Friday, 24 July 2020

Ponyfic Roundup 304

Read it Later story count: 198 (+1)

I was on a train last earlier this week (for the first time since March!) and yet I didn't read a word of ponyfic. I should be ashamed of myself, even if it was only a 13-minute journey and my glasses kept steaming up thanks to my mask. I have read a little ponyfic at home, though, so at least there's a small PR to go on with! Here are today's stories:

First Contact is Magic by Eakin
Trade Negotiations by Admiral Biscuit
Just Tell Me The Nasty Bits by Cackling Moron

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

First Contact is Magic by Eakin
Human/Alternate Universe; 4k words; Dec 2013; Everyone
A message from the stars suggests that a strange race of equine aliens are coming to Earth. In about a thousand years.
Earth makes contact with extraterrestrial intelligence, albeit over the ether, and it's remarkably ponyish. If it had been written more recently it would surely have the [Sci-Fi] genre tag, as it absolutely is that. It's from a human perspective, and we see the way the two civilisations interact in a fairly telly but pleasantly readable way. Don't expect a focus on specific people or ponies; this is much more about the species involved. A thought-provoking final line, too. My main difficulty, and the reason it's not rated slightly higher, is that it's not really very Pony. Bits and pieces aside, this same story could be told about other aliens without changing the sense. It's a sci-fi fic with ponies, not a Pony sci-fi fic. Worth reading if you like the genre, though. ★★★

Trade Negotiations by Admiral Biscuit
Zebras and OC
Slice of Life; 2k words; May 2017; Everyone
A zebra village is alarmed to see pegasi flying south towards them, their intentions unknown.
Another story looking at ponies from another species' perspective, though this time we're firmly in the world of Equestria. It's told in first person by a young zebra on the verge of adulthood, and whose feelings and attitudes towards the strange ponies come across well. Considering its brevity, this fic does a surprising amount of world-building, and I felt I knew the zebras quite well by the end. The actual contact between the zebras and the ponies is not especially startling, but the tension and hints of wider, more sweeping diplomatic consequences keep you reading. Pretty high in the three-star bracket. ★★★

Just Tell Me The Nasty Bits by Cackling Moron
Rainbow Dash
Human/Slice of Life; 3k words; May 2018; Teen
Rainbow asks the local human a question. Regrets it.
Said human is the narrator; we're not told why he's in Equestria in the first place, which is somewhat frustrating. It seems that he's constantly plied with questions by the ponies, and that Rainbow likes to ask about the less pleasant stuff. This time: "Tell me about a war." So our narrator does that, picking the First World War. There isn't really a story here, just a scene, but there's some cuteness in the fluffy way Dash reacts to being held and so on. (I'm not sure whether the faint whiff of My Little Dashie was deliberate.) It's inoffensive enough and is indeed quite slice-of-lifey. I just wish it had had a bit more of a plot to it. ★★

Next time on Ponyfic Roundup: stories reviewed should include Sunset Shimmer is Not an Alicorn by jqnexx.

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