Monday, December 31, 2012

6-Star Reviews Part 123: For Those We Left Behind

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

I can't say I cared for the Timber Wolves in Spike at Your Service--I'm not enough of an artistic connoisseur to express what about their appearance sat so poorly with me, but they looked very... computer-generated.  I know the entire show is done in flash, but visually, they just didn't jive with the rest of what we've seen, I thought.

On the plus side, Rainbow Dash writing self-insert Wonderbolt fanfics is now canon, which is something that I've always privately supposed.

Below, my review of Drakmire's For Those We Left Behind.

Friday, December 28, 2012

6-Star Reviews Part 122: My Little Denarians

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

Er, oops.  Looks like I forgot to set this one to post!  Enjoy some reviewing, somewhat off the normal schedule.


Hope everyone had a great Christmas!  Even those of you who don't celebrate it--no reason not to have a nice day anyway, right?  In pony-related news, my little sister got me the MLP season 1 set for my present, so now I'm finally going to get to see what Dash and company look like on a decent-sized screen.  Woo!

Below the break, my review of Chengar Qordath's My Little Denarians.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Holiday Wishes, and a Reading Recommendation

Happy holidays, everyone!  I love this time of year, because it means one very important thing to me: spending time with my family.  We're all together for a couple of weeks, and it's hard for me to overstate how important that is to me.  As Applejack so succinctly put it over the weekend, family, "if you think about it, is really the first group of friends you ever make."  I know I'm grateful to have my parents, and my little sister, in my life.

If you're willing to take a little bit of advice from a stranger on the internet, I have one suggestion to share: this holiday season, remember to tell your loved ones that, well, that you love them.  Even if it seems silly or corny, take the time to let them know.  Blame it on the eggnog later, if you must.  But say the words "I love you," out loud, to the people for whom you care the most.

They're words I don't say often enough; most people don't, I suspect.  And the funny thing is, I've never once regretted saying them.  Not once.


Anyway, there's one more thing I wanted to share!  Over the weekend, I started reading Catherynne M. Valente's The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In a Ship of Her Own Making.  If you haven't heard of it before, it was published a bit over a year and a half ago, and I picked it up after my mom recommended it to me.  I'm a bit over a quarter of the way through, but I feel like I've made it far enough to say this: Fairyland is the best new-to-me book that I've read in years.  It's a delightful mix of parody and deconstruction, all mixed with the occasional dollop of eye-opening sincerity, and has some of the most whimsically engaging narration I've ever come across.  It's clever and delightful, and often thought provoking, and basically I can't toss enough superlatives at it.  I thought about throwing up a few choice quotes, but after going back over the first couple of chapters I realized I really could quote almost any paragraph, and it would showcase at least one thing I'm loving about this story.

If that sounds like your kind of book, I highly, highly recommend it.  And if you aren't sure if it's for you or not, you can read the first eight chapters on the author's site--they're definitely worth checking out if you're on the fence.


Well, that's it for now.  Reviews return Friday!

Friday, December 21, 2012

6-Star Reviews Part 121: Trains, Carriages and Airships

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

It's amazing how quickly someone (myself, for example) can go from being thrilled about work being canceled because of winter weather, to being stricken by the realization that that stupidly long driveway isn't going to shovel itself.  Oh well, the exercise is probably good for me anyway.

Below, my review of John Perry's Trains, Carriages and Airships.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Even Yet Still More Stories You Haven't Read (But Should Have)

It's been a while, hasn't it?  Honestly, I just kind of forgot to do one of these under-read short stories posts.  But now it's time!  As always, I'm not saying these are the best stories ever written--but they're a heck of a lot better than their fame and popularity would seem to indicate.  Below the break, as usual.

P.S.  Most of you probably already know about them, but if you're in the market for stories that need a little more attention, take a look at the Seattle's Angels group on FIMfiction.  Multiple brief reviews of three under-appreciated fanfics every week (or so)--good stuff.

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Few Stray Thoughts from a Grumpy Purist Regarding Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: Part One

I've let slip a time or three in the past that J.R.R. Tolkien's works hold a very special place in my heart; while I'm not blind to the flaws which others rightly point out in his writings, that does nothing to diminish the seminal stature of LotR and The Hobbit in my mind.

