Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Ponyfic Roundup 157: Throw Yourself at the Ground and Miss

Read it Later story count: 444 (+1)

As I expected, I just haven't had much time for reading ponyfic in the last week. Also, one story I did read and intended to review here (Fangs by Fluttashift) seems to have been deleted. Here's what I have got for you this time round:

Two Peas in a Pod by Blueshift
I Can Wait by Eakin
Never Judge A Book By Its Cover by LightStriker
Pioneer by OleGrayMane

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

Two Peas in a Pod by Blueshift
Twilight and Shining Armor
Comedy/Random; 4k words; May 2012; Everyone
Is Twilight really a pea?
Here we have an old bit of Blueshift silliness – pretty much 3,000 words of build-up to a terrible joke. That's a shame, because for a while it seems much more intriguing than that. The very end of the fic is horribly clunky, too. And yet again here's an E-rated story that should really be rated T; authors do this rather too often. Probably one for Blueshift completists only. ★★

I Can Wait by Eakin
Rainbow Dash and Mane Six
Sad; 5k words; Jul 2014; Everyone
Rainbow Dash waits for Applejack
She's getting impatient – why's AJ taking so darn long? This is one of those stories where you realise basically what's going on very quickly – which does create a problem, since the odd thing a bit later on feels a bit contrived as a result. (A scene with Rarity is one example.) It's a quiet story, which is often interesting when Rainbow is at the centre of things – and even more so when there's emotional pain involved, as here. I Can Wait may not be the most startling sad tale I've ever read, but I found it well worth it for the look at how Dash reacts in such circumstances. A top-end three. ★★★

Never Judge A Book By Its Cover by LightStriker
Twilight and OC
Sad/Slice of Life; 13k words; May–Dec 2012; Everyone
A filly Earth Pony has a cutie mark related to magic. Is pony society ready for her?
Bearing in mind the state of our knowledge about cutie marks in 2012, this seemed like quite an interesting setup for a story. One of my guilty pleasures is reading about tribe prejudice in Equestria (and indeed speciesism: see, for example, archonix's To Be a Mule; PR 77). The thought of what happens if you get a CM that you can't really use caught my attention, therefore. It's a shame that the filly – Azure Tomato – talks like an encyclopedia at times, and that some of the canon voices are off (Luna: "You sure became powerful"). It's also a pity that the fic ends just as it's getting interesting; there are two sequels, the second of which didn't get very far. ★★

Pioneer by OleGrayMane
Apple Bloom, Applejack, Granny Smith, Big Mac and OC
Drama; 13k words; Mar 2015; Teen
Sixteen years old and still without a cutie mark, Apple Bloom faces an existential crisis until a new opportunity presents itself, one that might solve her problem—if she can take the first step.
Both Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo do have their marks, which doesn't make her feel any better. But when a pony comes to town looking for settlers in newly-acquired territory overseas, Bloom (as she's called here) suddenly has a lot to think about. This is largely a look inside AB's mind and much more a psychological fic than it is an adventure. The tensions between her and her family are compellingly written, and the ending is just right. Perhaps the way the other two CMCs fade out of view entirely after a while is a little disappointing, but the rest is very satisfying. ★★★★

Next time on Ponyfic Roundup: a long-overdue look at a Lucky Dreams tale.


  1. No love for Two Peas? D: I FAINT

  2. I read "I Can Wait" a long time ago, and it was a big disappointment for me, not in the way that I thought it was terrible, but in the way that I though it was pretty good but so on the verge of being excellent. There were three main things that gave me that reaction.

    First, the story's told from Rainbow Dash's perspective, which is an entirely appropriate choice, since we're supposed to see the dissonance between what we can tell is going on and what Dash can (or can allow herself to) figure out. But that's marred by the occasional slip into other characters' perspectives in a couple of spots, as it should be completely unnecessary to inhabit any perspective but Dash's in this story.

    But even more than that, there are slips into an almost omniscient point of view, where Dash seems to be acknowledging that she's not reacting how she should or that she does know what's going on even as she reacts as if she doesn't. Authors really need to keep on top of how they're wording limited narration so it really does convey what the character knows and how the character perceives it, and there were too many places here where the narration is inconsistent on that front. The story would have so much more impact if the reader realized that dichotomy, but it's lost when the narration spells it out explicitly at times, or worse, unintentionally has Dash realize it as well.

    And last is that it goes over the top. "Less is more" is a good axiom to live by for sadfics, so when Dash is crying so hard that her throat gets shredded into a bloody mess, the story has officially crossed over from sad to comedy.

    There were a few other small things, like how Twilight quickly goes from being unable to give a speech because she's overcome by emotion to speaking very stoically with Dash.

    It's the "almost" stories that can be the most frustrating. I certainly wouldn't downvote a story over this, but I'd usually rather read something thoroughly mediocre than something with a critical flaw that stops it right on the edge of working perfectly.

    1. I gotta agree with this. It was decent, but ham-fisted in enough ways that it detracted from the experience. I ended up just thinking that it was just okay by the end.