• Member Since 16th Sep, 2020
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Bicyclette


A woman of color, a cat mom, and a non-binary Millennial who has been diagnosed with social anxiety disorder. Intersectional, but my existence is not a box-checking exercise.

Sequels1

T

Blurb

A tragic cutting short of a budding romance. A confession of time travel and incurable disease. What was left behind. An instant, a lifetime, millions of years. Three timescales. Two timelines. One love story.


Tags

  • Death: The main theme of the entire story, I'd say.
  • Boulder

Author's Note

Disclaimer: Any errors in neurochemistry, neuropsychology, the study of prions, geology, linguistics, evolutionary biology, and paleontology are due to the author not being in any of these fields. My deepest apologies to the readers who are, and must cringe at my misunderstandings.

Chapters (3)
Comments ( 45 )

The procedural routine of how to play a guitar with hooves instead of hands.

Wait, before anything else - Starlight used to be human?

Also, wow this was depressing. I liked it a lot, though. Well - not liked, I can't like a death. I was emotionally moved by it.

Is this uplifting or demoralizing? I actually can't tell. I'm feeling a weird, existential mixture of both.

It's sort of simultaneously saying "Look, your insignificant life will end and nobody will remember you on a long enough timeline", AND "even when you're long gone, your existence will still have been, it will have mattered to somewhere".

10581945
Whoops, didn't intend that interpretation! Edited it out.

10581953
Geologically uplifting and demineralizing?

But yeah, this is an unusual story, to say the least. A celebration of love and friendship, as well as a study of the inevitability of death and entropy. But it works for me. (Also, it's always nice to see reminders that Maud is Pinkie's sister, and has both a sense of humor and an unusually high capability for accepting weirdness.)

Lastly, the many-limbed un-Equine future-dwellers whose ancestors were created by Discord as a prank... they exist because he wanted to bug someone, didn't he? :facehoof:

10581953
I like to think of it as uplifting, since hey, on a long enough timescale the heat death of the universe happens. That any meaning at all from their lives gets transmitted over such a timescale is a bonus. But yes, the weird, existential mixture was my goal, so I am glad I did my job.

10582140
I am curious, since while I have a good idea of what the paleontologists look like and how their species works, there are a lot of different ways to interpret the information I put in. Do you think they are meant to be insects? Who do you think the prank was on?

10582368
Between the apparent many hands, and them finding Boulder a fairly big chunk of rock, I got a vague idea that they might be insectoid, or maybe spider-like; much smaller than ponies in any case.

I have no idea about who Discord might have been pranking, or what, precisely, the prank involved. But the idea that he wanted to be annoying, ie. bug ponies, reinforced my vaguely insectile/arachnid idea of the future critters.

Interesting story. I almost wish the story ended after "Biographical", where the emotional beat is strongest. But that would just be indulging the fallacious need for permanence that "Geologic" certainly obliterates.

Chapter 1:
"XIIIu"
...?

Chapter 2:
"Maud said with no inflection in your voice."
"Maud said with no inflection in her voice."?

"lunaversary"
Hm, interesting. Something like a monthly anniversary, I'd guess?

"more into paper than what was on the paper was about"
...Did something go wrong with the phrasing there?

"There will be still be so much more"
"There will still be so much more"?

"A lump of formed in Starlight’s"
"A lump formed in Starlight’s"?

"will live the beset life a chunk of basalt"
"will live the best life a chunk of basalt"?

Chapter 3:
"“Oh, no. I like my dragons.” The dracologist still didn’t turn to face her friend. “Hey, did you know our species might have been contemporaries after all? Recent paper with new evidence that the permineralization rate of dragon bones varied more greatly than previously thought due to their original makeup, explaining the Draconic Paradox.”

Moving Finger didn’t want to bring up their perennial argument about how everyone who wasn’t a dracologist never really accepted their field’s standard explanation of why sapient dragon fossils dated to such a wider temporal range than the other sapient species of their time: that the dragons simply outadapted and outlasted the rest. No, it was her friend’s sudden obsession with her species that she wanted to get to the bottom of."
...I'm confused. Is that thing at the end of the second paragraph not an explanation for the Draconic Paradox? One accepted in Grasping Hand's field? If not, what is it, and what is the Draconic Paradox? If so, why is Grasping Hand in the first paragraph apparently speaking as if there isn't already an explanation for the Draconic Paradox?

"and the associations of the verb that is used would cause it to map better to our verb of “standing”"
Huh. Interesting. I tried to think on that a bit but am extremely an stressfully low on time, so didn't make much progress; I thought I'd try and comment in case there was something I was missing, or... something. Like I said, found it interesting, but having trouble being sure I'm thinking clearly about this due to unfortunately really needing to finish this chapter and get to something else.

