/mlp/ Fanfic Reviews


FimFiction Link - Short ID: 549243/ascent

Published: Jan '24

Review in No. 40733598
'Ascent' is a 9.7k word horror oneshot. Rainbow's trip to space ends in a tragedy.
On one hand, the fic's prose bothered me at times. There is strong LUS, some humanisms slipped through. But on the other hand, the author did a damn fine job of detailing stuff that matters, which plays quite nicely into the latter horror parts of the fic, so as a whole the prose was unexpectedly pleasant. Well, as pleasant as such a depressing story can get.
As for the plot, it felt uncanny at times to me, but that's because some plot points almost mirror my first attempt ever at writing a fanfic, which some of the thread might still remember. A pony stuck in space, slowly going insane, while placing post it notes everywhere on the ship. I guess it's an image that begs to be drawn, but still, funny coincidence. Tangent aside, this is a very good horror fic. Space is already terrifying, without anything supernatural going on, and what the author really cleverly did here was never quite confirm if there's more to Rainbow's accident or if she's really just going insane from loneliness.
And the horror in this fic is relentless. From creepy repeating dreams, to time skips, to hints that something is out there fucking with her, there isn't any moment where the tension wanes, even though Dash is seemingly never in any actual danger.
There is one thing I have to especially praise, but it's heavy spoilers, so please skip it if you haven't read the fic yet: Around the last third of the story, there is a reveal that Dash was in a coma. I groaned hard, thinking "fuck, you really had to go and ruin it?" But the author is there, winking at you, because the coma scene itself might just be a hallucination or a machination of the haunting. This twist immediately propelled my enjoyment of the fic from the bottom of the barrel to quite high, actually.
There is some late-season stuff in the fic, which might hurt enjoyment to those who are allergic to it, but I'd implore you to put this aside if the rest sounds interesting.
>Even Princess Twilight Sparkle, the regal alicorn who was usually so stoic and graceful, lit up her horn as she sobbed with her friends, and used her magic to embrace all of them at once.
>Even Twilight, the unicorn who was usually so deep in her books, lit up her horn as she sobbed with her friends, and used her magic to embrace all of them at once.
Man, space dementia doesn't sound so bad after all.
Overall: 9/10 Fuck it, it's been a while I've given a nine. It's not that the story doesn't have a few things I would've done slightly differently or that could have gotten some more exposition, but even these couldn't take away from the fact that the story is unnerving and competently written. The repeating distorted dreams, the uncertainty whether Rainbow is just mad or haunted, and the ending all play together to create a very good horror fic.
Review in No. 40762431
Ascent is a 9,7k Horror Mystery. Dash became the first pony to go to space through non EoH means. She may also be the last.
You know, there was this Twilight Zone episode about a guy who woke up in an empty town. The thing is, the town felt very lived in. There was food in the cupboards, laundry to be done. Some of the lawns were recently mowed. However, there was not a single person to be seen. The entire episode was this guy slowly losing his mind as she could not cope with being so utterly alone.
The twist is that this is a clinically induced dream. The guy is an astronaut and these dreams are meant to prepare him for a mission to Mars, where he'll have to spend a couple of years alone before he can come back to Earth.
I liked that episode more than I liked this fic.
Not to say that this fic is bad. Far from it, really. I just never really connected with it. The horror was too subdued, they mystery never felt like a compelling force driving Dash forward. It didn't feel all that Dark, either.
I feel I would've preferred if this had started closer to the accident that thrust Dash deeper into space, her trying to fix things, and then making progressively longer timeskips as we follow her deteriorating state of mind, desperately clinging to hope.
Also, I would've liked it if there'd been a closer parallel between the degradation of Dash's ship and Dash's body and mind. Instead we jump right near the end of the journey and witness Dash's twilight years.
Again, I don't want to imply the story is bad. It's pretty effective. It's just too subdued for my liking. There was potential to get stronger emotions out of the premise.