Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Ponyfic Roundup 30

My goodness, PR 30? I really didn't expect to make it this far! Anyway, a little sidetrack before I start: The Royal Guard over on FimFic has a ponypower shortage. This isn't a group that I've ever had anything to do with personally – Twilight's Library is more my thing and I'm iffy about reports I've read that TRG can be too concerned with technical minutiae, rather than how good a read a story is. (And that's me, typo-whinger extraordinaire, saying that!) But it would still be a shame to see it go under.

All right, on to this week's batch. It's a strange week when the winner is a Human fic, while a story widely accepted as one of the fandom's all-time classics is relegated to an also-ran position. But I can only tell it as I read it...

Pick of the fics

A Brush with Beauty by Burruku_Pansa
Pinkie Pie and Applejack
Human; 6K words; Jun 2014; Everyone
That rare thing, a properly good Human story – written, unsurprisingly, for that "Most Dangerous Game" contest (that I wish I'd discovered in time!) a few months back. The description makes the human protagonist seem about as boring and grey as possible, but you'd be surprised. As you read, it gradually becomes clear that his life is far from normal. Shifting perspective comes as a surprise, but there's a good reason. 8/10

Other stories

An Angel Lost by Mayhem Darkshadow
Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy
Sad/Slice of Life; 5K words; Jul 2013; Everyone
A story with a +95/-3 score, written by a well-known name? Has to be great, yes? Actually... no. It's by no means awful, but this hurt/comfort story of Rainbow Dash trying to help her best friend after the tragedy alluded to by the title doesn't really gel. It badly needs proofreading, for one thing, while Fluttershy coming out with a long, descriptive monologue while apparently barely able to function in everyday life simply doesn't work. I'm not personally convinced by 'Shy's boozing, either, even in these extreme circumstances. 5/10

Every Little Bit by The Descendant
Rainbow Dash, Spike, Twilight, Rarity and Scootaloo
Slice of Life; 18K words; Sep 2013; Teen
Rainbow Dash offers a kiss as a charity auction prize, but is humiliated by a roomful of mouthy teenage colts. As usual for this author, it's well written and Spike is particularly interestingly portrayed. His relationship with Twilight is interesting, and some may feel an (apparently unintentional) TwiDash subtext, too. Unfortunately, the auction scene is overlong, while the colts' distasteful behaviour grates a little too much with my own notions of Ponyville society for me to truly love it. Highly recommended for Spike fans, though. 7.5/10

Rainbow Dash Watches Clouds by Ezn
Rainbow Dash
Slice of Life; 1K words; Aug 2012; Everyone
Yes, this is a little piece by the author of FimFic's Writing Guide, so it's a relief to find that it's decently written! I can't really think of a great deal to say about it: it has a nice atmosphere to it and is pleasant reading, but it evaporated from my memory rather as a cloud dissipates in the summer sky. Insubstantial but containing some nice imagery. One for when you have a few minutes to spare and want something that doesn't demand too much deep thinking. 7/10

Sunny Skies All Day Long by PhantomFox
Celestia and Mane Six
Slice of Life; 9K words; Apr 2012; Everyone
Probably everyone at least knows of this fic, which has been winning awards for over two years now. Celestia, fed up with all the bowing and scraping, disguises herself as an ordinary pegasus and spends the day in Ponyville. This is undoubtedly one of the more "episode-like" stories out there, and it's a pleasant enough read. What it isn't (any more, at least) is exceptional. Bits and pieces of characterisation feel a little off, and there are a surprising number of small typos. Worth reading, but it surely wouldn't be considered a classic if written today. 7/10

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