Monday, November 20, 2017

Fandom Classics Part 236: The Trouble With Genealogy

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

Good news: I wrote about 2500 words of fiction over the weekend!  Bad (?) news: none of it was pony words.  If/when I get it into a finished form and post it where it belongs, I'll probably mention it here, though, so if you're absolutely starving for Chrisfic, you'll probably get some... eventually.

But if you're in the market for Chrisnonfic, then today's your lucky day!  Head down below for my review of Arroz's The Trouble with Genealogy.

Impressions before reading:  My first impression is that I want to spell it "Geneology," etymology be damned.  Beyond that, I must admit that the poor editing in the author's bio ("I'm from the Philippines, i like the show, and i've wanted to at least try writing for a while now") doesn't inspire a lot of confidence, and I'm seeing some more writing issues in the story description.  The story is short and Comedy-tagged, and sometimes that combination can ameliorate the effects of weak editing (stuff like missing capitalization is never a good thing, but most people find it spoils the mood of a drama far more thoroughly than of a humorous fic), but I still don't feel great about this one going in.

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Luna tries to sneak into the Ministry of Records to discover the fate of one who was dear to her before her banishment.

A few thoughts:  The writing is... well, it's basically of the quality you'd expect from reading the story's description.  Run-ons abound, unrelated clauses abut one another with a comfort that belies their inappurtenance, and only a fuzzy awareness of the difference between commas, periods, and semicolons is demonstrated.  Besides that, the story is full of straight-up non-sequiturs; some appear to be deliberate attempts at humor, but given the number that are obviously attributable to questionable construction, it rather obscures the attempt at comedy--it's hard to find something funny when it's not even clear if it's intentional or not.

Speaking of comedy, the last third or so of this story is very much a comedy... in contrast to what came before, which is much more a Drama/SoL blend.  Given that the focus in the first half is on Luna's relationship with the pony she's seeking in the Records (well, a lengthy stretch at the start is Celestia waking up and mentally cataloguing her decision to get up and go look for Luna, too) and her fall into NMM, it makes for an abrupt transition when it turns to wacky future revelations.  There's at least a clear narrative thread which ties the two parts of the fic together, but I found the tonal whiplash excessive, at least for my tastes.

But taken on their own, there is some promise to the individual elements of the story.  The middle section sketches a scene of familial conflict and the denial of closure, and even if it didn't actually explore that sketch, it still at least outlined a solid dramatic template.  And for all that the final headlines come out of left field (earning the story, at almost the last moment, it's Random tag), they are undoubtedly silly.  Heck, even Celestia's snack-thoughts-digression-filled search for Luna at the start represents a perfectly serviceable glimpse of an unexceptional moment in someone's evening.  By themselves (and not accounting for the quality of the writing), all three are fine.  But when you put them together, they total less than the sum of their parts.

Star rating:

There is nothing aggressively awful about this story.  The writing is poor, but it obviously represents an honest effort on the author's part (spelling, capitalization, etc. are all mostly or entirely correct; it's the kind of errors that a spellchecker can't help you with that mar the story).  The narrative is thematically discombobulated, but does at least describe a coherent series of events.  There's even some funny parts!  But on the whole, this isn't a story that I'd identify as exceeding "typical fanfiction," and on the Fandom Classics rating scale, that's a one-star fic.

Recommendation:  If you aren't worried about technical writing quality and are looking for a story with both contemplation and goofiness--and don't care about how the transition between the two is effected--you could consider this.  I wouldn't recommend specifically seeking it out outside of that audience.

Next time:  Just an Assistant, by RadicalDishonesty

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