Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Ponyfic Roundup 248

A quick signal boost first, as The Cloptimist made some interesting points on my "Simple fun and warmth and magic" post from a few days ago, and I'd hate for them to get entirely buried. Now, on to some ponyfic.

Read it Later story count: 258 (+2)

Hmm, the size of my RiL is starting to creep upwards again, I see. My long-term goal remains to get it down to around 100 and then hold it roughly steady. I can hardly object to people writing fics I'm interested in reading, though! Just the three stories reviewed today, although there's some good variety here. They are:

Big Horseshoes by Bad_Seed_72
Jailhouse Rock by Impossible Numbers
Happy Birthday, Dear Twilight by Pascoite

★: 0 | ★★: 0 | ★★★: 1 | ★★★★: 2 | ★★★★★: 0
Note: I use a skewed rating system. A fic I find average scores two stars.

Big Horseshoes by Bad_Seed_72
Thunderlane and Rumble
Slice of Life; 7k words; Aug 2013; Everyone
When asked to write an essay on his hero for a school assignment, Rumble writes about the only pony he can think of who's deserving of the title: the stallion who's loved, protected, and cared for him the most.
I haven't reviewed a story by this long-departed author since the very good Between the Lines back in PR 46, so it was about time I fixed that! I was a bit surprised to see a weather report opening, but the story that follows was a very pleasant read. We get to learn considerably more than canon had at this point told us about the two ponies (this is set before "Wonderbolts Academy") and discover that their family life is not altogether perfect. Don't go in expecting intense conflict, wild twists or enormous character growth – this is fundamentally a window on the brothers' domestic world. If that kind of fairly straightforward slice of life appeals to you, especially if you enjoy reading about side characters, then by all means give this a shot. ★★★

Jailhouse Rock by Impossible Numbers
Dazzlings, Adagio Dazzle, Aria Blaze and Sonata Dusk [tagged as a group and individually]
Drama/Horror/Tragedy; 16k words; Apr 2018; Teen
After their defeat, the Dazzlings end up in jail. It goes downhill from there.
This is a bottle story, taking place entirely in one room: the cell in which the sirens have been imprisoned. It's also written as a single long chapter, something which I think works well in underlining that these three are trapped with each other all the time. Each Dazzling is nicely and distinctively portrayed, and I found it especially interesting to get a deeper look at Sonata's character. (It's perhaps worth noting here that Impossible Numbers is not a watch-everything EqG person.) Some facts are withheld from us, notably who exactly is running the jail and what they intend the girls' eventual fate to be; you can draw inferences that are fairly light or very dark indeed. I think that ambiguity is well judged and leaves you unsettled and wondering at the end. ★★★★

Happy Birthday, Dear Twilight by Pascoite
Pinkie Pie and Twilight
Dark/Drama/Sad; 8k words; Jan 2015; Teen (Gore)
Pinkie has a secret. So far, she's kept it from everyone, but Twilight can tell that something's wrong with her. So she offers what vague support she can… until Pinkie takes her into the basement to show her.
A highly placed entrant for the "More Most Dangerous Game" contest, in which writers had to take the basic premise of a fandom classic and create something original with it. Pascoite chose Cupcakes, and starts out tremendously strongly with a fantastic opening scene in Sugarcube Corner. At first, it seems everything's as happy and chirpy as ever – but we, along with the watching Twilight, are quietly and smoothly disabused of this notion. The story uses POV switching very well, too, in that there's never a judder when the perspective moves from Twi's to Pinkie's and back. I'm a little undecided about exactly how convinced I am by the way Pinkie ends up dealing with her problem, even though canon backup is explicitly referenced in the story. Maybe the passage of time since early 2015 has a bearing there, given that Pascoite's character work is reliably convincing. The best thing about this fic, though, and a primary reason I recommend it, is that it gives us a fresh take on the Cupcakes setup – and one with Pinkie as a genuinely sympathetic character. ★★★★

Next time on Ponyfic Roundup: Stories reviewed will include The Descendant's So Being What We Sow When We Sew.


  1. Thanks for the review! This one was pretty fun to write, and I enjoyed doing the perspective switcheroo in every scene.

    I really liked "Jailhouse Rock" too. The only thing that bugged me is that there's nothing said about how they got there. Given that it's in such a limited perspective, there's no reason why the narration should avoid the subject, but it conspicuously never comes up, so the only possibility I can think of is that they don't remember, but that lack of memory is so unremarkable to them that it doesn't trouble them in the least. That was too much of a stretch for me, but on the whole, I'd recommend it.

    1. You're welcome! It was a satisfying read.

      That's a fair point. It didn't bother me, though I can see why it might others.