Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Ponyfic Roundup 146: Love is Like a Fluttershy

According to Singularity Dream's Big Master Review List (one of the great unsung achievements of our fandom), around 8,300 ponyfics have been reviewed. Considering that there are over 106,000 stories on Fimfiction, plus many more scattered around other sites, this means the great majority of fics have never featured in a review at all. Food for thought.

Read it Later story count: 482 (-2)

No, today's post title doesn't mean this will be a shipfest. I just couldn't resist the reference. As you will know if you read my endnote last week, today is a Fluttershy special. There are actually fewer than 5,000 completed stories on Fimfiction with the "Fluttershy" tag; given this disgraceful situation, I very much feel the need to actually write the one I keep thinking about give some of the Flutterfics that are there some publicity. So here goes:

It's an Easy Feat by TailsIsNotAlone
We Live in a Kind World by shortskirtsandexplosions
Wingmares by CouchCrusader
Fluttershy's Sick Day by Everyday
If I Fell by A Hoof-ful of Dust
Dead Nuthatch by PresentPerfect
The Proper Care and Feeding of Monsters by Cold in Gardez

★: 0 | ★★: 2 | ★★★: 2 | ★★★★: 3 | ★★★★★: 0

It's an Easy Feat by TailsIsNotAlone
Fluttershy, Twilight and Gilda
Dark; 1k words; May 2015; Teen
Twilight Sparkle wants to know why Fluttershy didn't attend Gilda's funeral. She may be sorry she asked.
"Warning for OOC (or at least differently characterized) Fluttershy," says the long description. The latter, certainly: Gilda is gone and Fluttershy is pretty cold about it, despite Rainbow's feelings. I do like the uneasy atmosphere the story creates, but I just can't get on with this 'Shy. All the more so given a rather unpleasant bit involving Harry. ★★

We Live in a Kind World by shortskirtsandexplosions
Fluttershy, OC, Mane Six, Spike and Mayor Mare
Slice of Life; 9k words; Jul 2014; Teen
An angry old stallion frustrates the citizens of Ponyville with his insulting, cantankerous ways. Nopony can stand him, including Princess Twilight and her circle of friends. All the while, Fluttershy quietly looks on.
This one is... odd. The angry stallion, Red Oats, really doesn't fit in Equestria, especially Ponyville. Twilight seems very naive at times, too, and she's not the only one. Red Oats' insults are quite inventive and occasionally vaguely amusing, but 9,000 words of them gets tiring – which I'm sure was deliberate, but doesn't make the fic any more likeable. I do like the ending, which has a good message and allowed me to finish the story feeling a bit happier, and an implicit link to something Flutters says in the S1 premiere is nice. A clunky reference to "love and tolerate", plus many enormously long comments, makes me suspect there's a (real or imagined) link to some ancient fandom drama – plus there's a video link in an end A/N, but it's dead. I'm missing something here. ★★

Wingmares by CouchCrusader
Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash
Slice of Life; 21k words; Dec 2011–May 2012; Everyone
Rainbow Dash makes an unlikely friend at flight camp.
A really nice story now, both in the sense that it's very smooth reading and in the sense that it's adorable. Okay, these two as fillies can't really help that, but never mind! The characterisation of principals and most of the side characters is believable, show canon is used but not intrusively, the description of the training course is good. Bits and pieces have been overtaken by canon, and it's arguable that one scene pushes an E rating, but for such an old fic it holds up wonderfully well. ★★★★

Fluttershy's Sick Day by Everyday (PR review no. 750!)
Fluttershy, Angel and Discord
Slice of Life; 3k words; Mar 2015; Everyone
Fluttershy's sick with a little cold today. Thankfully, she has good friends around to help her feel better.
I love the setup here: Fluttershy has the two beings perhaps closest to her... but her indisposition means they have to get along. The horror! I suspect most authors would have played this for broad comedy, but Everyday instead creates a really rather cute SoL one-shot. Discord is much better characterised than he often is, and Angel is given plenty of personality. ★★★★

