Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Ponyfic Roundup 110: When you Lose Control and you got no Soul

The [Tragedy] tag is one I tend to avoid. Partly that's because I don't usually want ponyfic to make me feel miserable, and partly it's because a startling number of stories using it aren't actually tragedies in any meaningful way. This week, though, I'm changing all that. Here are reviews of five fics that use this most awkward of genre tags.

Pretty in Pink by DavidReinold
Time Waits for Nopony by Berry Delight
RUN by Stereo_Sub
World of Traitors by DannyJ
Einherjar by Municipal Engines

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

Pretty in Pink by DavidReinold
Mane Six, Spike and Other
Slice of Life/Tragedy; 3k words; Sep 2011–Jul 2012; Teen
Everypony tries to cope as the laughter is suddenly torn out of their lives.
Pinkie has died at an early age, and her friends have to deal with it. Twilight finds herself especially hard hit, for reasons that are spoilery. This fic has almost 35,000 views, but I honestly doubt it would have been so successful a few years later, as several of its tropes really do feel outworn now. It does have a nice twist, though, which is what pulls it up to a moderate three-star rating. ★★★

Time Waits for Nopony by Berry Delight
Dark/Drama/Sad/Tragedy; 3k words; May 2016; Teen
Minuette is a unicorn with a special gift.... a gift she desperately wants to return. This is her story
Rather a genre tag overload, but this first-person fic is quite an interesting little tale. It's revealed very early in the story that Minuette's cutie mark actually represents an ability to see how long someone has left to live. (Shades of Discworld Death's "lifetimers" there.) Most of the rest consists of her relating her story. Some of the formatting is slightly odd, but that's not a big deal. Celestia's intervention isn't entirely satisfying, either, but the real problem I have with this one is that the narrative voice doesn't sound like canon Minuette. At all. That makes it hard to accept that this isn't just some OC who happens to share the name. Actually, it might have made a better story if she had been written as an OC. ★★

RUN by Stereo_Sub
Scootaloo and OC
Alternate Universe/Romance/Tragedy; 7k words; Jul 2013; Teen
There's only one rule: never stop moving.
The Royal Canterlot Library comes up trumps again with this gripping, moving tale of love, death and parkour in Manehattan. Scoots doesn't sound like she does on the show, and I find it a bit of a stretch that she ever would, even grown up as she is here. That's really my only significant criticism. The main OC – Scoots' lover – is a fascinating character, too, and there's a textual gimmick that's clever without being obnoxious; rare, that. There's a clear dystopian feel to Manehattan, but that's largely kept in the background: the focus is on these two and their concrete-jungle world. I really wanted to give this a five-star rating, especially as the writing is so strong, but Scootaloo's voice is just too different from canon for me, even for an [AU] fic. It sails to a four, though, and is definitely recommended. ★★★★

World of Traitors by DannyJ
Tragedy; 1k words; Nov 2014; Teen
Imprisoned in Tartarus once more, Tirek tries to rationalise what he did.
This isn't the most original idea in the fandom, but it's definitely one of the better executions. Tirek's first-person narration is clear and convincing, choosing neither the show-style path of utter repentance and forgiveness nor the easy alternative option of being shown as a simple brute. Tirek's thoughts about Discord are particularly interesting. It's a scene rather than a saga, and I don't really see the point of avoiding saying who Tirek's talking to for so long, but at this length it's more than worth your time. ★★★

Einherjar by Municipal Engines
Celestia, Luna and OCs
Slice of Life/Tragedy; 6k words; Feb 2014; Teen
One thousand warriors wait for death.
This fic's title reminded me of the names of the books in the bloody Austraeoh saga. Thankfully, it's vastly shorter and – to me, anyway – more consistently interesting. It's set in the era portrayed in the "Hearth's Warming Eve" play, but a grimmer, gritter and perhaps more realistic version. There's some nice world-building, one part of which puts a different slant on an aspect of that play. Celestia and Luna are interesting, too. It didn't quite have the impact I was hoping for, perhaps because the (presumably deliberate) vagueness about the larger picture feels a little too vague by the end. ★★★

Next time on Ponyfic Roundup: Logan gives a Spotlight review to a clopfic.


  1. That's twice today someone's reviewed one of the first thousand stories I ever reviewed, sending me back through the bowels of my spreadsheet. XD I'm glad you liked RUN, I think it's one of the best fics ever.

    1. It's a tremendous story, and I very nearly gave it a five anyway. Never really explaining what's up with Manehattan was handled really well, too. The Scoots voice thing just wouldn't stop nagging at me, though.

    2. Which is really a valid criticism, because it's not a terribly pony story.