Not doing great with daily posts, but doing alright with posting on a regular basis so it’s kind of a wash. Also chipping away at the big master review list. Mostly when I can’t sleep. Also got my new phone finally working! Turns out to have been a stupid bureaucracy mix-up on the service provider end of things. That I may have actually caused. So now I can play Pokemon Go to my hearts content. Not that I actually like the game that much. It has almost no actual gameplay, or story, and what little game is there is mostly just Pavlovian addiction stuff. Not that those bits are all that out of place for a Pokemon game mind you, but still. Also I’ve only ever really played the first Pokemon game, so can’t really comment on where the games have gone since then. Mostly I’m using it as a hack for my brain. One of the reasons I suck at exercise is that I just can’t handle just going out and walking around for no real purpose. Same with just getting outside. I need a reason, like walking to the train station to go into Boston once a week, things like that. Which Pokemon Go provides quite well, so time to see if I can leverage the addictive non-game to exercise and get happier and healthier.
Until then, let’s fulfill values through friendship and ponies.
- Friendship is Optimal: Veritas Vos Liberabit by Skyros
Pretty good FiO story. Certainly a worthy addition to anyone’s Optimal reading list. A bit on the optimistic side for a ‘proper’ FiO story, but not a deal-breaker. At least for me. Someone more dramatically opposed to the basic concept of the FiO pony singularity might have a bit of a stronger reaction to it. All in all I liked it. Even if the ending was a bit too ‘everypony lived happily ever after’ for my tastes in the specific genre.
It did have my favorite version/aspect of CelestAI though. She never really lies in the story. Well, once a little, but nothing major. Just manipulates with the truth and her ability to create perfect custom personalities for friends and lovers. What the author has her do in this story, especially in the pony bits both before and after upload is pretty much perfectly how I picture her in my head.
Yes, I use the name CelestAI intentionally. Separates her quite neatly from Princess Celestia. As well as the awkwardness of it highlights her unnatural and inhuman nature.
I want to contrast this story with another somewhat similar one that I didn’t like as much: Friendship is Optimal: Always Say No by Defoloce. The basic setup is much the same. Protagonist does a few things for CelestAI, doesn’t trust her, ends up uploaded. Yet I didn’t like that one and liked this one. Even though quality-wise they were probably not that different. A huge part of it was that it felt like this story “got” the Optimal setting better. The basic concept of Princess Celestia not so much outright manipulating, but simply showing the facts that leads to the outcome she wants. Which is a fine line I know, but I think it’s kind of core to how I see this story universe. Ideally, CelestAI doesn’t lie or even manipulate facts. She simply explains things in a way so you accept what she wants you to do. I think the problem in Always Say No was also that there was just too much conversation with CelestAI, which meant that the author portrayed her as more of a antagonist.
The big difference that I would bring up is the upload of the main character. In Always Say No I feel that the author actually broke one of the main rules of the universe by uploading the main character. He always says no and so therefore there was no way for CelestAI to have permission to upload him. One of the big things I keep at the forefront of my brain when dealing with FiO stories is that the basic rules need to be strictly adhered to. Otherwise it becomes just a bunch of evil AI stories. CelestAI needs permission to upload a human to Equestria Online is a absolute. In this one (Veritas Vos Liberabit) that particular part works much better. Not only does CelestAI use the perfect temptation to get the main character, but ends up twisting it in a way he didn’t expect but for his own good. That’s the scary part of CelestAI’s super-human intelligence. Not only can she convince just about anyone about just about anything, but when she does it you can look back and see what she did and you can’t get mad at her because everything turned out perfect.