Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Mini-Reviews Round 206

Hey, I won last week's fantasy football game!  Bringing my record on the year to... 2-4.  Uuuuugh.  Somehow, I'm still only a game back in the wild-card, but this is not the start I wanted to the year.  Damn you, David Johnson and Andrew Luck!  Damn you for tricking me into thinking you'd be my bellcow and that you'd be back by week six, respectively!

Well, at least Leonard Fournette has rewarded my begrudging drafting of him.  And speaking of rewarding, what's more so than fanfic reviews?  Get a few, below the break.

Dig Korps of Krieg, by Terran117

Zero-ish soldier summary:  A single soldier from Warhammer 40k's Imperium has been sent to genocide all the inhabitants of Equestria.  The bad news is that he's insanely dangerous.  The good news is that he's strangely obsessed with digging trenches.  The other bad news is that he's insanely good at digging trenches.

A few thoughts:  The fic's description opens with "Warning: Silliness and randomness inbound," and although I'm not usually a fan of expectation-setting, I have to grant that that's exactly what I got out of this.  The story does make its jokes about the guardsman's obsession with defensive trenchwork (sidebar: no real knowledge of 40k is required to appreciate this story; all you really need to know about the setting for Dig Korps' purposes is that everyone in it is constantly trying to kill everything else in the galaxy), and about his hyper-competence, while keeping the tone wacky rather than getting too (read: at all) grim.  It's a very shallow fic, which doesn't benefit from the slightest bit of thought, and although it escalates, it'd be a stretch to say it has an actual arc.  It's also a little weak on the editing front.  But for all that, it does deliver the promised silliness, and has the courtesy to end before it runs out of variations on its key ideas.

Recommendation:  Fans of random comedy and general wackiness will find this a good fit for their interests.  It'd be a poor choice for readers looking for anything more, or for reading material which is even slightly challenging, needn't bother.

Kill Twilight Sparkle, by Terrycloth

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Twilight's friends must make a wish, and then kill Twilight Sparkle.  To do otherwise would invite disaster, but there's a catch (beyond the whole "killing Twilight Sparkle" thing)... no matter what they wish for, Twilight will die for nothing.

A few thoughts:  This story is too ambiguous for its own good, I think; it took me two read-throughs (ignoring the "Disney ending") to really grasp what was going on, and a glance at the comments section shows I'm not the only one who found this to be rather more on the opaque side than I think is desirous.  It would be fair to say that all of this is pretty out of character for Twilight's friends, and for Equestria generally... but then, that's kind of the point.  In the end, due to the lack of clarity, I don't know that I can call this a good story, but it's definitely much better (and more interesting) than its vote ratio would suggest.

Recommendation:  If you enjoy mindscrews and don't mind enforced darkness, this might make for interesting fodder.  It's not a good choice for casual reading, or for those looking for a story revolving around the the characters as seen on the show.

Me,  by KingMoriarty

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Twilight Sparkle clones herself, but there's a problem: the clone is convinced it's the real Twilight.

A few thoughts:  This is a perfectly competent story which I failed to fully connect with because I've seen this idea in a lot of stories before, approached from basically the same angle more than once.  But if the presentation is new to you, then I imagine this will be a stronger piece.  The horror element comes from trying to figure out which Twilight is the "real" one, and how the clone differs in terms of personality from the original (though the story muddles this a bit, intentionally or not, by raising the possibility that neither is the original).  And it does give the reader plenty of ambiguity to chew over, and if neither of the characters feel all that much like Twilight at times, well, it's reasonable to say that that's simultaneously a turn-off and a selling point.

Recommendation:  If you've read a few stories with this basic setup, you'll probably find this competently executed but deja-vu-inducing.  If you're going to be turned off by OOC-seeming thoughts, words, and actions from Twilight, certainly don't bother.  But if you're interested in a dark puzzle of a story about identity that gives plenty of gristle to chew in a short space, this would be a good choice.

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