Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Ponyfic Roundup 220: Now, Voyager

Title explanation: the Class 220 Voyager train

Read it Later story count: 298 (-8)

My RiL count is finally down below 300. It feels so good! Given that I haven't been reviewing as many stories as I'd like lately, you may correctly surmise that this means I've been weeding out some that no longer interest me as much as they did when I added them. Nothing much else to say in this section today, so let's get straight on to the reviewed fics. Four of them for your perusal this week, and they are:

Permission to Land by Flutterpriest
Comma Comma by Soufriere
Changeling by CCC
The Will of the Cosmos by Felixfloetryfox88

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

Permission to Land by Flutterpriest
Spitfire, Soarin and Rainbow Dash
Drama/Sad; 3k words; Jul 2016; Teen
Spitfire receives terrible news. An injury she sustained from their last show may have saved lives... but may not be treatable. They will have to amputate her wing. She must step down as Wonderbolt captain.
Back in the early days of the fandom, there were a lot of "Rainbow Dash breaks her wing" fics. Here we have a "Spitfire loses her wing" fic instead. We follow her through the aftermath of the event, most particularly on her last day as captain. It's solidly written, Spitfire's internal thoughts generally convince and it's nice to see how much the 'Bolts truly respect their leader – but the whole thing is very predictable, which takes away quite a lot of its potential emotional impact. I'd have liked to have had a "Whoa!" moment somewhere, but I didn't get one. As such, just a high two. ★★

Comma Comma by Soufriere
Twilight, Spike, Celestia and Luna
Comedy/Random/Slice of Life; 2k words; Mar 2017; Everyone
Twilight Sparkle learns a critical punctuation mark has been banned. She reacts about as well as you'd expect. Spike fares even worse.
I was expecting a conventional silly comedy here, but in fact I got a crackfic. As Soufriere explains, this is a deliberately poorly written story, which fits in nicely with the tortured English that the lack of commas (and semicolons) produces. Also with the clunky Weird Al lyric insertion at one point. There's a fair bit of fun to be had here, especially if you're into meta fiction – the level of which increases as the fic goes along. On the downside, I found an extended "Desu" joke more irritating than funny even allowing for the story's nature, and some "Thou shalt use the Canterlot Comma" stuff comes across as hectoring rather than amusing. As deliberate badfic, I'm not sure this is bad enough. This would probably be a three-star fic for many readers, but not enough of the jokes quite landed for me. ★★

Changeling by CCC
Twilight and Celestia
Comedy/Random/Alternate Universe; 1k words; Aug 2013; Everyone
Twilight has discovered that there is a changeling among the Elements of Harmony. Celestia knew about it all along...
From that description, you might think this was one of the zillion fics published in the wake of GaPJaxie's Would It Matter If I Was? (PR 74), but in fact CCC's story pre-dates that one by two years. This one is the sort of very silly comedy I thought Comma Comma was going to be, with Celestia constantly wrong-hoofing both Twilight and the reader about the true nature of various ponies. There are a couple of things that have been overtaken by canon, one (concerning griffons) that unfortunately at least semi-invalidates a story point, but the stupid humour here made me laugh several times. The punchline isn't amazing, but it's enough to make me feel such a short fic was worth the few minutes spent reading it. ★★★

The Will of the Cosmos by Felixfloetryfox88
OC, Twilight, Rainbow Dash, Applejack and Rarity
Adventure/Thriller; 2k words; Aug 2018; Teen (Violence)
When the mane 6 are in danger, its Up to Felix the Fox, his close friend and Twilight to save them
I picked this one at random from the new stories list. This author's Fimfiction debut, it's a fairly straightforward example of the "apparent self-insert, super-powerful OC saves everypony" genre. There is some tense adventure here, especially in the fight scenes, which are the most exciting parts. The story's villain is potentially an interesting character, too. Unfortunately, no reason is given for what a kitsune is doing in canon Equestria, or for why he's more magically powerful than even Twilight. It reads like an unmarked [Crossover] at times – we get "Ki energy" in the first line with no explanation. The fic desperately needs a proofread: in particular, it's full of odd capitalisation, such as "Just then, there came to be a loud thud That Shook the ravine." There's also a really bizarre typo: "Tooele coins" for "two alicorns". There could be a fun little adventure in here, but it needs a lot of tidying up and a sensible explanation for the kitsune. As it stands, I can't recommend it. ★

Next time on Ponyfic Roundup: stories reviewed should include Dubs Rewatcher's ...But the Kitchen Sink and Trick Question's One Head of Cattle.

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