Friday, February 10, 2017

Mini-Reviews Round 170

Ah, February: that magical time of year when young men's fancy turns to standardized testing.

...No?  Just me?  Okay then.  Well, just be grateful you're not working with Newcomers; in addition to the usual state-mandated testing, they also "get" to do an extra four-part standardized test designed specifically for English language learners every year.  Because nothing helps kids catch up on their language skills like taking extra time out to give them tests.  Can you tell this isn't my favorite thing in the world?

Oh well; those are the cards we're dealt.  So instead of bellyaching any further, let's get on with the mini-reviews!  Below the break, as always.

A Survey of the Work of Vinyl Scratch (Abbreviated), by Meta Four

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  A collection of reviews of Vinyl Scratches EPs, which perhaps cast more light on the reviewer than his subject matter.  And not a particularly flattering light, for that matter.

A few thoughts:  This is a fun, fun read.  It's (mostly) a collection of in-universe writings/reviews, and the real brilliance here is in how they aren't just bad reviews, but realistically bad reviews. The author links to a blog in which notes the numerous real-life inspirations for certain bits of pedantry, missing-the-point, irrelevant digression, pointless name-dropping, and so forth, but even without seeing them firsthand, the sense of verisimilitude comes through clearly.  I doubly appreciated this story because it is simultaneously about a reviewer of the kind I aspire not to be, yet is still sympathetic to the practice itself.  It ends on a wonderful note, too; vaguely sweet, yet still arrogantly, blindly pompous.

Recommendation:  If you want to see a pure distillation of the most conceited reviewership possible, look no further!  And even if you don't, this is an easy story to recommend for fans of steady humor and in-universe writing.

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  This, but with ponies.

A few thoughts:  Unfortunately, I'd already seen that video I liked to in the summary; the fic itself is a literal retelling of that scene, except with Twilight and Rarity.  To be fair to the author, s/he makes no attempt to hide what this story is.  Still, I'm struggling to find anything creative about this work.  It's not an adaptation or parody or anything; it's just a nearly word-for-word written version of that video, with ponies.

Recommendation:  I guess if you're of the "everything's better with ponies" perspective, this might tickle your fancy.  But for most everyone else, I think you're better off just watching the video.

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Diamond Tiara grapples a gator.  Gorilly.

A few thoughts:  That's "gorilly" as in "in a gory manner;" it turns out that it isn't a real word, so I had to improvise the spelling.  I did the best I could, but I'm not altogether satisfied with how it turned out.  Anyway!  I picked this fic because I wanted something short and silly, and that's exactly what I got.  Unfortunately, the fic is rather poorly edited, and it more "stops" than "ends."

Recommendation:  This is one you can accurately judge from the title; it delivers the kind of story you expect, without any unexpected depth or cleverness.  So: if "Diamond Tiara Is: The Gator Grappler" sounds funny to you, by all means give it a shot.  If it doesn't, you won't be missing anything.


  1. I'd probably go with "gorelly", but that still doesn't look right

    Spotted a couple typos, but I've already forgotten where they were. Sorry

    1. Typos only count if somebody complains about them specifically and individually; this is why the EqD pre-readers used to love it when they sent an author a few examples of the kinds of writing problems in a story, and it was resubmitted twenty minutes later with only those particular examples fixed, and nothing else.

      The point is, if you already forgot them, then they never existed. Go me!

    2. I'd go "gorily".

      And one of them was "liked to" for "linked to". Probably.

    3. If I weren't so lazy, I'd re-read the post and make note of them. I'll get you next time, Chris. NEXT TIME!!!

  2. I think it'd be "gorily", with one l. The version with two is the same kind of person who says "Santy Claus" talking about primates in the mist. :V

    1. Yeah, when I saw it scanning ahead I thought it was gorilla-y.

  3. This is a very pleasant surprise.

    >I doubly appreciated this story because it is simultaneously about a reviewer of the kind I aspire not to be, yet is still sympathetic to the practice itself.

    I'm very glad that came through. I strongly considered putting an Author's Note to the effect of, "If at any point you wondered whether Spilt Ink was a mockery of you: he wasn’t. Because, by asking that question, you've demonstrated more self-awareness than he ever did."

    1. I thought the tenor of the piece came through perfectly clearly as-written (though I did joke that chapter 3 was a parody of PresentPerfect's reviews). Glad you liked the review; the story was a pleasure to read!

  4. "Gorily", with one L, is fine by the OED. Apparently Tennyson used it in Boadicea.

  5. Replies
    1. Because one of these days, I'm going to coin a new word that sticks, dammit.

      Though it appears that "gorilly" isn't it. Oh well, tune in next week, when Chris criticises a fic for its obtusosity, while acknowledging that its semirreverence gives it a certain air of abemusementness!

    2. Chris are you okay

      Are you having an aneurysm

      Or a midlife crisis

  6. *sputter* My friend posted to FIMFiction a re-interpretation of The Call of Cthulhu, thoroughly reimagined to fit into the world of Equestria. You know, to the extent that a story of creepy cults and ocean dwelling monsters can fit into Equestria.

    Within a day it was blocked by one of the administrators. Not with a "Hey, that's neat, but not really what we accept here, sorry," but an aggressive insult to my friend's creativity. When my friend said they thought it was a mistake, and could the decision be appealed, the answer was not just "no," it was "No, and if you post anything like this again, you'll be immediately banned."

    (It may have been a different Lovecraft story, but I seem to recall it being Call.)

    I guess the warning was unnecessary, my friend has never needed their account again. They decided pony fanfiction wasn't for them if this was the sort of asshole they were going to have to deal with. It's always stained my view of the otherwise excellently run FIMFiction.

    But now someone else just loosely reskins a comedy sketch? I'm not saying it should be removed, but it really grates.

    1. Seems odd and unfair -- until fairly recently, everything went through moderation, so why wasn't the story picked up at that stage?

  7. Sounds like "It's Not About the Bobby Pin" is kinda "Tales from Magic Kindergarten" all over again.