Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Ponyfic Roundup 249

Read it Later story count: 256 (-2)

Only a couple of days left now until I head off to Manchester for Griffish Isles. I may or may not get any ponyfic reading done on the train or at my hotel. Given my restricted time in the city, I probably won't have much opportunity for downtime until I get home again on Saturday evening. Back to the subject of reviews, and I have four fics to cover this time around. They are:

So Being What We Sow When We Sew by The Descendant
Red/Yellow by The Cloptimist
Alternity by master18
Fabricated Existence by Unknown Ficwriter

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

So Being What We Sow When We Sew by The Descendant
Fluttershy, Rarity and Angel
Slice of Life; 12k words; Nov 2011; Everyone
When Fluttershy is pushed to her limit her friendship with Rarity becomes crucial...and tested.
This is a story of Fluttershy's animal caretaker role, and how it can take her to some quite dark places. In this case, the legacy of the "Dragonshy" dragon causes serious problems for a flock of birds, which Fluttershy does her best to take care of. Some cannot be saved, however, and inevitably this takes its toll – there are a couple of twists in this tale near the end which I thought were nicely done. The second thread is of how 'Shy learns her "freaky knowledge of sewing" from Rarity, and there's a lot of S1 show continuity here. I felt it was too much at times, with extended scenes that do little more than replicate show events. There's some interesting TD-style world-building, such as the inclusion of perytons, and the fic certainly recalls a time when much less of the lore map was filled in. I do, however, strongly dislike the inclusion of a couple of passages in the perytons' language (which is actually Finnish) with no annotation; that's unfair on the reader. I was a bit frustrated by this one, as I am by quite a few early TD fics. I liked the old-style world-building but felt the canon links were overdone and Rarity's confusion at the satisfaction of being generous wasn't really suited to mid-S1 but to a period much longer ago. A very high two, but still a two. ★★

Red/Yellow by The Cloptimist
Sunset Shimmer
Sad/Slice of Life/Tragedy; 3k words; Mar 2019; Everyone
Whatever happened to the "other" Sunset Shimmer? Our Sunset finds out.
A question a lot of us have asked, and one quite a few have a headcanon for. This is The Cloptimist's. As I'm already coming to expect from this writer, it's really interesting. We get some quite original use of the dual universes, as well as a good look at Sunset's emotions as she uncovers the truth. A point for "Mareyland", which amazingly I haven't seen in ponyfic before. I did have to stop for laughing once, but that was because of a possible sly passing reference to UK politics that may be lost on American readers. Back on topic. Like all the best stories, this fic says enough without saying too much, and even as only a casual Sunset fan I was satisfied. I'd especially strongly recommend this for those who really like reading about her. Just bear in mind those genre tags. ★★★★

Alternity by master18
Rainbow Dash and Applejack
Slice of Life; 1k words; Feb 2016; Everyone
Applejack and Rainbow Dash switch jobs for a day. What could possibly go wrong?.
I know nothing about this author, but here she's come up with a simple, straightforward piece of SoL that you can probably work out from that one-line description. It's very much a bite-sized chunk for tea break relaxation, and I was mildly amused. In places it reads like a much older fic, especially in its repeated use of "plot" as an anatomical term. There's also a little too much of the "her prismatic helper" stuff. Still, the author clearly states in her opening A/N that she's not trying to do anything fancy, so I can't knock her for that. Simple, easy reading. ★★

Fabricated Existence by Unknown Ficwriter
Twilight, Pinkie and Maud
Drama/Sad/Slice of Life; 3k words; Apr 2019; Teen
Learn the mysterious origins of Pinkie's third eldest sister. Maud Pie, a pony of few words but indomitable spirit.
Here we have a story with an interesting setup: the notion that Maud is not at all what she appears to be. I won't give away the reveal, which is one I've seen before but very rarely. There's a nice tie-in to canon, too. What badly lets this fic down is the actual writing: the story is desperately in need of editing. A persistent problem is near-obsessive adverb abuse: for example, one character "exquisitely asked" something, while another "empathetically confessed". Worse, ponies frequently talk in ways that sound very little like their canon selves. At one point, we're asked to believe that Maud and Pinkie waited "several hours" in a room with Twilight while Twi makes up her mind on something. I guess I could just about believe that of Maud, but Pinkie? There's some interesting imagination at work here: how often do we see Boulder given a personality? This fic would certainly score at least one star higher after a good pruning and editing session. ★

Next time on Ponyfic Roundup: No PR next week owing to Griffish Isles, but on the 22nd I'll be publishing PR 250! Stand by for... well, for something.


  1. The Cloptimist8 May 2019 at 18:41

    Gosh, thank you very much! I checked in to read the fic roundup as usual, I didn't expect to be in it. Thank you for the review, and the recommendation!

    Theresa May... It was indeed intentional, albeit not really as a political dig - more just a wink for people who'd get the reference, as a filly's oddly-innocent idea of "naughty" behaviour. You're the first person who's picked up on it!

    Enjoy Griffish Isles!

    1. You're welcome! It's always more fun writing the positive reviews.

      You're the first person who's picked up on it!

      Yay! I doubt the "wheat field" thing has travelled much outside the UK, so I suppose it's not surprising. I didn't see it as a dig, just amusing.


  2. Unknown Ficwriter9 May 2019 at 15:48

    Although not a flattering review, I do appreciate your honesty. It's refreshing to find a place where constructive criticism is forthcoming and not having to be searched out.

    1. And thank you for taking the time to ccommen. Please do feel free to pick me up on anything if you think I've been untrainable -- reviewers appreciate constructive criticism too.

      And in all honesty, I'd much rather read a story where the main faults are technical than one with no interesting ideas. After all, you can fix the technical stuff, but a lack of imagination is much, much worse.

    2. Unreasonable, not untrainable. Darn autocorrect!