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Pony Stories 80

07 Mar

A post every day this week. Pretty impressive. Also won’t last. This batch is the last of short stuff for a while. I think my next three stories to read are all novel-length or longer works. Good thing I don’t have any non-fiction stuff to read at the moment. Maybe it’s time to invert the system to long pony stories and do non-pony short stories around the edges. Nah, just wanted to use the phrase ‘invert the system’.

As Celestia Is My Witness by adcoon

This was a very fun one. I was actually reminded of a semi-old movie (Bruce Almighty, looked it up and it’s a decade old at this point) where god gives Jim Carrey all his powers and divine mantle. One of the troubles that came with the job was dealing with everyone’s prayers, and the sheer volume of them was overwhelming. Liked the bit of worldbuilding in the idea that the sun and the moon have personalities, or at least that Princess Celestia and Princess Luna perceived that they did after so long looking after them. That they might be projecting such things onto them, like some people might anthropomorphize their cars after years of driving. This story is a reminder not to take a god’s name in vain, because if they can hear it they won’t be very happy about the trivial stuff. Another interesting detail is how the prayers to Celestia (and Luna) are received. It’s not just hearing them, but it gets formatted as if there is a secretary taking a message and passing on a third-person perspective summary along to the alicorn. Invisible divine secretary.

Wyrmlysan by Chris

Quite good. Not as good as To Make A Spark, but this one has some interesting stuff in it. I do like the prophecy is shown on several levels. Not just how it ends, but how the dragon is so obviously interpreting it in a fairly off-kilter fashion. There is nothing in the prophecy about the dragon in the egg becoming a king after all. On a more technical level, I think the occasional word of dragon language doesn’t quite work in text form. In say, a computer game like Skyrim, it works decently (but not great) because in voice there is nuances in cadence and tone of voice to sort of smooth over the transition between the normal words and the strange words. A wider band of information to help the contrast out. In text, here anyway, it just ended up snapping me out of immersion each time. Might just have been the different font/letters/whatever. Not sure what to call what was done there. On a more high-concept level, it doesn’t make sense that Princess Luna would be hearing those words. If the conversation between her and the dragon was in the pony language, wouldn’t the pony equivalents have been used? In one point at least Princess Luna shows that there is a pretty good translation (Fatestone, I believe) so I assume the others have at least rough equivilents as well. If the conversation was in dragon, likewise, there would not be two different kinds of words because we would be reading the translation of their whole conversation from Luna’s point of view. The mostly one language, with occasional words from another language, is best when the second language is something only one of the two people talking knows.

Anyway, that is literally the only complaint I have about the entire story. It was thoughtful and interesting with good build-up and I did not expect the ending. Also enjoyed the little hints that Princess Luna was already more than a little touched by Nightmare Moon, that perhaps the rebellion against her sister was something more planned and prepared for than we see in a lot of other stories. This story was also a good glimpse at how powerful the Alicorns must be. The early scene where Princess Luna is going into the mountain, unworried and unaffected by the darkness, danger, fire, or anything else in the situation, was very nicely written.

Apple Petals by Palm Palette

Interesting little what-if story. I really need to find a thesaurus or something to cut down on my use of the word interesting. It’s just such a useful word! Anyway, that has nothing to do with this story. Don’t really have a lot to say about this story that’s not spoilers. Not exactly a mystery, but most of it is discovery and seeing what choices characters make. Good writing overall, fun to read, didn’t really spark any cool ideas in my head. Felt some of the backstory was underdeveloped and the initial reason for the situation was never explained at all. Which kind of sucks, but isn’t really the focus of the story so it’s not a deal-breaker for things.

Progress by Andrew Joshua Talon

The first couple of chapters of this were fun. If the author had stuck with the short amusing little vignettes this would have been excellent throughout. Instead, this wobbles between okay and blah. The Ponyville chapters is when it all falls apart really. Skipping, or just stopping, at that point is probably a good idea. Still, the first two were lots of fun and the Storytelling chapter was pretty good. What got me was the idea that the heroic age was much more dangerous. That perhaps heroes of that stature aren’t around anymore, but on the flip side the horrific dangers aren’t around anymore either. That the world was much more sharp edges and extremes when Princess Luna and Princess Celestia were young. I think that’ll go into my pony rpg worldbook as a guideline for game flavors. Setting the game further in the past if you want a rougher more dangerous game, and closer to the modern age for a more casual game.

I also felt that the chapter(s?) that involved the Cutie Mark Crusaders in the old castle was a bit mean. Not on the CMC’s part, but on the author’s. Having the CMC destroy the pricless relics of the past and not letting Princess Luna save any, stop them, or even scold them, struck me as really unfair. It didn’t seem that any of them were personal items or anything for Luna, but with her hard time fitting into the present all she really has is the memories of the past. That the things everyone else thinks is ancient barely-remembered history is, for her, more or less from last week. She probably feels a stronger connection to those dusty relics than most of modern life or living ponies. So it just rubbed me the wrong way that the destruction of things she had known and remembered was used just as a brief ‘CMC destroy stuff’ joke. It might have been an attempt for more serious stuff that feel flat, but the author has shown they can do serious stuff pretty well with the chapters Storytelling and Dreamlands.

Last little complaint. A lot of the movements and body language of the characters seemed to be more human than pony. Nothing so bad as you could find-and-replace hoof with hand, but just some of the positioning seemed a bit awkward when I tried to visualize cartoon ponies in the situation and then pictured humans and it all worked fine.

Pursuit by TheLastBrunnenG

This one was fun. This author is pretty good at little moments of mostly unconnected slice-of-life. Not a whole lot of depth here, but lots of fun. It was amusing to see Celestia in this light, overly aggressive romance. Wish there was a bit more bits for a slightly more gradual changing of Twilight’s feelings, but overall it was fun.

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3 Comments

Posted by on March 7, 2014 in Books 2014, Ponies, Reviews

 

3 responses to “Pony Stories 80

  1. Present Perfect

    March 7, 2014 at 8:30 am

    Oh wow, I’m so glad you and I agree on Progress. It was the first fanfic that I ever considered my “favorite” and then Ponyville happened and yeah. It never recovered.

     
    • Professor Whooves

      March 8, 2014 at 7:28 pm

      Seconded. “Progress” was great for its time, but it only ever went downhill.

       
      • Griffin

        March 8, 2014 at 8:37 pm

        I’ve only read the version on FimFiction, so can’t speak to anything outside of that. I will say that I did enjoy the three chapters after the Ponyville stuff. They weren’t quite as good as the first chapters, but I enjoyed them.

         

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