Wednesday, January 30, 2013

6-Star Reviews Part 130: Sword, Hammer, Stallion

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

I suspect this is a wild goose chase I'm about to lead you all on, but here goes:

When I was very young, early grade school-age or maybe even the year before, my mom read a story to me and my brother.  I don't remember story itself, but I do remember the setup, more or less.  It was about a young boy with some sort of condition or disease or something that left him bedridden and weak (and was going to be fatal), and his big brother would help him keep his spirits up by telling stories about the fantastical world where you go after you die.  Then, there was a fire in the apartment where they lived, and the younger brother was trapped upstairs.  The older brother hauled him to the window and jumped out with him, using his own body to shield the younger brother from the fall.  The older brother died, I think I remember that the parents blamed the younger one for his death, and a short while (months, maybe?) after that, the younger brother passed away of whatever it was that afflicted him.  Then, he woke up in the fantastical world his big brother had told him about.

Anyway, that's the setup, at least as I remember it.  Does anyone happen to know what story I'm thinking of?  I asked my mom, but she doesn't remember reading anything like that to us, and I have no idea where to even begin trying to find it.  All I've got is a half-remembered (and probably mis-remembered, fair warning) first chapter or three, and no proper nouns.  But on the off-chance that my painfully vague description is ringing any bells, I'd appreciate if you'd let me know what it is I was read.  This has been bugging me for a while.

Below, my review of Redsquirrel456's Sword, Hammer, Stallion.

Monday, January 28, 2013

6-Star Reviews Part 129: A Colt's Best Friend

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

Sorry for the non-post on Friday, guys.  See, I was going to be out of town through the weekend, so I wrote up the review in advance... and then forgot to set it to post.  So, it was done!  You just didn't get to see it.

Anyway, I got home Sunday afternoon and figured that at that point, it'd make more sense to just call it a loss and schedule it for the usual time on Monday.  So here's your slightly delayed review of MisterClacky's A Colt's Best Friend.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

6-Star Reviews Part 128: Bringing Up Blueblood

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

I've finally finished reading the sequel to My Little Alicorn, so here's a review of it!  As usual, be aware that this post may contain spoilers for the original story.  If that's going to bother you, I recommend you either read Alicorn first, or read my review of it and decide whether it's something you're willing to risk spoilers for the sake of.

Also, the picture above has nothing to do with anything; the sequel just doesn't have any unique cover art associated with it, and Carrot Top-Dib riding Fluttershai-hulud is awesome.  Anyway, InsertAuthorHere's Bringing Up Blueblood, below the break.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Episode Talk: S3E10, Keep Calm and Flutter On

Time to talk about the actual show for a change!  You know, that thing that the fanfiction I read is actually based on?  We had an episode that was... well, I've put a few thoughts below the break.  Suffice to say, the return of Discord inspired a lot of conversation (and no small amount of RAEG) around the fandom, and if there's one thing I like, it's opinions!

And inflicting them on others.  That part's fun, too.  Anyway, stuff below, full of spoilers, etc.

Friday, January 18, 2013

6-Star Reviews Part 127: My Little Alicorn

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

It occurs to me that over the course of the last year and change, I've written something in the ballpark of 250,000 words on this blog (that's just an estimate, mind), making One Man's Pony Ramblings by far my largest piece of writing ever .  It kind of boggles my mind to think that I've written that much, though I realize this is a fandom wherein truly monstrous amounts of writing are produced with such seeming frequency that the numbers tend to lose their shock value.

Speaking of truly monstrous amounts of writing, click below to read my review of InsertAuthorHere's My Little Alicorn.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

For a Change, Let's Talk About Actual Books (Part 5)

Last weekend, I went to the used bookstore; now, let's see what rewards I reaped.  As always, I'm listing below all the books I'm currently reading, along with my thoughts so far and a recommendation based on my partial impressions.

...I'm sure there's something else I was going to say up here, but for the life of me I can't remember what it was.  Oh well, it's probably not important.  Click past the break to see what I read when I'm not reading ponyfiction!

