Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Ponyfic Roundup 190: A Sunday Joint of Bread and Honey

Before I forget, there's been a retrospective upgrade. I re-read Bachiavellian's Shoots and Roots (reviewed in PR 142), which got "a high-end four" at the time. Second time through, I loved it even more. As such, it is hereby upgraded to five-star status!

Read it Later story count: 359 (-14)

I've decided to note when stories have any of the new warning tags. I'll do this in the same way I do it when the [Gore] or [Sex] tag is used, by mentioning the relevant tag(s) in brackets after the relevant fic's rating. Anyway, here's today's selection – at last, I'm back to five! – and it's not been a bad reading experience at all:

Kaleidoscope by TheVulpineHero1
The Art and Science of Letter Writing by Pascoite
You Can Count On Me by Honeycomb
All Of Us Together, Together As One by MythrilMoth
Dance Dance Dance by Ceffyl Dwr

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

Kaleidoscope by TheVulpineHero1
Dark/Sad/Slice of Life; 3k words; Dec 2012; Teen
Somepony struggles to remember their childhood. But something's wrong...
This SA-featured fic is clever. It starts out feeling like it could be an old and sometimes confused Pinkie Pie telling you about her foalhood. Then things go awry in the narration and you realise that something else is going on. It's very hard to say more without giving away the excellent reveal. Bear in mind that this is a 2012 story, but the only other thing I'll say is that there is a reason for how it's written. ★★★★

The Art and Science of Letter Writing by Pascoite
Big Mac, Twilight and Applejack
Romance/Drama/Sad/Slice of Life; 11k words; Oct 2013; Everyone
While on a work trip to help family in Appleloosa, Big Macintosh strikes up some correspondences with friends back home. These are the letters that crossed Twilight Sparkle's desk. Sometimes words don't mean what they say.
This story hurt. Sometimes, that happens when a fic is badly written. That's hardly likely to be the case with Pascoite, and it isn't in this TRG-inducted fic. No: this story hurt for good reasons. It's a tale composed entirely of letters between Big Mac and Twilight, and as the description says, what the two don't say – and how they don't say it – is as important as what and how they do. There are several twists, one of which I saw coming in general terms some way out but others of which kicked me right in the heart. I really like Big Mac's characterisation, and I suspect you will too, even if I did feel like yelling at him at times. Despite its age, the story only feels old in very minor ways. The very end may not be to everyone's taste, but I appreciated it a lot. The A/N states that aspects of the fic were drawn from the author's experience, which may be why it rings so true. Regardless, it's a stunner. ★★★★★

You Can Count On Me by Honeycomb
Applejack and Apple Bloom
Slice of Life; 1k words; Aug 2015; Everyone
Applejack and Apple Bloom discuss trust.
Here we have a little story that gets a point from me for referring to salt addiction; we very rarely see that in ponyfic these days. The rest of it's very wordy, though, despite its brevity – it does feel like a minific that's been stretched to fit the minimum word count. The final paragraph is slightly at odds with the tone of the rest of the piece; some will find it amusing, but it didn't do a lot for me. ★★

All Of Us Together, Together As One by MythrilMoth
Mane Six
Dark/Drama/Sad; 3k words; Dec 2014; Teen (Death)
Twilight Sparkle finds a way to make her dearest friends immortal.
We start off close to the end of Applejack's life, with Twilight (now almost Celestia-like) visiting her. It's a touching and significant prelude, but the meat of the story begins when Rainbow Dash crashes badly and lies dying. Twilight is devastated at the thought of losing Dash and impulsively does something about it – which her other friends are not entirely okay with. Twilight realises that it's a situation which she will have to face again in the future... The writer leaves us to make up our own mind about some of the moral questions here; it's an interesting and frankly slightly disturbing take on the "Twi is immortal but the others aren't" sub-genre. ★★★

Dance Dance Dance by Ceffyl Dwr
Gabby and Tender Taps
Romance/Slice of Life; 3k words; Feb 2018; Everyone
Gabby loves to dance, and she's over the moon that Tender Taps has asked for her help in practicing a waltz routine for a competition in Ponyville. Does it matter that everything about this competition sounds incredibly vague? No. No it doesn't.
What an unusual pairing this is! That's what caught my attention here – and yes, the author does make it work. This is cute fluff – but it has no pretensions to be anything deeper, so there's nothing at all wrong with that. There's virtually no mystery about what's happening in both characters' heads, but that does nothing to detract from the adorability or from the pleasantness of Ceffyl Dwr's prose. According to the A/N, went from "idea!" to finished, edited fic in six-and-a-bit hours. It'll take a lot less time to read, and if you're looking for a quick bit of cuteness you could do a great deal worse. ★★★

Next time on Ponyfic Roundup: stories reviewed should include Hoopy McGee's Toot your own horn. Also, another unusual pairing, but not from Ceffyl Dwr this time.


  1. Thank you for the review, and I'm glad you liked it! It's one of several of my stories where I decided to tackle something I'd seen done badly lots of times and so decided to see if I could follow my own advice on how to do them well. It's not my absolute favorite of my own stories, but I'd put it in the top ten.

    1. You're welcome. I notice that I didn't make much of how well the format was handled, but that was also a factor in how much I liked it: the letters read like letters.

      Out of interest, what is your favourite of the stories you've written? If I haven't read it already, I'll certainly add it to the list.

    2. My favorite is "Ambergris." After that, probably the two children's style ones, "Dinkin' Donuts" (being a Brit, I don't know if you'd get that pun) and "How Lily Longsocks Spent Hearth's Warming Eve on the Moon."

    3. Thanks! Dinkin' Donuts is already in my queue – I get the pun, although there isn't a branch within 100 miles of me. I'll add the other two, and I'm especially intrigued by Ambergris given how few EqG fics I read.