FimFiction Link - Short ID: 503794/the-power-of-love
Published: Oct '21
'The Power of Love' is a three thousand-word oneshot about an Equestria, where the generation of power was solved by using batteries powered by Changelings. The ambient love felt by ponies is converted into electricity which then powers whatever machines they need.
I love the concept, Changelings being sedated and put into batteries is a morbidly ironic twist on their own methods of putting ponies into pods to leech off their love. The story isn't afraid to hammer in the ethical issues this raises, from equating the Changelings with slaves, to pointing out that even the ponies are suffering since they are forced to feel love to power their buildings instead of freely experiencing it. This idea is clever and makes the fic worth reading, despite the issues it has.
However, I find the choice of characters weird. I get that Cadance is the princess of love and it does set up the ending quite well, but seeing her engage in terrorism with a ragtag team of ponies feels a bit absurd compared to the relatively grounded way the fic is otherwise presented. Celestia being completely okay with enslaving another race, because "she is savvy" is also very hard to reconcile with her usual behavior. Especially because this implies that she's apparently not savvy enough to realize that ponies will be suffering from being forced to feel love due to this. Also where is Luna? She's not even mentioned once.
Another thing I can't leave without mention is the blurb in the beginning that directly spells out how Equestria's Industrial Revolution is Earth's but in reverse. I get what the author was going for, but it feels very ham-fisted and pointless. Just stating that Equestria solved its power-crisis before it even became a problem would have conveyed the same meaning without needing to awkwardly mention Earth and humanity.
Ultimately, the biggest problem with the story is that it feels like reading a chapter from a much more elaborate and longer fic. Because of the length, we're hardly given a glimpse into how these batteries affect the ponies' daily life, the reader is only shown the devices that hamper Cadance's intrusion. A longer fic would also give plenty of room to suspend out disbelief about why the princesses are so okay with Flim and Flam's methods and why Cadance is the only one who's unwilling to play along even after everyone else thinks the batteries are a success. It would also give some weight to Shining's possible death, as in the fic not only does it happen extremely quickly, Cadance moves on without even thinking about what just happened or confirming whether she just murdered her husband or not.
Overall: 6/10 I truly wish I could give this story a much higher rating. With some fleshing out I think it could easily be an 8, but as it stands the length simply doesn't allow the fic to truly shine. I regardless still recommend it due to its interesting premise and world-building.