Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Ponyfic Roundup 119: And she Dances on the Sand

I'm not a very sporty person on the whole, but I have been enjoying the Olympics. Despite all the usual problems, most of them self-inflicted by the IOC, it's still good entertainment. Especially seeing my own country's team repeatedly failing to live up to its potential. I've lost count of the number of athletes who've come fourth or sixth or something when they should have got a medal. The worst thing is that we may come behind Australia for the first time in three Games. Argh.

Anyway, ponyfic now. Still no five-star stories, but never mind; there's still some good reading to be had here.

Everypony Hates Dash by Eskerata
What do You do With a Drunken Unicorn? by Tumbleweed
Iron Wing and the Demolition Crew by KingMoriarty
Monochrome by A Man Called Horse
Cold Front by Pascoite

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

Everypony Hates Dash by Eskerata
Rainbow Dash, Gilda and Changelings
Comedy; 4k words; Apr 2016; Everyone
Rainbow Dash is a genius at messing up her life. While attending Junior Speedsters Flight Camp with her buddy Gilda, a new changeling student tries to be her friend. He's gonna wish he stayed home.
Told in first person by Rainbow herself, this is a fun window on her time at Junior Speedsters Flight Camp. You have to accept the open presence of changelings there, which probably ought to mean an [Alternate Universe] tag, but they are at least used quite interestingly. Rainbow's friendship with Gilda is pretty readable, too. I'm not sure the in-text songs, which read a bit on the Oompa-Loompa side, really work, but there are only two of them. As a light-hearted look at Dash's fillyhood I rather enjoyed this. ★★★

What do You do With a Drunken Unicorn? by Tumbleweed
Mane Six
Comedy/Slice of Life; 2k words; Jan–Mar 2012; Teen
The girls get together to have a few drinks. Silliness ensues.
Considering its age and the unpromising description, plus the fact that I'm not generally a big fan of "ponies are drunk, ha ha" stories, this isn't bad. Rainbow Dash has a different romantic interest from usual, Fluttershy's quietly desperate attempts to avoid alcohol are amusing and Pinkie is, well, Pinkie. It's very lightweight, though, and the ending is extremely predictable (I predicted it, so it must be!). Still, if you go in with low expectations you may be pleasantly surprised. ★★

Iron Wing and the Demolition Crew by KingMoriarty
Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Maud Pie, King Sombra and Crystal Ponies
Adventure/Alternate Universe; 6k words; Nov–Dec 2015; Teen
The Crystal War, as seen through the eyes of its most formidable soldiers.
One of the better "Sombra War timeline" stories I've read, this is a pretty grim look at the realities of that war from the view of Dash and the Pies. If you can get on with the fact that Rainbow doesn't sound much like her canon self, it holds the attention almost throughout. There's plenty of action, and some of the violence is quite intense for the rating; a [Dark] tag might have been an idea. There are a couple of false steps: one brief intrusion of romantic thoughts feels out of place, though not as much so as Gummy's cameo. Even so, Pinkie is terrifying at times. A strong three, and the sequel is on my RiL list. ★★★

Monochrome by A Man Called Horse
Twilight, Rainbow Dash, Spike, Zecora and Mane Six
[no genre tags given, but it's a Mystery]; 43k words; Jul 2014; Everyone
Equestria is a colorful land. Then one day, it isn't.
There have been several stories which address the saturated colours of Equestria, but this one takes a slightly different approach: what if they drained away? "The Graying", as it becomes known, is not the existential threat some monsters might be, but it's still deeply unsettling to such naturally colourful beings. For most of its length, this is an excellent story, well paced and with satisfying use of its characters. There's an amusing sub-plot involving Lyra and it also has some lovely turns of phrase – I particularly like "theater of unease". It's let down a bit by the last chapter, which is much too long and uses the dreaded coloured-text gimmick in a way that I didn't appreciate. Very nearly a four-star story, but that last chapter drags it down just a little. ★★★

Cold Front by Pascoite
Scootaloo, Rainbow Dash, OC
Dark/Drama/Sad/Tragedy; 1k words; Jun 2016; Teen
Thunderstorms have always put Scootaloo on edge. A pegasus afraid of the weather. What's wrong with her? Rainbow Dash helped create this storm, too—Scootaloo should just stop being such a baby about it.
Mr Pascoite, nobody with over 50 EQD features can reasonably claim to be an "occasional author". :P Regardless, this short (expanded from a minific) manages to overcome my suspicion of all those genre tags in such a brief story. It's a far cry from the cute, warm Scootalove you often see, so be warned, although Rainbow is on the side of the angels here, which is as it should be. I'm not sure how pony this really is, and it is pretty dark stuff, but it's stuck in my mind and is recommended. ★★★★

Next time on Ponyfic Roundup: Logan reviews a highly regarded story that he's repeatedly put off reading because of its formatting.

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