Sunday, 2 July 2017

Reviewer Reviews Reviewed

Chris has an occasional series called "Reviewer Reviews" in which he looks at how some of the more prolific ponyfic reviewers go about their business. A couple of weeks ago, it was my turn.

I was a little nervous about this, especially given that the period chosen (Ponyfic Roundups 157 to 160) was not one I think of as my best, but it worked out okay. Chris rightly says that my reviews give a lot of weight to my personal enjoyment or otherwise of the fics I look at – and that's how PR is intended to work. It's always been a slightly expanded "Here are some fics I read and what I thought of them" rather than anything more formal, and I don't expect that to change much.

One of the parts of Chris's piece that stood out was a paragraph in which he compared my reviewing style to Present Perfect's:
Both of them are agreeable and on the laconic side, and both briefly focus on a few key elements rather than trying to discuss every element of every story.  But whereas PP uses a lot of humor and self-depreciation to make his point while still coming off as friendly, Logan's writing has more of a good-natured, self-aware earnestness to it.
I'm not entirely sure what "self-aware earnestness" is, but I'll take "good-natured" any day. Personally, I think I do sprinkle in a reasonable amount of humour, but possibly it's too dry and British for most people to notice. Or just not very funny. Still, I don't intend to make any major changes to my style, as I feel pretty comfortable with it as it stands.

Chris points up the fact that five-star ratings are much rarer than they used to be, to the extent that he says "they don't see much (any) use anymore". It's true that fives are rare now, and I intend to keep it that way. My scale is skewed in that a solid, decent but not particularly memorable fic will generally get a two, not a three. That means that a five-star story has to be not merely excellent but exceptional. As it happens, CiG's The Destruction of the Self did get a five last time out (PR 163), so I haven't abandoned the top rating entirely!

Among the most interesting aspects of this series is that Chris gives an example of what he feels is a strong review, and conversely one he thought was weaker. He chose my review of My Little Introvert: Being Home is Magic(al) (PR 158) for the former – that surprised me a bit, as I feel it was a slightly rushed review. What They Don't Know (PR 160) was the one he felt had weaknesses; in this case, I agree, but as the review itself makes clear it was one I found difficult to write about without major spoilers. Here's how Chris summed up what he saw:
Logan's reviews are an excellent source if you're looking for a large quantity, a pretty decent variety, and brevity that doesn't sacrifice big-picture reviewer opinion.  You're not going to get a lot of detail here, nor much in the way of analysis, but he's worth following if you're more interested in a bunch of quick hits than a few deep dives.
I think that's a fair assessment, and I'm pleased to see variety mentioned; I've always made a considerable effort not only to review the stuff everyone else has been reading. Chris didn't look at any of my occasional Spotlight reviews, but that was probably sensible as they are only occasional – and in any case, they're not what I do best. Chris himself does long-form reviews notably well, if you ask me.

Oh, and since this came up in passing: "Loganberry" is my username because it's what I've used in various fandoms for a decade and a half. However, because it shortens to something that sounds like an ordinary name, people in the MLP fandom tend to call me "Logan" in real life. I like it, and I've increasingly adopted it online – as on this blog. However, I don't intend to change my Fimfiction username, as I'm comfortable with that as well.


  1. Oh god, and now he's gonna review this and the rabbit hole will never end D:

    Not sure what he means by self-aware earnestness? Sounds like you need to be a little more earnestly self-aware :V

    1. Being aware at all would be a start for me. :P

  2. "Self-aware earnestness" just means that your style is rather earnest, and that you seem to be conscious of that fact in your writing. Un-self-aware earnestness would be someone who takes fanfiction too seriously because they can't see how ridiculous it looks from the outside (and often, is even from the inside); self-aware earnestness is taking it seriously, aware that most people (even most bronies!) would think this site was absurd if they stumbled upon it, and tacitly acknowledging "yes, that may be true... but why should that stop us from having fun digging in to what we read?"

    I'm glad you thought it was a fair shake! I give your review of my review of your reviews three metas out of 4th wall.

  3. Thanks! That seems reasonable enough. Of course it's silly – this entire fandom is silly – but that's part of the fun! :)