• Member Since 28th Sep, 2012
  • offline last seen 4 hours ago

Meta Four


Weightless, we drift. Sometimes we dip down, into the depths of our own doubt. But you know that there's some hope in this...


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Source

This story is a sequel to Beauty Will Tear Us Apart


There is another secret agent stationed in Ponyville.

Some elder siblings are not as old as they look.

Ponyville's premiere party planner is pondering her purpose.

The world is not quite what it seems. A pony, in the wrong place at the wrong time, just might stumble behind the stage and see the the nuts and bolts that hold their reality together. Some ponies brush up against the dividing curtain briefly and never understand what it is they saw. Some ponies get a good, long look behind it, and their lives are never the same. And some ponies live their whole lives with a hoof on each side.

These are their stories.

———

Cover art by the multi-talented KuroiTsubasaTenshi.

Big thanks to my pre-readers (in roughly chronological order):
cleverpun
Midnight Rambler
Justanotherbrony
KuroiTsubasaTenshi
war877
JapaneseTeeth

Chapters (3)
Comments ( 40 )

What does Den Fjerde Væg mean in English?

I offer only encouragement and a favorite. Love this meta-characterization.

It always provides some whiplash when sight gags and continuity gaffes get played for drama, but you never lose sight of the show's optimistic spirit, so it's all good.:pinkiehappy:

7301836 It's Danish for the fourth wall.

I went with that because it also fits my theme of naming all these stories after songs I like.

... Cannot unmake? Luna is being hopelessly optimistic, there's no end of ways retroactive introduction of objects can alter current and future state of other objects. Including destroying them. :pinkiehappy:

You genius you. Welp, now my top two are taken up by the same author.

I think the only other story I've read that details 'Retconjuration' is the web comic Erfworld, and they just skimmed over it, none of this "bend over I'm going in dry" that I just read.

Gonna go rewrite my next D&D game now. Inspiring.

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Thank you both.

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I swear I've seen this sort of thing explored in-depth before, but now I can't remember where. (DUN DUN DUN!) There was an author's note from The B-Movie Comic:

That kind of retroactive digital meddling is annoying enough for a movie’s fans—but just try to imagine how disturbing it must be for the characters! Realizing that you suddenly remember things that you know didn’t happen must be terribly disturbing, especially if they then go on to retroactively hold profound emotional meaning for you.

I guess this also explains why some comic characters are such tormented souls—take Batman, for example. After decades of constant ret-cons, he probably stumbles through life plagued by foggy visions of his parents being killed by several different, mutually exclusive, villains, as well as vaguely recalling specific events involving several partners called ‘Robin’ he hasn’t even had. I bet by now he’s down to randomly calling the people who mean something to him, just to make sure they’re still alive—or ever have been.

7302778 I suppose a retcon can contribute to something's destruction, but what Luna's getting at is that you can't just retcon something away the same way you retcon something into the story in the first place. You can add new information to backstories, you can fill in the blank spaces in the audience's knowledge of the world—but you can't contradict what the audience does already know. Hence, you can give Twilight an older brother who she's never mentioned before, but once you establish that brother's existence, you can't erase him and say that Twi's an only child.

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Unless you're ready to posit that he was a changeling infiltrator who took the place before Twilight's birth and enchanted Twilight Velvet and Night Light to think they always had a son. Or pull an "all just a dream" on a sufficiently long stretch of time. It's not a question of theoretical impossibility, it's a question of how far a particular author is willing to go to do it. A complete reversal is difficult, but negating anything good that came from an prior retcon, not really.

Luna appears to speak in the assurance that nobody is willing to do something so drastic, which is optimistic. :) Looking at the current corpus of ponyfic, some authors are willing to go pretty far.

This is so my mindset. In all its twisted glory.
Pinkie and Twi get into things i deal with everyday. They seem to be handling it better then me at the end.

Twilights song, so awesome, someone needs to make that a real thing!

This verse and interpretation of Derpy is one of my favorites.

Love it! A very interesting interpretation of retconning. Your stories are always great reads. I stayed up way too late last night to finish it.

