Friday, May 26, 2017

Fandom Classics Part 215: Nosflutteratu

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

Two more weeks of school, and I am officially counting the days until summer.  I always try to wait as long as possible--I don't want to get into a "only X days left!" mindset in the middle of February, like certain other people I could name--but at this point... yeah, it's hard not to have that "we're in the homestretch" feeling.  But although the school year may end, the reviews never do!  Click down for my thoughts on Charcoal Quill's Nosflutteratu.

Impressions before reading:  Honestly, they aren't very positive.  The cover art promises something meme-y and reference-heavy, though that could always be misleading.  But regardless, this would appear to be a comedy of the "ridiculous premise" school, in which case, 15,000 words seems awfully long; I'm worried this will bog down fast.  The one bit of good news?  Based on the publication date, this came out well before Bats! aired, so there's at least a good chance I'll be getting "vampire Fluttershy" rather than "trumped-up Flutterbat."  Seriously, Flutterbat may not be the worst thing the fandom's ever latched on to, but it was/is up their on the "most annoying" list.

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  While out having lunch with Fluttershy, Twilight discovers that her friend is a vampire.  This would seem to be a big deal... except that everypony but Twilight already knew that, and is remarkably sanguine (#sorrynotsorry) about the whole thing.

Thoughts after reading:  Although this story didn't get off to a great start with me, as Fluttershy goes through several classic Dracula lines pretty fast, my worst fears were eventually assuaged; as a whole, it's light on cheap referential humor, and does have something resembling a plot.  That said, the plot is pretty wafer-thin.

The structure here is a classic "visit each of the main six in turn" setup, with Twilight learning more and coming to terms with what her friend is as she talks to each of the other girls.  The problem is that it's not executed with any particular nuance or aplomb; instead, at each turn it is transparently obvious that another main six box is being checked off by the fic.  This kind of devotion to structure over style is also apparent in several of the story's wrinkles; conflicts don't so much organically resolve as they do have a solution forced upon them by the narrative, whether it's something like Twilight's concern about self-defence or the outcome of the "garlic farmer"s story role.  In all cases, the logical story event occurs... but it doesn't occur in a way that fits comfortably into what has come before.

Given that the story is told in first-person from Twilight's perspective, narrative voicing is also an issue.  I have trouble imagining her saying (/thinking) a line like "My brain simply threw its arms into the air and said, 'Screw this, I'm outta here,'" and she's not the only one who has questionable moments of characterization.  Personally, I also found the presence of footnotes in this style of narration more than a little odd, though I suppose they make more sense coming from Twilight than they would from anypony else.  Regardless, there are also some voicing issues of the more straightforwardly constructural variety: Applejack's accent isn't the most overwritten I've ever seen, but it's got a few improbably-placed apostrophes.

The one thing I really did enjoy about this story was that it didn't overplay its drama.  This is, at its heart, a rather silly premise, and the story recognizes that, even as it avoids a lot of wacky-comedy hijinks.  In a lot of ways, in fact, this is comparable to a typical "changeling faces persecution" fic, and it's to Charcoal Quill's credit that he doesn't go down the route a lot of those changeling authors have and turn the story into a diatribe about not judging others and giving others a chance.  Yes, that is the message of the story... but it's not particularly heavy-handed, nor does it force Twilight too grossly out of character (some might take issue with her researching vampire-killing techniques, but given that she never seriously considers using those techniques, I feel like this fits within Twilight's general studiousness).

Star rating:

This is by no means a terrible story... but it does fall within the scope of what I'd call "typical fanfiction:" it's basically one idea, stretched out and batted around through a number of predictable setpieces, without a lot of overarching structure to the events depicted.  It's a pretty readable, unobjectionable story for all that--but this still ends up within the upper-bound of my one-star rating.

Recommendation:  If you're interested in a slice-of-life take on the premise, and enjoy a little bit of referential humor and some other fandom staples, then this will nicely suit your reading needs.  If you're looking for cohesion, sharp humor, or character-fitting writing, though, this isn't likely the fic for you.

Next time:  Twilight Hears the Narrator, by Stratocaster


  1. For some reason, the title makes me think of Flutterlich, which I need to reread sometime.

  2. A lot of what's going on there has me thinking of CiG's "The Lamia," which I finally got around to reading.

  3. "Seriously, Flutterbat may not be the worst thing the fandom's ever latched on to, but it was/is up THEIR on the "most annoying" list."

    What was it, Chris? Did they offer you money? Were you just following orders? Or did you just enjoy every sick, twisted second of it, you grammar-torturing scumbag? Out with it!

    This has been a Grammar Police PSA

    1. It seems I've been replaced :o

      I know I haven't been on top of my game lately, so I suppose I can't blame Chris for wanting someone new to correct him... *stifles tears* but that doesn't make it sting any less...

      Also, you should use single quotation marks for interior quotes if you're going to bookend the whole thing with doubles

    2. It says "Grammar Police". Quotation marks are not my department. :P