Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Ponyfic Roundup 86: Today I Planned a Roundup and It's Just For You

This is the penultimate PR before Christmas, but don't expect anything too seasonal next week. I did briefly entertain the idea of making it a Hearth's Warming Special edition, but my various health woes stymied me a bit. This week, I bring you six tales, several of them by writers with considerable reputations in the fandom. I'll tell you now that one of them gets a five – though to find out which that is, you'll need to read on.

NIGEB by Aquaman
Excessive Worry by Piquo Pie
Big Mac Reads Something Purple by Bad Horse
The Savage Way by Horse Voice
Sweetie Belle's White Knight by danceswithknives
Scamming and Selling by Gleaming

NIGEB by Aquaman
Twilight and Fluttershy
Dark; 10k words; Oct 2012; Teen
Nigeb. Go back. Go back. Nigeb.
As with the same author's I am Demon (PR 26), this has a colour-based gimmick you can only see on the original GDocs version. There's also an embedded image there which has gone from the Fimfiction upload. You don't really need either: having read both, I prefer the Fimf presentation. This is an chillingly creepy tale with Fluttershy's recurring nightmares centre stage. Bar one possible plot hole relating to a significant item and an iffy title – distractingly similar to "Nigel"! – this is great. The storytelling is compelling and the prose highly atmospheric, and I love the way Twilight's friendship with 'Shy is put under pressure. A haunting tale (that would surely have a [Horror] tag now) that will probably affect Flutterfans especially. A top-end four. ★★★★

Excessive Worry by Piquo Pie
Pinkie Pie, OCs and Others
Sad/Slice of Life; 2k words; Aug 2013; Everyone
It can takes the average newborn foal a day to walk. Sometimes it takes longer. Sometimes something is wrong.
This one was featured by Seattle's Angels in January, and it turns out to be a fairly original origin story for Pinkie Pie. It's let down a little by some slightly over-dense prose and a couple of awkward OC names (the midwife is "Mrs Delivery"), but the story is just about strong enough to overcome those problems. I guessed what was going on long before the end, but it does seem reasonably fitting for Pinkie. Scrapes into the three-star bracket. ★★★

Big Mac Reads Something Purple by Bad Horse
Big Mac, Twilight and CMC
Romance/Slice of Life; 4k words; Jul 2012; Everyone
Twilight asks Big MacIntosh to read to the Cutie Mark Crusaders while she runs an errand.
This is basically a TwiMac shipfic with a rather hackneyed premise – made explicit if you read both alternate endings – however much it may pretend otherwise. It probably wouldn't rate above a two if that were all there was to it, but it's lifted well into the next band by the CMC, who are fantastic. Read it for the fillies, not the adults. ★★★

The Savage Way by Horse Voice
Caramel and OC
Adventure/Alternate Universe/Human/Thriller; 5k words; Jun–Nov 2012; Everyone
You're a whole different pony when you're scared.
This Royal Guard- and PFV-inducted fic is the first second, after The Writing on the Wall (PR 56) I've read by Horse Voice, but on this showing it won't be the last. The premise is that Caramel and a human are shipwrecked on an island – this is an Equestria where the two species now interact on a significant scale thanks to interdimensional travel. What's clever about this story is that it wouldn't work with two ponies, or with two humans: there has to be one of each. The central storyline is simple, but it's told effectively. One of the best Human-in-Equestria stories I've read, and worthy of the highest rating. ★★★★★

Sweetie Belle's White Knight by danceswithknives
Sweetie Belle, Big Mac and Cheerilee
Slice of Life; 3k words; Feb 2015; Everyone
Big Mac proves that chivalry is not dead.
This is a telly story – really telly, to the extent that it's a bit much even for me. You have to accept Big Mac and Cheerilee as a married couple and Sweetie Belle being aged up a bit, but I don't have a huge problem with that. It's generally competently written (despite some minor technical problems), but I just didn't find it all that interesting. Devoted CheeriMac fans may fare better. ★★

Scamming and Selling by Gleaming
Flim and Flam and Other
Slice of Life; 1k words; Jul 2014; Everyone
Flim and Flam decide to move their business elsewhere, maybe this won't backfire.
There are surprisingly few really good stories starring the brothers, and unfortunately this one doesn't add to the tally. It really needs a proofread, and putting "TIME PASSAGE" in the narrative is horribly jarring. There are several very clunky show references, and one really rather disgusting scene involving vomit. The storyline itself is okay, which is why the fic creeps into the twos, but I got pretty bored before the end of this, despite its brevity. ★★

Next time on Ponyfic Roundup, stories reviewed will include ROBCakeran53's I Was Nothing and Arwhale's You Lose Some, You Winsome.


  1. A Horse Voice neophyte? Be sure to read Biblical Monsters, I definitely want to know what you'll think of it. :D

    1. It's already on the list (most RCL stories are), but I'll move it up a bit after reading The Savage Way, especially as it's not that long. From the little I know about Biblical Monsters, I do wonder whether it may be a story I admire but don't actually enjoy -- but I'm getting ahead of myself. It'll be the next HV story I read, probably early in the new year.