than a year ago, when I saw it... somewhere. Probably on the front page, in the updates section of the Feature Box (the system works!). Anyway, eye-catching cover art and an interesting premise (a horror-monster take on why Derpy's eyes are all a-google) got me interested, and when I saw that the story had finished, I dove in to see if the wait was worth it.
Did it deliver: This isn't a story I enjoyed as much as I wanted to, but it did at least deliver what was advertised. I just wish it had been a more "Equestrian" tale.
Why I picked it: Like ocalhoun, Metool is an author whose stuff I keep coming back to to find that elusive Great Story. With Mr. Bard, I've consistently found that I love his premises, but often find the presentation... not so much lacking, as simply workmanlike. That said, I came across this story by scrolling through stories with the "breezie" tag. Why the breezie tag? Why not? Little bastards don't have enough stories about them; for all that their single episode was lackluster, I kind of like them. Anyway, given a funny-sounding premise and an author I was predisposed to read stories by, this one got read.
Did it deliver: I was rather disappointed that the humor was, while conceptually solid, often presented in ways which muted its impact. So even though I thought the story wasn't bad, this didn't come out quite the way I was hoping for.
Why I picked it: This was a recommendation (more or less; it was more of a "Gravekeeper wrote a story I love but he's never gonna finish it, here's a story he just wrote that's complete, you should read it"). I was in the mood for a comedy a short while thereafter, and decided to give it a go.
Did it deliver: It was a "fine for what it is" kind of story, which was fine with me right then--I just wanted something funny and over-the-top, which is what I got.