Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Ponyfic Roundup 173: Made in Scotland from Girders

Read it Later story count: 397 (-1)

Amazingly, I've found the time to read five stories this week. None of them are very long, but then I have Through the Well of Pirene and The Skyla Pseudonym to get through before I can start even thinking about that sort of thing. Under review are:

Only One Way to Know by ph00tbag
The Stolen Book by Monochromatic
What's Faster... Light or Sound? by Free Shavacado
A Short Story by Twilight Sparkle by Skywriter
Were We the Bad Guys? by CommisarAJ

★: 0 | ★★: 1 | ★★★: 3 | ★★★★: 1 | ★★★★★: 0

Only One Way to Know by ph00tbag
Applejack and Twilight
Drama/Slice of Life; 3k words; Dec 2016; Everyone
Two old friends debate the ontology of nothing.
That's not a very informative shortdesc, but the long one is better: Applejack is now 182 years old and the only one of the Mane Six still alive – apart from Twilight, who gets into a conversation with her about what happens after death. It's nicely restrained and all the better for it, and there are some brief but significant pieces of worldbuilding around the edges. A quietly moving piece. ★★★★

The Stolen Book by Monochromatic
Twilight, Rarity and Twilight Velvet
Comedy/Slice of Life; 5k words; Dec 2016; Everyone
A filly Twilight Sparkle forgot to bring a book to read on the train, and now faces a horribly boring afternoon... Or, she does until she notices another filly reading. Surely she can sneak a peek, right?
This being filly Twilight, she treats Velvet's hope that she's gone to make friends with scorn. A cute story, albeit one with a reveal you can see coming a mile off. I like the way Twilight is characterised, and the ponies she interacts with are good as well. The story did make me a little sad about Rarity's early home life, though. A high-end three, which is only even that low because of the predictable ending. ★★★

What's Faster... Light or Sound? by Free Shavacado
Rainbow Dash, Celestia, Luna, Spike and Mane Six
Slice of Life; 2k words; Mar 2015; Everyone
Celestia is enjoying a calm evening in Ponyville with Luna, Twilight, and co. Rainbow dash: always looking for a challenge, decides to challenge her to a race to prove who is the fastest in the world
This little fic, which I thought was older than it actually is, feels very much a case of taking a "What if...?" thought and stretching it into a full story. There are a few nice touches, such as a revelation about sonic rainbooms, but some of it feels a bit too much like wish-fulfilment on the part of the author. My silly sense of humour was tickled by Tia's "Oh... my... me" at one point, though. ★★

A Short Story by Twilight Sparkle by Skywriter
Twilight and Celestia
Slice of Life; 3k words; Jun–Dec 2012; Everyone
This story is more-or-less exactly what it claims to be.
This is a sequel, of sorts, to Princess Celestia Hates Tea (PR 16). It's actually a rather meta fic, looking at a situation in which the writer of PCHT was Twilight herself – who is now, in true old-Twi style, rather neurotic about some things. This is a bit dry at times, and I don't really like a Skywriter self-insert (fleeting as it is). On the plus side, the character moments between Twi and Celestia are very nice, and these were what made this a satisfying read. I would strongly recommend reading the earlier story again with the new perspective this one gives. It's an interesting experience. ★★★

Were We the Bad Guys? by CommisarAJ
Comedy/Equestria Girls; 6k words; Dec 2016; Teen
Indigo Zap and her friends have an unsettling realization about the moral fibre of their character.
Inspired by a classic Mitchell and Webb sketch, this fun vignette sees the Shadowbolts, travelling home from the Friendship Games, come to terms with the fact that they may have been... the baddies. There's some nice, if inevitably brief, character-fleshing in this one, and by the end I wouldn't have minded reading more about these girls. Perhaps one too many mild meta references, and some light but rather pervasive LUS, but it's the weak ending that pulls this down most. Nevertheless, a nice insight into characters who don't get much attention. ★★★

Next time on Ponyfic Roundup: um...

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