It should come as no surprise, then, that I hurried out to see the long-delayed The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey as soon as it hit the big screen.  What did I think?  Click below the break to read some of my more rant-worthy thoughts.

Oh, and just so there's no unpleasant surprises: I'm not going to make any effort to avoid spoilers here.  The book has been out for nearly a century; there's a statute of limitations on this stuff, guys.  And if you don't want to know about the stuff they added that wasn't in the book... well, maybe this isn't the commentary for you.  Fair warning.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

6-Star Reviews Part 120: Substitute Harmony

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

Well, I saw The Hobbit, and I have lots and lots of opinions about it.  I'm thinking maybe I'll put that into a post for Monday, if for no other reason than because I wouldn't mind getting some of my thoughts off my chest.  For now though, it's time for another fanfic review!  Below the break, Blayze Kohime's Substitute Harmony.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Brief Schedule Update

Due to the time constraints imposed by both the midnight showing of The Hobbit and my continued employment, my review of Substitute Harmony won't be going up at midnight (US central) like normal.  Man, keeping a schedule would be a lot easier if I didn't have a job or any interests outside of ponyfiction.  Anyway, I expect it to be somewhere in the area of 18-24 hours "late," for any of you waiting on pins and needles.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Feeling of Air

Today we have a guest column, brought to you once more by Chicken Vortex. Normally, I'd use this space to tell you what it's about, but he and I had an interesting chat about it after he sent me the link--it turned out that I got something very different out of what he wrote than what he thought he put into it. So, I present it without comment so that you all can interpret its message you see fit; make of it what you will, but I suspect you'll find it worth reading in any event. Below the break, CV's story.

Monday, December 10, 2012

For a Change, Let's Talk About Actual Books (part 4)

I'm still worming my way through Substitute Harmony, so that must mean it's time for another filler post terribly interesting look at my non-pony literary habits.  As before, I've grabbed all the books I'm reading, piled them up next to the computer, and have written a little bit about each one.  Consider it a candid snapshot into what I read when I'm not reading ponyfiction, from highbrow to mainstream to guilty pleasure (though mostly from the middle group, this week).  Below the break, as always.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Another Story from Me

This is the story of a very ordinary pony's extraordinary day. Carrot Top and Derpy are good friends indeed, and sometimes friendship can lead to wonderful surprises. It can also lead to arguments, frustration, and general grumpiness, of course, and this story has all of those things as well. But mostly, this is a story about the day Carrot Top learned how to fly.

You may recall me mentioning the Hearth's Warming Care Package a while back; if not, it was a fanfic-writing event for which the goal was to write a story for Kiki, a seven year old girl who's fighting cancer and who likes MLP.  This was my entry.

I'll spare you the suspense: I came in sixth place, out of 25 stories submitted.  Not what I'd call a terrible result, considering the quality of the other top entrants.  You can check those out here, by the way.  And now that the contest is over, I've posted it for all the world to see.

So here it is: my go at writing an irreverently whimsical yet sincere bit of friendshipping suitable for all ages.  If that sounds like something up your alley, why not check it out?  And if you do decide to read, I'd love to hear your comments, either here or on FIMFic.  Feedback, whether positive, negative, or otherwise, is always appreciated.

Update:  Now on Equestria Daily!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

6-Star Reviews Part 119: Hold the Line: Tales from Magic Kindergarten

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

You know, cleaning up spam comments is actually kind of fun, because they're always so positive.  "Wow!  This article was insightful and informative!  The internet needs more dedicated people like you!" began one particularly glowing one, before dropping a link for "FREE V1agrR_a."  Aw, spambot, you're too kind.

Below the break, my review of Wodashin's Hold the Line: Tales from Magic Kindergarten.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Episode Talk: S3E5, Magic Duel

Saturday's episode was perhaps the most anticipated of the season, assuming that we grant that "anticipated" covers both "eagerly awaited" and "morosely dreaded."  Did it live up (or down) to expectations?  My thoughts, after the break.