• Member Since 11th Apr, 2012
  • offline last seen 15 hours ago

Bad Horse

Sufficiently advanced friendship is indistinguishable from magic.


This is a happy story about Wynken, Blynken, and Nod, and the friendship they had in the magical land of Equestria. This is a true story. I can prove it. This is science. Shut up. Shut up.

Chapters (1)
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Comments ( 47 )

I remember this one. Still as implicitly devastating as ever.

I'll give it a proper R&R when I can.

The wall of Blynken's bedroom is still as white as a clean hoofkerchief. There are no shotguns in Equestria.

Welp, that's almost cartoonishly dark :applejackunsure:

Bloody good work, though hardly pleasure reading. But then, I liked 'Biblical Monsters' too :duck:

Thank you for posting this story. Although I already loved the contest version, the polish really worked wonders. The only thing I'm not a fan of is ponifying Blynken's backstory... you tried to make up for it by giving his characiterization more space, but the thing with the full shelves doesn't really work IMO. Still, marvelous job!

The last two sentences of the description were what sold me on reading this right away—and I'm glad I did.

I really love this story, for the same reason I feel like I've wound up loving a few of your other ones, I think. The little hints of first-person voice—and the choice of how much to show, and how much narrator commentary to include—make this really uncomfortable to read. You've got an ability to make stories... how to say this... "threateningly autobiographical" in a way that I really like. I love coming away from a story feeling deeply uneasy about whether any of what I just read was true, and in what way, and how much. It's the not knowing that so thoroughly unbalances me. Even ten minutes later, I'm still feeling uneasy about all this, and I really like that.

Quantum ponies. Allow me to collapse the waveform of "I love them" into "Yes."

...and into EqD too. Very nice!

No shotguns to shoot trap with? What a sad world.

This was amusing on so many levels.

Oh no. Oh God. I'm so sorry about your friend.

What is the sound of one sparrow falling?

I absolutely loved reading this, and I am not exaggerating. I hate stealing other people's words, because it makes me feel stupid and lazy, but I'll need to read through this story a couple more times to discover for myself why it strikes me the way it does. In the mean time, I'll borrow Bradel's words, because they help: "You've got an ability to make stories... how to say this... "threateningly autobiographical" in a way that I really like." So many of your stories have left me with a sense of feeling melancholy for you by the end, just as this one did. I don't especially like that feeling or the direction it takes, but it's pretty damned effective.

Also, the unfortunate imp of the perverse grabbed me by the neurons and said this: You've made me realize that even "proven" mathematical equations - including all of those which have any direct or indirect bearing on quantum mechanics (which is precisely all of them, at least once) - are themselves "true" only because quantum fluctuations randomly choose exactly one path of resolution, the same one every single time they are tested. So, um, thanks.

Deep like bone broth, melancholy as a coffeehouse, cool as a bedroom window on a spring night.

Well... that depends on which mathematical equations you mean, to some extent. The core equations of physics are a lot more mutable than the axiomatic grammar of mathematics. That's not to say a universe couldn't exist where mathematics itself were completely different—just that such a universe would probably need to branch off at a significantly lower level of the tree.

Thank you for writing this.

Very well done, Although there is something a bit contradictory about an Equestria without shotguns and where friends are placed above your own pleasure but also with the Western Front. Or were all those ships sunk by Parasprites?

This sounds more like a many-worlds interpretation than a Copenhagen one.

Excuse my bluntness, by why would you choose such abhorrent words like those for a title? Also, I will not accept the idiotic "why not" answer.


So this is all told by a nutcase physicist who murdered 3 people with a shotgun after his girlfriend dumped him and made of this BS stuff about an alternate reality. Got it. Feh, what a hack. He had access to all those lovely radioactive isotopes and used a SHOTGUN! I strip him of his science credentials! He didn't even try for supervillain! I shall execute him personally for being such a dismal disappointment!


8190367 A story's title is often a clue to what the story is about, and that's the case here. Did you read the story?

8190379 That wasn't what I had in mind, but I guess it works. Congratulations on finding a new reading.

8188759 I think I agree with you about the shelves. It's not quite right. Likewise re. 8189966 , the sunken ships are not the best choice for this story; they are both things that the real-life people told me about that stuck with me, and I wrote them into the story, but maybe could have found something better.

STEALTH EDIT: On the other hand, the narrator is trying to force lived lives into Equestria that don't fit quite right into Equestria, so maybe it's okay to have these "clues" that these stories are not entirely comfortable there.

8190441 No and I'm not sure if I want to either.

8190464 It's fine if you don't read the story. If you haven't read the story, though, you shouldn't get indignant or complain about it. It's like complaining about the high price of durian in Myanmar when you don't know what durian are or where Myanmar is.

8190441 Indeterminate clues lead to multiple plausible interpretations when no solid facts are present. This is especially true when the probability of the 'unreliable narrator' is high.

I've missed reading your stories Bad Horse. They (the sad/tragic/dark ones, atleast) often leave me with a lingering sense of malaise--I guess it's in a cathartic sense? It's certainly a unique feeling I don't get from any other writers.

Sorry for your loss.

Holy fuck, Bad Horse.
You just... you just punched my soul a little.
I'll go read your blog post about this now, but yeah...
The way you twist the tone at a few points caused me to unexpectedly have strong emotional responses.

I think I'm gonna read your blog post in like half an hour, now that I think about it.

I'm a bit too overwhelmed to write much of substance, but beautiful, terrible story.

How we all long for a world where we made the right decisions. Where is the road? Which door is it behind? Who has the key?

I really like how the beginning functions on multiple levels: it sets up the core concept, through which the emotional impact of the story is delivered, and is also a hint that the unnamed physicist is the narrator.

