Thursday, 15 March 2018

UK PonyCon 2018 dates announced!

It's all systems go! UK PonyCon has officially confirmed that the 2018 iteration of the convention will be held on the weekend of...

13 and 14 October

This is earlier in the month than in 2017, but only by just over a week. Interestingly, that means the event isn't coinciding with the school half-term holiday this time, at least not in most of the UK. (There are exceptions.)

On the page I linked to at the top, con comms lead Irish O'Conner also states that the venue (a crucial factor for many) should be confirmed in the next couple of weeks and that ticket sales are planned for April.

So, just under seven months to go. Things have suddenly jumped closer!

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Ponyfic Roundup 195: Chris edition

UK PonyCon will be 13/14 October. More on that in the next day or two.

I don't think I've ever done an edition of PR with all the stories reviewed being by the same author, but there's a first time for everything. In tribute to the contribution the recently-retired-from-OMPR Chris has made to the world of ponyfic, I'm looking at five of his works today. I was a little constrained in my choice as I've previously covered several of his 15 stories (and the minific anthology Bantam Tales isn't eligible anyway), but I managed to find five that looked interesting.

Read it Later story count: 344 (+3)

I know it looks a little bit silly to put "by Chris" on the end of every title line, but if I don't do that then I'm almost certain to mess up the formatting (more than I usually do) when I go back to my more usual mixed bag next week! Also, Chris seems to like starting his story titles with the word "The".

Letters from a Senior to a Junior Changeling by Chris
The Showmare's Tale by Chris
The Sweetest Water by Chris
The Fall of Discord by Chris
The Purloined Pony by Chris

★: 0 | ★★: 1 | ★★★: 2 | ★★★★: 2 | ★★★★★: 0

Monday, 12 March 2018

Griffish Isles announces ticket details

The new Griffish Isles convention in Manchester announced its ticket arrangements yesterday, via Facebook and Twitter. There's also a summary page on the Eventbrite website. Here's a rundown:

Standard: £27.00 (£24.50 + £2.50 booking fee)
Sponsor: £50.18 (£46.00 + £4.18 booking fee)
Foals (under 12): Up to two free with each paying adult

A few thoughts: the Standard ticket is about what I expected it to be, and although it is a few pounds more than the basic one-day ticket for either BronyScot (£19.99) or UK PonyCon (£21) were last year it doesn't seem excessive, especially given the dual venues. Obviously, what you get for your money will be key, but right now there's not really anything to go on as regards events, guests, etc. If and when anything big is announced, I'll post about it here.

As for the Sponsor ticket, the fact that with the payment processor's – frankly rather hefty – booking fee it creeps over the £50 mark is a real shame. A total price of £49 would have looked so much more attractive. With this ticket, you get a T-shirt (always nice) and front-row seats (not really a huge deal at smaller cons). I'm not sure those are worth £23.18, so it's probably best to see Sponsor tier as including an expression of support for the convention, like UKPC's Supporter tickets.

Tickets will be going on sale at 8pm on 19th March, exactly two months before con date. As with the other British MLP conventions, tickets must be purchased in advance; there will be no on-the-door sales.

As for me? Because of the short notice period, it's already too late for me to stay over, but a day trip might be possible. I'll probably wait to see what events are happening, which vendors are going, etc. If tickets sell out before I feel I have enough details to make a sensible decision, then that will be on me.

Saturday, 10 March 2018

CobaltSky is back

I know blind reactors have a decidedly mixed reputation in this fandom, but I happen to like a few of them, so I was very pleased yesterday to discover that CobaltSky was uploading reactions again. It seems he's been through a lot in the last few months (he gives a brief summary at the start of his S7E11 video) but his style seems almost unchanged from how it was when he last uploaded. He's going to have a tough job finishing his S7 reactions before S8 starts, but that doesn't really matter. I'm just glad he's okay and uploading again.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Reviewers still standing?

With the sad retirement of Chris from the ponyfic-reviewing scene, I took to wondering who was left who still published regular written reviews. I emphasise "written" because, like several other people I know, I'm not a huge fan of video reviews. They just take too long to get through; it's the same reason I don't tend to bother much with video reviews of episodes. There are only a few I can think of who still post more than once in a blue moon, and I'll list them below to help anyone reading who doesn't already know about them.

