Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Ponyfic Roundup 226: The Hats and Bows Closet

A reminder that November's Flashfic 150 contest is currently open. Everyone is welcome to enter – you just need to join the Flashfic group, read the rules and get going! The closing date is 11:59pm GMT on the 21st, so you still have a week to get your submission together.

Read it Later story count: 294 (nc)

Not a lot to say here this week, except that you can fill in my usual grumbling yourself! Today's bijou selectionette consists of:

Sparkle's Law by AestheticB
Operation P.R.I.N.C.E.S.S. by LyraAlluse
Babel by Cold in Gardez

★: 0 | ★★: 1 | ★★★: 1 | ★★★★: 1 | ★★★★★: 0
Note: I use a skewed rating system. A fic I find average scores two stars.

Sparkle's Law by AestheticB
Mane Six
Comedy/Slice of Life; 18k words; Oct 2012; Everyone
Twilight slowly loses her mind as preparations for the Summer Sun Celebration go horribly wrong.
A Pony Fiction Vault member, this story comes from the author of The Immortal Game (PR 154) but is very different in tone. This is a multi-stranded comedy set in the lead-up to Celestia's visit to Ponyville. Fluttershy has disappeared, and PI Pinkie Pie is on the case, sporting even more noir clichés than the show's own later "Rarity Investigates!". There's tension between the Apples and the Carrots over catering... and Twilight can't find a cup of coffee for love nor money. This is one of those fics where things gradually escalate until they've got wildly out of hoof, and that's what makes it fun: if you don't like a joke, there'll always be another one along in a minute, and most of them are at least amusing. The story is more an out-and-out silly sitcom than a character piece, with not a lot of subtlety even for a 2012 fic, and there are a few too many now-dated allusions (Rapidash Twilight, for example). The ending is also underwhelming and there's a slight undercurrent of actual (as opposed to cartoonish) violence I'm uncomfortable with in an E-rated story. Still, those are minor complaints and there's a good deal of old-fashioned fun to be had here. ★★★

Operation P.R.I.N.C.E.S.S. by LyraAlluse
Comedy/Random/Slice of Life/Crossover/Human/Alternate Universe; 3k words; Oct 2015; Everyone
Princess toy sales have been dropping at Hasbro Studios lately so it is up to the G.I. Joes, Minty from generation three, and Gusty from generation one to come up with the perfect marketing strategy so they can boost company sales.
You can probably tell from that short description whether you'll like this. We follow this bizarre band of Hasbro-made toys on their meta-tastic journey – there are references to real-life FiM episodes, font snobbery and socks. If you're going to enjoy this, you probably need to be unsurprised by that last bit. Although it made me chuckle, I found this fic a bit too meta, which is why I only give it a two. (Also, I had to look up the references in the last sentence, because I'm just that uncool.) If that sort of thing is your bag, though, you may find this a hoot. ★★

Babel by Cold in Gardez
Mr Cake, Mrs Cake, Twilight and Discord
Slice of Life; 1k words; Nov 2015; Everyone
Ponies learn what really matters after a curse scrambles their languages.
Discord, who doesn't actually appear, is the one behind the curse. We don't find out why – actually, our horizons are largely limited to Sugarcube Corner. I think that's why it works so well: we're not seeing some great rousing adventure by the Mane Six, but instead what it's actually like living in a world where husband and wife no longer speak a common language. "Slice of Life" is absolutely accurate here. Inevitably you don't get much in-depth treatment in a thousand words, but there's a surprising amount of story nevertheless. CiG doesn't really do bad ponyfics, but this is a very good one. ★★★★

Next time on Ponyfic Roundup: stories reviewed should include Flashgen's A FLEet|ng LIght |n thE DArknEsS.

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