Well, that was interesting! Thank you for writing. :)
Sorry I don't have more to say/that I'm saying here, but, uh, again, I should maybe probably have logged off FIMfiction for the waking period over an hour ago, at least, so, yeah. But thank you for writing! :D

10582669
There's no real "right" answer here, but you did pick up that yes, they are rather smaller than our ponies, making it impractical for the souvenir to be the entire fossil. But size is a pretty common trait to change out of adaptation, so it's not necessarily an indication of the size of the evolutionary ancestor. I do want to see what other readers think about what the "ironic" part is, or how to fit in the other details I dropped in.

10582833
Huh, that's interesting. I found Geologic's beat strongest, and that section is what I centered the whole story around. I was actually tempted to publish it as the story itself, leaving the identity of the fossils as hints to be picked up rather than anything directly stated. Also, all three sections should be obliterating permanence!

10582874
I don't know. Geologic is well-written but it didn't... resonate with me? Part of this is fanfiction bias, I have pre-existing emotional attachments to both Glim Glam and Dr. Pie, while any emotion I have for the OCs is because of this one chapter. But I think in a larger sense, Geologic felt too... fuzzy? I don't just mean the various allusions, or the ambiguous phenotype. The message is strong, but it is sufficiently subtle that it doesn't hit as hard for me as "Biographical".

This is not to criticize Geologic; had you published it separately, I'd still have upvoted and left a nice comment. But Biographical to me is by far the strongest prose I've read from you on the site (and some of the strongest I've read of any story in a while), so the sudden shift in tone in Geologic was what was it was.

TL;DR Biographic is too good :>

10582898
I will definitely take that high praise for Biographical! Thank you!

What you are describing actually fit my goals perfectly. I too have more emotional attachment to the feelings of stoic rock pony and discount Twilight than this species I deliberately created to have a worldview unsettling to us humans, and an origin that is literally a joke. It's supposed to serve as the falling part of the rising/falling emotional intensity scale. But I do understand a reader's desire to get off the ride at the top.

But yes, the beat is definitely fuzzy. I guess the strength for me comes more from the themes evoked by it than the immediate emotional force, and the contemplative mood that comes with the dénouement.

This sure doesn't pull any punches. Starlight died, Maud died, Grasping Hand died, all of us reading this will die. But it doesn't wallow in that. Love and friendship are still real, and can outlast the beings who experience them.

Right, I still feel like I didn't give this as much though as it deserved in my previous comment, so despite the distance (and still being somewhat low on time now), I thought I'd see if I thought of anything else to say.
This might be a bit disorganized, though...

10582368
"But yes, the weird, existential mixture was my goal, so I am glad I did my job."
Aye, I think so. :)

10582874
I'm afraid I'm not having many ideas about the particular details of the species and their origins you're interested in hearing reader speculation on.

10582911
"this species I deliberately created to have a worldview unsettling to us humans"
Huh. It was supposed to be unsettling? I don't think I got much at all of that, sorry.

Some other thoughts:
I recall being rather surprised that Maud actually died in Biographical; from the title of the next chapter and, well, who it was, my leading guess for how things would go, now that she'd been warned well ahead of the degradation becoming apparent and accelerating, was "cryo"genics by means of petrification. Petrogenics? Not right away, but before her health deteriorated too much; that way, either she can be revived later when a cure is found, or she's a rock. :D
But I can see that depending on the particular versions of the characters involved, and the mechanics of petrification in this universe. I also wonder if the oracle said something that ruled it out; there's much we don't know about the specifics of what the oracle said, after all.

Was Moving Finger's name a reference to the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam?

The moving finger writes; and, having writ, moves on: nor all thy piety nor wit shall lure it back to cancel half a line, nor all thy tears wash out a word of it.

(Though lest I look more (or at least differently?) widely-read than I am, I only know about the quote because a GM used it in an RPG I was in.)

...Well, that's a bit more commentary, at least. :)

Also, I'm kind of surprised you've not replied to my previous comment, but have to ones left after it? Is it just a matter of not having had time yet on your end (quite understandable!), or is there some problem? Sorry about it if it's the latter and any part of it was my fault.

10583763

Was Moving Finger's name a reference to the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam?

Yep! I hate coming up with names so I was glad there was a literary reference that fit the cultural scheme I had in mind.

I recall being rather surprised that Maud actually died in Biographical;

It's a major theme! How fossilization works, the fact that none of the original matter remains, and the only traces are left by the most inert parts of the body lasting long enough to form spaces for mineral formation, is in the text. Maud herself destroys Starlight's belief that she is becoming something permanent through the process.

