Friday, November 4, 2016

Mini-Reviews Round 158

So, as part of an arts grant that we won, the drummer from The Foo Fighters came in to our school today!  An if your first thought after hearing that was "how many second and third graders who've only been in the country for a year or two even know who The Foo Fighters are?" then the answer is "exactly as many as you'd suspect."  Still, kinda neat, right?  Right.

So, in the spirit of minor celebrity, here are some mini-reviews of stories by ponyfamous authors.  Check them out, below the break.

Undeliverable, by ocalhoun

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  A series of letters to Derpy from the townsponies.

A few thoughts:  This does a nice job of running a gamut of emotions in short space.  I was a little disappointed, though, by the lack of... well, conclusion is the wrong word, since this is ambiguous with things like "what happened" by design.  But I'd have liked a stronger sense of what the ponies thought might have happened, and some implications that could at least point me in one direction or another on that point.  In the end, this doesn't really feel like a story to me, but it's an interesting piece of writing, and that's what's really important.

Recommendation:  Fans of open-ended writing and of competent epistolary stylings should check this out, though readers looking for something definite, or which offers much in the way of finality, will probably be underwhelmed.

Promised Land, by Obselescence

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Twilight Sparkle traverses the wastes on his road to find Canterlot, a pilgrimage he makes to the holy place he plans to die.

A few thoughts:  That's a weird-sounding premise, but it's entirely accurate, and I don't want to explain any of it because the way the confusion of the opening gradually evaporates is so well-done.  This is a story that can be a little hard to get into--it is confusing off the bat, and that's a perfectly reasonable reason for someone to feel (or be) put off--but it also does an excellent job of using the setting and themes of FiM to create and inform, respectively, a future world which simply wouldn't be as effective as a piece of original fiction.  Plus, the story itself is engaging and heartwrenching--that's always nice.

Recommendation:  I highly recommend this story to readers who enjoy not having everything about a fic handed to them on a silver platter, as a fine example of spinning a hopeful (or at least, not hopeless) story out of a tragic setting.

Fly Hard, by Aragon

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Daring Do is stuck going to a fancy Canterlot party.  Luckily, a terrible disaster which could destroy Equestria just might bail her out.

A few thoughts:  This is a pretty representative Aragon story, though it's not quite as heavy on shock humor (shock-surprise, not shock-cheap gore or titillation) as some of his stuff.  I like Aragon's sense of humor, and not just because I always imagine him as Aragorn's "other" son.  You know, the one who got left off the rolls because he was always writing erotic poetry about Gimli and lurking in the library of Gondor, a quill in hand, a parchment in front of him, and a look of intense concentration which he broke only to loudly ask passersby if they thought it was funnier if the orc chieftain was a drag queen, or if every orc except him was.  And years later, people would ask Eldarion "hey, didn't you have a brother?" and he'd just kind of grimace.  Look, it's not my fault that "Aragon, son of Aragorn" rolls of the tongue so nicely.

Recommendation:  This is the kind of work you'll like if you like the kind of thing Aragon writes.  You know?  If you don't necessarily like the kind of thing Aragon likes, you're probably right to skip this too, though if your specific complaints about his best-known stories is that they're too random, this is a bit more focused than most of his stuff.


  1. Dave Grohl is super-awesome though. :O I hope the kids learned a lot of stuff!

    I also hope Aragon sees that last review. :D

    1. I believe he was talking about Taylor Hawkins, not Dave Grohl. Also, thanks to that bit of info, I now know where Chris works! If I weren't 560 miles away, it'd be very easy to stalk him :p

    2. Dammit, shit.

      I think "Drummer", I think "Foo Fighters", I think "Dave Grohl". D: Surely, you can understand why.

    3. Yeah, I thought of him at first too. Damn multi-talented musicians


  2. [12:41:22] Aragón: did Chris just flat-out forget about the story in his review to just headcanon about my life
    [12:41:40] Aragón: because that’s actually rather brilliant
    [12:41:50] Lucky Roll: really
    [12:41:52] Lucky Roll: at that point
    [12:41:56] Lucky Roll: the reviewer legit went
    [12:42:15] Lucky Roll: "hey, it's an Aragón story. Like, what else do you want me to say? Here's a joke about orc crossdressers."
    [12:42:45] Aragón: well, Chris has stated before that it's easier to just coin the term "aragonian" than to describe the story itself
    [12:42:53] Aragón: so I guess that he just went look
    [12:42:54] Aragón: fuck it
    [12:43:00] Aragón: Gimli erotica
    [12:43:06] Aragón: the thing about every orc BUT the chief being a crossdresser is just
    [12:43:09] Aragón: that’s more aragón-like than my latest story in its entirely
    [12:43:11] Aragón: I'm actually impressed
    [12:43:18] Lucky Roll: I wanted to say that bit was extremely aragónish too
    [12:43:27] Lucky Roll: but then I thought about the joke of the family being disappointed
    [12:43:33] Lucky Roll: and realized that's also just as aragónish
    [12:43:34] Aragón: it is
    [12:43:39] Aragón: and I AM a disappointment to my family
    [12:43:44] Aragón: I'm, if anything, predictable!
    [12:43:57] Aragón: I mean to be honest right
    [12:44:01] Aragón: I’ve blogged about Chris enjoying the sight of my butt before
    [12:44:04] Aragón: so I guess at this point none of us truly gives a shit anymore
    [12:44:08] Lucky Roll: I guess that friendship really IS magic in the end
    [12:44:12] Lucky Roll: also wait did you really blog about him and your butt
    [12:44:30: Aragón: it was a weird weekend

    It's actually weird for me to be at a loss of words, but I think I'm just gonna frame this review and quietly return to my corner. Wow.

    (Also, I read ocalhoun's story -- and while it's well-written, it also bothered me that it was so unfocused. Some more meat would've worked wonders there).

  3. Yeah, pretty Aragonian review there, Chris.