Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Ponyfic Roundup 97: The Icaranian Sun Salutation

I was going to write about international cricket here, what with the World Twenty20 coming up, but events have conspired against me. My very silly story Shining Armor's Amour's Armour has been given a Seattle's Angels feature, with Cerulean Voice describing it as a "ridiculous gem". (I can't think of a greater compliment.) This has bumped it more than 100 extra views, which makes a big difference to a writer like me. Mind you, I'm now being pestered to do a reading of it, and that's going to be a nightmare to get right!

Back to the usual stuff, and I have no fewer than seven fics to review this week — with several real crackers among them. The stories are:

The Rose by Bradel
Nineteen Neighty-Four by Blueshift
Souvenir by TinCan
The Mating Habits of Equus Pegasus by Juntao112
The Confessions of Clyde Pie, Prince of Rock by Casca
In the Lissome Light by Frickadilly
Infernal Machines by Skywriter

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

The Rose by Bradel
Roseluck and OC
Mystery/Tragedy; 4k words; Jul 2014; Teen
Roseluck’s husband receives a gift on their anniversary, but the gift is not what it seems.
Told in first person by the OC (Roseluck's husband), this is one of those "creeping realisation" stories. I'll admit that it took me quite a while to work out what was actually going on, but once I did it had quite an impact. This Equestria is subtly different from many versions — there are phones and heterosexual relationships seem to be the norm — but if anything that helps the sense of unease. Note that this fic was revised some while after its first publication, so earlier comments on, and reviews of, it may make what's going on seem more obscure than it now is. ★★★★

Nineteen Neighty-Four by Blueshift
Twilight, Pinkie Pie, Trixie and Shining Armor
Alternate Universe/Comedy/Crossover; 8k words; Jun–Dec 2012; Everyone
1984 pony style!
Twilight takes the role of Winston Smith (sort of) in this wonderfully judged take-off of George Orwell's dystopian novel. You'll get more out of it if you know the book itself, as some parts of the fic parody specific scenes — but you should have read 1984 in any case! Blueshift being Blueshift, there's some deliciously silly comedy here, as well as the near-inevitable Trixie. You could perhaps argue that it should be [Teen] as it pushes its lower rating a few times, but that aside this is great. ★★★★

Souvenir by TinCan
Twilight and Celestia
Sad; 3k words; Aug–Oct 2014; Everyone
Just as Princess Celestia puts the finishing touches on a great gift to her subjects, Twilight interrupts her mentor with an odd question about an obscure beast. Why is she acting so strange, though?
Another fic from the RCL (what can I say? It's a reliable source of stuff I like), this is a powerful story that really tugged at my heartstrings. It has a twist that feels as though it must surely have been done before, but which is in any case executed particularly well here. The characters are well observed (Celestia is particularly satisfying) and TinCan judges perfectly what not to tell us as well as what to tell us. If feelsy stories are even remotely your thing, you shouldn't miss this. ★★★★★

The Mating Habit of Equus Pegasus by Juntao112
Twilight, Rainbow Dash and Flash Sentry
Comedy/Romance/Slice of Life; 2k words; Nov 2014; Teen
Twilight asks Rainbow Dash for advice on how to catch the eye of Flash Sentry. It goes about as well as you'd expect.
There aren't that many stories with pony Flash, but here's one. It's more or less a "does exactly what it says on the tin" story, so you'll probably already have a pretty good idea of whether it's for you. A few too many typos for comfort, and I'm not a massive fan of the very end, but the real problem is that the reveal is just... there. Still, maybe worth a quick look if you're a Flash fan. ★★

The Confessions of Clyde Pie, Prince of Rock by Casca
Romance; 2k words; Jan 2013; Everyone
Even until death, Clyde Pie spoke little. What he did have to say, he wrote.
An idea I often like to read — taking a ridiculous idea and treating it absolutely seriously — is handled reasonably imaginatively in this letter-format fic, although canon has of course overtaken the personalities involved. I must admit, though, that I found it a little bit on the dull side. There's enough here that I may try something else of theirs, but probably not if it's written in this format. ★★

In the Lissome Light by Frickadilly
Rarity and Fluttershy
Romance/Sad/Slice of Life; 3k words; Jul 2012; Teen
In the midst of her New Years Party, Rarity is confronted by her past, and some bleak inner truths.
15/12/16: Story has been deleted from Fimf; link here now goes to
The author is long gone from Fimfiction, and this is a pretty old story (though not quite as old as the mention of "Christmas" might make you imagine). Frickadilly has a follower count in single figures, despite this story having almost 4,000 views — odd. I only know about it because of Present Perfect's glowing review. He mentioned Briticisms, but I (probably understandably) didn't really notice those. What did bother me were the slightly weird, very wordy prose style ("The clock said Seven Thirty"), the song lyrics (thankfully brief) and most of all the feeling — and here I agree with PP — that this isn't really ponyfic at all, but original fic with ponies stuck on. This generally isn't what I want to read. I don't much like the portrayal of a certain stallion, either. I'm glad I read this, but I found it interesting rather than compelling. A moderate three. ★★★

Infernal Machines by Skywriter
Pinkie Pie, Twilight, Applejack and Spike
Adventure/Comedy; 8k words; Feb–Nov 2012; Everyone
The touching tale of a pony and her pet mechanical salamander.
This is described as a "standalone prequel to Contraptionology!", and as that story is much longer I thought I'd give this one-shot a go first. Good move, Logan — it's a whole lot of fun. The idea of Pinkie as a genius was semi-canonised by that scene in Rainbow Rocks, but this story is very satisfying anyway. It's told by Twilight, and is the story of a forest fire — an Everfree Forest fire. I knew I'd like this from the moment I read a genuinely believable explanation for the forest's reduction in scariness during the show's early seasons. The character interaction is excellent, Pinkie is very Pinkie (in a good way) and the upshot is that I now have the sequel on my RiL list. ★★★★

Next time on Ponyfic Roundup, stories reviewed will include ChoppersTopHat's The Liar and Psya315's The Right Thing.


  1. Nineteen Neighty-Four is a work of pure artistic genius as far as I'm concerned. Is so beautifully follows the source material and I still laugh thinking about the final Room whatevernumber scene with the slice of cake.

    1. Yes! It wasn't far off a five-star score, but just fell short on account of the iffy E-rating and my bias against Trixie. :P