Monday, November 28, 2016

Mini-Reviews Round 161

Hope you all had a pleasant Thanksgiving!  Now that you've had a few days to recover from your turkey-induced coma (a joke I'm pretty sure I'm the first person to ever make), here are a few reviews of stories you might consider reading.  Check them out, below the break.

A.K. Yearling Tries to Write a Sex Scene,  by KenSES64

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  And she can't exactly tell her editor, "But we didn't actually have a romantic tryst!"

A few thoughts:  There's a germ of a good idea here, but the best part of the concept--Yearling having to manipulate the facts to meet the demands of pop authorship--gets very little play.  Instead, most of the story is either about her more general discomfort, or the sex scene itself (don't worry, this fic stays perfectly appropriate-for-most-audiences), neither of which are much more than low-drama filler.  Combine that with some needlessly expository and awkward writing, and there's not a whole lot to recommend here.

Recommendation:  That said, if the title has you curious and you don't mind a pretty low-stakes, low-drama, and high-telliness take on the concept, perhaps this is worth a look.  Absent any of those criteria, though, it's probably not the fic you're looking for.

Egress, by Silent Earth

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  A victorious Nightmare Moon prepares to lower the sun--forever.

A few thoughts:  This is much more scene than story, never really doing much to examine its AU premise or to invest in an overarching plot.  Instead, it uses its barely-1000 words to give a brief, incomplete glimpse of both the politics of transition, and the emotional tenor of the sisters' relationship.  And it does a fine job of showing both of those things... as long as you're willing to take the setting and tone as givens, and don't expect any particular resolutions of anything along the way.

Recommendation:  If you're looking for a complete story, this is clearly not the fic for you.  But if you're looking for a short peek at a scene from a classic "what if?" scenario, this pulls back that curtain well.

Cross Your I's and Dot Your T's, by Garbo

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Rarity's got a problem: her writing is so bad, it's literally illegible.  Luckily, Spike's here to help!

A few thoughts:  The first line is promisingly self-aware ("It was a nice spring morning in Equestria. The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, and all that jazz"), and throughout the story there are scattered a few pleasantly humorous notes.  But the writing is a huge letdown, both in terms of editing (sometimes impinging on comprehension, as when the author apparently uses "indifferent" to mean "concerned") and construction.  This is a story wherein most character feelings are informed rather than inferred, and where Spike ends up basically expositing the entire conflict and resolution.  Add to that how the story sort of... stops, rather than having a proper conclusion, and this one left me rather cold.

Recommendation:  Unless you're unusually desparate for stories where Spike's both a main character and not an idiot (which is, admittedly, a somewhat underserved category, it seems to me), this isn't a story I'd recommend specifically seeking out.


  1. "Unless you're unusually desparate for stories where Spike's both a main character and not an idiot..."

    I'll let Tom Spiegel know he can finally enjoy something for once

    1. I heard about that guy the other day.

      Don't forget swashbucklist.

    2. Oh jeez, that guy. Leave Spike out of your story? He's pissed. Have Spike in it but give him an unsatisfactory role? He's pissed. Have him in it with a meaty role but don't give him enough screen time? He's pissed.

    3. What is it about Spike that attracts the most obnoxious of fanboys? He's like the Tolkien of MLP

    4. Part of it is that the show writers continually give Spike crappy roles and treat him as an afterthought. I don't think the answer is to wedge him into stories where the writer doesn't have a good plan to use him, but I do at least like to see him given some respect.