Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Ponyfic Roundup 162: It Really Doesn't Matter if it's Raining or it's Fine

I'll be reviewing episodes 12 and (if it airs) 13 in the near future, but I can't currently give a firm date. Anyway, as I type this, southern Britain is in the grip of its longest June heatwave since 1995, so please excuse me if I make more mistakes than usual. As ever, I'd be grateful for them to be pointed out!

Read it Later story count: 429 (-11)

I said last week there'd be both a story and an author with "Horse" in their names. Well, I got the story. However, a fic I thought was written by Pale Horse turns out be by Ruirik. Apologies to both authors! An error on my part when I was updating my Calibre ponyfic database, I suppose. I managed to get through a small number of fics this week, and these are they:

The Skin Horse by Obselescence
The Regular by Ruirik
Opinions by All Art Is Quite Useless
Mother's Day by MajesticPoniesEverywhere

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

The Skin Horse by Obselescence
Twilight, Rainbow Dash and Daring Do
Slice of Life; 14k words; Sep 2013; Everyone
It's Rainbow Dash's birthday soon, and Twilight's got the best present ever planned: a living copy of Dash's favorite fictional character. One who will do her very best in living up to the legacy of the one and only Daring Do.
In this collaboration with Eakin, with the help of a come-to-life spell, Twilight turns one of Rarity's ponyquins into Daring Do. Okay, the newly-minted heroine will need to bone up on the book's "she's" in to make sure she gets things right, but by the big day she'll be as good as the real thing, right? The trouble is that "Daring" is desperate to be, well, Daring. This creeps up on you and, though I could see the ending coming about a chapter out it still had plenty of impact. All sorts of ethical questions regarding Twilight's actions here – and, to a lesser extent, Rainbow's – and a story I'm still thinking about now. There are a couple of other genre tags the author might have added, but they'd be rather spoilery so I can appreciate why they weren't used. Even though the fic's setup doesn't fit with post-"Daring Don't" canon, it's still emotional stuff. ★★★★

The Regular by Ruirik
Twilight, Other [Joe] and OC
Slice of Life; 3k words; Apr 2015; Everyone
Doughnut Joe has seen many ponies come and go through the doors of his modest Canterlot shop, but only a few he remembered as regulars.
This RCL-inducted tale was one I originally noticed because it was listed next to a fic of mine in a Titanium Dragon review collection. It's very, very slice-of-lifey, maybe a little too much even for me. It's all very nicely written and I could believe this Joe completely. However, the story takes a long time to get anywhere, and even when the big revelation comes I'm not sure it's that easy to think, "Oh, of course!" about it. Twilight's appearance in the story (it's set pre-S1) is fair enough, but I wasn't really emotionally invested in the original Regular's story. A weird juxtaposition of the Briticism "sod off" and the American spelling "tidbit" at one point. Despite the nicely observed quiet, melancholy atmosphere, this didn't have the same emotional hit that The Descendant's A Cup of Joe (PR 60) did. A rare miss from the RCL for me; a high two. ★★

Opinions by All Art Is Quite Useless
Rainbow Dash and Other [mistagged; all characters used are major canon ones]
Comedy/Slice of Life; 6k words; Jun 2017; Everyone
An election looms, and Rainbow only has three hours to put her ballot paper in the box. Will she get there in time? Not if the rest of Equestria have anything to say about it.
Now here's something we don't see often: a ponyfic with British political references. Published on the day of the general election, this is a story that you'll get most out of if you followed the arguments of that campaign – some of the stuff about "Sombra sympathisers" especially. Rainbow is presented as, if not actually thick, then utterly ill-informed about issues outside the Wonderbolts. Her friends all weigh in with their differing political views (Rarity is basically a Tory, Fluttershy a Green, etc), and naturally end up arguing. The character voices are a bit off at times, and Twilight's extensive bossy waffling feels more S1 than S7, but as a quick bit of election-related silliness it's not without its attractions. ★★

Mother's Day by MajesticPoniesEverywhere
Twilight, Spike and Twilight Velvet
Comedy/Slice of Life; 2k words; Sep 2014; Everyone
She hatched him. She raised him. When Twilight invites her parents to the castle on Mother's Day, she expects to please her mother, and give her a thanks for all she's done. And little does she know... she deserves one too.
Mixed feelings with this one. It's really nice to see Twilight Velvet being given a bit of real character, and it's cute that Twilight Sparkle is the last to realise something that seems pretty obvious to everyone else (including the reader). On the downside, Twilight (Sparkle) doesn't feel particularly in character – not going to check up on Spike at all when he doesn't respond to repeated calls? I don't buy it. And the fic does feel a bit on the emotionally manipulative side. A little bit of Lavender Unicorn Syndrome, too, though it's not that bad. "Mildly cute" is a note I made about this, and that seems a good summary. ★★

Next time on Ponyfic Roundup: right now, I have not the slightest clue. This may or may not have changed by the time I actually post next week's edition!


  1. Wait, how do you spell tidbit? <.<

    Also, I am sorry for your summer. D:

    1. "Titbit" is standard British English. As with so much else, though, the US spelling is making inroads here and will probably be the norm in a generation's time.

      It's forecast to be back to cool, cloudy and showery by the weekend. Proper British summer weather! :D

    2. Man, that's just hard to say though. :/ It comes out like two words.

      Also, it's got tits in it, no wonder we don't spell it that way. :V

    3. I honestly don't know whether it's a case of bowdlerisation. As for pronunciation, I actually find "tidbit" harder. Not sure whether that's because of accents or simply not being what I'm used to.