Monday, January 14, 2013

6-Star Reviews Part 126: Daring Do and the Shiny Crystal

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

On Saturday, the radio station I was listening to played It's Five O'Clock Somewhere, following which the show host came on, said he loved that song so much that he was going to play it again, and did precisely that.

It was a strange and wonderful moment.

Below, my review of Unlucky Roll's Daring Do and the Shiny Crystal.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Clearing Out the Fanfic Backlog: Mini-Reviews

Sometimes, it seems like there aren't enough hours in the day to go to work, get a good night's sleep, keep up with family, have any sort of social life, do some pleasure reading, watch Top Chef (we all have our oddball indulgences), spend some quality time watching the squirrels in the backyard every now and then, and still read any bits of ponyfiction that happen to attract my interest.  My "read later" list never seems to shrink, but over the last few weeks it's grown ridiculously rapidly.  So today, I'm going to clear out a dozen or so of the shorter and more recent additions to that list, and provide a few comments on each.

These aren't full-blown reviews, but they're my comments as a reader on each story.  The selection is by the rigorous criteria of "Chris heard about this story and thought he might like it," so feel free to keep that in mind as you ponder how these stories made the list.  We've got a good mix of stories I found on EqD, stories I found by watching the author, a couple that were recommended to me, and one I think I picked off the FIMFic feature bar (though I can't remember now--I might have found it elsewhere).  Oddly enough, I think all or nearly all of them are on EqD as of this posting, though.  I guess my fan-lit net doesn't cast as wide as I might wish.  Check it all out, below the break.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Vague Words and How to Eschew Them

Today I'd like to talk about word choice in creative writing.  Specifically, about how to find the right word--or at least, how to avoid using the wrong one.  So, here's the first in a one-part series, Ask Dr. Chris! Today's question is: "How do I find the right word--or at least, avoid using the wrong one--in my creative writing?"  Excellent question, me!  Click down below the break to read my answer.

Monday, January 7, 2013

6-Star Reviews Part 125: Shipping Goggles

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

It must be time for the NFL playoffs, because everyone's wearing their jerseys to work.  Speaking of football, and in case any of you were were curious (I know you weren't, hush), my fantasy football futility record is unbroken.  Four seasons, zero playoff appearances.  Go me!

Behind the break, my review of AbsoluteAnonymous's Shipping Goggles.

Friday, January 4, 2013

6-Star Reviews Part 124: Shipping and Handling

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

I started watching Firefly this week; I'm only a couple of episodes in, but what I've seen so far has been good.  Plenty of humor, good casting--I can see why it's become a cult classic.

Below, my review of Pegasus Rescue Brigade's Shipping and Handling.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


So, Shipping and Handling is a fairly long story, I'm still reading it, yadda yadda.  I should have a review ready by Friday.  Good news, though: after next week, I should have a lot more time for fanfic than I have the last couple of months, so expect to see a better review/other stuff ratio out of me in the near future.

In the meantime, I invite you to fill the void my lack of reviewing no doubt leaves in your life by hopping on FIMFiction and doing a search for "I hate Equestria Daily," "EqD sucks," or anything else of the sort.  Great way to find terribly comical rants, if you find such things funny.  Here's a particularly amusing one to get you started:

I am starting ot despise the people at EqD right now...They have denied my fanfic not once...but twice! They are some of the stuck up snobs I have ever laid my eyes on. The worst possible thing about this is I worked REAL hard on my fanfic and they deny it? That's bullsh!t! They need a freakin reality check. Not every fanfic has to be like Rainbow Factory, My Little Dashie, or Cupcakes! Geez! I have lost all faith in EqD and I shall never go there again! >:(

I would offer a quote from one of the author's stories, but that would amount to shooting fish in a barrel.  In any case, I think it's actually funnier devoid of any context; it lets you dismiss the relative merits of the story, and focus on the hilarious over-the-top histrionics as entertainment in and of itself.

Until Friday!