Monday, April 3, 2017

Mini-Reviews Round 179

Well, that was fun.  Doubly fun for me, actually; I was out of town for a friend's wedding on Saturday, so it was a doubly great day!  But one day's enough; let's get back to my normal M.O., shall we?  Short reviews of stuff I recently read, below the break.

Fluid Exchange Under Closed Timelike Curves, by CoffeeMinion

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Berry Punch and the Doctor do something lascivious.  Or rather, they will do something lascivious.  Or at least, one of them will, and the other already has, except it's not clear who's done what to whom yet.  Time travel is weird like that.

A few thoughts:  For a story that plays with timey-wimeyness about as much as a 1500 word fic can without becoming hopelessly convoluted, this is actually quite easy to follow, to its credit.  I'm not convinced that making it about ponies adds anything (and in fact, I tend to think it detracts from the crude though entirely non-explicit tone of the piece), but this is something of a "just go with it" comedy, so I doubt the kind of reader most likely to enjoy this in the first place will be bothered by that.  And there is an undeniable pleasure in watching everything slowly make its way towards its inevitable closed time loop, especially since the story manages to retain a surprise or two despite that.

Recommendation:  If you aren't looking for sexual and alcohol-based humor, this isn't one you need to check out.  But if you want something short and silly that packs a lot of stuff into a small wordcount (and if you don't mind the blatant Dr. Who stuff), then give this a shot.

The Third Name, by AlicornPriest

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Twilight notices a repeated phrase popping up in Applejack's family tree, and it spurs a memory of something she's seen on her own genealogical record.

A few thoughts:  There's a nice bit of headcanon at the root of all this, and a poignant moment near the end which gives the story a little direction.  Unfortunately, the plot contrivances are rather blatant throughout, which characters expositing in unnatural ways, conversations taking jarringly convenient turns, and the like.  Personally, I also found Twilight's shaky memory (and the convenient bits coming back) to be credulity-straining... but to be fair, we are talking about the girl who forgot to tell anyone that she had a big brother for nearly two years, so maybe that specific bit's not so far-fetched.

Recommendation:  This isn't a good choice for anyone who's bothered by seeing a story's machinery exposed too blatantly.  But if you're looking for a story with an interesting idea at its core and some three tribes lorebuilding, the concepts at the heart of this may well be up your alley.

Noi and Bloo's Big Adventure, by SweetAI Belle

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Two young fillies undertake the archetypal Hero's Journey--very, very quickly.

A few thoughts:  A necessary bit of pre-knowledge in order to fully enjoy this: the author happened upon a chart which showed approximately how much of the wordcount of a Hero's Journey story of X length should be devoted to each step in said journey, was amused by the fact that the chart went all the way down to 100 words, and decided to write a 100 word story which used exactly that many words for each individual part.  The FiMFic version includes both an expanded version, and the original 100 word one.  The latter is definitely a better read; it has a breathless cleverness to it which gets stretched too thin at 1000 words, and manages to feel more coherent than its longer counterpart by virtue of leaving gaps to the reader to fill in, rather than trying to justify them itself.  That said, both are amusing exercises in pedantry.

Recommendation:  This(/these) are best approached as clever writing exercises, rather than being judged as straightforward fiction.  As such, I wouldn't recommend this to someone looking for "a good story," per se.  But within their idiom, I found the short version entertaining and impressive, and the longer one less so only by comparison.


  1. I'm very upset that first one's title doesn't spell out an acronym. D:

  2. Both first and last were fun. And the first even managed a twist I didn't see coming. "Adventure" was a fun exercise, and the bite-size adventure fit great with the child characters. Reminded me a bit of some children-playing-pretend stories, in that way.