Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Ponyfic Roundup 135: Your Plastic Pal Who's Fun To Be With

Read it Later story count: 495 (-1)

Although I'm still committed to doing plenty of themed editions of PR over the coming weeks and months, I don't want entirely to neglect the "lucky dip" posts. Apart from anything else, there are lots of stories on my RiL list that might not get reviewed at all otherwise. This time around, I've managed to read eight fics – and they're not even all one-shots! They are:

Cards Against Equinity by Door Matt
Herald by shortskirtsandexplosions
Things Rainbow Dash Doesn't Like by PresentPerfect
The 18th Brewmare of Bluey Napoleon by horizon
Book Club by Twelve Song
Second Sun by Carabas
Loosening Up by N.K.
Language Barrier by Aquaman

★: 0 | ★★: 4 | ★★★: 2 | ★★★★: 2 | ★★★★★: 0

Cards Against Equinity by Door Matt
Mane Six
Comedy/Random; 10k words; Nov 2014; Teen
A Party Game for Scandalous Ponies
I don't like Cards Against Humanity very much – and yes, I have played it; I just don't see what's so amazing about it. Yes, I'm the one. The fact that my medically safe alcohol limit is pretty low may be relevant... Anyway, this fic was therefore up against it a bit. The character moments are fairly amusing and the writing is okay, but I just couldn't get into it. It doesn't help that for unexplained reasons it uses the spelling "Cards Against Equiniti" throughout the text. The fic itself is full of references and memes, from Fluttershy's shed to R63 ponies, so approach accordingly. Apparently this fic inspired a ton of blog posts until the Fimf mods got fed up with them. I'm sure plenty of readers will find this hilarious – but for me, it's a classic "I just don't have the right funny bone for this" comedy. ★★

Herald by shortskirtsandexplosions
Mrs Cake
Dark; 24k words; May 2013; Teen (Gore)
My handsome little cherub, close your eyes. Mommy's going to give you clear blue skies. So you’ll laugh and dance and play in the air. And sing the song of angels everywhere.
Mrs Cake wakes to find her house deserted and boarded up, and her family gone. Also, Ponyville's pegasi have become mass murderers. All of them. It's up to Mrs Cake and several others (including unicorn Twilight) to find out why – even as the assault continues. This is a seriously grim tale, with a lot of blood and guts – so much that I even wonder whether this should have been rated Mature. It certainly would have justified a [Horror] tag if published today. It's generally well paced and certainly chilling, but it has two problems. First, the explanation given for the non-intervention of Celestia is nowhere near strong enough. Second, I got completely confused by the ending. Is there an inspiration or reference there? If so, I didn't get it. If you can stomach the gore, this is worth reading for the atmosphere, but it didn't entirely satisfy me. ★★★

Things Rainbow Dash Doesn't Like by PresentPerfect
Rainbow Dash, Mane Six, Derpy, Dr. Hooves and Chrysalis
Random; 5k words; Oct 2012–Feb 2013; Teen (Sex)
Rainbow Dash doesn't like things.
Um. This is one of those fics. It starts out as if it's going to be a reasonably amusing comedy... but makes less sense as it goes on. It contains a bunch of old-fandom meta stuff I can barely remember (when did anyone last use "pony should pony pony"?) and some other things I have no idea about ("the planet Creepoe"?). Actually, it's barely a story at all by the end. As it's [Random], that in itself isn't necessarily a bad thing, but really this fic just left me nonplussed. There is a nod to Button's Adventures in here, though, so that's something. Also, Twilight's singing is funny. ★★

The 18th Brewmare of Bluey Napoleon by horizon
Prince Blueblood, Celestia, Luna, Shining Armor and Cheerilee
Comedy; 9k words; Aug 2014; Teen
In his influential analysis of the coup d'etat that would become known as the Rutting Revolution, Curly Marks wrote that history repeats itself — "the first time as tragedy, the second time as Prince Blueblood."
The title of this fic is a reference to an essay written by Karl Marx in the 1850s. That should alert you that, although undoubtedly highly amusing, this is a fic you'll need to work at a little. If you like wordplay (occasionally of the multilingual variety) you'll be in your element; I particularly like some of Poncemercy's epithets. Plus, amazingly, it takes the usually hackneyed "stallions can't vote" plotline and makes it worthwhile; well-written Blueblood, as here, is sufficiently amusingly awful to make most things fun, as well as having an interesting relative. And I don't mean Celestia, although she's good value. A couple of minor references do irritate, and I am a little tired of cricket bats being used simply as weapons. (Shaun of the Dead has a lot to answer for.) This story has footnotes; do not believe the author's A/N saying they're optional, as you'll miss some great lines. This is the opposite of Cards Against Equestria: a comedy that does appeal to my sense of humour. ★★★★

