Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Ponyfic Roundup 21

Before I forget: yes, I am still going to upload the other BUCK posts. I've just been horrendously busy lately. Meanwhile, let's return to the standard format for Ponyfic Roundup. A rather mixed week this time around, and at one point I thought I'd be struggling to find a really worthy Pick, but then I discovered a really excellent – and shamefully under-viewed – story, one that was an absolute shoo-in for the position.

Pick of the fics

The Railway Ponies: Highball by The Descendant
OCs and Others
Sad/Slice of Life; 24K words; Mar 2014; Teen
This ludicrously under-appreciated story (under 800 views, for a writer with 2,200 followers! Maybe it's the OC thing) is the satisfying, moving tale of ace engine driver Highball, told in first person by a more junior colleague. Despite the fact that you can see Highball's ultimate fate coming and a (very) few minor typos, this is superb, especially for those (like me) who have some knowledge of steam railways. There's a twist late on that may divide opinion, but I thought it worked. I did find the American railway parlance distracting: unfair on the author, but I score on my own enjoyment and having to mentally translate "engineer" to "driver" and so on did hurt the immersion a little bit. It would have been 9.5 otherwise, but please read it anyway. 9/10

Other stories

Accolade by Cereal Velocity
Trixie, Luna, Twilight and Celestia
Romance/Comedy; 7K words; Jul 2011; Everyone
The oldest extant story on FimFiction, barring a 300-word snippet by Sethisto. It's... not terrible. There are much worse stories on the site, certainly. A rather predictable comedy shipfic involving (but of course) Trixie. This is a perfect example of a "meh" story for me: it was almost completely unexciting, for either good reasons or bad. Occasionally fun, but balanced out by poor proofreading. As such, I'll give it a similarly unexciting 5/10.

Friends Forever by Doctor Perseus
Twilight, Mane Six, Celestia and Luna
Tragedy/Sad/Dark/Alternate Universe; 9K words; Mar 2014; Teen
Twilight didn't finish Star Swirl's spell properly and paid for it with her life. She's now a zombie, still visiting her friends and insisting they spend time with her. A straightforward setup, but a potentially interesting one and at times we do get glimpses of the real chiller this could have been. Unfortunately the tone isn't consistent: there are intrusions of inappropriate silliness, while a scene with Spike and Discord doesn't really work. 5/10

Just a Little Prick by Greatodyer
Fluttershy, Angel, Twilight, Pinkie Pie and Applejack
Comedy/Slice of Life; 4K words; Mar 2013; Everyone
ObDisc: Greatodyer used to be a fellow mod on UK of Equestria. This is a silly story about Fluttershy's attempts to give Angel his yearly shot. (Injection, not bullet. Sorry to disappoint some of you.) Some pretty amusing and well-timed comedy, especially of the more physical sort, but the story could have done with a bit more proofing. For one thing, rabbits aren't rodents. 6.5/10

The Last Crusade by Paradigm Shine
CMC and Celestia
Sad/Slice of Life; 3K words; Feb 2012; Everyone
Most definitely one for the feels brigade, this is a story about saying goodbye. It teeters on the edge of feeling overly emotionally manipulative; I thought it just about kept its balance (most of the time), but it was a very close call. I'm not entirely convinced by Sweetie Belle's position, and there's one example of the dreaded "Applebloom", but otherwise it reads okay. 6.5/10

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