I also wonder if the oracle said something that ruled it out; there's much we don't know about the specifics of what the oracle said, after all.

I only left clues about what the Oracle might have said, to be picked up later, but She was very clear that there was no way of saving Maud with the resources of the currently existing civilizations, including time travel, because time travel to prevent the ingestion would just create a past version of Maud that is saved but not the one that was in front of them.

Sorry about it if it's the latter and any part of it was my fault.

The reason was that your comments brought up edit ideas that I wanted to get done before replying, so I didn't have time. But in the future, try not to think this way! There are a lot of reasons I might not reply. But, I understand you. If there is ever a problem for some reason I will at least do you the courtesy of messaging you about it, otherwise assume that is not the issue.

10583839
Ah, thanks. And glad you had that, then, aye. :)

Heh. I remember back in middle school at one point, we were handling some fossils in class, and someone was surprised I was so at ease handling a coprolite; I explained that (at the time recently-learned, as I recall) in reply.
Though, two things here: first, I wasn't talking about fossilisation, but petrification by magic, the sort of thing cockatrices do.
Second:
"Maud herself destroys Starlight's belief that she is becoming something permanent through the process."
Weeeeeell... what is "becoming"? Yes, Maud seems to take the view that she's not becoming a fossil, but I think that's debatable. After all, is she her particular constituent atoms now? What of the constant exchange with the environment; at point point does a part of the world not-her become her and vice versa? I think there are multiple defensible definitions under both sides, that have her becoming the fossil or the fossil replacing her.
(Of course, "permanent" is a separate matter, and Starlight's belief another still)

Thanks, though that "resources of the currently existing civilizations" thing takes my mind back to petragenics(sp?). Of course, that might well also, if it's available at all, count as a resource of the currently existing civilizations, so. [shrugs]
But that would have been a pretty different story! And this worked, internally and for what it was and was trying to do, I think. :)

Ah, righto; thanks. :)

"But in the future, try not to think this way!"
Yeeeeah, kind of a long term ongoing struggle that, but thanks! :D

"If there is ever a problem for some reason I will at least do you the courtesy of messaging you about it, otherwise assume that is not the issue."
And thank you there, as well! :)

Commenting to note that I made some not-so-minor edits to Geologic. I changed the end to make very explicit the meaning I had originally intended to communicate subtly, and I added a fun thing about the interpretation of pegasa fossils. I also made more minor edits to both Geologic and Biographical, mostly typo correction.

10582869

"XIIIu"
...?

Based on cranial nerve numbering, but I don't know enough about the convention to know if sticking "u" on the end for "unicorn" makes sense or not.

Typos

Fixed, thanks! Disappointed I never caught these. Improved the Draconic Paradox thing, it was supposed to be that dracologists were slow to move away from their alternative hypothesis due to field-chauvinism and Moving Finger was rolling her eyes that accepting the null hypothesis was being spoken of as if it were this cool brand-new thing, but that doesn't come across in the way I wrote it.

Huh. Interesting. I tried to think on that a bit but am extremely an stressfully low on time, so didn't make much progress; I thought I'd try and comment in case there was something I was missing, or... something. Like I said, found it interesting, but having trouble being sure I'm thinking clearly about this due to unfortunately really needing to finish this chapter and get to something else.

I'm sad to say that this as well as everything else about the actual anatomy of the Paleontologists are ironic allusions and jokes, so that is what you spent your time on. To spoil it, this is to make the reference to the meme "standing next to each other" about how any ponies that are merely standing next to each other end up being shipped together.

This is certainly an unsettling story, but one that I appreciate nonetheless. I'll most likely be thinking about it for a bit. I'm not so good at expressing my thoughts, especially those that are profound, so I apologize in advance if I don't return to share them.

Then, it finally happened. Conscious life awoke on the planet once more. But unlike the first time, it was a long and clumsy process driven by the accidents of natural selection, rather than any teleological process.

Interesting implications for Equestria as we know it.

ripping off the baby finger all at once.

I do love touches like this that remind the reader that this species definitely isn't human. Likewise the implication than drifting fanfiction tastes are the primary cause of pair-bonds ending.

Entropy requires that any story becomes a tragedy if extended for long enough, but this was a beautiful one, brutal and touching by turns. Thank you for it.

10584802
I'll be here if you do, and I appreciate your comment! I also appreciate your Maud avatar.

10585126

Interesting implications for Equestria as we know it.

