Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Ponyfic Roundup 198: Meeting Mr Miandad

Title explanation: this song

I may not have enjoyed the most recent show episode as much as I'd have liked, but I am still very much on the ride as far as FiM as a whole is concerned. Some good people have decided recently to call it a day (Ceffyl Dwr, to take just one example) and I wish them the very best in their future writing endeavours.  But as for me? I'll still plug away with the ponyfic reviews, so here goes.

Read it Later story count: 338 (-6)

I've done a bit better this week than I did for the last PR a fortnight ago, and have finally got back up to five fics in a week again, so let's get cracking. Today for your delight and delectation, I have reviews of the following stories:

Please, Count to Five by Magello
The Sun is A Star by Night Doughnut
Berry Punch's House Can Talk by Glimglam
"We Never Had a Single Fight" by oh pony
Feeling That Way by Super Trampoline

★: 1 | ★★: 2 | ★★★: 1 | ★★★★: 1 | ★★★★★: 0

Please, Count to Five by Magello
Lyra and Other
Dark/Human; 3k words; Jan 2015; Teen
Lyra learns how not to count to five.
That brief description might make you worry that this is a "Lyra summons humans" story – and here's the thing: it is. However, these humans don't behave as she, or we, would expect. They chat among themselves, they seem to be able to change reality and they're obsessed with telling Lyra to count to five. I thought for a while, misdirected by the cover art, that this was fundamentally a "hands" thing. It isn't, and sci-fi devotees might enjoy what actually happens. The main reason it doesn't score higher is that the main reveal is too soon, which results in the second half of the fic dragging a bit. Still makes a change from the likes of Anthropology (PR 55), though. ★★★

The Sun is A Star by Night Doughnut
Celestia and Luna
Comedy/Slice of Life; 1k words; Aug 2017; Everyone
Luna tries to convince Celestia that the sun, is also a star.
This fic has a truly brilliant setup: filly Luna insisting to her sister that because the Sun is a star, she (Luna) should control it. She has another nice argument that follows on from that and which I won't spoil. It's a shame the execution of this idea is so rough: there's potentially a whole lot of cuteness here, but the story is in desperate need of editing and proofreading, with basic and distracting errors frequent. A couple of irritating real-world references, too. It's hard to recommend the fic on its own merits, but that concept remains great. A shame the author never wrote anything else. ★★

Berry Punch's House Can Talk by Glimglam
Berry Punch and Other
Comedy/Random; 4k words; Jan 2015; Teen
Everyone knows that houses can't talk. To think they would is just plain silly. And yet, when Berry's house starts to talk, how will she handle it?
This author was once known as Kanzlerin Maud, but now... isn't. Berry's house not only starts talking to her, but does so in a distinctly abusive way, insulting the mare for her diet, her love life and even the way she brings up daughter Ruby Pinch. When the house starts being unkind to Ruby herself, Berry has had enough. If you can put yourself in a silly enough frame of mind, it's an amusing little thing – but I was really distracted by Berry's accent, which is apparently supposed to be Irish but tends to sound more as if Dick van Dyke had visited a St Patrick's Day parade several thousand miles away. Still fun enough for a highish two. ★★

"We Never Had a Single Fight" by oh pony
Twilight and Shining Armor
Random/Sad/Slice of Life; 2k words; Oct 2016; Everyone
Shining Armor and Twilight Sparkle have their first fight.
A simple tale that reveals that Twi was being a little economical with the truth in "B.B.B.F.F.", this fic shows that Shining was bullied at school and that the stress led him to renege on a promise to do something for his little sister. It's a potentially cute story, but it doesn't really work because (as the A/N suggests) Shiny is pretty much written as being the author. This creates some oddities such as Shining being gay which don't really go anywhere. The fic is also badly in need of editing as well as proofreading – there are many errors like "with sympathy dawning his face" – and so I couldn't really get into it at all. ★

Feeling That Way by Super Trampoline
OC
Drama/Slice of Life/Tragedy; 1k words; Oct 2016; Everyone
You're drenched in sweat and ennui. She's fighting the enemy, and you're fighting depression. Stuck forever in a nowhere town, you try to rise above inertia, but you only end up feeling useless. You're always feeling that way.
This is the author's Royal Canterlot Library entry, and the fic demonstrates that he's not all about wildly meta crackfics. It's a second-person story, and for once this choice of perspective works quite well. What's better, though, is the world-building – there's not a lot of detail about what's happened to the world, there can't be in a thousand words, but there are enough bits around the edges to intrigue and the fic is actually the stronger for that. "Feeling That Way" is not a cheery story – a wartime fic about depression bearing a [Tragedy] tag could never be – and perhaps it should be rated Teen, but it does have a bleak beauty about it. ★★★★

Next time on Ponyfic Roundup: the last regular PR before the big 2-0-0 will be about as regular as I can make it. Look out for stories involving any or all of talking ponies, magic, princesses and cutie marks!

2 comments:

  1. Note that "Feeling That Way" is only he first half of the story. ST wrote a pair of stories that were meant to be taken as a uint, much like the songs he named them after. I would have thought he'd say that in the synopsis or an author's note or labeled it a sequel, but maybe he didn't. In any case, go read "Anytime."

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    1. Anytime is indeed labelled as a sequel, but there's no specific suggestion to read the two stories as a pair. I already have it downloaded, though, so I'll be reading it very soon.

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