FimFiction Link - Short ID: 506131/suffocating
Published: Oct '21
'Suffocating' is a one thousand and nine hundred-word oneshot. Luna goes to a psychologist in an attempt to deal with the trauma of becoming Nightmare Moon. The story follows both her conversation with the specialist and the resurfacing memories of the events she so desperately wants to get over.
I really like the way this fic is constructed. While the story is formatted like a long conversation between two characters, all of Luna's sentences are replaced with ellipses and the occasional question or exclamation mark. Thus the only thing the author reveals is the tone in which she's speaking, allowing the reader to figure out and fill in the sentences themselves based on the doctor's responses. Such gimmicks likely wouldn't work in a longer fic or one where we aren't intimately familiar with the event in question, but because this story both handles a pivotal scene of the series and is short enough, it just works. I also enjoyed the memory scenes. NMM asserting and reasserting how "Luna is not her name anymore" is an impactful sentence, that follows us through the entire fic. It also makes the final memory segment of her finally listening to her name all the more powerful.
The only part I feel like was a bit weak was the portrayal of Luna's isolation on the Moon. The author sets it up fairly well with how she "wasted her one lungful of air and then suffocated for a thousand years," but due to this entire ordeal happening in one single paragraph, I feel like it doesn't really have as much impact as it could have had. One thousand years are summarized in the same length as events happening in minutes. This might be an intentional artistic choice to represent how monotonous and lonely those thousand years were, but sadly to me it felt like the fic is rushing instead. I also think prefacing every memory-segment with "A memory:" was fairly pointless and even a bit detracting. The author already uses italics, so it's impossible to not realize what's going on after the first few paragraphs.
Finally, and this is merely a nitpick that I was hesitating to even put it in the review: I do find it a bit weird that Luna wants to pay the psychologist in dreams. On one hand, it makes sense, harmless wish-fulfillment doesn't sound like the worst kind of reward, on the other though, I can't imagine her not wanting to pay her in bits, perhaps even more than the session actually cost. It just feels uncharacteristic to her. Perhaps this could have been side-stepped if the psychologist says something along the lines that "the bits will be enough" or similar.
Overall: 7/10 It's a less than two thousand-word fic, so the usual limits apply. Still, I think the author managed to deliver an interesting concept done in an even more interesting way. Can recommend.