/mlp/ Fanfic Reviews

Ghost Town

FimFiction Link - Short ID: 514189/ghost-town

Published: Apr '22

Review in No. 38431088
'Ghost Town' is a one thousand and eight hundred-word oneshot. Twilight moves to Ponyville, but soon after she settles in the town begins to shrink.
It's a great shame that the story is this short. The concept itself - though seen before - is great. Even though the pacing is breakneck, the initial few letters convey a sense of unease nicely. The story follows the events of the first few episodes of S1, but things play out just a slightly differently and suddenly more and more ponies start disappearing, without anyone realizing this. Had this been done over the course of a few ten-thousand words, this would be a great source of horror. Imagine ponies trying to live their life like nothing happened, until the cognitive-dissonance snaps and panic breaks out.
However, due to the story's length, what we get instead is one letter where everything is fine, one where Twilight asks about the previous librarian (I do like this detail, it's a pretty clever tie-in to the show,) and then, during the last three letters, things just go off into the deep end extremely quickly with little buildup. The final letter itself ends in the textual equivalent of a jumpscare through a cheap "OhNOtheMonStErIsEaTInGSoMEpoNY"-esque line.
What makes me particularly bitter about this story is that the author clearly displayed signs of being able to convey subtletly and creating a slow boiling plot, but then the fic does a 180 and slams the proverbial door in the reader's face. It just feels a bit disappointing.
Overall: 4/10 It kind of feels like I'm reading a very short summary of 'A Fleeting Light in The Darkness.' I like almost everything I've read in this story (except for the "jumpscare", ) but there is simply not enough content here to make the horror effective for me. Can't really recommend.
Review in No. 40718018
Ghost Town is a 1,8k word epistolary Horror story. In a series of letters, Twilight questions the decision of being sent to such a desolate town.
I'll cut to the chase. While I love the story's concept, it needed more room to properly set up the tension. The gimmick is that as time goes by, more and more ponies disappear. The twist is that every time someone does, it's as if they'd never existed in the first place. This leads to ponies just accepting that Ponyville has dozens of fully furnished empty houses. Probably to incentivise migration. Or how weird it is that so much farmland is used when they don't export, and just feed the dozen or so ponies living in Ponyville. Or how inefficient of Cloudsdale to have a weathermare in this nearly desolate outpost just to monitor the Everfree's weather. They should probably just leave. They. She. Twilight. She should just go back to Canterlot, there's nopony here. Why would the Princess send her here to study friendship?
It's a very good idea, and the story does surprisingly well within its wordcount. But it definitely needed to be more than a one-shot. Or at the very least much longer, to let the suspense and dread build up.
Overall, an acceptable execution of a good idea.