Glad you caught that! This is what happened to humans. We were not the only branch to achieve sapience. There were likely hundreds of human subspecies at one point, with varying body types and capacities of intelligence and sapience (which are not necessarily correlated with each other, fun fact!). We outcompeted and killed ALL of them. The Neanderthals just happened to be large enough in number and survive late enough to leave enough traces to enter popular knowledge.

Yet in Equestria, dozens of species of completely different lineages all achieve sentience and thauma-technological civilization at the same time! At the same time, they can communicate with each other, and their different species is not a barrier to having a common language, a common value system, a common culture! That is less variance than exists within single countries of humans! Strange, isn't it? Impossible, evolutionarily.

ripping off the baby finger all at once.

I do love touches like this that remind the reader that this species definitely isn't human. Likewise the implication than drifting fanfiction tastes are the primary cause of pair-bonds ending.

Thank you! I am proud of that one. It was originally "ripping off the Band-Aid(TM)" but then I realized that even ponies would not have that specific brand name to use in a metaphor, so I needed something that makes sense for the Paleontologists. I did not intend the fan-fiction thing to imply that that was the main cause, but rather a synecdoche for shifting tastes and attitudes in general (hope I used that word right here). But I suppose it contributes to the other-worldliness of the Paleontologists, so that's good.

Entropy requires that any story becomes a tragedy if extended for long enough, but this was a beautiful one, brutal and touching by turns. Thank you for it.

Thank you! I really "believe" in this story in the sense that I think it might be one of the more important things I ever write, and I think the themes it touches upon are important. I hope I can find a way to get it to more people one day.

10583868
Oh, I see what you mean by "petrification" now. I did not want to take the story in that direction. As written, what would have happened had they tried that is that the petrified Maud would just become inert stone when all the magic dies out anyway. I also didn't mean to imply that some future civilization will have the capacity to cure it, either, though I guess if that were possible it is moot since that future civilization does not come to be in this fic's continuity.

And yes, the word "becoming" is a very philosophically loaded term and becomes ambiguous on further examination!

10584528
Ah... I guess I'll need to go back through that chapter, the whole thing, it sounds like. Oh well; thank you for the notification! And the improvements themselves, of course, even if the timing happens to not be the most convenient for me personally.
(It's not that I mind the content (though there is some negative enthusiasm from just how recently I went through it the first time, and the expectation that most of the chapter will be the same) -- but I am, as seems to be the usual case, somewhat low on time relative to the list of things I have to do.)

"So anyway, she. Similar enough"
I could see that text being what you intended, in context, but I thought I'd point it out here rather than just assuming that in case it was a case of one or more additional words going missing.

And finished, and I did enjoy it and the new bits. :)
(I do note that now the dracologists' explanation for the Draconic Paradox isn't given, but I think that works alright. :))
Also, it looks like my suspicions from "“Yeah, crazy…” Grasping Hand agreed unenthusiastically." were probably right after all! Interestingly, as I recall, I considered them too much shipping-goggles-level to comment on, under the circumstances. :D
(Though, you know, sad for Grasping Hand there. But at least Boulder helped. :))

10584547
"Based on cranial nerve numbering, but I don't know enough about the convention to know if sticking "u" on the end for "unicorn" makes sense or not."
Ah, thanks. As I didn't even know the convention existed, though, I can't help you there. :D

"Fixed, thanks! Disappointed I never caught these."
You're welcome! And don't worry; typos can be sneaky...

"Improved the Draconic Paradox thing, it was supposed to be that dracologists were slow to move away from their alternative hypothesis due to field-chauvinism and Moving Finger was rolling her eyes that accepting the null hypothesis was being spoken of as if it were this cool brand-new thing, but that doesn't come across in the way I wrote it."
Ah, thanks. And I think that does come across more clearly with the new text.

"I'm sad to say that this as well as everything else about the actual anatomy of the Paleontologists are ironic allusions and jokes, so that is what you spent your time on."
Oh. Well. Glad I didn't spend more time trying to work it out seriously, then, though I have to say I'm disappointed I didn't get more of the jokes. :D

"To spoil it, this is to make the reference to the meme "standing next to each other" about how any ponies that are merely standing next to each other end up being shipped together."
Ah, hah, thanks. :D

10585447
"Glad you caught that!"
Ah, I noticed that too but didn't comment on it, sorry.
(And thanks for the following thoughts on it. :))

"I really "believe" in this story in the sense that I think it might be one of the more important things I ever write, and I think the themes it touches upon are important. I hope I can find a way to get it to more people one day."
Aye, good luck!
I think the impact on me personally was less than it might have been, but primarily because I was already familiar with, or at least aware of, a number of the heavier ideas raised. I think it presented them pretty well, though, and is far from the worst introduction someone could get. :)
(And I'm looking forward to reading the commentary after I post this.)