Book Club by Twelve Song
Twilight and Rarity
Romance/Slice of Life; 3k words; Feb 2016; Everyone
When the others are to busy to attend the book club meeting, it's only Rarity and Twilight left to discuss the book of the month. Things get heated when they discuss the love triangle, and quickly turn personal.
Here we have a very talky fic, largely consisting of dialogue between Rarity and Twilight about the characters in the book they've been reading. It's obvious in general terms what's going to happen, but the specifics did surprise me slightly. I like the last line, too. Unfortunately the romantic element didn't have that essential spark for me, which is why it's a (high) two-star fic. ★★

Second Sun by Carabas
Celestia, Luna, Mane Six and OC
Comedy; 12k words; Jul 2014; Teen
After a magical accident, Celestia and Luna must try to restore harmony. Celestia's duplicate, however, is having none of it.
This is by the author of the fabulous Moonlight Palaver (PR 28), so I had high hopes. While it's not quite on that level of brilliance, this is still an enjoyable read and definitely one of the better of the "two sides of a pony" subgenre. This is largely because Tia's awful duplicate is immense fun to read about. There are some nice touches elsewhere, too, such as what academics really think of Starswirl, plus what feels like the odd nod to Discworld. ★★★★

Loosening Up by N.K.
Soarin and Octavia
Comfort (see below); 4k words; Sep 2011; no rating (see below)
After the Grand Galloping Gala, Soarin' finds a crying mare while on cleanup duty after her performance was ruined by an estranged sister. What's a gentlecolt to do but try and cheer her up?
This is from EQD rather than Fimf, hence the odd tags. It's an ancient story, dating back to the days when people published on GDocs and LUS was everywhere. It's very strange for the modern reader, since it depends on knowledge of a piece of early Pie Family fanon now long forgotten. Set in the aftermath of the S1 finale, this isn't actually that bad for its age. The storyline is moderately interesting if accepted as a period piece, even if it wouldn't pass muster today. There can't be many SoarinTavia fics around, so if that's your thing then this is at least bearable. ★★

Language Barrier by Aquaman
Dinky and Others [Peachy Pie and Sunny Daze]
Comedy/Random/Slice of Life; 2k words; Jun 2016; Everyone
Yesterday, Dinky Hooves learned a new word. Today, she's going to share that new word with her two best friends at school. Fluttershy really should've watched her mouth a little more. [TW: dumb kids, marshmallow pony swears]
(That TW bit is in the original short description.) To round off this week's extended PR, we have this fun slice of silly fluff. It's inspired by a certain brief scene in "Flutter Brutter" and made me chuckle. There's not much to it beyond three schoolfriends chatting, but that's fine. Cheerilee seems a little brusque at the end, though, even considering what Dinky has just done, but I'll excuse that in the cause of humour. ★★★

Next time on Ponyfic Roundup: a tribute to The Royal Guard.

6 comments:

  1. INKTAVIA NEVAR FORGET >:B

    Of course, it helps that I apparently reviewed that story. <:B

    "Creepoe" is an original creation and should be taken at face value. And just remember: that story got on EQD and is one of my most popular! I can't understand why! :V

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    1. I think I may have noticed it in the first place via your review. I can't now remember why I added it to my own RiL list, though. :S

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  2. "Your Plastic Pal Who's Fun To Be With"

    Finally! One of these subtitles that I actually recognize!

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    1. If it makes you feel any better, some of those have simply been a case of finding a nice phrase while looking for something else in a dictionary of quotations!

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  3. 18th Brewmare was wonderfully fun. Horizon is one of the authors who gets an immediate bump to the top of my to-be-read list.

    I don't know how I missed Second Sun, but that one is going to the head of the line.

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    1. I suspect you'll enjoy Second Sun, even if I don't think it's Carabas's best work.

      And though it took me ages to get to it, Brewmare continues horizon's fine record with me: three stories reviewed so far, two fours (the other being The Kindest Silence) plus a five for The Dragon's Riddle. I need to read more of his stuff.

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