Friday, November 11, 2016

Mini-Reviews Round 159

Forgive me for not having much to say up here.  Instead, I'll save my saying-things-ness for below the break, wherein you will find ensconced several reviews of the mini- variety.

The Corner of (Our) Eyes, by Daemon McRae

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  There are creatures which exist among and beside ponykind, forever out of view.  Most ponies live their lives without ever realizing such things exist.  But Derpy knows, and now, Twilight and Roseluck know as well.  And once you know, things are never the same.

A few thoughts:  This is a conceptually solid horror/thriller novella, with excellent pacing, a slow but rewarding buildup, and with exposition perfectly calibrated to reveal enough fast enough without resorting to over-long infodumps.  However, with this come two key flaws: first, the story isn't terribly well ponified--in fact, it's just a "replace hooves with hands" and a strabismus-afflicted character away from original fiction, and original fiction would certainly have been a better fit for the world-weary, slightly irreverent tone.  The second problem is editing, and while this was never enough to impinge on readability, there were some major issues on that front; redundancy is distressingly common, there are occasional tense slips, and so on.

Recommendation:  If you are specifically in the market for a "monsters among us" fic, and already know yourself to be a fan of the genre and its conventions, then this would be a solid enough choice.  If not, this might still be worth checking out if you don't mind stuff like gratuitous swearing and some writing issues... but if either of those are deal-breakers for you, this is probably one to pass over.

Wonder-Breezies, by Metool Bard

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  After her disastrous showing at the Wonderbolt Academy, Lightning Dust is forcibly "volunteered" for a day of breezie-coddling by her flight instructor.  At first, she's beyond miffed... but when she discovers there's an actual Wonderbolt along on the gig, she's determined to show that she's worth a second chance.

A few thoughts:  This is a very formulaic, "stock-comedy" type of story: there's a lot of obvious setting-up of dominoes, and they all fall exactly where you expect them to.  That's not a terrible thing to be as long as the jokes are funny, of course, and this story does a nice job with its show-tone, light-physical, and -of-errors comedy.  Where it occasionally runs afoul is in telling jokes in a manner better suited to a visual format than a textual one; a recurring gag about Lightning being paralyzed by breezie-dust particularly comes to mind as something that almost felt more like dialogue from a TV show than a story proper.

Recommendation:  This isn't a great choice for readers sensitive to medium displacement or formula, but if you're looking for something light, goofy, and unchallenging, this isn't a bad choice.

Hero of the Day, by Gravekeeper

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  The tale of how Twilight and her friends defeated Nightmare Moon... told, as Twilight would be quick to point out, with a rather large number of creative liberties.

A few thoughts:  I've read a number of stories of this type: an over-the-top recounting of an event, followed up by one or more characters complaining about the inaccuracies of the retelling.  How much you enjoy this story is likely to depend largely on how inherently amusing you find a hyperviolent but still quippy take on NMM's defeat--personally, I found it wasn't entirely to my taste, but that Gravekeeper did a nice job of keeping it accessable enough for even someone like me could enjoy it.  The best jokes are reserved for the (longer than usual, for this type of fic) post-telling, though, and there's a pleasantly ridiculous understatement to a lot of the best lines, even as the larger-scale ridiculousness takes center stage.

Recommendation:  This isn't a story that transcends its type or genre, but I think it's well above-average within the context of its general style.  With that in mind, if the concept sounds amusing to you, consider this one well-recommended.  If not, you'll probably find this fine but not exceptional.


  1. That should be strabismus, not strombosis. Strombosis is when too much Italian food plaques up your arteries :p

    1. That's a delightful portmanteau!

    2. I honestly don't know how I managed that mix-up. Though personally, I think "strombosis" must mean "having a compulsive need to hear about Roberto Luongo's day."

      No, I won't explain my stupid pun. Pay more attention to hockey.