A few criteria: they must post reviews, not merely recommendations – if they only post about stories they like, they don't qualify. Nor do curated collections such as Equestria Daily, the Royal Canterlot Library and Seattle's Angels, again because you'll never find negative reviews there. (The RCL does note judges' reservations, but that's not enough.) People like Soge and JohnPerry who used to publish reviews but no longer do so don't count because if they did I'd have to include Chris, which would rather defeat the object! Finally, review groups don't count. So, we're left with:

PresentPerfect – no space in his Fimfiction username. Has posted over four thousand reviews, mostly in the single-paragraph format I use here, though I suspect him of actually thinking them out, which is an alien concept to me. Posts irregularly but very frequently. There's also the occasional much longer "vs." review, such as this one of Subjunctive. Reviews several things I generally don't, notably minifics and trollfics. Five-point rating system for general reviews: Highly Recommended, Recommended, Conditionally Recommended, Vaguely Recommended, Not Recommended. The "vs." reviews get a numerical score out of five.

City of Doors – aka Singularity Dream, creator of the indispensible Big Master Review List. The second most prolific reviewer, with almost 3,000 to his name. Again, short reviews for the most part, occasionally just a single line summarising his personal impressions. Even those can contain some striking insights, though. Review numbering and frequency can be rather inconsistent. No formal rating system.

PaulAsaran – another spaceless guy. Publishes a review post most Thursdays and now has over 700. Reviews are fairly detailed, consisting of several paragraphs, though still considerably shorter than Chris's detailed reviews were. Includes cover art, which is space-consuming but nice to look at, and occasional details about who recommended the story to him or requested its review. Five-point rating system based on bookshelves: Why Haven't You Read These Yet?, Pretty Good, Worth It, Needs Work and None.

That's about it, I think, other than that ridiculous buffoon Logan on Louder Yay. We did see the first Rinnaul reviews blog since 2015 the other day, but for now that's a one-off. Gosh, there really aren't a lot of us left, are there? If I've missed any out who fit all the criteria I outlined above then I'd be delighted to know about them. I did skim through the BMRL, but I could easily have missed someone with under 100 reviews, as such people don't get their own column in the spreadsheet.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Ponyfic Roundup 194: Thaw: The Green World

Update: after I wrote this (scheduled) post but before it appeared, Chris announced that "One Man's Pony Ramblings is closing its doors." I don't think it's my place to try to summarise his explanation, so please go over there to read that. All I'll say right here is that I wish Chris the very best and that every single time I've had any contact with him, he's been a complete pleasure to talk to. OMPR has been undoubtedly the best of all ponyfic blogs, and I'm glad its archives will remain to prove that.

Chris's excellent One Man's Pony Ramblings blog hasn't updated for over a month now. I hope that this is simply due to more important things taking priority and that he'll be able to resume posting there at some point. Regardless, if OMPR has somehow passed you by over the years then please do go and browse through its archives. There's plenty of fine stuff in there, including not only Chris's extremely interesting reviews but also some high-quality comment discussions.

Read it Later story count: 341 (-4)

Yet another three-fic week, which really does irritate me. Had the snow relented before the weekend, there'd certainly have been one or two more. I now have some (scheduled) dental appointments coming up, so how much I read over the next couple of weeks will depend on how those go! Still, I did manage to read the story I trailed last week, so there's that. Today's trio:

The Web Untangled by Impossible Numbers
Peachy Pie's Very Special Somepony by VitalSpark
No hard feelings by SeptimusMagistos

★: 0 | ★★: 1 | ★★★: 2 | ★★★★: 0 | ★★★★★: 0

Monday, 5 March 2018

Pony Music Library 51: "Spirit of Fire"

It's long past time we had another PML entry, so let's get right to it!

What? "Spirit of Fire"

Who? PsychGoth (ft. Nowacking and Mysterious Bronie)

Which? Original song

When? July 2013

Why? I'm rather fond of Eighties-style music, so this song attracted my attention right from the start. The impressive line-up of performers didn't hurt, either. It's very much in the vein of Europop from that decade, so it may not win over those who don't already enjoy the genre. However, for those who are taken by it, this has a wonderful drive and energy that fits Spitfire's character perfectly and gives us a nice look at how she grew into the powerful mare she later became. Great guitar solo, too!