Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Ponyfic Roundup 66: Get Your Kicks

A post Chris made in his own blog a little while back reminded me to remind you: since I'm British, to me "quite" generally means "fairly" – so "quite good" is not such generous praise as it may appear to some of you. Moving on. To my considerable surprise, I managed to squeeze in five ponyfics this week. None of them are all that long, but that's hardly surprising for me. Here they are:

What my Cutie Mark was Telling Me by Quillery
Variables by The Descendant
Let It Not Snow by Pump It Up
Celestia's Smartypants by Beware the Carpenter
Blossomforth Needs Her Own Tag by Twinkletail

What my Cutie Mark was Telling Me by Quillery
Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie
Slice of Life; 6K words; Jun 2014; Everyone
After the events of Magical Mystery Cure, Fluttershy discovers that everypony needs a hobby.
Fluttershy's brief time with Pinkie Pie's cutie mark has left her desperately wanting to be able to make ponies smile – so she asks Pinkie for advice. This is quite nicely done, though 'Shy fans should be prepared to have heartstrings (not Lyra) tugged at times. It has echoes of "Filli Vanilli", though with a rather more likeable Pinkie, and Fluttershy's secret talent is well described. Occasionally overwritten – eg "poured a dark brown liquid" (it's just coffee!) – and a film quote feels out of place, but this is a worthwhile read for fans of either pony. ★★★

Variables by The Descendant
Spike and Discord
Slice of Life; 8K words; Nov 2011–Sep 2012; Everyone
After his defeat Discord was left alone...but even after months pass one creature can't let go...
Note the date: this fic, which is The Descendant's Royal Canterlot Library entry, has been thoroughly overtaken by canon. However, it's still interesting. It's basically a monologue to the petrified Discord by Spike – who feels there is something he must do – and TD writes a very fine Spike. On the downside, it rambles a bit at times, and (as with a few of his early fics) there are several irritating typos. Not my favourite of his, but still only just misses a four. ★★★

Let It Not Snow by Pump It Up
Twilight, Spike and Others
Slice of Life; 3K words; Dec 2013; Everyone
It's Hearth's Warming Eve, and Twilight is trapped at the castle!
A rather frustrating fic set in Twilight's school days. The bulk of the story is pretty enjoyable, with some excellent, funny exchanges between Twi and Spike, though you do have to accept the existence of radio and a brief appearance by a Moondancer rather different from her "Amending Fences" character. Unfortunately, the story is spoiled by the ending: a long and mediocre poem that doesn't have much to do with the main storyline and reads as though it's by a totally different author (the fic's A/N reveals that this is in fact the case), after which the story just stops. This would have sailed to a three with a better ending. ★★

Celestia's Smartypants by Beware the Carpenter
Sad; 1K words; Dec 2014; Teen
Celestia makes a Smartypants.
This is an odd little thing set in a future in which Luna has fallen to become Nightmare Moon once more, and in which Celestia has made a thousand dolls. It occasionally seems to refer to the author's headcanon and/or other fics, but I haven't read any others so can't be sure. An interesting titbit of history regarding Shining Armor, though. Rather an overwrought ending, but it's nice to see a "sad Celestia" story that does something a bit different from the usual "woe is me, I failed when I banished my sister" stuff. ★★★

Blossomforth Needs Her Own Tag by Twinkletail
Comedy/Slice of Life; 1K words; Oct 2013; Everyone
Blossomforth and her friends visit a souvenir shop.
I'm tempted to give this an automatic five simply for being a One-Shotober fic that I actually enjoyed. It's the sort of meta I hope would still be considered an exception to the usual rule by the Fimfiction approvers since there's a real, if short, story here – and the title is relevant to that story. Spellings like "Thunder Lane" are a tad distracting, but the fic has the inestimable benefit of containing one of the most appalling puns I've ever read. (And a rather clever one, but that's much less important.) Bravo! ★★★

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