Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Ponyfic Roundup 28: Outside Insight finalists, 4/4

And that's the lot! Here are my reviews of the final six entrants for the EqD "Outside Insight" contest. Three excellent fics and three okay-to-good fics this time. I'll be making a special extra post tomorrow giving some final thoughts – and my top ten. There are several draws in terms of ranking scores, so I'll need to think a little about tie-breaking, hence the slight delay. Next week, it'll be back to the usual format for Ponyfic Roundup, with a wider variety of fics.

Pick of the fics

Moonlight Palaver by Carabas
Celestia and OCs
Comedy/Slice of Life; 7K words; Aug 2014; Everyone
Pushing it a bit in pure contest-prompt terms but as a story in its own right, which is how I'm rating here, I loved it. The sun doesn't rise one day (it's set at Nightmare Moon time) and the various other nations of the region meet up to discuss what to do. For which, read "bicker at each other". The characters are a great deal of fun (especially the Tyrant and the Crown) and the story rolls along at a nice pace. Even has a Colossal Cave reference slipped in. Should have an OC tag, though. 9/10

Other stories

Changeling: The Movie by Obselescence
Chrysalis, Changelings and Twilight
Comedy; 9K words; Aug 2014; Everyone
Chrysalis decides to make a documentary about ponies to assist in future invasion plans. This is pretty much the sort of thing I might write if I were a  better writer. It's very funny and I love Chrysalis's snarkiness. Unsurprisingly, then, it scores well: it came within a whisker of winning Pick this week, but a slightly predictable ending just cost it top spot. The relationship (such as it is) between Chrysalis and Twilight is undoubtedly the highlight. 8.5/10

Cranky Doodle Donkey's Bad Asssssss Day by Einhander
Cranky Doodle Donkey, Matilda, Pinkie Pie and Caramel
Romance/Dark/Comedy; 9K words; Aug 2014; Everyone
Ooh, interesting combination of genre tags! Cranky tells us, in his own inimitable style, how he wound up in jail for running over Pinkie Pie. On Hearts and Hooves Day, too. That narration is the best thing about this one: Cranky's tone is utterly believable and his complex relationship with Pinkie generally works well. The party pony herself is... well, she's Pinkie. A few mis-steps (since when did Ponyville have cops?) and it could do with a little editing, but the heartwarming ending got to this old softy. As such, 8/10.

Her Scarf Fluttered in the Absence of Wind by ArgonMatrix
Cadance and OC
Slice of Life; 5K words; Aug 2014; Everyone
A pre-ascension Cadance falls into a dragon's lair. The dragon is not inclined to help her out. I had a lot of trouble scoring this one: it all makes sense and I liked the parallels between Cadance and the dragon. It didn't move me quite as much as I'd have expected, though. Another story that teeters on the edge of compliance to the prompt. 7/10

Sylphidine by RazgrizS57
Slice of Life; 5K words; Aug 2014; Everyone
I'm a simple soul, and sometimes stories just confuse me. This tale of an air elemental's perception of the equine world was one such, at least for the first few pages. Things do get a little clearer after a bit, but for a short story I think that took slightly too long. From a contest perspective, maybe also too much bordering on pony POV when Twilight talks to Spike. (Only printing one half of the conversation doesn't get you out of that one!) Technically fine, but I found it a bit of a slog to get through. 5/10

Veni, Vidi, Verti by thesecret1
Changelings and Rainbow Dash
Adventure; 13K words; Aug 2014; Teen
Ah, a changeling story not from Chrysalis's POV! Here, we follow Crypsis on her mission to infiltrate Ponyville. Lots of quite detailed description in the first half, which some readers won't like (I do) but later on, things broaden out quite a lot. A take on how the hive mind works that I haven't seen before, and an interesting stallion OC. The ending is also interesting and one you might not see coming. 8.5/10


  1. Her Scarf is not exactly a sequel. It's a prequel to another story, but only to the point that the dragon is the character of another story that takes place later. As far as I could tell, there aren't any other connections between the two.

    1. Ah, fair enough. It didn't actually affect my rating here, but I'll correct the entry. Thanks!