/mlp/ Fanfic Reviews

Biblical Monsters

FimFiction Link - Short ID: 87619/biblical-monsters

Published: Mar '13

Review in No. 37814666
'Biblical Monsters' is a ten thousand and two hundred-word shortfic of the Pony-in-Earth genre. Twilight tries to perfect another spell of Starswirl and accidentally ends up at the station of two lighthouse keepers on Earth. Through the trio's conversations, we learn that one of the keepers is deeply religious, who then immediately accuses Twilight of being a harbinger of the end times, before his more rational friend douses his sudden anger by saying that they should probably at least get to know the pony first. Taking her in, the unlikely pair discusses the differences in their worlds, play a few games of chess and Twilight rifles through some books. Eventually, Twilight mentions how she'll introduce a "tall, white horse" to the lighthouse keepers as gratitude for giving her shelter. The narrator associates this description with one of the Riders, Conquest. When Twilight offers to connect the two civilizations like how James Cook did, the keepers assume that ponies are a (perhaps unwitting) colonizing force who would force their own way of life on other worlds. Not wanting to take chances, the pair lures Twilight into her own death and dump her body in the sea, only to meet Celestia on the shore.
Fuck. What an impactful story. Those who follow my reviews know that while I generally give positive scores, I rarely give 10/10s, but this story has done everything to deserve it. In just ten thousand short words the story characterizes three very distinct characters, presents a fairly believable narrative, and does this with such a bleak and grim atmosphere that you can practically imagine yourself sitting in the same room, listening to them as the waves crash against the shore outside. Not to mention that ending was gut-punching. Twilight's behavior is the most interesting in the story. Immediately after finishing I was about to chalk it up as a negative, because she acted so nonchalantly, but I realize this was a very deliberate choice from the author. She's not used to Earth and its people. She acts with the same enthusiastic and unassuming openness that lead to her ascension, only for the human world to see a (perhaps valid) threat in that.
The story is also intentionally vague with its descriptions. Usually this would be a bad thing, however, here this just further enhances the "fogginess" of the tale. I visualized the story in black and white (think 'The Lighthouse'), with only Twilight having color and I'd honestly wouldn't put it above the author to have also did this deliberately based on how only she gets a detailed description of color and how the rest of the fic talks of harsh lights and gloomy coasts.
Overall: 10/10 This was a humbling read. The author has displayed how you can use just ten thousand words to shock your readers and depict a tragedy that feels realistic and human, without feeling cynical. Highly recommended.
Review in No. 37818088
'Biblical Monsters' is a ten thousand and two hundred-word shortfic tragedy/horror representing the rare Pony in Earth genre.
This story has been on my Read Later list for years because it receives virtually nothing but praise whenever anyone brings it up. Every couple months I'd notice it waiting there, click on it, see the "Dark + Horror + Tragedy" tags and immediately nope out because I'm kind of a bitch-ass faggot who can't stand FiM's ponies getting permanently hurt. OCs/non-ponies are a fair game but established ponies being seriously hurt - especially the Mane6 and Princesses - just breaks me every time.

Seeing yet another exceedingly positive review posted in the thread I decided to give it a shot. I reasoned that maybe for once it's the OC that suffer at the end, not Twilight.
Well, about that.

People weren't lying, it's a really good fic. I don't remember the last time I've read a story with such a sublimely crafted atmosphere, pony or otherwise. The conflict feels believable, the OCs have sufficiently developed characters (a rare thing in a shortfic) and the final scenes are absolutely chilling. I'm by no means a horror expert but I liked that it didn't waste time on pointless descriptions like so many (bad) fics in the genre tend to do to artificially create a horror atmosphere. Biblical Monsters just throws you right into the action and provides details only when they're actually relevant. And yet the mood is probably this fic's biggest strength. It sucks you in and doesn't let go until the very end. Or probably a bit longer than that, the ending hits so hard that I had to take a quick walk outside to calm down.

If I had to criticize anything, it's author's excessive reliance on the brief "look, everything is going great haha" fake out before striking with some new information or unexpected action that immediately brings back the grim atmosphere. That exact setup happens more than once per chapter. That's a bit much and by chapter 3 it started to slightly break the flow of the fic for me. However for a 10k word story it's not a huge problem, certainly not impactful enough to dock a point.
All in all it's a clear 10/10, goes on the "best stories I'll never read again" shelf right next to A Puppet To Her Fame and Asylum.