Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Ponyfic Roundup 164: Dying PC Edition :P

Read it Later story count: 419 (-2)

If this post stops suddenly, it's because my PC died before I could finish editing. :P Anyway, assuming I make it all the way through, there'll be four stories under review this week, including a couple of real old-timers. The fics are are:

Easy As Pie by xjuggernaughtx
Sauna Talk by FlutterLights
Just an Assistant by RadicalDishonesty
Tonight I Shall Be Laughter by Cloud Wander

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

Easy As Pie by xjuggernaught
Twilight, Pinkie Pie and Spike
Adventure/Comedy; 7k words; Nov 2012; Everyone
In which Pinkie Pie battles a rogue kitchen.
That description means what it says: being chased around by a kick-stool is only one of Pinkie's problems. She's trying to cook with chuckleberries, which in our world are these tasty-looking fruit but which seem to have a little more of the Poison Joke about them in Equestria. This is a pretty episode-like tale, with plenty of little asides and jokes of the sort you don't see much in ponyfic now. The ending is cute, though I'm still not entirely sure what was going on. Zecora's dialogue is a little grating and doesn't always scan very well, but there isn't too much of it. I had a reasonable time with this, but it dragged a bit considering its shortness. If you want a fun, early-show-like read, I'd recommend the same author's A Door Jam (PR 41). ★★

Sauna Talk by FlutterLight
Applejack and Rarity
Comedy/Slice of Life; 2k words; Jun 2017; Everyone
Rarity and Applejack have a rather... interesting conversation while in the sauna.
No, this isn't that sort of sauna story; check the rating! This fic sees the two ponies get to chatting about taxes – and, in particular, how unfair it is that Twilight seems to be exempt despite all her conspicuous consumption. It's a potentially very funny idea, and Equestrian taxes have worked well as a story subject before: see, for example, Admiral Biscuit's A Taxing Evening (PR 96). However, it doesn't come off here as you have to believe that AJ and Rarity – the two most business-minded mares in the Mane Six – hadn't given much thought to this stuff before. That makes it all rather unbelievable and drags this down to a one, though only just. ★

Just an Assistant by RadicalDishonesty
Twilight, Luna and Spike
Drama; 6k words; Nov 2014; Everyone
Luna makes uncomfortable assertions about Spike's role in Twilight's life, and Twilight is having a hard time telling her she's wrong.
Twilight is deeply unhappy when Luna tells her that Spike is clearly acting as Twi's bondservant. This is a strange story, largely because of Luna's characterisation, which seems as though it hails from at least two years earlier than this fic's publication date. She's terribly old-fashioned in her views and doesn't seem to have adapted that well to modern Equestrian society, even though she must have had time to do so as Twilight is already a princess here. That disconnect stopped me enjoying most of this story very much, but I was glad I persevered as the last part is a heartwarming look at just what Twilight and Spike's relationship really means. I'd have happily read more of that – but not most of what precedes it. ★★

Tonight I Shall Be Laughter by Cloud Wander
Luna, Pinkie Pie, OC and Other
Comedy; 9k words; Apr 2012*; Everyone
Princess Luna decides to work on her Element of Laughter. Captain Bucephalus gives chase.
* This first appeared elsewhere in summer 2011, which explains why this is S1 Luna. Happily, once you get past the old characterisation, it's a fun read to this day. Luna is, if anything, pushed into the background by Captain Bucephalus, Commander (and indeed only member) of the Lunar Guard; he's an old-series OC I wouldn't mind reading more about. As befits such an old fic, there are plenty of things you wouldn't see much today, such as the use of "neigh" and "hay", Pinkie having an inexplicably human-named uncle (Josh) and even a "my little pony" dropped in. Oh, and Steven "Steve" Magnet. No letter to Celestia, though. Don't expect anything terribly deep here, but it's a good-natured, amusing read throughout. I miss stories like this. ★★★

Next time on Ponyfic Roundup: depends whether my PC is still at all usable by then.


  1. Somehow, I could swear the first time I read the second review, it said that it was about Zecora and Fluttershy, and then I checked the story to see if it was on my RIL, came back, and it was suddenly about Applejack and Rarity. @_@ Did I just slip into another dimension?

    1. Yes.

      For once, I didn't accidentally upload the wrong review first time out, so the "other dimension" explanation is all I have left.

  2. Captain Bucephalus had a cameo in one of Cloud Wander's other stories; I think it was Today I Will Be a Princess. Most of his stories take place in the same universe and reference each other, without being sequels per se.

    I'm really fond of Cloud Wander's whole body of work. There's this palpable sense of joy underlying everything, with hints of something deeper creeping into even the apparently lightweight stories. I mean, he writes Steven Magnet as an Old God for the reptiles, and then he drops that bombshell in a comedy story about Gummy, and just makes it work.

    I wish he were still writing.

    1. Well, CW made a comment on his account as recently as this March suggesting he still wanted to work on Shadow Day. Whether that comes to anything, who knows? But he is at least still around, unlike many old-time authors.

  3. Not one of my better stories at this point. It's very old.

    1. No, but then A Door Jam is even older and I like that more. Besides, PR has never just been about seeking out the best and/or most popular stories. :)

      Actually, the thing that amused me most about this one was you saying in the Fimfiction comments that "It has always amazed me that people want to take funny, happy characters and dump all this extra baggage on them." Not much more than a year after that we got The New Crop. I'm not complaining about that, as it's a fantastic story. Just found it amusing. :P

    2. Yup. I was just in a mentally different headspace when I wrote The New Crop. Didn't have a lot of positivity from that point on in my life. Still don't, which is why I almost never write anymore.

      A Door Jam is newer because I re-wrote it. It went from something like 6,000 words to 10,000. The original version can be found here. It's much more rough:

      Sorry, not sure how to do proper links on this blog, so if that's not clickable, that's why.

    3. Well, I'm sorry about the lack of positivity of course. The New Crop did at least mean it produced something quite excellent. And ah, I hadn't realised (or had forgotten; I'm not sure) that A Door Jam wasn't the first version. That would explain it; thanks.

      Sorry, not sure how to do proper links on this blog

      Same as with Chris's, as it's the same platform – you can simply use standard HTML "a href" tags. But it's not as if it's important. Thanks!

    4. Being in a bad place can certainly produce good stories. I was definitely in a bad place when I wrote "The Art and Science of Letter Writing."

    5. I'd like to get back into the fiction game if I could just get over this relentless exhaustion. My job is sucking the life out of me, but it's been getting better. Maybe in a few months I can be productive with something other than work.