The use of expletives is very good I thought. They’re poignant. They stand out starkly, and really help convey the sense of regret. But they do that in like a backwards way, because the narrator is cussing about something done right, yet it mirrors how people cuss about the wrong they’ve done, and so it connects the two. At least, that’s how it made me feel.

Also, I really like your prose here—namely, your descriptions of characters, like Wynken.

It was bleached, and up close it looked like straw, but it shimmered so that when she walked in daylight, you might mistake her for a sunbeam. She was unremarkable in photographs, but beautiful when she looked at someone she loved. She believed in true-hearted knights, rightful kings, unicorns, communism, and all other impossible dreams, because they were impossible.

She would not have liked the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics. She would have shaken her fist and declared that, if a waveform were as noble as Don Quixote, as faithful as Sancho Panza, and as stubborn as Sancho's ass, then it could never collapse.

They’re interesting and engaging, and they convey far more meaningful information than listing a set of facts about her appearance ever would. And old great writing professor of mine, who taught me a lot (well, about non-fiction, whose principles apply surprisingly close to fiction), would tell us that facts didn’t think for you, you had to think about the facts, and what they meant. It’s the difference between saying “she was blond” and “up close it looked like straw”, or “she was unremarkable in photographs” which conveys meaning about Wynken, the narrator, their relationship, and her impact on him.

It’s a more literary quality that’s rare in fanfiction, because of the sheer dryness caused by crap like show don’t tell, as well as the lack of teaching on metaphor and imagery, which I feel like I'm only now just grasping.

Of course, it’s one style of many. But it’s one that I like, and I think there’s a lot to learn from it. You do it a little in Displacement also:

When I’d opened the front door that day, Josh had been standing there wearing a red wig and a string of loaves of Wonder Bread around his neck. His scratched-up old Scion idled in the driveway. The ugly cube kind, not the sportscar kind.

It’s small and seems simple, but the use of ‘ugly’ makes a difference, and it’s the kind of thinking that can be very hard as a writer if you’ve been taught to “keep you opinions out of it”, or “don’t tell me it’s ugly, describe to me how it’s ugly”. Which is all, you know, bad advice.

Somehow, you managed to even make the happy version of events sad: they all leave the unnamed narrator, alone, and never come back.

A close friend of mine got slapped with a restraining order after his first relationship blew sky high. To this day I’m both still happy and angry about it. Angry, because he didn’t deserve it and it was a hard blow, and happy because it killed his hope, in a back alley, and that allowed him to start moving on. It was the springboard at rock bottom. Some things you can’t fix.

He loved her, you see, as much as it was possible for him to love somepony.

The other stallion, the fate-conscious physicist, loved them both as much as he could love somepony.

I found these two lines interesting. I don't know whether the narrator blames himself for not being able to love more, as if he could have, or is upset it wasn't enough for Wynken.


She believed in true-hearted knights, rightful kings, unicorns, communism, and all other impossible dreams, because they were impossible.

So Maud Gonne, basically?

(That's quite a good line, by the way. The whole paragraph is very Peter S. Beagleish)


It’s a more literary quality that’s rare in fanfiction, because of the sheer dryness caused by crap like show don’t tell,

Note that the whole concept of metaphor could be described by "don't show: tell--about something else."


It's okay to not like a title, and it's okay to say so.

But if you say so very bluntly, as you have, in a forum discussing the writer's very personal and profound experience, which forum this is--you should expect some hate.

It might help us understand you better if you explain why you think the title is so inappropriate. Examine your feelings. They are not wrong, but if you are going to express them, it helps to understand them so that your may express them better.

8197784 Because someone like me who has autism really doesn't like being told the words "shut up" because I get VERY offended by them and can react with explosive angry over it too. It's one of thousands of things that I dislike being told. For it is said that "the tongue is sharper than any double-edged sword" and believe me, words can really hurt people far more than any physical injury inflicted on them. That's one of the major reasons I greatly dislike the words used for the title of this story.

Does that better help understand my feelings on this matter?


Yes, it does. I often feel singled out by an author's choice of words, too. But I know that the author isn't really addressing me personally.


Gonne separated from Millevoye after Georges' death, but in late 1893 she arranged to meet him at the mausoleum in Samois-sur-Seine and, next to the coffin, they had sexual intercourse. Her purpose was to conceive a baby with the same father, to whom the soul of Georges would transmigrate in metempsychosis. In August 1894 Gonne and Millevoye's daughter Iseult was born. At age 23, Iseult was proposed to by then-52-year-old William Butler Yeats, and she had a brief affair with Ezra Pound. At age 26, Iseult married the Irish-Australian novelist, Francis Stuart, who was then 18 years old.


Peter S. Beagle was actually one of the authors who reintroduced me to the power of metaphor and imagery and symbol. At least, he got it through my thick skull.


I'm trying to make a Ghostbusters joke but it's just too...I dunno.

Confession: never seen Ghostbusters :twilightblush:


What, aintchoo got no cultchah?

I reviewed this story as part of Read It Later Reviews #79.

My review can be found here.

Their waveforms each collapsed alone.

What horrible thing happened with Wynken?

8580264 In real life, the two people Wynken is based on are okay as far as I know. In the story... I should have either not written that sentence, or explained Wynken's fate, I guess. I had a bad feeling about that while I was writing it, but I thought I could get away with it. :unsuresweetie:

(I can never get away with things that I think I can get away with.)

That sentence was really cool, though. :twilightsmile:
It's good to hear (read?) that not everything ends horribly even in our suboptimal Everett branch.

I keep returning to this story and re-reading it. I can start anywhere and keep reading it, in circles, because I just like how it flows, how it all comes together.
I think you have really gotten better, as a writer. Please keep writing.

This story broke me in a way that I don't think has happened before. Whatever happened, I hope you're in a better place now.

That hit hard. Well done.

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