Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Ponyfic Roundup 96: Strike a Pose on a Cadillac

Fimfiction has announced an interesting rule change: authors with two or more published stories will now not have to go through moderation when they submit a fic. Quite a few people seem to be of the opinion that "in principle, this is a good idea. In practice, it's asking for trouble" – and I rather sympathise with those people. I suspect that "two" may become a larger number in the nearish future.

One change this might make to my own reading behaviour is that I may well become warier of the list of newly posted fics, since that will be by far the most likely place to find stories that break the rules but which nobody's yet got around to reporting (and the staff to dealing with). It won't make a huge difference to Ponyfic Roundup, though, since I try to steer clear of just reviewing the latest and the greatest in any case.

Also, tucked away in the comments to that announcement is this little comment from admin Xaquseg about the forthcoming expansion of the site to allow non-pony fiction. It seems that the current plan is to let in "original fiction and a few other fandoms initially" before opening it up when they're sure the servers can take it. Like most people, I think, I'm both interested and apprehensive about this change.

Anyway, I'm supposed to be reviewing My Little Pony stories here, not rambling on about Fimfiction rules, and I have six on the slate today, which are:

A Giant Leap Forward by AugieDog
The Dragon King by MonsterMasher137
The Golden Daughter by LiamNeighson
A Taxing Evening by Admiral Biscuit
My Dear by The Poisoned Soul
Ponies and Plinians by PonyAmorous

★: 2 | ★★: 1 | ★★★: 3 | ★★★★: 0 | ★★★★★: 0

A Giant Leap Forward by AugieDog
Other [Starswirl the Bearded]
Slice of Life; 2k words; Jun 2015; Everyone
If Starswirl the Bearded mentored Clover the Clever sometime before the events of "Hearth's Warming Eve" and mentored the Royal Pony Sisters sometime after, where was he during the coming together of the tribes and the founding of Equestria?
Surprisingly perhaps, this is the first AugieDog story I've reviewed, and as you'd expect from a genuine pro author it's well written. The setup is interesting, and the question is (largely) answered, but not a lot really happens. It's a perfectly good quick read, but not one that's likely to stick in my mind. ★★★

The Dragon King by MonsterMasher137
Spike and Other [actually OC]
Random/Thriller; 1k words; Feb 2016; Everyone
The dragon Pitch has been terrorizing Canterlot for eons on end... But what happens when the King of the Tyrant Lizards clashes with the King of the Dragons?
I think that combination of genre tags is a first! It's not bad technically, either. The rest isn't great, though: when a story includes phrases like "the Kaoprosuchus classed dragon lord" without any explanation, it's not looking too good for that story's prospects. The ending is very abrupt and, well, put it this way: Rainbow Dash feels more out of place than the tyrannosaur. ★

The Golden Daughter by LiamNeighson
Chrysalis, Changelings and OCs
Dark/Romance; 21k words; Aug 2013; Teen (Gore)
Chrysalis has survived the spell that catapulted her from Canterlot. She lies dying in the Badlands and reflects upon her past and what made her the Queen that she is. Her entire world will change when she is rescued by an unlikely savior.
This is an interesting story, and one which delves into quite a lot of detail about Chrysalis's family; the details of the rivalries she has with her sisters, as well as their manipulative mother, are the best parts of the fic. The romance angle isn't quite as well handled as in SPark's rather different Honey Pie (PR 41), partly because the OC involved isn't that compelling a character. The gore isn't too horrible, as the story's rating would suggest, though it's borderline whether it should also have had a [Sex] warning tag. Not a bad read for changeling-fic aficionados. ★★★

A Taxing Evening by Admiral Biscuit
Carrot Top and Other
Slice of Life; 3k words; Feb 2015; Everyone
Most of the year, Written Script enjoys his job as town treasurer--but not when tax time rolls around, and everypony thinks they're paying too much.
This RCL-inducted fic is very slice-of-lifey, and there's a clear political argument being made in favour of general taxation. If neither of those things bother you, then you can enjoy its pleasant prose and most of all its very nice characterisation. As a non-American reader, the only bit of jargon I didn't know was "mill" – though it's guessable from context – and everything else is pretty much universal. It's not the most thrilling story, and I can't quite justify a four, but it's a top-end three and well worth a look if you like SoL. ★★★

My Dear by The Poisoned Soul
Fluttershy and Discord
Romance/Sad/Tragedy; 3k words; Feb 2016; Everyone
In the final moments of his life Discord tells Fluttershy how he feels. but, sadly, Fluttershy is going to loose him.
That "loose" in the description is a bad sign, and so it proves. The fic starts off as a fairly standard (if typo-heavy) story along rather clich├ęd lines about the two principals. After a bit, though, the dreaded song lyrics start to appear, alternating with story lines in a way that's deeply irritating and ends up making the fic nearly unreadable. One thing I will give to the author: they actually wrote the song in question, so it is (I think) within Fimfiction rules. Even so, I can't recommend this. ★

Ponies and Plinians by PonyAmorous
Twilight, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie and Spike
Adventure/Comedy; 2k words; Feb 2013; Everyone
School assignment to write a short story accurately depicting features and hazards of stratovolcanoes.
As the description says, this was written for academic reasons, and you really can tell – it even has a list of references at the end! Although there's a decent story in here, it is hampered by the need to work as a school assignment. For example, words like "mafic" and "felsic" are bandied about without explanation – fine for vulcanologists, but less so for the general reader. The ending uses a perfectly respectable scientific term to make a hugely juvenile pun; some people love those, but this one left me feeling a little empty. ★★

Next time on Ponyfic Roundup, stories reviewed will include Bradel's The Rose and TinCan's Souvenir.


  1. Replies
    1. I've meant to steal that idea of yours ever since I first started doing these posts. Only took me two years! :P