If I Fell by A Hoof-ful of Dust
Fluttershy and Big Mac
Romance; 1k words; Jan 2014; Everyone
"What's it like to fly?" Fluttershy considers her non-flying lifestyle.
You are Fluttershy. Yes, you. And you can fly very well. You just don't most of the time. In this vignette, you attempt to explain this to your large red coltfriend. The second-person voice doesn't really get in the way, but I'm not sure it adds anything either. The fic was written for an "exactly 1,000 words" challenge (Fimf says 1,002, but that's Fimf) and this does restrict it slightly, especially given the laid-back pace. Another 500 words would have given it more room to breathe. Still, it gets a three because Fluttershy's inner thoughts are quite interesting. ★★★

Dead Nuthatch by PresentPerfect
Sad/Slice of Life; 2k words; Jul 2016; Everyone
Fluttershy finds a dead nuthatch outside her home. She is a very silly pony.
The title and description make this sound like a comedy, but it's no such thing; it's actually rather affecting. Fluttershy dealing with dead creatures and the implications thereof is a fairly common subject for ponyfic, perhaps most famously in Estee's Five Hundred Little Murders (PR 121). Based on a true story, explained in the end A/N, this story is on a smaller scale, but that works in its favour. There are several interesting thoughts about Fluttershy's specialness, as well as something relating to her largely earthbound life. British readers should note that American nuthatches are not the same species as our common garden bird, though they are closely related. Read this anyway. ★★★★

The Proper Care and Feeding of Monsters by Cold in Gardez
Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash, Twilight, Rarity and Applejack
Sad/Slice of Life; 7k words; Oct 2011; Everyone
Fluttershy discovers the limits of compassion.
Fluttershy finds what proves to be a baby gargoyle and resolves to care for it, despite her friends' doubts. We follow how this pans out over a considerable period, and what's satisfying is that Fluttershy's emotions aren't pushed on us too much; the story is there and we react to it, rather than us being told how to feel. The other ponies are nicely characterised, in an early-fandom sort of way, though I find Applejack's repeated use of "sug" irritating and distracting. The fic does show its age in the surprising amount of LUS: there's even a "butter yellow pegasus" in here. This is the first CiG story I haven't rated four or five, but it's a very high three and a good read nevertheless. ★★★

Next time on Ponyfic Roundup: New Fics Edition! All next week's stories will be from 2017.


  1. Replies
    1. I was rather surprised as well, given the setup – but it just worked for me.

  2. I bet the majority of fics still aren't rated, but consider that the master list only contains those that have at least some threshold number under their belts, and for the most part, it doesn't contain any reviews or critiques left in the stories' comment sections.

    1. You're right on the second point, and it's a good one indeed, but not the first: there are several columns on the far right of the spreadsheet where reviews by people with under 100 reviews go. Even, in some cases, people with just one or two.

    2. I know some low-volume reviewers are in the sheet, but it's harder for Griffin to find them, and he occasionally comes across one he was unaware of. So I bet there are still some out there.

  3. It's interesting that I've read all of these. I don't think that's ever happened with one of your review collections before, and it's particularly unusual because Fluttershy is not high on my favorite character list.

    I will add my knee-jerk dislike to the use of "sug". I've never actually heard anyone say that out loud, and I've been y'alled half to death sometimes.

    1. Oh yeah... forgot to mention that I pretty much agree with all of your ratings, too. Double unusual!

    2. Yeah, I have rather betrayed my usual mission to explore strange new fics, to seek out new authors, etc. Only Everyday has under 100 followers, and I'm sure he'd have many more if he'd started earlier and was more prolific. I wasn't familiar with TailsIsNotAlone, but I knew all the others.

      Next week's PR will see normal service resumed. I haven't even heard of most of the authors whose stories are on that list!

      I know it was an early story of CiG's, but I was surprised at his use of "sug". I don't think it's ever been used in that form in the show. At least "y'all" has canon backing, though its use in S1 was somewhat unorthodox at times!

      Fluttershy is not high on my favorite character list.

      Says the person writing an epic adventure about bloody Flurry Heart. :D (Which is being tracked, naturally, and will almost certainly get a Spotlight when the time comes.)