Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Fandom Classics Part 219: Keeping Your Hooves On The Ground

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

Hey!  Do you like fanfic readings?  If so, then definitely check out Illya Leonov's reading of my Equestrian folktale, The Sweetest Water.  He has a wonderful, rich voice, but don't let that fool you; he also has plenty of range, which he gets to show off through the voices of the different pools.  The Sweetest Water is now two-for-two on having awesome readings done of it (the other being Neighrator Pony's wonderful reading from a while back).  If audiobooks and Chris-writing are your things, don't miss it!

Also, don't miss my review of InsertAuthorHere's Keeping Your Hooves On The Ground, below the break.

Impressions before reading:  I remember reading this a long time ago--probably around the time it was published, in 2012--and thinking it was a nice story.  I don't have any strong impressions of it, nor do I remember anything more about it than the general premise, which leads me to suspect that I'm going to find it a fluffy but unmemorable fic upon re-read, but we'll see.

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy tell the CMC the story of what happened in the aftermath of the Sonic Rainboom--of Dash's heroic quest to rescue Fluttershy from the horrible monsters which infested the ground, and Fluttershy's bemusement.

Thoughts after reading:  This is a really cute story, and if it's fair to say that it exists mostly for the sake of being cute, it's also fair to say that it accomplishes that goal.  Still, "fluffy but unmemorable," as I put it at the start, is a pretty fair description here.

The setup here is a classic story-within-a-story, with Dash and Fluttershy relating a tale as the narrative skips between them and their story.  Both elements individually are fine, but neither of them has any real direction.  The framing device has no arc besides "they tell the story."  The story itself, meanwhile, does have something of a conflict in "Dash learns that the ground isn't as terrifying as she thought," but this is mostly used as a light, kids-think-the-silliest-things joke; beyond that, it's effectively an extended denouement to the two ponies' cutie mark story.  The result is an 8000-word tale in which nothing really happens.

But with that said, the "nothing" is all pleasant enough on its own terms.  InsertAuthorHere does a nice job of creating amusing visuals, and the characterization on young Dash and Fluttershy feel on-point (the CMC play a small enough role that they're basically just "the kids," rather than being significantly differentiated, but they fill that role perfectly well).  Dash especially I liked; just enough is done with setting up her fears to make it clear that they're pretty idiosyncratic (rather than endemic to young pegasi--even back in 2012, that'd have been a bit of a stretch!) but grounded in believably childlike logic.

The writing is something of a weakness, though.  Both word choice and sentence structure coming out of dialogue get very repetitive, and there's a fair bit more LUS scattered throughout here than I can overlook.  These are especially notable, considering that the author's later works were markedly improved upon, construction-wise.

It's also worth noting that this is a S2-era fic.  Not just because some of the headcanon introduced here isn't later-season-compatable (if that's the sort of thing that bothers you), but because there's a lot of humor here that's grounded in an earlier fan-era.  From the comfort of 2017, we might not think anything of Scootaloo casually mentioning her family, but back at the height of Orphanloo (ooh, and remember Scootabuse?  That takes me back...), it was practically a shot across the bow in its own right!  Similarly, a lot of the minor character references, and stuff like a semi-disguised "10 seconds flat" joke, are best treated as staples of its era.  Whether you think that era has aged well is another matter, of course, and it's fair to say that some of those elements... haven't.  But the point is, this is best approached as "an S2 fanfic" rather than just "a fanfic from S2."

Star rating:

My impressions before reading were spot-on.  You could have skipped the rest of the review, I guess, and just gone with that.  I'm glad you didn't, though; it's nice that we have this time together, don't you think?

Recommendation:  If you're looking for "ponies being cute," this will deliver admirably.  Just don't go in looking for anything more than that.

Next time:  Friendship Is Optimal: Caelum Est Conterrens, by Chatoyance


  1. This is a pretty spot-on review. The fic was pretty much just something cute and funny with little other substance I threw together in two weeks. I remember having fun writing it, though, and it was a nice palate cleanser after spending almost a year writing My Little Alicorn.

    Now back to struggling to write anything.

    1. I'll drink to that, if I can find a good drink.

    2. Nothing wrong with a palate-cleanser story, especially one which does what it sets out to do. Good luck getting some writing done!

  2. It will surprise no one to learn that this one's been on my RiL list for a while. It's going to stay there, too, and may even get pushed up the queue a bit. Cute and fluffy FlutterDash friendshipping is a big plus for me, regardless of dated memes or whatever.

    From the comfort of 2017, we might not think anything of Scootaloo casually mentioning her family

    Up until "Parental Glideance", I'd have agreed with you. Maybe a little less so again now!

  3. I may actually check this out at some point. "Cuteness" isn't usually something I'm looking for, but this premise really gets me for some reason, and I can handle a little sub-standard prose if an idea sells me enough.

    Also, Jesus fucking Christ, you're reviewing a Chatoyance story? I hope you know what you're getting into.

    1. Wait. According to FimFiction, I've already read this.



      I guess that "unmemorable" description was pretty damn spot-on.

    2. I know. Chatoyance is a fucking mine field.

    3. I am aware! Or at least, I think I'm aware; we'll see how much I actually know. I'll talk about this a little more in the review (or, probably, in the bit before the review proper).