Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Ponyfic Roundup 225: Many cheerful facts about the square of the hypotenuse

Shrink Laureate is running a fun-looking writing contest: the Season 9 Bingo Writing Contest. Don't worry, you don't need to write about S9! The way it works is that when the contest opens in a few days (for some reason the exact date hasn't been specified), you'll get dealt five cards from the S9 bingo set, and you then have to write a fic of 1k-20k words featuring at least two of those things. The more you include the better.

There's a sample set on the post I linked to above, to give you the idea. Stories have to be submitted before S9 begins on Discovery Family in the US (I know that date isn't yet known), and you'll then get a week to tidy them up before judging begins. I've put my name down, since it's about time I wrote a story that wasn't just about custard. There are plenty of places left, so feel free to join in!

Read it Later story count: 294 (+2)

Just to remind folks, my rating system is skewed to allow me to distinguish between good, excellent and fantastic stories. A two-star rating is average, not bad. Anyway, I have four fics under the microscope today. I'm not entirely certain where I got a microscope from, but oh well. I've been reading:

Blue Steel Railway by B_25
Peachy Pie and Misty Moon Keep the Realm Safe Until Dinnertime by Pascoite
Quills and Sofas by Just Horsing Around
Better by Unbridled

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

Blue Steel Railway by B_25
Applejack and OC
Adventure/Sad; 12k words; Aug 2012; Everyone
Applejack visits the lawless west, in need of a bounty hunter.
The author of this fic went by the unmemorable but descriptive name "writer" for many years, but not any more, it seems. There aren't that many out-and-out Westerns in ponyfic, but here's one. We follow Applejack out into the badlands around Dodge Junction, in search of the mysterious outlaw Arkansas Black – and an Ursa Major. Everyone seems to have a secret or two to hide, including AJ; that's quite appropriate for the genre. It's really unmarked [AU] – ponies have guns, for a start. Actually, that's my main problem with it: this doesn't really feel like an Equestrian tale. It feels like a human-world Western in pony suits. The twist at the end didn't have the same impact it probably would have done in 2012, but that's the risk you take with certain subjects. It does fit the plot, though. A highish two from me, but if you don't mind the non-Pony feel and some blatant head-hopping later on, upgrade this to three stars for doing something a bit different and making a fair bit of it work. ★★

Peachy Pie and Misty Moon Keep the Realm Safe Until Dinnertime by Pascoite
OC and Other
Dark/Slice of Life; 1k words; May 2016; Teen
When you're a princess, you have to worry about political intrigue, affairs of state… and knowing when your friend is pulling your leg. There are no monsters in the basement!
I was a bit surprised by how recent this story apparently was – until I noticed that it had been expanded from a /fic/ writeoff. Peachy and Misty, relatively new-found friends, are playing make-believe in the latter's house, which they've done everywhere... except the basement. It's hard to review this without giving things away, but as you're reading it, bear in mind the tags. All the tags. The twist isn't spelt out for you, and I had to think and read comments to be sure I was right. Perhaps a little too vague about what's going on, but a nice read nevertheless and the first section is pleasant slice-of-life in itself. (Or would be, if... well, again, spoilers.) A high three, anyway. ★★★

Quills and Sofas by Just Horsing Around
Twilight and Other [Night Light and Davenport]
Comedy; 2k words; Sep 2014; Everyone
A visiting Night Light is intrigued when his daughter mentions one of Ponyville's more unusual retailers – Quills and Sofas. Why quills? Why sofas? Why the two in combination? He can't resist the chance to investigate further...
This looks like the setup for a gleefully ridiculous comedy, and it starts off well with a wonderfully stupid pun involving a sausage. An E-rated joke involving a sausage, at that. It's also amusing seeing Night Light's discomfort when Twilight offers him one of her own old feathers as a quill – the reason he sets off for Davenport's place. Sadly the story as a whole just isn't silly enough, getting a little bogged down with extended exchanges about furniture. And writing implements. The writer is apparently British; I'm not sure whether Americans use "settee", though it's familiar enough to me. A highish two that could have been a three had the author thrown off the shackles a little more. ★★

Better by Unbridled
Cadance
Romance/Drama; 3k words; Sep 2018; Teen (Sex)
Always the perfect little goody four-shoes, Cadence lets go... just this once.
Told in first person, this is the remarkably enticing story of Cadence (the real one) and her bachelorette party (hen night). She drinks – a bit – and you need to bear this in mind as she narrates. She dances – a bit. Then, her bridesmares lead her to a curtained booth, where she meets... well, that would be telling. With Cady's defences softened by the evening thus far, she finds herself compelled by the other pony's sensual ways and things go further than she doubtless ever expected. I saw the twist coming a mile off, but that's really my only small complaint. The rest is wonderful, breathing new life into an event that's been around for six years. ★★★★

Next time on Ponyfic Roundup: stories reviewed should include AestheticB's Sparkle's Law.

2 comments:

  1. This was my first try at a children's style story, but I'd remembered someone saying to me how the really old fairy tales were rather dark, when you think about them. So I figured I'd do a similarly dark turn.

    And yes, I seem to have a penchant for writing stories that are hard to discuss without giving away the surprise.

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    1. Roald Dahl's children's stories, too. I enjoyed the twist in your fic – I just wasn't sharp enough to catch the full meaning straight away.

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