Reviews Comments: Boast Busted: a good story, but not a good introduction
Boast Busted: a good story, but not a good introduction
The Lunaverse is an AU in every sense of the word: everything that can be different is different. Different main six, different wacky adventures, different plots. This is not a bad thing. The problem is that Boast Busted, the first story written for the 'verse, does not adequately prepare readers for those differences. It introduces most of the new cast, and concretely establishes many of the differences between canon and the Lunaverse. It's main flaw, however, is the prominent role given to Twilight Sparkle. Twilight's Sparkle's presence sets a precedent that the rest of the series does not live up to. It implies that, despite being an AU, the main characters will still be an important part of the setting. They are not, and that is the main shortcoming of this fic's world-building. Perhaps this was necessary: it would have been unreasonable to expect readers to latch onto the series if the canon characters hadn't appeared in it at all. Releasing the Lunaverse in chronological order may have scared off readers. Releasing this fic first, however, sets an equally incorrect precedent. In summation: I read Boast Busted before any other Lunaverse fics, and I regret doing so. It is a good story, and it introduces the setting and characters well enough. It does not establish how unimportant the original main six are to it's universe, however, and this is its greatest shortcoming. Do not start with Boast Busted, but be aware it was meant to be an introduction when you read it.
Boast Busted is my absolute least favorite story in the Lunaverse, and not because of the quality of the story itself. Rather, it's the way that they handle Twilight. It comes off as more than a little mean-spirited in nature, reducing Twilight to a complete sociopath and then ending in a way that makes the original "Boast Busters" look like sunshine and rainbows. It really took a lot to persuade me that this whole AU wasn't just a "Kick the Mane 6 around to make my characters look better" session, and sometimes I'm still not totally convinced that it isn't the case. Same thing with the follow-up/first episode, Longest Night, Longest Day, which tramples on the Aesop from "Bridle Gossip" for a cheap Deus Ex Machina, introduces the show's main cast as a bunch of self-centered assholes, has Celestia act like a psychotic three-year-old, and ends with what felt like a slap in the face. And it wasn't just you who thought this was a bad introduction. The fact that they had to step in and tell people not to turn Apple Bloom into the next Diamond Tiara (something a few fans had planned to do based on a now-deleted scene from BB) tells you how bad of an introduction this ended up being. If you want to see what the Lunaverse does have to offer, I recommend skipping to Family Matters. It focuses almost entirely on the Lunaverse 6, is very well written, and recaps what happened in LNLD for those who skipped. That was the story that persuaded me to give it another chance.
comment #18020 InsertAuthorHere 5th Feb 13
The other review currently up takes the position that the main 6 were demonized to put focus on the new ones, and I couldn't completely disagree. I still posit that may have been intentional—without the presence of the original main six the Lunaverse is essentially O Cs (not a bad thing, but sucj stories don't tend to receive as much attention). Making the main 6 jerks to attract attention is better than being ignored. I still haven't read any other fics in the series, however, so naturally I could be wrong. Thanks for the tip about skipping to Family Matters.
comment #18021 CleverPun 5th Feb 13
Boast Busted wasn't actually intended as an introduction to anything. I was writing another story at the time, Time of the Black Sun, and it had been rejected from Eq D. This made me sad, so I wrote Boast Busted basically on a whim. Then, it was huge, and I got it into my head to write Longest Night, Longest Day and set about trying to create the Lunaverse. The biggest problem with LNLD was that a complaint with BB that I took a little too close to heart, which was that Twilight wasn't in it enough and that we didn't learn enough about her. As such I included the M6 in a much larger role than I might have otherwise. Point being that Boast Busted, when written, was only supposed to be a standalone fic, and should probably be approached as either that, or as S 1 E 7 of the Lunaverse. It's not supposed to be the introduction fic, Longest Night, Longest Day, for better or worse, is. One day, when I have the time, I intend to go back and edit LNLD and make it less...vindictive.
comment #18117 RainbowDoubleDash 8th Feb 13
That's fine and all, but it simply doesn't feel like a one-shot to me, or an episode in a larger universe for that matter. There are numerous references to events that happen elsewhere in the universe, and there is a lot of As You Know moments directed specifically at the reader. This is especially noticeable every time the Elements are mentioned (Cheerilee in particular) and Trixie's explanation of her confrontation with Corona is way too detailed to be just for Twilight's benefit. If one reads Boast Busters as a standalone fic, then these hints drag the story down. If one reads it as part of a larger universe they feel like a pointless retread. If one reads it as an introduction then those As You Know moments directed at the reader slot in just fine, but then the fic fails to prepare the reader for the main six's role in the universe (as I said in the review). No matter how it's read (as a standalone, an introduction, or just another episode in the Lunaverse), it doesn't actually feel like any of those things. The story that's there doesn't match up with it's role, regardless of which role the reader slots it into. Sidenote: As I said above, making the original six jerks is a valid approach, and as a reader I did want to see what happens to Twilight, because she is a main character. But overall it feels indecisive whether the Lunaverse is about the New Elements or the Original Elements, and that indecisiveness is incredibly prevalent in Boast Busters.
comment #18147 CleverPun 9th Feb 13
Postscript: You can do whatever you like to character in fanfiction*. But could the indecisive treatment of the main six be partly responsible for the divisive reaction to the Lunaverse? I was taught that readers will accept anything if the writer prepares them for it beforehand. I've only read Boast Busters, and I can't speak for authorial intent, but is it possible that the haphazard introduction I saw in it prevented readers from taking it as intended? Or am I overestimating the validity of my own opinions again? /shrug
comment #18148 CleverPun 9th Feb 13
I didn't really want some of the characters to develop the way they had, but I was so happy that the Lunaverse even existed - that is, that I had other authors writing in it - that I wasn't as strict as I perhaps should have been. The little hints to events happening elsewhere were sort of part of the fun of Boast Busted. The idea was to write it as though we were picking things up in media res, as though the audience already had read several stories, so I thought the little references here and there (Lyra's hooves, Carrot Top v. Applejack, Raindrops and Trixie talking about Corona, etc) would help establish this; sort of a parallel to Spike referencing Twilight's snow mishap from Winter Wrap-Up in Magic Duel. Oh, and also as IAH (quite helpfully, I'm glad he did) pointed out to me, I just in general have a tendency to "as you know" in every story. I blame reading Animorphs too much as a kid, where the basic story was recapped at the start of every book. For 54 books. Having said that, I knew that I couldn't just write an in media res story. At the very least, I'd have been constantly pestered with questions about this, that, and the other. So I described a few things in more details than I might have, like Trixie going into deep detail about Corona. I have plans to, one day, go back and revise LNLD, smoothing over its rough edges, most especially my treatment of the M5. I'll probably do the same thing for Boast Busted at the same time. Not sure when I'll get the time to do it... The M6 member I'm least happy with is Applejack, mostly. I had intended to portray her a staunch traditionalist and conservative, but still a fundamentally good pony. "Carrot Top Season"...didn't go the direction I would have gone it in that regard. But, dangers of a shared universe and all that...
comment #18149 RainbowDoubleDash 9th Feb 13
The difference between Spike talking about Twilight's messups and Trixie and the other elements explaining things the reader hasn't seen is pretty substantial: I don't think that's a very apt comparision. You don't need to defend your ideas to me, but thank you for the explanation anyway. I see what you were getting at, but (for me at least) it hampered the experience, it didn't improve it, one-shot or not. Naturally, my opinion is just that ;D
comment #18152 CleverPun 9th Feb 13
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