Friday, January 13, 2017

Fandom Classics Part 196: The Incredibly Dense Mind of Rainbow Dash

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

Trivia of the day: this morning, I learned that orange (the color) is named after oranges (the fruit).  In the middle ages the color was just considered a shade of red, but then people started calling it "orange-red" to distinguish it from red red, and eventually they just started calling it orange.  Who knew?  I didn't!  Now you do, to!  What else should you know?  That you can read my review of Chengar Qordath's The Incredibly Dense Mind of Rainbow Dash below the break.

Impressions before reading:  I already read the sprawling standalone pseudo-sequel to this fic, The Life and Times of a Winning Pony, and found it a bit of a mixed bag.  Although it's primarily about different characters (and is about 1/20th the length), I expect to feel similarly about this story.  That's how continuities usually work, isn't it?  Also, the story has both an original edition and a spiffed-up-a-year-later version for perusal; my review will be of the new(ish) and improved one.

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  It's Hearth's and Hooves day, and Rainbow Dash has a master's degree in obliviousness.  Still, even her primitive lizard-brain can detect that something strange(er than usual) is going on re. Pinkie...

A few thoughts:  This fic really boils down to a single joke: that Rainbow Dash doesn't get it.  The specific "it" may vary from setup to setup, but that's the gist of it: Rainbow Dash observes something, the import or meaning of which is immediately apparent to the reader, and is unable to draw the appropriate conclusion.

That's not all bad; even if 14k words is pretty long for that kind of thing, it's a versatile joke.  And in fact, it's used to good effect many times in the story.  Things may get repetitive, but as long as you find the core concept funny, this isn't a fic that runs out of steam.

But it does chug along at a pretty slow pace, and a lot of that's down to the writing.  Dash in this story has a narrative voice essentially identical to Cloud Kickers in Winning Pony, in terms of snark and vocabulary (obviously not in terms of actual inner thoughts, but I'm talking about the writing specifically here).  Also identical is the repetitive, conversational nature of the narration.  The latter is fine; the former, not so much.  Dash ends up spending a great deal of time in a romantic comedy telling the reader things that were obvious from context, repeating the same thoughts a dozen times, and generally filling space with nothing of importance.  It makes for a bit of a frustrating reading experience--never mind the question of how well the voicing actually fits the character.

As far as the romance goes, this is a pretty typical "for shippers" story.  That is to say, the fic treats "Dash and Pinkie get together" as being inherently rewarding to read about, needing no further explanation or buildup than "here's how we get to the kiss."  It's also a pretty typical "for shippers" story in that two-thirds of the main cast are dating each other by the end.  None of this is bad, particularly, but it does mean that the story's appeal is largely limited to the shippers of the world.

Star rating:  

This is not a bad story.  It's an okay-for-what-it-is story, "what it is" being a romantic comedy centered around Rainbow Dash's cluelessness.  There are a lot of flaws, in terms of voicing, presentation, and tone/language, but although all are problematic, none are overwhelming enough that they're likely to destroy the reading experience for someone predisposed to enjoy it.  For everyone else, though... not so much.

Recommendation:  If you like the sound of "a romantic comedy centered around Rainbow Dash's cluelessness," then by all means give this a try.  Give it a pass, though, if you're bothered by characters continuously explaining to you what you just read, by lesbians out the wazoo, or generally by comedy based on the extreme-to-the-point-of-self-parody idiocy of the protagonist.

Next time: A Teacher With No Class, by Kavonde


  1. You know, this one saved me from ever reading "Winning Pony". I read this and enjoyed it for what it was... but Cloud Kicker was my least favorite part. So I knew right then that a CK-centric sequel would not be for me. Just think of all the time I saved (and then wasted reading other dumb stories)!

  2. Given the sequel got 2 stars, I guess this rating was obvious, but somehow I was still expecting it to be higher.

  3. Hey, that trivia about oranges sounds familiar. I WONDER WHY, EH, CHRIS.

    As per this story, eeeh. I'm not really into this 'verse, so I think I'll give it a pass. I don't particularly feel like 'for shippers only' romance either -- that tends to get on my nerves a lil'.

    1. Think of it this way: now you know the lag time between "Aragon writes something" and "Chris actually reads it!"

  4. I remember liking this to some degree, but it was a long time ago and I might well be a little tougher on it now. From what I can recall, my own biggest sticking point was the ridiculous stupidity of Dash herself.

    Next week's fic is also one I've read, but my guess is that it won't be another one-star rating from you. Depends what you think of... well, I can't say yet, obviously. I'll watch with interest!