Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Ponyfic Roundup 219: Ludlow Sausage

Title explanation: much-missed discontinued flavour of Tyrrells Crisps

I discovered quite by chance today that Vimbert the Unimpressive has changed his username to "An Unimpressive". I've no idea why and it isn't any of my business anyway, but it did throw me briefly when I noticed the name while skimming the BMRL and wondered why someone I'd never heard of had been reviewed so often! Note that I don't usually go back and edit my reviews to use new usernames, as it's just too fiddly. I will do so if it's specifically requested by the author, however.

Read it Later story count: 306 (-9)

On a vaguely related note, you may occasionally notice that although I usually stick with canon names in my headers (so it's Minuette, not Colgate) I don't always follow either that or Fimfiction style. There's an example today: I'm sticking with "Vinyl Scratch" even though Fimfiction goes with Hasbro and uses "DJ P0N-3". Why? Because I think the official version looks dreadful. What more do you need?

Destination Unknown by Pale Horse
Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo by A Hoof-ful of Dust
Twilight Sparkle Was Shot by Coyote de la Mancha

★: 0 | ★★: 0 | ★★★: 1 | ★★★★: 2 | ★★★★★: 0

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

New(ish) to writing ponyfic and would like a review? Read on!

Note: this post is copied from the matching one on Fimfiction.

I was wondering recently what do to for a themed edition of Ponyfic Roundup, my weekly review blog. Having seen Pascoite's recent blog post about underappreciated newcomers, that gave me an idea. So, I'd like to do a blog featuring new(ish) writers, or at least those who first published fairly recently. Read on for what it's all about!

Which authors are eligible?
You simply need to fit at least one of these criteria:
  • Joined Fimfiction on or after 1 January 2017
  • Published your first fic on or after 1 January 2017
Which fics are eligible?
Your story must fit all of these criteria:
  • Maximum 20,000 words using the Fimfiction counter
  • Marked Complete
  • Not a crossover or sequel
  • No more than 999 views at time of submission
  • Published at least one week before time of submission
What about Mature fics?
Although I would prefer Everyone or Teen stories, M-rated fics are eligible, but I don't read many so probably won't pick more than one or two. Also:
  • No foalcon -- this is a hard red line
  • No extreme gore or squick -- this can be subjective, so feel free to ask if you're unsure!
  • I'm not interested in pure clop -- there needs to be some sort of story there too
What will the reviews be like?
One-para potted reviews with a star rating (one to five) at the end. See the non-Spotlight reviews under this tag on my blog to get the idea. Please bear in mind that I give out more ones than fives! I will always explain why I like or dislike a fic, and you are very welcome to engage with me about it in comments or by PM. Note that I will not do "Accepted" or "Rejected" stuff. I really don't like that, and it's not what these reviews are about. The reviews will probably appear towards the end of 2018 or early in 2019.

Sounds fun! How do I submit?
Either leave a comment or PM me [on Fimfiction] with the story you'd like reviewed! If you're submitting an M-rated fic, Fimfiction rules mean you can't link to it directly there, but you can embed.

Small print
Only one story per author, please. If I get a large number of fics submitted, I may not be able to review them all. I will choose all but a couple of the stories myself, but the last two will be chosen randomly, to give people who write genres/characters I don't normally go for a chance. Pegasi can go down as well as up. Your village is at risk if you do not keep up repayments on your Elements. Subject to status.

Monday, 17 September 2018

Episode review: S8E21: "A Rockhoof and a Hard Place"

"And polish up the handle of the big front door!"
There are just a few episodes left now until we reach the end of Season 8, at least for those sticking to the weekly schedule. It's certainly been an interesting ride, and I'll try to make the time to do an end-of-season roundup (possibly in audio as well) sometime this autumn. This episode was written by Kaita Mpambara, who acquitted himself quite well on his debut with "Horse Play". How would this tale of a Pillar fare?

Saturday, 15 September 2018

Text Review Roundup: "The Washouts"

I'd better squeeze in this TRR before episode 21 goes out on DF. No Dark Qiviut this week, but that's balanced bv the return of ShutterflyEQD. I've also found a new (to me) reviewer: Lightening McQueen. Be careful if you read their review, as their thoughts on all S8 episodes, right up to the finale, are on the same page. This episode's reception was generally positive, though this week I'm one of the more impressed by the ep!

Cuddlepug – mixed (graded C+; "a competent episode")

Derpy News – positive (graded A-; "Scootaloo’s following of a pony other than Dash also calls attention to Dash’s own insecurities [...] a good episode with a good lesson") Subsequently downgraded to B due to the "Parental Glideance" continuity fumble.

