Monday, October 31, 2016

Fandom Classics Part 185: A FLEet|ng LIght |n thE DArknEsS

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

Happy Halloween!  Try not to get your house TPd; I don't know what the weather's like where all y'all live (I assume "all y'all" live together somewhere, the better to discuss my reviews amongst yourselves.  Good planning on all y'all's part!), but around here we've got rain on the way; soggy toilet paper is even less fun to remove than the dry kind.

But you aren't here to talk about homeownership; you're here for fanfics!  And in the spirit of the season, you can head down below the break to see my thoughts on Flashgen's A FLEet|ng LIght |n thE DArknEsS.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Mini-Reviews Round 157

It's almost Halloween, so this seems like a good time to review some dark and/or spooky fics.  If all goes according to plan, I'll have A Fleeting Light With Funny Characters I'm Not Going To Copy-Paste Right Now out on the 31st proper, but if you need something to hold you over until then, click down below for reviews of a few other such stories!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Fandom Classics Part 184: The Ballad of Echo the Diamond Dog

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

It's review time!  That magical part of your day when I distill 130,000 words worth of narrative into a few pithy paragraphs, the better for you all to decide if you're going to read them or not.  I have the power.

...Well, not much power, since it's still you that gets to decide what you will or won't be reading.  Nevertheless, I'll try to use what marginal amounts I may have for good and not for evil.  Now, go check out my review of Rust's The Ballad of Echo the Diamond Dog, below!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Episode Talk: S6E25-26, To Where and Back Again

Okay, now that I've had a couple of days to bask in the goodwill borne of longevity, it's time to squander it all by complaining about the show!  That, or praising the parts you (yes, you) didn't like.  Which will it be this week?  You'll have to read to find out!  Only one thing is certain when Chris starts talking episodes: there will be at least one screenshot of Carrot Top.

Here we see Carrot Top and Berry Punch chatting as Starlight and Trixie return to Ponyville.  Berry's in the middle of describing to Carrot Top how, while walking home from the bar last night, she observed a swarm of changelings descend upon the town, abduct several of the community's most prominent members, and fly off to parts unknown carrying the screaming Twilight and company and leaving behind several of their own number in disguise.  Carrot Top, in turn, observes that changelings aren't exactly the most subtle of species, but that it could be worse.  The fact that Twilight's shenanigans rarely result in the town being destroyed these days is a step up, at least.  Both agree that the whole situation will probably sort itself out by tomorrow.

Later in the day, the two of them went to each of the "main six" in turn, demanding the fifty bits back which "we totally loaned you last week."  

Episode thoughts, below the break.

Friday, October 21, 2016

OMPR Turns Five

That's right, it was five years ago today that Six-Star Reviews Part 1 hit the interwebs.  You know, back when Equestria Daily was the hub of all things ponyfic, had star ratings, all that jazz.  Since then, I've reviewed round about 850 stories, (and that's not including anything from the RCL, which I joined just over three years ago, and nearly all of who's 150-odd stories I've also contributed to blurb-ifying) including about 350 long-form reviews of popular and/or well-known fanfics and, occasionally, their sequels.

That's kind of a lot.  And I've been doing it for kind of a long time.  And personally, I think that's pretty neat.  Back when I started, I had no idea I'd keep going this long, or that I would achieve some small measure of popularity in the process.

I only started doing reviews in the first place because the fandom had finally reached the point where reading everything that looked vaguely promising was no longer practical, and I had searched without success for someone doing reader-oriented reviews for a few months.  Eventually, I decided to give reviewing a try myself, threw together a .blogspot page, and went at it.  I had planned to do a dozen or two reviews, see if I enjoyed it, and then maybe go tell some friends... but to my surprise, ponyfic author Ezn discovered my blog on his own after only a couple of weeks (I guess I wasn't the only one who wanted to see some reviews!), and others soon followed.  Since then, as the show has proceeded from the start of Season 2 to the end of Season 6, as FiMFiction rose and became the hub of all things ponyfic, and as tens of thousands of authors have come and, sometimes, gone, I've been plunking away over here, three times a week.

I didn't assume there was ever going to be anyone besides me who cared about fanfic reviewing in the first place, but over the years a vibrant reviewer culture has developed flourished throughout the fandom, and being a part of that has been fun.

What comes next?  Well, more of the same, of course!  Why stop when you've got a good thing going?  My plan has always been to quit doing this when I stop enjoying it, and although there have been peaks and troughs to my enthusiasm, certainly, I've yet to start seeing this blog as a chore, rather than a hobby.  That day will come, sooner or later... but until then, it's full steam ahead.

Now, in celebration, I thought about linking together a few classic OMPR posts--but I don't really know how to define "classic OMPR posts."  Instead, I'm going to put together a set of links below the break to some my best lines--or at least, the ones that were most memorable to me.  Go take a look at a few of the quips, comparisons, explications, and what have you that I've bandied at various stories over the past five years.

