Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Ponyfic Roundup 27: Outside Insight finalists, 3/4

I wonder why so many people capitalise every word in their story titles? I was always taught not to do that. (That's why my fic's title is We Who with Songs Beguile.) Anyway, we're back with the Equestria Daily "Outside Insight" finalists, and there are another five stories to consider this week. Like last time, there wasn't one story that stood head and shoulders above the rest, but this week's winner triumphed on the simple basis that it was the fic I enjoyed the most.

Pick of the fics

An Outsider's Perspective by Kavonde
OC and Mane Six
Comedy/Slice of Life; 5K words; Jul 2014; Everyone
I'm perhaps not quite as much of a Lovecraft fan as quite a few of my fellow ponyficcers seem to be – but this story is just too enjoyable to pass up. It really is an alien POV, that of an eldritch abomination with eyes and tentacles to spare who just happens to be the being that will bring about the end of all things. And, of course, winds up in Ponyville. It's quite ridiculous: maybe not as much about ponies as some other fics, but as I said, too much fun to say no to. A comedy that's actually funny! Also, I'm impressed at the author's willpower in not allowing Pinkie Pie to dominate proceedings. 8/10

Other stories

Gazebo by NotARealPonydotcom
OC and Changelings
Romance; 6K words; Aug 2014; Everyone
Two ponies shelter from the rain in a gazebo. Except that one of them is a changeling. They talk a lot. Things happen. But not many. This is a Romance, and that in itself was a nice change of pace, but I didn't really buy the changeling-integration background or (rather more crucially) the budding relationship itself. A little nugget of moderately imaginative mythology is spoiled by a truly horrible name-drop. Believe me, you'll groan too when you get to it. Also, Manehattan: that spelling is canon now, so lump it. Otherwise technically fine: it just didn't move me. 5.5/10

Hello, My Name Is by LoyalLiar
Changelings, Chrysalis and Luna
Comedy; 6K words; Aug 2014; Teen
It's always fun to read an entry that has a sarcastic protagonist constantly complaining about ponies' shortcomings. (Hey, why do you think I wrote mine that way?) It's another changeling story – this time, he's disguised as Luna's banker (sort of) in the run-up to that attempted invasion of Canterlot – but it generally works well. An early reference involving the bank's name is poor: much too forced. And "scowling at high society over a discrete flask"? But most of the rest is great. Another genuinely funny comedy, and that's worth a lot. 7.5/10

Not In Bluff Nor Bravado Nor Loneliness by Vivid Syntax
Iron Will and OCs
Slice of Life; 7K words; Aug 2014; Everyone
Iron Will is among the antagonists I actually rather like, so I was pleased to see this: it's pretty much the minotaur's life story, from his days as a bullied weakling at school, to how he began his adult career and beyond. Yes, we do get a little bit of "Putting Your Hoof Down", but it's kept refreshingly short. Some nice interaction with actual ponies (one in particular) helped this to hold my attention. A few annoying typos ("their" for "they're" twice being the worst) but all in all, I enjoyed this one. 7.5/10

That Orange Colt With The Bare Wings by BlndDog [sic]
Diamond Dogs and OC
Dark/Slice of Life; 6K words; Aug 2014; Teen (Gore)
A grumbling diamond dog is dumped with a captured young pony to raise and train for heavy mine work. This story does well on the "alien perspective" factor: to ponies (and us) the colt's fate is horrifying, yet the otherwise fairly sympathetic central character pretty much ignores that aspect. A lot is left unexplained, which sometimes works nicely in the fic's claustrophobic underground setting – but I did find the ending rather unsatisfying. Another story that would have benefited from a good proofread to catch small typos. 6.5/10


  1. Typo in the last one. Missing a letter in the author's name.

    1. As it happens, no: this writer is indeed BlndDog, not BlindDog. (I suppose leaving out the i makes sense, actually!) I meant to add a [sic] by the author's name when I posted this; I've done it now.