The Dragon Warlock – positive (graded B+; "another great entry to this season, and another superb Rainbow and Scootaloo episode [though it] does suffer some characterization issues")

JDPrime22 – very positive (rated 9/10; "The comedy was fantastic, the moral just as good, and I appreciate the fact that Scootaloo admitted that she couldn’t fly.")

Lightening McQueen – broadly positive ("cool and intense [...] very puzzling [given "Parental Glideance"] that Scootaloo didn't know that Rainbow Dash and Lightning Dust know each other [...] much good humour [...] Rolling Thunder and Short Fuse were also nice")

Louder Yay – very positive (rated 4/5; "a generally very satisfying look at a slightly older Scootaloo [but] Twi should have stepped in [at the end]")

Mega Sean 45 – very positive ("This episode was just as cool as I thought it would be! [...] a great way for LD [to] return [but] one retcon to Parental Glideance")

MLEEP Reviews – positive (rated 8/10; "even though the moral is total bull-crap, it didn't wash away everything else of what was great about 'The Washouts' from the beautiful and epic animation to the highly anticipated return of [Lightning Dust]")

The Railfan Brony – mixed (rated Okay (just barely); "on one hand, there's a solid theme about bad influences [...] but on the other, Rainbow Dash's character is inconsistent at points and the message about eavesdropping was really bad")

Rainbine – generally positive (rated 4/5; "highlighted the best qualities of Rainbow Dash [and I was] entertained throughout [but] Lightning Dust is awful [and Spitfire's cameo] felt kind of forced")

ShutterflyEQD – positive ("great to finally see Lightning Dust once again [...] Scootaloo was still great [...] left us entertained the whole way through")

Friday, 14 September 2018

Episode review: S8E20: "The Washouts"

Short Fuse, a short, red stallion wearing a flight suit, getting angry at the state of his sandwich
"What do you mean, bacon?"
Apologies for the delay in getting to this episode review. I hope to get the Text Review Roundup posted tomorrow, then I should be more or less back on the normal schedule next week. Anyway, "The Washouts" was an episode I'd been looking forward to, as it promised to be one about the relationship between unofficially-adoptive-sisters Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo. Nick Confalone had one okay-I-sippose episode this season ("The Maud Couple") and one very entertaining one ("The Break Up Breakdown") – which category would "The Washouts" fall into?

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Ponyfic Roundup 218: Spotlight on Carousel

I don't read very many [Horror]-tagged fics at all, and probably most of those I have read have been by Horse Voice. This time, I'm reading a story with that tag that isn't by him! Carousel was recommended to me by more than one person, so it seemed an interesting choice for one of my occasional longer reads. And it was...

Read it Later story count: 315 (+3)

Carousel by Thornquill
Dark/Drama/Horror; 70k words; Mar–May 2016; Teen
There is a part of Ponyville’s past its citizens forgot, a part that was left to rot... until Rarity encounters a dark power in Old Town Hall.
Set several years before the show begins, this fic follows a newly-independent Rarity as she sets up what will eventually become the Carousel Boutique. Unfortunately for her, the building – or something or someone in it – doesn't seem to want her to succeed. This leads to some very tense and sometimes truly scary scenes, as well as one with a more domestic angle that's utterly horrific. The best thing this fic does is to be frightening without the need to resort to blood and guts. As the long description makes plain, this is a slow-burning horror, so you should expect plenty of slice-of-life stuff, including Rarity's relations with several of the future Mane Six. Some interesting ideas about magic, too. The ending is a bit of an anticlimax, and there are one or two slightly forced links with canon. Still, the heart of the fic is so good that it outweighs these concerns. A strong four. ★★★★

A bit more on Carousel, including major spoilers, follows the page break.

Monday, 10 September 2018

Blog schedule for this week

Although I have seen episode 20, I haven't had enough time to watch it again, something I always like to do before writing a review. As such, that will be delayed slightly until later this week, probably Thursday or Friday. Before that, there'll be Ponyfic Roundup as usual on Wednesday (a Spotlight edition this time) and anything else quick that comes to mind.

I have now seen the S8 finale, and I'll have quite a bit to say about that when the time comes. However, in deference to those who are watching on the Discovery Family schedule, I won't be talking about it until mid-October, at least not unless I've placed a clearly-marked spoiler warning and put the spoilery stuff after a page break. Suffice to say now that I'm in the camp that liked it.