And one more thing: thanks to all of you who've come by, who keep coming by, or who just dropped in once or twice and left a comment on my reviews.  Reviewing stories may be fun, but it's seeing other people agree, disagree, and discuss that's a real treat for me.  Also, it's definitely helped me improve--my early reviews may have the same format as my more recent ones, but I like to think I've gotten rather dramatically better at marshaling my thoughts, and laying them out in a manner both interesting and illuminating.  Thank you all!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Fandom Classics Part 183: Applejack's Bar

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

Why is the cover art so tiny?  I do not know.  It just is!  Savor this mystery, my friends; in a world where internet-capable cell phones are a thing, the list of true imponderables has become perilously slight.  Enjoy the opportunity to speculate inanely without any hope of finding the real answer.  Then, go down below the break to see my review of Alaborn's Applejack's Bar.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Mini-Reviews Round 156

Watched Top Bolt over the weekend.  It was okay.  I dunno, the last few episodes have mostly felt "okay" to me; they don't do any of the things I hate it when MLP episodes do, but they just feel generic and unexciting.  Is it the episodes' fault, or am I just suffering a little burnout?  I went ahead and rewatched May the Best Pet Win to make sure I still liked ponies, and yup, that's still an awesome episode.  Maybe it's just the rose-tinted goggles talking, I don't know.

Also, is it bad that my first thought about the Make-a-Wish OC was that even a (pre)dying wish isn't enough to get your OC into the Wonderbolts?  I felt bad right after I thought it, so probably, but man: Angel Wings is just abysmal in the air, to the point where you wonder how she got that far in the eval process in the first place.  Maybe Wings is also dying in-universe, and her attendance is the result of an in-universe Make-a-Wish expy?  It'd explain a lot.

Okay, I'm done speculating about the intersection between ponies and the terminally ill.  Head below the break for some ponyfic thoughts.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Fandom Classics Part 182: Sun Princess

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

I don't talk about politics on this blog, but I think an article about political polling (and how a (mis)application of weighting is screwing up one poll's results) is fair game.  So, if you're interested in why the LA Times/USC polls have consistently had a sizable bias toward Trump compared to everyone else's polling, check out Nate Cohn's article.

Then, when you've gotten your statistics fix, head below the break for my review of Skywriter's Sun Princess.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Mini-Reviews Round 155

I am tired and it's late (relatively speaking), so I'm not writing up an intro right now.  Just head on down below the break for the stories I cleverly typed up reviews of earlier!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Fandom Classics Part 181: Scion of Chaos

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

So, I was planning to watch the S6 finale this weekend, since Britain got it early... but it turns out they only get it in low-def!  I watched the first couple of minutes, then decided I'd wait for the HD version in a few weeks.  Honestly, I have no idea how I managed in the early days of pony, when all we had was 480p--it's so blurry!

Instead, I watched a terribly predictable comedy of errors.  Hey, at least this episode they remembered that Applejack does, in fact, lie sometimes.  Though you'd think that if anyone was alert to her untruths, it would be her sister.  Not the most realistic of family dynamics, that.

But now, on to fanfiction!  My review of SilentBelle's Scion of Chaos, below.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Mini-Reviews Round 154

Expect some Episode Talking come Monday!  I haven't seen either part of the season finale as I type this, but I can't imagine I won't have things to say about it.  I'mma be sad if there's no Carrot Top, though; it feels like she pops up less and less frequently as the seasons pass, and if they can't find a way to work her into a two-parter... well, that's just sad.  Until then, though, here's some fanfiction to tide you over.  Click below for my thoughts!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

First Sentences In (Fan)Fiction the 14th

One thing I've noticed, working at the elementary level: I see a lot more MLP-themed clothing and accouterments here than I ever did when I was at a middle school.  And I must say, it brightens my day a little bit to see Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Twilicorn, and... okay, it's actually just those three (do they even make Applejack backpacks?  If they do, you wouldn't know it from what these kids are wearing).  Still, brightening!

And while we're vaguely on the subject of "first impressions" (what you're wearing is certainly a first impression, after all), let's segue into some first sentence-examining.  Check it out, below!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Mini-Reviews Round 153

So, Pony Point of View.  I've said of a few other episodes this season (and I'm far from the only one) that they've had a S1-S2 vibe to them--you know, low-key, slice-of-life, learning-about-friendship stuff.  This is the first such episode, though, where I've felt that it really suffered for not being S1-S2.  These girls have known each other for years, now, and it seems like they ought to be more cognizant of one anothers' foibles by now.  I mean, if Rarity and AJ can't recite the "it's just Pinkie being Pinkie" over this sort of thing by now, how on earth are they still friends in the first place?  That, and I really missed having a letter to Celestia on this one; it would have been the perfect cheesy/sincere cap to this kind of cheesy/sincere lesson.

Also, has anyone else commented on how the bunyip has absolutely nothing to do with anything?  Twilight makes a big show of dragging everypony out to see that he's the one that sank the boat, but it's not like the girls were mad because the boat sank--they were mad because they each thought the other two had been acting like ponces, and that resolution (you know, the important one) had nothing to do with who, specifically, was to blame for the boat sinking.  I mean, Twilight makes this big deal out of something that's almost entirely tangential to the plot.

I probably sound like I hated the episode, but I didn't!  It was fine; above-average in terms of Chris-enjoyment relative to the past few seasons, certainly (best part was AJ recollecting Rarity's dialogue like a true fanfic writer--how often does she say "darling," again?).  But it felt like it could have been a home-run episode, but instead just plunked a respectable but unexciting single into center-left.  Oh well, on to fanfiction!  Some thoughts on some fics, below the break.