FimFiction Link - Short ID: 508818/a-heavy-syringe
Published: Dec '21
'A Heavy Syringe' is a three thousand and three hundred-word medical drama oneshot. Redheart is faced with a choice: If she doesn't act, her patient will likely not survive her transfer from the hospital. If she does act, she will intentionally cause harm to that pony, so that she's transferred to a closer hospital and has a greater chance of survival. What is the right choice? Is there even one?
In terms of writing this fic bleeds from many wounds, however, once I put this behind myself, the narrative managed to be captivating enough for me to press on, despite the presentation's issues. Redheart's conundrum is a tragic one, she recounts how her mother has taught her never to cause harm and yet, paradoxically, it is the only way she could help a pony, who's suffering from a deadly bleeding in her brain. I really liked the way the syringe is described as a "brick" in her hoof, not only does it convey the weight of her choice, but it also somewhat evokes the idea in my mind that just like a brick, this medicine could just as well end her patient's life.
I also liked the ambiguous morality of Dr. Caduceus. While Redheart clearly paints him as a villain and he's certainly not a nice pony, it still feels like he's working on the patient's best interests. The "evil" in this story ultimately becomes the outdated medical practice they're bound by. Finally, the ending itself was nice too. It would've been so easy to swerve the plot from the tragic route and have the patient magically recover, but instead the author doubled down on Redheart's doubts and she ultimately gives up. The disappointment the reader feels due to this just adds to the experience, especially when the fic twists the knife at the end by announcing how the patient has died.
My biggest issue with the fic is the way it is written. The story's impact and momentum suffer from amateurish prose and dragging paragraphs of monotonous sentences. The biggest offender is the first section of the story, which almost made me drop the fic, because it dragged so hard. Things become a bit better afterwards, but I feel like the author didn't vary the rhythm enough. Even the most tense situations are made up of long, meandering paragraphs. I feel like if those parts were more broken up and featured slightly shorter sentences, it would've done wonders to the "feel" of the fic. Also, there was one scene I really didn't like: Redheart, while her patient is suffering in front of her, calls the doctor "Dr. Ca-douche-us." To me, it greatly hurt the tense atmosphere, as it's just such a childish insult, especially in a life-and-death situation.
Overall: 6/10 The fic features a great concept and some nice tragic drama, but it is sadly dragged down by lukewarm at best prose. If you like sad stories, I mostly recommend it.