Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Ponyfic Roundup 46: Allsorts

Not allsorts of the liquorice type, I'm afraid. No, this week I'm looking at another mixed bag of ponyfics. As usual, there are six stories under consideration here, which as it happens were all published in 2014. This was a pleasingly strong week, with several fics which had the credentials to be considered as my Pick. In the end, though, one of them did stand out from the rest, and that's the one I'll be talking about first.

Pick of the fics

The Pale Stallion by Yellow Sub Zero
Sweetie Belle and OC
Dark/Slice of Life; 3K words; Oct 2014; Teen
Sweetie Belle, seeing a pale stallion on a cold railway platform, gives him her scarf. In return, he tells her a story. It's fairly easy to work out who the pale stallion is; that doesn't take away at all from the fic's power and beauty. It's a cold beauty, rather appropriately, but a beauty nonetheless. There are some exquisite lines here, and once you reach the end and the realisation hits you of what's actually happened, you'll know you've been in the presence of something remarkable. ★★★★★

Other stories

Between the Lines by Bad_Seed_72
Twilight, Applejack, Big Mac, Spike and Granny Smith
Sad/Slice of Life; 12K words; Jun 2014; Teen
Twilight, delivering books to the Apple family, is perplexed when Big Mac declines her offer. He surely has his reasons – but what are they? Twi decides to find out. The central mystery here is actually very easy to solve, so much so that it slightly stretches credibility for Twilight herself not to do so earlier than she does. The second half of the explanation isn't particularly original, though it fits this story very well, and there's one apparent real-world book title that jarred momentarily. The main reasons I recommend this are for the excellent characterisation (Twilight's dialogue with Spike is absolutely wonderful) and for the writing itself, which is beautiful. One mismatch (we get both "griffon" and "gryphon") doesn't change that. I wish I could write as well as this. ★★★★

The Cutie Mark Inspector by Blueshift
Twilight and Mane Six
Comedy; 8K words; May 2014; Everyone
A frustrated Twilight summons the dreaded Cutie Mark Inspector to Ponyville, and pony after pony is told their cutie marks don’t mean what they thought they did. This is a very enjoyable comedy, which twists and turns like a twisty-turny thing. There are some clever ideas and the CMI himself is an interesting character. There's only the very occasional typo and, though I think Twilight is a little unpleasant at times compared to her show ponysona, this one will reward a read. ★★★★

Evil Belle's Revenge by Akumokagetsu
Sweetie Belle
Comedy; 1K words; Feb 2014; Everyone
Evil Belle sells her soul to a handy demon. This is the only one of the four Evil Belle stories I hadn't already read, and it's much like the others. It's light and fluffy reading, without anything much in the way of weighty themes. What it does have is Sweetie Belle being utterly adorable. ★★★

Hidden Happiness by Biker_Dash
Scootaloo and Derpy
Sad/Slice of Life; 5K words; Apr 2014; Everyone
Scootaloo, having run away from her brutal orphanage, is trying to survive on the mean streets of Baltimare. One day, though, a jolted cart drops something that may change her life. Orphan Scootaloo fics have to be pretty special these days, and sadly this one isn't. It's not terrible, and it's good to see Derpy in a slightly different role from usual. But the misery is piled on a bit too much, and the resolution is just too convenient to be believable. One for Orphanloo lovers only. ★★

One More Round by longpantsandimplosions
Lyra and Bon Bon
Romance/Slice of Life; 2K words; Mar 2014; Teen
Lyra and Bon Bon, both trying to drown their sorrows, strike up a conversation in Berry Punch's bar. The only story on this one of shortskirtsandexplosions' many alts this Skeeter the Lurker alt (if this is wrong too, I don't want to know), this is good stuff. The interplay between the characters works well, their reasons for being in the bar make sense (and indirectly set up something else off-screen) and it moves along at a nice pace. I could have done without the "human" reference, which really wasn't needed, but this is a very solid story that you don't have to be a LyraBon obsessive to enjoy. ★★★★


  1. Curse you, skirts, and your endless alt accounts! D:

    1. I do wonder occasionally whether everyone on Fimfiction does that really, and I'm the odd one out by having everything on one account!

      Also, I read The Pale Stallion because of your recommendation, so thanks for that. :)

    2. Wait. I think Longpantsandimplosions is actually Skeeter the Lurker. Am I wrong there? I was pretty sure it was...

    3. You're a lot more likely to be right than me, though that's not saying much, so I've added an extra line to the review. I just did a cursory search, found someone saying that it was SS&E, and decided it sounded authoritative. Argh. I'm seriously tempted to start taking off stars for people who sprawl across Fimfiction so untidily. :P

  2. Mistaken as SS&E?
    ~Skeeter The Lurker

    1. I expect I will balance it out by doing it the other way round at some point. :P

      (Yay for super-late replies...)

  3. I've finally got round to reading the Pale Stallion. (Yes, I know, it only takes 15 mins once you put your mind to it.) Probably the best FiM short story I've ever read. It was pretty much perfect. Especially when you realise the full implications.

    1. I don't give out five-star ratings easily, but I have no qualms about that one. As you say, it's that sense of realisation that really makes it what it is.