Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Ponyfic Roundup 122: Your Adventure Ends Here

Well, mine doesn't – but HoofBitingActionOverload's Fimfiction adventure may be doing so in the next few days. Pretty much out of nowhere, the author of (among many others) Spring is Dumb (PR 53), has announced his intention to unsubmit all his stories, on the grounds that he wants to use elements of them in original fiction and can't do so if they're easily available online. Most people, including me, would prefer he didn't feel the need to do this, but here's a heads-up: if you like any of his fics, download them right now.

Given that HBAO has made it clear that he won't be deleting the stories, and that he's fine with people continuing to read stories they have links to, I will not be removing the links from my own reviews. (I'm a little surprised to discover that Spring is Dumb and Our Weary Daughter, Rest [PR 29] are the only fics of his I've reviewed here.) However, since I only review published stories, I regret to say that PR will not be covering any more HBAO fics. It's not for me to pass judgement on others' decisions, but I do feel very sad.

Now, on to today's actual reviews. I looked at five stories for this week's edition and, while the wait for a five-star masterpiece goes on, there's some good variety in today's Mixed Bag O' Stuff. The titles in question are:

The Mill by RazedRainbow
Spike's suicide by RoseTheChangeling
Blink by zaponator
The Royal Olympics by Derpyx0
Balance by Lunaric Enigma

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

The Mill by RazedRainbow
Apple Bloom
Slice of Life; 3k words; May–Sep 2012; Everyone
Apple Bloom never asked for this
AB as an adult, which I suppose excuses the not-entirely-convincing narrative voice, tells the story of a significant day in her fillyhood. Her language is a little on the dense side ("sanctity of my soul", for example) but the story itself is interesting and touching. It's rather slow, but in this case I think that deliberate pacing works. Make sure you think about the moral, too: it's not quite served up to you on a plate. The story made the Pony Fiction Vault but has dated quite a bit since, and I'd probably go for Present Perfect's somewhat conceptually similar Treehouse (PR 70) over this. ★★★

Spike's suicide by RoseTheChangeling
Spike, Rarity and Twilight
Dark/Drana/Sad/Tragedy; 2k words; Aug 2016; Teen (Gore)
After Twilight's horrible death,Spike cannot let go as to what has happened and can't tell his love feelings to her.The only way to tell her about how much he loves her is 1 and 1 way only.
Not to be confused with the much more widely read story of the same name by Dashie Bro, this is inspired by the Squidward's Suicide creepypasta. Not the most promising background, and so it proves. The author reveals an interesting imagination in their comments, and recognises that they need an editor, but creditable though those things are they can't save this story from being a mess. Spike is not convincingly characterised, Equestria's tech level is way off and there's some annoying narrator intrusion. Add in the frequently wrong tenses and I can't recommend it. ★

Blink by zaponator
Twilight and Spike
Slice of Life; 4k words; Jun 2015; Teen
Twilight does some research into her tried and true teleportation spell.
I've always found it intriguing that so few unicorns are able to teleport, so I was very pleased to see a fic addressing the point – from Twilight's research-based perspective, reasonably enough. That means the narrative reads like quite an academically inclined mystery, so you'll probably enjoy this most if you can live without noise and fury in your fics. Actually, read it anyway, since it has really good characterisation of both Twilight and Spike. If you read carefully, you can probably see the reveal coming, but if anything that will just make it stick in your mind even more. This was apparently rejected by EQD but is zaponator's Royal Canterlot Library entry, and I think it's fine as it is. ★★★★

The Royal Olympics by Derpyx0
Celestia and Luna
Comedy/Slice of Life; 6k words; Mar 2014; Everyone
The royal sisters have their own mini Olympics.
A reasonably time-appropriate review from me for once! The author stresses that this was written "for fun" (though shouldn't all fics be?), and it's not one to take too seriously. It's really just a "Celestia and Luna do silly things" story, and in that it does okay. I can't credit Cheese Sandwich having a brother named Ham, or the Royal Sisters having suddenly obtained a dragon messenger, but never mind. There is one really interesting idea late on that relates to a spell we've seen in the show. That aside, this is unlikely to stick in your memory, but is unlikely to make you angry either. Scrapes a three, partly on the strength of that spell idea. ★★★

Balance by Lunaric Enigma
Luna and Discord
Sad/Tragedy; 1k words; Jun 2016; Everyone
To exist, there must be a Balance. Someone needs to be reminded of that.
There's the germ of a fascinating tale in here somewhere, but the interesting idea is somewhat buried beneath the waffly prose – the first paragraph alone makes up over a third of the entire story. It certainly feels like a single idea stretched to reach Fimfiction's thousand-word minimum. Discord doesn't really sound like Discord; Luna is better, but the repeated use of "does thou" grates. This is the author's first (and currently only) story, and it shows a bit – but there's enough imagination here that I hope they write more. ★★

Next time on Ponyfic Roundup: Rainbow Dash and Rarity go to the spa. Applejack, sensible mare that she is, stays outside. For hours.

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