• Member Since 29th Jan, 2014
  • offline last seen 5 hours ago

scifipony


Published science fiction author and fine art photographer. Admin for Songbird Serenade Group.

T

I had come from Hooflyn to visit Apple Bloom because my cousin had written me about her cutie mark nightmare. Though my golden scissor could cut only one thing, my special talent called in to question everything; whether I was adopted, if I was an Earth pony, if I was willing to take responsibility for the life of the strangers around me. It made my life a waking nightmare. I wanted to talk to Apple Bloom so I could decide whether to keep my cutie mark… or remove it.


Tagged SF for the exploration of a particularly awesome trope.

Chapters (1)
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Comments ( 18 )

Really interesting! Some "Early Edition" vibes from this.
I know that you put it as "complete", but would be interesting a sequel where Babs is helped to deal with her new power.

6244704
I appreciate the reference and consider it a complement. That show and this story both have that Theodore Sturgeon vibe.

Babs turned out be a wonderful reluctant hero. (She wrote herself.) Her strong moral compass and her potential to mess-up badly makes a sequel tempting. Such things await epiphanies, however.

Wow...that is really creative. It came in a dream, you say? Whoa.

Um...the scissors represented cutting the beads, I assume?

6246026
The thread of time is the one thing she can cut. I didn't know until she told me. Strange, huh?

6246060
Maybe I misunderstand, but her ability sounds complicated. She can't change anything, except perhaps what happens in a very short window of time and then only if she knows what needs to happen to change what happened (or rather will happen). Depending on it's range of effect, she'll always have to make her decision alone without the assistance of an observer.

6249545
This a valid critique:

She can't change anything, except perhaps what happens in a very short window of time and then only if she knows what needs to happen to change what happened (or rather will happen). Depending on it's range of effect, she'll always have to make her decision alone without the assistance of an observer.

Please help by pointing to a paragraph or two that led you to draw your conclusion. If I left something more vague than I intended, I'd really like to fix it.

Below is a spoilery answer to StormVenture's question:
She can only add a bead to her strand on the thread of time for a specific time while she's living it. If she cuts the thread of time, she goes back to the last bead cut off and loses later ones. She always has complete free will. That the beads are on a strand is implied.

6249787
The example she gives with the 'cabbie' suggests that that whole line of events was destined in some sense. She couldn't go back and prevent him from existing or even from driving crazily down the street, but she had a chance to change what other ponies did and thereby was able to change time/fate whatever such that only he died. It also appeared that she could only go back to being on the path. I guess it's partially unclear whether it's an active ability that she must select points in time or if it's just passive and she can just change events within a window around the present. A fair question is are there different universes/timelines here (as opposed to just one) and how much power does she really have?

I think your spoilery answer needs an explanatory diagram. :P

6249959
Thank you for the concise analysis. One of the best things you can give an author is an idea of what a reader got from what her or she wrote. Again, thanks!

I think your spoilery answer needs an explanatory diagram. :P

<grin>

(Yes, I'm being vague. You're welcome to chat when you find me online, if you want more meta information!)

This has potential for being the Worst Cutie Mark Ever. An ethical pony might decide she is obligated to keep backtracking to fix everything major that goes wrong that she can potentially affect, no matter the consequences to her own life.

6251909
Worse, what if you don't? With great power comes great responsibility. You got Bab's conflict in one try.

6252105
Yeah. Nothing like watching bad things happen, all the while knowing you could have done something, but never knowing if it would be enough to matter. Why the spoiler?

Comment posted by QuillStroke1 deleted Aug 7th, 2015

Wow, that is an amazing and extremely unique idea again!
Babs' special talent being the ability to cut through time, by creating spheres that show the past and popping them to travel back in time to the moment they show..... This is the creativity I come for in this fandom and exactly what I would expect from a professional author who has published a book already!
But, as good as the basic idea is, it's right at the beginning of it that the execution fails. You describe Babs as a unicorn who was born without a horn, but, a horn is what makes a unicorn, a unicorn. If a unicorn gets born without a horn, then it isn't a unicorn, as the horn is what gives the unicorn the ability to use magic and thus, what is defining a unicorn. This is where the reasoning for Babs being able to do that falls flat.
But, with a little tweak, you could still save the whole idea and give it a better background:

Instead of Babs being a "unicorn born without a horn", make her a unicorn whose horn grows into the inside of her skull, instead of to the outside. That way, the whole idea can still work.

