Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Ponyfic Roundup 53: The Long and the Short of It

I'm finally reading my copy of G. M. Berrow's Princess Celestia and the Summer of Royal Waves. One not-really-spoilery point of interest: the real Clover the Clever was male. Fanfics seem to have been divided on this issue, but absent confirmation in the show itself I think this counts as canon for now. Anyway, as this week's subject line suggests, this time around I'm reviewing... well, long and short fics. Two of the former; four of the latter. Here's the list:

The Birds and the Bees by Scantrel
Discord's Day by SpinelStride
Eljunbyro by Imploding Colon (yes, finally!)
A Diamond and a Tether by PatchworkPoltergeist
No, I Am Not A Brony, Get Me Outta Equestria! by BronyWriter
Spring is Dumb by HoofBitingActionOverload

The Birds and the Bees by Scantrel
Mane Six and CMC
Comedy; 9K words; Nov–Dec 2013; Teen
The Cutie Mark Crusaders, set a nature assignment, decide to find out about the "birds and the bees" they've overheard other ponies discussing. Superficially similar to theworstwriter's identically-titled fic (PR 13) but this one isn't quite as good. It's occasionally a little crude for my liking, and it suffers from Full Stop Before Closing Quotes Disease at times. On the plus side, it is (intermittently) quite funny, and there's a little hint of one of the less common ships around. Worth a look if you want something undemanding, but don't expect too much. ★★

Discord's Day by SpinelStride
Discord, Twilight, Rainbow Dash and Mane Six
Comedy/Random; 4K words; Apr 2014; Everyone
Discord realises he knows that anything he can imagine will end up in either his reformation or his stoning, and asks Twilight to hit him with something he doesn't expect. An interesting idea for a fic, and though it's rather disjointed it more or less hangs together. I don't think the ending is quite as unexpected as we're supposed to think, and there's a weird "Red Barroon" [sic] reference, but it's entertaining enough. ★★★

Eljunbyro by Imploding Colon
Rainbow Dash and OCs
Adventure/Random/Alternate Universe; 224K words; Oct 2012–Mar 2013; Teen
The sequel to Austraeoh (PR 31), in which Rainbow Dash is still flying east, at least after she finally appears in the story. The good: the author clearly has a remarkable imagination, at least some of the OCs are (eventually) quite interesting, and he can pull off multiple timelines without making any of them seem unbelievably compressed or stretched. The bad: the pace is ridiculously slow in the early stages, Rainbow says "ya feel me?" about a billion times and (as with Austraeoh) there are plenty of basic technical errors. The ugly: the story really feels like it was stretched out to fill 200 chapters. It goes on and on and on, and by the end it was feeling like a bit of a chore. ★★

A Diamond and a Tether by PatchworkPoltergeist
Diamond Tiara, OCs and Others
Sad/Slice of Life/Human; 13K words; Jan 2015; Everyone
The author of Somewhere Only We Know (PR 2) wrote this runner-up in the More Most Dangerous Game contest is a re-imagining of the concept behind My Little Dashie. A rather spoiled human young woman is given a very young (and equine) Diamond Tiara as a present. The odd mis-step (come on, would DT really not have known Lucy went to high school after several years?) but well written and, satisfyingly, keeps pace with the development of early-21st-century human technology. Didn't quite grab me sufficiently for a four-star rating, but certainly much better than its inspiration. ★★★

No, I Am Not A Brony, Get Me Outta Equestria! by BronyWriter
OC, Mane Six, CMC, Cheerilee and Celestia
Comedy/Human; 114K words; Sep 2012–May 2013; Teen
There are (too) many brony-in-Equestria fics, but this is something different: TD, a human who doesn't like the show gets stuck there after he's dragged through a portal. An odd beast, this: there are some hugely entertaining sections, the ponies are in character (if sometimes a bit clich├ęd; hello, human-obsessed Lyra) and the protagonist is (despite himself) quite likable – but the story sprawls a good deal and badly needs proofreading. Also has lots of incomprehensible American football references. About a third of the word count is made up of extras: deleted scenes, Q&As and so on. With tighter editing, this could have been a minor classic. Still quite good fun, though. ★★★

Spring is Dumb by HoofBitingActionOverload
Rainbow Dash and Rarity
Romance/Comedy; 9K words; May 2014; Teen
Best till last? Yep. The author of Our Weary Daughter, Rest (PR 29) switches genres to give us a bit of RariDash shipping. Rainbow knows she's in the right... so why has she just bought a heap of apology bouquets? This, fillies and gentlecolts, is how to do a tell-y story and still make it charming. It's amusing without overdoing the silliness, the romance is limited enough to be sweet when it arrives and the writing is very good. The first chapter is perhaps mildly overlong and Rainbow's voice occasionally feels slightly less convincing than Rarity's, but even for non-shippers like me this fic is easy to recommend. ★★★★


  1. Eljunbyro remains the most disappointed I've ever been with a pony fanfic. I've like others less, but that one was just so different from the story before it and lacked everything I enjoyed about the first one. Was kinda jarring.

    1. I wasn't a huge fan of Austraeoh either, so I didn't feel quite as disappointed -- but I never really found Bellesmith to be a very interesting character, which was a bit of a problem given her role! It's odd: I sometimes wanted a bit less RD in the first story, but was mightily relieved when she finally turned up in this one.

      And now you're making me wonder what the most disappointed I've ever been in a ponyfic is. Actually, A World Without Kindness from this week is in the mix: I still enjoyed it, but it had glimpses of a truly extraordinary story. I honestly think it could have been a five-star fic had it maintained the promise of its early part. SpaceCommie's Chompers is another one: I'd heard lots of good things about it, but it didn't work for me at all.

  2. Spring is Dumb was a really adorable short story. Rainbow was very Rainbow.