I already mentioned this on the other forums, but I really enjoyed this one. It's the perfect balance of philosophical weirdness and heartfelt emotion, especially at the end.

Reading this is relevant right after Flutter Brutter.

Interesting, and rather funny, and surprisingly poignant at times. Well handled, overall, especially the part with Maud here in the last chapter. :pinkiesmile:

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7305409
Thank you both.

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Heh. Thank 7305409 for the ending scene with Pinkie and Maud. I was leaning towards cutting that scene much shorter, but his feedback convinced me to go for this version.

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There are some elements of my own philosophy worked in there. But I hope I didn't turn the characters into my own mouthpieces; that's not fair to them, or to the readers.

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Odd timing, that. I was finishing up editing on this by the time I saw "Flutter Brutter".

What's funny is that I don't really mind all these retconned siblings in the original show. In fact, if you ask me, Maud Pie's existence is a much bigger plot hole than Shining Armor's or Zephyr's (it's easier to justify Twilight or Fluttershy just not mentioning their brother, than to justify Maud's absence from Pinkie Pie's flashback)—yet Maud is one of my favorite characters.

7307133 Not knowing your own philosophy I couldnt say if you where unintentionally making the characters a mouthpiece.
For me there are reflections of my own skewed perception of the world and my fluctuating philosophical stance on whatever.
As for the characters themselves, to me they seemed to have what feels like the appropriate philosophical view/understanding of the world around them for them and their personality. And it was great to see Twilight's perception of the world get broken and her having to reconcile/take a different philosophical stance on the world and her place in it.
The whole retconning of the world and no one knowing but a couple of ponies being aware of it is an amazing concept.
I love these kinda fics and you did a great job of it. This verse is really good for exploring these kinds of things.

I didn't figure out what was happening until Pinkie finally called Twilight "Twilight Twinkle". But then, hah! What a fantastic idea for a story. And it fits in perfectly with the universe you've created.

Anyway, great story! And thanks for taking the time to properly edit it, etc., before publishing - it makes a world's difference!

I like how Derps and Pinkie have similar, but still very unique abilities. Also really digging the professional connection with Time Turner and the whole agent angle.

7319652 Mainly I'm lucky to have pre-readers who are willing to be as brutal as necessary in critiquing my first drafts.

That last line made me really warm and fuzzy for some reason.

7330595 In my dream, I am the sentimental dork. It's me.

Well, that picture did not make it into the epub. Got so confused I had to come back to the site to find out what had gone wrong.

Why the hell did I not read this earlier?

7377632 Because your author thought it would be more interesting if you waited a bit?

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The writer's employed on the cartoon itself are slightly more conservative but... Twilight and we might fret they might not always remain so...

And then there is the comics and chapter-books...

This was pretty great! It would be awesome to see more of Twilight characterized this way, she and Pinkie are really coming into their own right as characters, as their own characters distinct from the show, but based on it, having grown out of it after the events of this and the other stories.

I don't know why I took so long to read this. It's exquisite. Not quite the same sort of multidimensional hijinks I'm used to from you, but still something that nailed one of my favorite topics in or out of pony fiction. The metafictional metaphysics were magnificently executed, from Ditzy and Pinkie comparing extra senses to Twilight's existential crisis to the true identity of the Key of Laughter. And the message at the end is spot on: The meaning of life is whatever you choose. That choice is as real as you are, however much that may be.

Thank you for another magnificent installment of the series and further evidence that we may in fact be clones. :raritywink:

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It's kind of weird to get a comment like this, because the "message" doesn't quite line up with my own thoughts about our world. But shoehorning everything I believe into Equestria's cosmology would make a lot of readers cry foul, and I wouldn't blame them. Incidentally, that's the metatextual reason why Dr. Hooves refuses to discuss the existence of souls—so I wouldn't be forcing my own beliefs into this story. Or at least, so the solution to Pinkie's particular crisis wouldn't depend on her agreeing or disagreeing with me on that issue.