6290895
Thank you for the critique.

I am breaking my critique rule of "only say thank you" by addressing the unicorn issue. Forgive me; I mean no disrespect if you should perceive any in what follows. I consider your point of view valid and appreciate the insight it provided.

I erred expecting the reader to know something I should not have expected them to know. In Sisters in All but Blood, I have Twilight refer to Moon Dancer by the nickname Lunettes, french for glasses, alluding to the clunky black things MD wears; this, without explaining it. In this story, I use the word earticorn, which is a reference to the word hermaphrodite. A preferred PC word for hermaphrodite is episexual, thus I also used epiequine in the story. Because I didn't emphasize that Babcock Apple is actually both unicorn and Earth pony, the allusion misfired. You're probably not alone is missing it, though you get extra credit for bringing it to my attention. This is all to say... Cuts Too Deeply is an allegory.

Look for the word epieqine in the story to see my one line update.

Comment posted by QuillStroke1 deleted Aug 7th, 2015
Comment posted by QuillStroke1 deleted Aug 7th, 2015

I liked the story! There were many great immersive details that really made the story, at least for me. The concept was also interesting and dynamic, and made for great emotional conflict. However, the bully seemed like mere filler here. Maybe try to have him interact with Babs during the memory, prompting her to somehow discover her talent. That's just me, though. I loved this story and wish you luck, my good sir!

@QuillStroke

Wow, that gets kinda close to Groundhog Day or Edge of Tomorrow. With the significant difference that Babs literally does save states as I do in games. But in a game I don't have a moral responsibility or lives basically depending on it.

6251909

This has potential for being the Worst Cutie Mark Ever.

^ That.
A power like that would be the worst, for me at least.
The problem would not be "When do you use it?" but rather "When do you stop using it?".
At what point can you say in good conscience that "I did the best I could" or at least "good enough"?
When can you consider an event as "done" or "over"? Imagine in 5 years Babs learns a way to stop a cab with just a thought (this is a thought experiment). Should she go back and stop the accident entirely? Or is it simply time-barred?
Or even worse: in 5 years her bully from school becomes a murderer and the only time Babs has a chance to prevent him from going on that killing spree is to become his fillyfriend or hurt him permanently? Is she obligated to do so? Or if the only way to save a lot of ponies' lives is to kill one pony years before he/she did anything wrong (you know, kill Hitler)? What about property damage, is the best outcome that nobody got hurt? (Tell that to the guy who lost his home and job in a fire where Babs "only" saved his life.)
And how about super long times spans? 50 years later Babs learns a way to stop a war from happening. Is she obligated to basically live her life AGAIN to save thousands of ponies? How about hundreds? How about a dozen? What about just a single one? How about someone who just lost his livelihood and commited suicide later on because of that? And if you save him, do you save his neighbor who also lost everything but did not commit suicide? And if you save him, what about you help that guy who lost a Bit and became sad because he couldn't buy ice cream? Where is the threshold how far back you go for how significant a mishap is? (Oh, and travel from Ponyville to the Crystall Empire to pick up that Bit, will you? It's not like you don't have the time to do so.)

And all of these questions are moral questions for oneself.
That is assuming Babs kept that ability a secret. No pony asking her to save their foals' lives from an accident from a week ago.
No pony expecting every mishap to anypony around Babs to be "corrected" (aka to never happen in the first place from their point of view). Every small bad thing that happens to someone in her vicinity could be viewed as her deliberately NOT preventing it. Basically saying "you are not worth my effort" at best and "serves you right" at worst. Around her, nopony would be like "well, sh*t happens", everything is basically her fault by default. ANd she could have actually made that happen on purpose by manipulating the "past".
And even if she did her best to please everyone, nopony would believe she did. Nopony would thank her because nothing happend. Nopony would see what didn't happen, just what did. From their point of view, Babs just stopped them on the street saying "talk to me for like 5 seconds and I will have saved your life" or better yet "somepony elses life" - "in one hour". "It is better you get to late to your job than get on that bus, because you would overload it and cause it to have an accident and you would die."

Seriously, "potential for worst Cutie Mark" is an understatement.
That would be a terrifying ability to have yourself or to know someone else has it.

MfG NIchtraucher

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