Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Ponyfic Roundup 181: Most Efficacious in Every Case

Read it Later story count: 386 (-4)

I managed to get a little bit more time for reading ponyfic this week than I did last week, so here's a slightly longer list of stories than last time. Look, four is more than three, 'kay? These fics include one of those fics that created controversy in its Fimfiction comments, a story with a title that isn't even in the Latin alphabet, and... other stuff. I have a couple of rather wordy reviews to start off with.

The Point of No Return by ObabScribbler
Ἐλπίς by Bad Horse
Ocean by Church
Pinkie Pi by Blu_Ray

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

The Point of No Return by ObabScribbler
Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, Angel and Mane Six
Drama/Slice of Life/Sad/Tragedy; 14k words; Nov 2017; Teen
After staying away from her friends for years, Fluttershy is stunned to discover Rainbow Dash on her doorstep looking haggard and asking for sanctuary in her escape from someone she won't name.
Scribbler is best known for her excellent full-cast audio productions, and this has one, but I'm here to review written fics, so the Fimfiction version it is. There is a real-life inspiration for this story, which is explained in detail in an afterword to the YouTube version, but I deliberately didn't listen to that until after I'd read this story. After all, a fic on a general website needs to stand without inside knowledge of the author's motives. This one does. It's hardly the cheeriest of stories, as those genre tags indicate, but it's involving and emotional almost throughout. There's apparently been some controversy over the choice of Rainbow Dash to fill the central role, but I don't agree: I think what transpires has more power because it's Rainbow. And I was also surprised that so many people misunderstood what was happening: the clues are there. As for Fluttershy, the fact that this fic was originally written privately in 2015 does mean that early on she occasionally seems to have taken a step backwards from the 'Shy we know now – but her interaction with Dash really works, and no other pony could have filled the role. One authorial choice late on is explained in the video's afterword but nevertheless feels a bit forced after a while, and I'm not a fan of some coloured text, which feels like an unnecessary gimmick. The odd slightly unconvincing line, too – eg Rainbow saying "that's as maybe". These quibbles aside, though, this has considerable power even before you hear the background from Scribbler. ★★★★

Ἐλπίς by Bad Horse
Adventure/Dark; 3k words; Jul 2014; Teen (Gore)
Equestria is gone. But Celestia still has work to do. The Road lies ahead of her, and at its end—the most difficult decision of her life. Again. 2nd place in the "History Repeats" write-off.
There are quite a few fics in which Celestia's life is far longer than Equestria's, and here's another. In spite of the character tag, it's not only about Tia. There's an OC here who doesn't say a word, yet who has a compelling personality all the same. "The Butler" is a remarkable creation. As for the piece itself, it's more myth than anything else; given the prevalence of Greek-inspired myth in FiM (at least in the old days) the use of Greek for the title seems appropriate. Given that this is by Bad Horse, I'm sure I missed some subtle shades of meaning, but I still grasped the meaning of the title, and saw that the Celestia we know from canon is an almost infinitesimal – yet still vital – part of who she actually is. Not a huge fan of the gore; it's not too bad (hence the Teen rating) but I'm iffy as to whether it actually enhances the fic. ★★★★

Ocean by Church
Twilight and Applejack
Random; 2k words; Dec 2012; Everyone
The ocean is a wonderful place. But when your boat sinks, it's unforgiving.
This story has a strange, dreamlike texture, in part due to the (apparently deliberately) odd prose style. Sometimes this fits quite well with the general atmosphere, but at others it feels like the writer is trying too hard – "a tandem of ponies" is one example that didn't work for me. I rather like the concept and the reveal, but the almost LUS-y way characters are introduced (Twi and AJ aren't the only ones) puts me off considerably. I suspect this is a story that's dated quite a bit in five years. ★★

Pinkie Pi by Blu_Ray
Twilight, Pinkie Pi(e) and Spike
Comedy/Alternate Universe/Random; 2k words; Dec 2014; Everyone
This story takes place in an alternate universe where Pinkie Pie, know known as Pinkie Pi and Twilight Sparkle, in this world named Twilight Sparkler, have opposite personalities.
That description is pretty much the entire story. It's potentially a fun, if slight, comedy, but it's let down by doing very little more than swapping the personalities. This means the fic is a bit like those R63 stories where "Rainbow Dash is a stallion!" is stretched out for several thousand words. The alternative ending helps a bit, since the original stops abruptly, but even then it feels as though a sequel would have been where the tale really began. Just about a two. ★★

Next time on Ponyfic Roundup: stories reviewed will include shortskirtsandexplosions' "App. Jack".


  1. Your totals up top show only one 2-star story.

    1. Um... oh no. Absolutely not. They don't. Your eyes must be playing tricks. Nothing to see there, no siree. Editing here leaves no trace. If I did it, I mean. Which I don't. Absolutely not.