Friday, 28 April 2017

Text Review Roundup: "A Flurry of Emotions"

Flurry Heart hides from Twilight
I have to admit to finding this particular shot adorable
Thank goodness it's a one-episode week this time! I suppose I'd better enjoy this relative peace, given what's coming up in the way of early Canadian releases. :P I can't find a review by Cuddlepug this time; there also isn't one by Thrond Media Pony Corner, or at least wasn't when I was writing this last night. On the plus side, the Super Mario blog has updated in time for TRR this week. (To bring you up to speed: they felt E01 was "incredible" but E02 was "meh".) Back to the Flurrysode!

ArthurCrane – mixed (has its moments and is quite cute, but "just doesn't have the same appeal" [as "Baby Cakes"])

Batbrony Reviews – extremely positive ("this episode was a blast ... immensely enjoyable")

Derpy News – fairly positive (graded B+; "good episode ... some issues")

Louder Yay – positive (three stars; "a solid-but-not-spectacular [episode]")

MLEEP Reviews – fairly positive (7.5/10; "managed to surprise me")

One Man's Pony Ramblings – fairly positive (fun fluff despite poor moral)

The Super Mario Brony Blog – very positive (four stars; "fantastic and memorable portrayals from Twilight and her niece")

Super Recaps – mixed ("plenty to like" but moral "depressingly simplistic and judgmental")

TheDragonWarlock – fairly positive (graded B; "good character developments for Twilight" but "minor annoyances")

Thursday, 27 April 2017

And so, the first Flashfic 150 comes to an end

Text Review Roundup will appear tomorrow.

It's certainly been quite the learning experience for me! At first I wasn't sure whether anyone would be interested, then I had to keep up with queries and suggestions during the event itself, and finally I got myself into a little bit of a pickle over feedback (tl;dr version: some people weren't expecting so much of it, while others couldn't get enough).

Despite these little wrinkles, though, there does seem to be enough interest in the concept for me to keep running with it. I'll probably tweak one or two things next time – such as allowing people to state on their entries whether or not they want feedback – but the general format will remain the same. The 150-word limit is certainly staying, as it's something a bit different.

The winner was Pascoite, who submitted this lovely Celestia piece and now gets the chance to choose the prompt for the May contest. I hope the experience I've gained over the last few weeks will allow me to improve the way I handle forthcoming events. And of course, if anyone's reading this and is thinking of having a go: you'd be very welcome to join us!

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Ponyfic Roundup 154: Spotlight on The Immortal Game

Two wins out of two for Worcestershire at the start of the County Championship season. Joe Leach's ten wickets against Northants is good and it's bad. He's a great bowler and seems to be a good captain, but he's also going to be a target for the posher clubs soon. Still, promotion does seem a possibility this year.

Read it Later story count: 447 (+1)

Remember me saying that I never DNF a story? Well, here's the proof! I began reading The Immortal Game as part of my ill-fated liveblogging experiment a couple of years ago. It really nagged at me that I hadn't finished it, so I resolved to do so. And eventually I did. This is a review I should really have written a long time ago, especially as it's of a much longer fic than I usually read. (For those who care, my next 300k story will be Through the Well of Pirene, but don't expect a review of that for many months to come.)

The Immortal Game by AestheticB
Celestia, Luna, Mane Six and OCs
Adventure/Dark; 297k words; Oct 2011–Jan 2013; Mature (Gore)
Princess Luna leads the Elements of Harmony against the corrupted Twilight Sparkle
This is one of those "an old enemy has awaken" stories – although in this case, it isn't just the one. This means a good deal of fighting – and be warned, that M rating is there for a reason. There are a lot of detailed, graphic fight scenes. Actually rather too many, I think. Most of the canon characters are pretty solid for the time they were written, although the OCs are rather variable and I find one or two of the backstories hard to credit. Technically, it starts iffy and gets better, like Fallout: Equestria does, so it's worth pushing through. There are niggles, but by the end nothing deal-breaking. It goes on a bit for my liking, but manages a three-star rating for being grimdark without being gratuitous. ★★★

I'll talk a little bit more, which means spoilers, after the break.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Some news from UK PonyCon

UK PonyCon comms supremo daisyd has posted this update on the convention's forum. It's not the announcement of any specific details, but it is (to my eyes, anyway) a reassuring and sensible piece. One major change from last year is that the con has moved to the limited company setup that several other events use. That's a sign of UK PonyCon's success, so it's a good thing! There's also a very reasonable reminder that, just because UKPC might have got a venue very fast last year, that doesn't mean it's always going to be that way.

