FimFiction Link - Short ID: 539299/the-combined-harvest
Published: Jul '23
'The Combined Harvest' is a three thousand and eight hundred-word EaW oneshot. A cotton picker has a chance encounter.
For a first time author's first work, I was surprised how few technical issues I've found in this story. Beyond a little LUS, which wasn't even particularly distracting, the prose is perfectly serviceable. It's not overly flowery or exceptional, but it serves its purpose well and doesn't get in the way of the narrative, while also doing its best to depict that "dusty, frontier town" atmosphere the fic is going for.
As this is an EaW fic, things are quite different from the usual, which is especially strongly felt in the story's mood. While the author's lack of experience dulls the emotions a little, the melancholy of the characters still comes through cleanly, and I quite enjoyed the more low-stakes, SoL approach the writer took. It felt realistic, perhaps to an almost too great extent (as the situation presented does feel very similar to tales recounted from real life economic crashes), but since this is EaW which is already strongly inspired by real life history, I'm not considering this as an issue. What I must further commend is that despite the sour mood, the story's ending beat provides just enough relief to make it feel FiMmy in spirit.
I suppose the only real negative I could bring up about it is the very SoL aspect I previously praised. We get a really brief glimpse into the lives of two OCs, but, while their plights do move heartstrings, it's not really enough to form an attachment to them and the moment showcased is neither very action-rich, nor that unusual to lodge itself into the readers' minds.
Overall: 5/10 While the story doesn't really feel memorable, it is a shockingly good first attempt, and despite the lowness of the score, I do recommend it for people who are looking for low-stakes, post-War EaW stories. It doesn't do much new, but what it does it does decently.