And now I wish that I had worked in a reference to "In a Sweater Poorly Knit":

I do not exist. I do not exist. I do not exist.
I do not exist. Only you exist. Only you exist.

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What do you believe in?

Aww! That ending was sweet! :pinkiehappy:

And the story was just what I needed to keep from existential crisising again.

TimeTravelTenseTrouble... lol!

... I just grab epubs and read on my mobile in a big rush!

AlliterativeNames for Ditzy, and Pinkie, and Time Turner...

Splendefarious

Splendiferous…plus nefarious. :pinkieholmeseyebulge:

the most artrageous party

…oh gods.

“Are you implying …”

Yes, she is; whether she's flying by balloon, toonpower, her personal pedalcopter, or tailicopter…

Khôraguard

*squints* greek locus…? You're doing something fancy here to say she's a dimensional guard. What's your etymology?
The other, I can see…Guard of the Fourth Wall.

What an odd thing to think about now, Twilight thought. And that wasn’t how it happened.

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/gaslight#Verb

“But have you always always had an older brother?”

…oh. Oooooooooooooooooh.

As its light swept over Twilight, it tasted like orange and chili powder.

But not tofuroni and durian.

Imagine there’s another Mirror Pool that can create original ponies, not just copies. Either way, how do you tell the difference between a pony created by magic, and a pony born the normal way?”

Queen Majesty might have something to say about that…

“Yes! Oh … I see.”

:pinkiehappy:

three strips of hay bacon, two tomato slices, and a small pile of parsley leaves.

A veritable Dagwood of s'mores.
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We are writers, too. And many will unmake Twilight's wings, and Flurry Heart, and pastel stag beetles.

the “pancake emergency” signal,

I admit I had a second, worse thought about what this meant.

will you have-been-to-stopping big, dumb meanies from the future from going-to-already-dumped-ing trash in the time stream?”

Modal verbs are the best, aren't they?

“You take that back!”

:rainbowlaugh:

smashed it into her forehead

:rainbowlaugh:
I am running into that problem of "if I keep quoting lines I like, the entire fic will end up in my comment."

“How much philosophy have you studied?”

Pinkie shrugged.

“That’s no problem at all! We can just start at the beginning.”

…but as someone with a philosophy degree… :pinkiecrazy:

“Oh, no. Trust me, you don’t want to hear me rap.”

Yes I do
and oh gods that was amazing.

A new sister who you’ve just found out you always had?”

i'd go with "whom"

“Somepony is wrong about bees,” suggested by Justice3442.

And now I have to go leave another comment on PoC for an entry on Pinkie Sense.

Baguette’s Feast!”

forgot to ask…does this refer to a real work that's named something else?

8189393

Splendiferous…plus nefarious. :pinkieholmeseyebulge:

Nice to see someone caught it.

*squints* greek locus…? You're doing something fancy here to say she's a dimensional guard. What's your etymology?

Honestly, I just looked up the Greek word for "space" and slapped "guard" on the end. My etymology is pretty fast and loose.

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…but as someone with a philosophy degree… :pinkiecrazy:

I hope I didn't mess it up too badly, since I haven't really studied the topic since high school...

“Oh, no. Trust me, you don’t want to hear me rap.”

Yes I do

"No, really, you don't. Also, I'd be breaking the law if I did ..."

Flashback...

"Twilight Sparkle, in light of your good behavior and many accomplishments, the Court is willing to drop all charges against you—provided you refrain from rapping, toasting, dropping sick rhymes, or beatboxing, until such time as your rhymes and flow stop being such weaksauce. Are these terms acceptable?"

Twilight gulped. "Well... can I still b-girl?"

"Of course. We're not monsters."

forgot to ask…does this refer to a real work that's named something else?

Babette's Feast.

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No, it's good. Rhyming gets a little weak at the end, but overall? I love it (and so does the other philosopher I showed it to)

Not a super-great introduction, though. It's a good review…which makes it even more the sort of way Twilight tends to teach things, in the fashion of a genius who cannot remember true unknowing, ungrasping times.

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