Sunday, 25 June 2017

Can you help support the Big Master Review List?

I'm hoping to get episode 12's review posted before the next Ponyfic Roundup on Wednesday. It's taken me a little longer than I'd hoped, for which apologies, but it is in the works! Now, back to the main subject of this post...

What's the Big Master Review List? Only the most useful ponyfic reviews database (well, spreadsheet) in existence. It's maintained by Singularity Dream, aka the City of Doors guy – who wonders whether anyone would be prepared to make a little financial donation to support his work. If only I weren't stupidly tight for cash right now, I'd be doing so. (More hefty bills coming up, sadly.) However, I can at least give SD and the BMRL a signal boost here. So, if you're willing and able to help, here's the blog post where you'll find more information.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Fimfiction now has a Patreon

And here's the proof. There are four levels of patronage (Patreonage?) available, which are as follows, along with their minimum monthly cost:

  • Fimfictioneer ($1)
  • Bronze ($5)
  • Silver ($10)
  • Gold ($20)

All the above tiers get you "access to special Discord channel" and a badge beneath your name on Fimfiction comments, while Bronze and above also remove ads from the site. The Silver and Gold tiers don't get you any further benefits beyond a more expensively coloured badge – and a feeling of intense smugness, I suppose. :P

It's no secret that I really dislike auto-recurring subscriptions and try to avoid them whenever possible. "Only a little per month" can mount up rather terrifyingly if you support a few things at once, and given my cashflow situation right now, I'm not going to rush into this one. I don't have the tiniest interest in Discord channels either. That said, Fimfiction is one of the very few fandom causes I might consider supporting in this way.

What I'll probably do is see how things go for a bit first. What matters most is that the site doesn't start discriminating against free users, either explicitly or in a more insidious way. I've seen that happen on other sites and it's very often the beginning of the end for a decent community.* I'm hopeful Fimfiction won't go down that road, though.

As I type this (late Friday evening UK time) a little over 100 people have signed up. The Bronze tier is by some distance the most popular, followed by Fimfictioneer, Gold and Silver in that order. It'll be interesting to see whether that number keeps going up, or whether most of those who'd be most enthusiastic have already signed up.

Also: couldn't you guys have done this when a pound was worth $2.00 rather than $1.27? :P

* On this note: I will never select stories for Ponyfic Roundup review based on their authors' Fimfiction Patreon status. This is a promise.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Staying at the Bristol Parkway Holiday Inn for UK PonyCon? READ THIS NOW

This is important

 If you are going to UK PonyCon and have booked a room at the Holiday Inn at Bristol Parkway (I think this is the Express hotel) then please check your bank records immediately. According to sarahthrel, a member of the con committee, a member of staff there has been arrested on suspicion of stealing credit/debit card details and using them fraudulently.

If you find suspicious activity on your bank statements, first of all report it to your bank. Then, please get in touch privately with the con committee (contact details here) to help the police investigation and get your case logged. The hotel management have dealt with their end of things, so you shouldn't need to contact them specifically.

It appears that no other hotels are involved, and that this only applies to bookings made before 10th June.

Please help to spread the word, so that anyone who may be affected knows as soon as possible.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Ponyfic Roundup 162: It Really Doesn't Matter if it's Raining or it's Fine

I'll be reviewing episodes 12 and (if it airs) 13 in the near future, but I can't currently give a firm date. Anyway, as I type this, southern Britain is in the grip of its longest June heatwave since 1995, so please excuse me if I make more mistakes than usual. As ever, I'd be grateful for them to be pointed out!

Read it Later story count: 429 (-11)

I said last week there'd be both a story and an author with "Horse" in their names. Well, I got the story. However, a fic I thought was written by Pale Horse turns out be by Ruirik. Apologies to both authors! An error on my part when I was updating my Calibre ponyfic database, I suppose. I managed to get through a small number of fics this week, and these are they:

The Skin Horse by Obselescence
The Regular by Ruirik
Opinions by All Art Is Quite Useless
Mother's Day by MajesticPoniesEverywhere

★: 0 | ★★: 3 | ★★★: 0 | ★★★★: 1 | ★★★★★: 0

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

40 hours to go in June's Flashfic 150 contest

As I type this, there haven't been as many entries for this month's Flashfic 150 contest as in May. It's true that the last two editions have seen quite a few submissions close to the deadline, but who knows what will happen this time round? The prompt (suggested by PostNinja, the May winner) is Wouldn't be caught dead and the entry thread, including a link to the full rules, is right here. If you have a Fimfiction account and can keep to an E/T rating, you're welcome to join us!

Monday, 19 June 2017

There is no moral imperative for fans to follow creators to pastures new

Over the last year or two, as an increasing number of creators who got their break in the My Little Pony fandom move on either to other fandoms or to wholly original work, I've noticed a rather odd attitude start to take hold, only from a few people it's true but in one or two cases including some quite loud voices. This being that fans who don't wish to follow those creators are somehow letting the side down.

This is a silly attitude.

Look, I write pony fanfiction. I'm no genius, but I do have a few regulars who read most of what I publish. I'm grateful to them. But if I announced tomorrow that I wanted to switch fandoms, or to strike out into original fiction instead, with the same general style but minus the framework of the Equestrian world, I'm pretty sure that at least some of those regulars would lose interest.

There is nothing wrong with that.

As well as being an author of ponyfic, I'm also a reader. And the fact is that a considerable part of my enjoyment comes specifically from the use of the MLP setting. Even the very best authors in the fandom, those who could truly make it as pro original fiction writers – and in a few cases already have – wouldn't have the same interest for me if they stopped writing pony.

Of course, I don't only read ponyfic. And also of course, I know I'm unlikely to be this committed forever, and that the base of good ponyfic writers is likely to continue to shrink as the fandom does likewise. But expecting me to continue to read Cold in Gardez's work if for some reason he started writing fics about Pokémon instead... well, no.

If you like a soft-pop musician who later starts making mathcore, nobody assumes you're somehow letting the side down if you don't continue to listen to that artist's new music. I don't understand the notion that creators deserve loyalty even if they totally change their scene. No, they don't. Artists have the right to go somewhere new; fans have the right not to follow them.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Pony Music Library 43: "In Our Town"

About time we had another PML entry! This time, it's a song from the show itself – and from one of my favourite episodes, too. And yes, that thumbnail is correct; for some reason Hasbro think this fits as part of a party playlist. Insert your preferred Communist Party joke here...


What? "In Our Town"

Who? Daniel Ingram; Caleb Chan (orchestration)

Which? Show song

When? April 2015

Why? "In Our Town" is under two and a half minutes long, but to my mind it's one of the finest songs Daniel Ingram's come up with in the last three years. Inspired by World War Two propaganda songs, this is pre-reformation Starlight Glimmer's attempt to demonstrate the rightness of her twisted vision for Our Town. It's catchy, it's upbeat – and it's terrifying. "You can't have a nightmare if you never dream" is one of the most memorable lines in any song, not just an MLP song. "In Our Town" is unlike anything else in the series, fitting for an episode that also stands out from the crowd. Sorry, Evil!Glimmy, but the one thing this song isn't is the same as all the others!