FimFiction Link - Short ID: 505724/the-sky-is-gone
Published: Oct '21 — Oct '22
(As of chapter 451)
What a weird little story... I held off reading it because >Y6, but today I figured I'd give it a shot due to the absolutely unexpected amount of chapters and the somewhat intriguing description and I have to say, this fic is weird.
The format is very unique, it is basically an in-universe "journal" except every single entry is less than thirty (you read that right) words long. This gives the whole thing a very disjointed feel, which I'm pretty sure is intentional. The author updates the fic in "real time" as events happen in the story, which is a pretty novel concept. Some of the horror elements are also pretty nice, even if the story sadly mostly goes for the "oh no lots of blood and eyeballs" kind of horror. When these aren't in focus and we're instead shown how absolutely bizarre Equestria became and how Silverstream is never truly safe, the fic works a lot better.
However, sadly here end the nice things I can say about it. While I don't doubt that the author has some overarching explanation that can shed light on the whole story and tie things together, as of now things are just far too random to be really enjoyed imo. One moment SS is escaping a bunch of creepy eyes that stare at her, then a gigantic half-rotten dragon flies above Canterlot castle and hovers there, then a giant bleeding heart descends from the sky, etc. It just feels like the author is throwing spooky shit at the wall, hoping some of it might stick.
Still, this could be excused with a simple "don't judge the narrative arc until it's finished," what can be less excused, however, is how much this *doesn't* feel like a ponyfic. SS has a phone, there are cars on the streets, electricity is mentioned several times and I find this jarring. While yes, Equestria isn't a no-tech world, this is a far cry from what one could find in the show. This combined with the random monsters makes this whole fic feel like the author just came up with a horror plot and then crammed it into a vaguely pony setting. One could simply replace the names of the characters and the locations and nothing would really change. (I also find it bizarre that the fic is marked E, when blood, monsters, and implied gore is present in several chapters. I don't believe the story warrants an M-rating, but T would feel far more fitting.)
It is also a bit incongruous that these chapters are meant to be her thoughts as she's moving around. While some artistic freedom is warranted, many of the lines feel far too prosaic and out of character. It's not that they're badly written, but they don't fit a ditzy hippogriff running for her life.
Overall, at the time of writing, I find it hard to recommend this story and surprisingly not at all because of the choice of protagonist. The author seems deeply eager and I have to commend the format and dedication necessary to keep up a story like this, but the end result is at the moment not very good.
'The Sky is Gone' is a thirteen thousand-word shortfic. It's the apocalypse and Silverstream is doing her best to survive it.
I have to concede that this is one of the most uniquely told stories I've read on Fimfic in terms of presentation. The usage of <30 words chapters (except for the first chapter which is a long prelude) gives the work a very disjointed atmosphere, allowing the reader only slight glimpses into the day-to-day events — or rather night-to-night as the Sun no longer shines — of the protagonist's struggles. This is only further played up by the first-person present-tense narration. Though this is less relevant to readers who arrived late and even during the publish period didn't mean that much, it is also interesting to note that during its runtime, the author updated the fic "in real time" as in new chapters were posted whenever it made sense in-universe.
Sadly I am unable to be nearly this enthusiastic about the actual narrative itself. While the large skips in events is certainly an 'interesting' choice, it also completely wrecked any engagement I might have had for this story. It's not that I cannot follow the events, it's more that "oh wow, we outran the zombies" is far less interesting to read than actually seeing what she did to survive. And yet the entirety of this fic is made up of Silverstream either idly commenting on whatever horrors are happening around her or recapping one of her escapades in painfully few words and scant detail.
Speaking of which, the world of this fic is laughably grim. It is like one took all horror tropes and unceremoniously dumped it on a world resembling Equestria. Frankly besides featuring the same locations by name, there is little to nothing that really connects this fic to FiM. The land is plagued by edgier than edgy zombies, monsters, bleeding abominations, and hauntings. Everyone is either dead or following the horde.
Except for Silverstream, who's alive because... Well, who knows?! Not only is the world itself as ad-hoc as it gets with concepts and monsters getting thrown in completely at random, the fic never even bothers to give any satisfying answers. She does things, but even she doesn't understand why and it seemingly makes little if any difference and even when it does, it's usually for the worse.
Perhaps the sequel — titled 'Epiphany' — might give the reader the answers they might seek, but I feel like all this means is that the first part could be summed up in five-six sentences without losing too many details which is a shame for a story that released for over a year.
Overall: 3/10 Sadly the fun gimmick does nothing to make this story an enjoyable read. Wanting to try something new is more than commendable, but sacrificing everything that makes a story engaging for it will just lead in a fic that's simply not fun. And that's exactly what happened here. I wish I could recommend this story, but I cannot.