I still very much want to go to the convention again, having had such a wonderful time there in the past, but I'm happy to wait and see what gets announced before making any firmer plans than that. Whatever the case, I wish UK PonyCon 2017 every success. They've earned it.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Episode review: S7E03: "A Flurry of Emotions"

It's looking as though we're in for another example of the US not getting an episode first. The UK doesn't have the honour this time, though: episode five will be shown in Canada next Sunday, the day after E04 and six days before it airs south of the border. EqD is now reporting that the same thing will happen with E06. I haven't yet decided what to do about review scheduling here.

Flurry Heart levitating stuff at the hospital
"They'll be dancing on air when they meet you..."
Back to episode three now! I'll confess that I wasn't looking forward all that much to "A Flurry of Emotions". This was partly since I hadn't really warmed to Flurry herself and partly because I was fearful of a rehash of "Baby Cakes", one of my all-time least favourite episodes. We had new writers for this ep: Sammie Crowley and Whitney Wetta. They'd apparently worked together before on The Loud House, but that meant nothing to me. How did they do? Well...

Sunday, 23 April 2017

EFNW Scribblefest, plus some future plans

Okay, remember that nice surprise I mentioned a few days ago? The one that greeted me on the fifth anniversary of my Fimfiction membership? It was this: The Book of Ended Lives won the Rarity Prize in this year's Everfree Northwest Scribblefest contest. This has nothing to do with Rarity-themed content: TBoEL doesn't feature her at all. It's given for "elegance in writing". I was completely blindsided by this, especially as the way Scribblefest works you don't enter for a specific prize, but I'm sure as hay not going to complain about it!

So, what next for prize-winning author Loganberry? (Look, I'm human. I want to use that phrase once, at least!) I'm tempted to spruce up some of my older stories. They can't be republished as new fics, of course, and hardly anyone reads really old fics so it would mostly be for my own satisfaction. But that's okay. This doesn't mean I won't be publishing anything new. I still have quite a few ideas that I'd like to commit to virtual paper before I end my ponyfic career – and I don't plan on that happening for some considerable time to come. If we don't get a mid-season hiatus, though, I may not have that much time. We'll see.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Text Review Roundup: "Celestial Advice" and "All Bottled Up"

In the end there were 18 entries for the inaugural Flashfic 150 non-prize contest. I'm pretty satisfied with that, given that I had no idea whether I'd have any interest at all. Now I have to judge them! I'll announce the winner on Tuesday.

Starlight and Sunburst make a "Flurry" clock
This may be the most terrifying thing in either episode
It really has been a long time since I did a TRR post. The last one was for Legend of Everfree back in early November, so I hope I can remember how to do them! For those new to all this, my aim is to summarise the opinions of text-based reviewers other than those who write on Fimfiction. This is a smallish group and one that tends to get a bit sidelined, with Equestria Daily only really interested in video reviews and Fimfiction bloggers concentrating on other Fimf posts. If you know any other regular show reviewers, please do let me know!

I'm going to cover both opening episodes here, which isn't ideal but is really unavoidable given the calendar. If the reviewer covered both eps in one post, click on their name/title to go to their full review. If they split them, click on each episode's abbreviation instead. This is a rather ugly way of doing TRR, but unless there's another back-to-back airing like this it will be a one-off.

ArthurCrane – CA: broadly positive ("above average"); ABU: mixed (likes Starlight; doesn't like Trixie)

Batbrony Reviews – CA: positive ("important and needed [for Tia]"); ABU: very positive ("hilarious")

Cuddlepug – both episodes: negative (graded D; "little ... justification for why people should still be watching")

Derpy News – CA: extremely positive (graded A; "refreshing change of pace"); ABU: very positive (graded A; "another fun episode")

Louder Yay – CA: fairly positive (three stars; "a reasonable start"). ABU: a bit more positive ("top-end" three stars; "pretty funny")

MLEEP Reviews – CA: extremely positive (9.5/10; "truly radiant"); ABU: negative (5.5/10; "great on paper, shitty in execution")

One Man's Pony Ramblings – both episodes: rather negative ("45 minutes of blah" but points for Tia in CA, Trixie in ABU... and Carrot Top)

Super Recaps – CA: broadly positive ("perfectly fine"); ABU: broadly very positive (Star/Trix fantastic; Mane Six subplot blander)

TheDragonWarlock – CA: mixed (graded B-; "repetitive"); ABU: rather negative (graded C-; "pretty weak ... lousy song")

Thrond Media Pony Corner – CA: rather negative (50%; "lightweight" but credit for Tia); ABU: negative (38%; "obnoxious ... shortage of jokes" but moral and ending are good)