10585485
"I did not want to take the story in that direction."
Right, like I said, that would have been a pretty different story, but I didn't know what sort of story it was back when I was having those speculations.

"As written, what would have happened had they tried that is that the petrified Maud would just become inert stone when all the magic dies out anyway."
Oh, interesting; many more questions raised there, of course, but it's not as if I expect you to detail every even in millions of years of time. :D

"I also didn't mean to imply that some future civilization will have the capacity to cure it, either, though I guess if that were possible it is moot since that future civilization does not come to be in this fic's continuity."
Right, I don't think you did make that implication? Sorry if there was some confusion there.
But yes, quite plausible that it just happened to not happen, and that the oracle was able to successfully predict that such that they didn't even try.
(That said, I could potentially see a Maud opting for petrification anyway, but that depends on the particular Maud's feelings on that vs. natural fossilization and, again, I think it's quite plausible that this Maud would prefer the latter.)
((So much of fanfiction depends on what "this particular X" is like, of course -- one example that came to mind with this story is that there are many Equestrias where it really doesn't work, where the very laws of physics themselves don't support it. But, happily, there are so many possible and plausible Equestrias for authors to draw and draw upon, and thus this story and the placement of thoughts within it could happen with one that did support it. :)))

"And yes, the word "becoming" is a very philosophically loaded term and becomes ambiguous on further examination!"
:)

Thanks for writing, again!

Well, I decided to read the story again to try to get a better understanding of it, so here's my real comment. Neurochemical and Biographical are great, and while Geologic feels kinda different, I think it still fits in really well. It is apparent that history is doomed to repeat itself, what with the rise and fall of civilizations, botched archive transfers, and bad analogies.

I got these weird contradictory feelings after reading. One is that nothing we do matters, because on a large enough timescale, what once gave something meaning no longer exists. This is easily seen in the ending of the story, where all civilizations have fallen and nothing remains of either the ponies or the paleontologists. Does the fact that someone was once a billionaire philanthropist who effected world peace matter 100 years from now? How about 1,000? A million? What about this site? Surely not many of us see this place still existing even 20 years down the line, at least not in its current state. Sure, most of us would fondly remember it and the memories made, but does it really matter in the grand scheme of things? It's not exactly a pleasant thought, having something you care about eventually being reduced to nothing.

And yet, the other feeling I had is that everything we do matters, simply because it's happening now. You let Maud say it best:

I try not to get upset or sad about things I can’t control.

You can't change the past (this story notwithstanding) and you can't change the future on a long enough scale. You don't even technically exist in these time periods, so why bother caring for them when you have your own present life to worry about? Why else would we be here, on a relatively niche fanfiction site dedicated to a show that's no longer running? One of the reasons is because the experiences we make here allow us to create our own beautiful views of the current world, both of fiction and reality. It's what helps make us feel alive, and that's what really matters. These worlds may only exist in the mind, but they define who we are.

There's also something to be said for interpretations of things that once existed in the past. Something that matters now might matter differently at some point in the future. Grasping Hand and Moving Finger are seen coming up with different explanations for why the pony fossils existed in such a state. They do this from both their own worldview and a theoretical one that existed during their period. They never fully grasp the true meaning behind it, but they are incapable of doing so anyway. Remember CRT televisions? They were once the standard for household televisions, but now they're usually found in retro gaming communities due to perceived advantages they offer over modern televisions. Of course, these CRT televisions are physically the same as they've always been, but the purpose they once held has changed. If you had never seen one in a household functioning as a regular television but had seen plenty of them used for retro gaming, you might think that retro gaming would be their true purpose. And some might consider you to be correct, because the fact that they were once used as regular televisions no longer matters in the context of the current world, which has created cheaper and (subjectively) higher-quality alternatives.

This story does not touch on the concept of afterlife, but my thoughts naturally went there regardless. Whether or not you are theistic, you surely have some belief in what happens to your "soul" after death. I consider myself to be agnostic, but I choose to believe that an afterlife is possible. Whether it is like Heaven, or it is simply a reincarnation into another being, I cannot know. I'd like it to be either Heaven or nothing, though; an endless cycle of rebirth sounds quite disconcerting. Since we don't know and will never know what happens until our time has come, we've just got to make do with what we have now.

Anyway, those were some of my thoughts after reading the story. Sorry if it was too philosophical, but that's what this story made me think of. Of course I really liked the content of the story, I just can't think of much to say about it that wasn't already said in this post and in others. I don't usually make posts like this, but your story is pretty much the only one so far that's got me to think like this.

Anyway, I've spent far too long writing this up. Long story short, Boulder is clearly the most powerful character since he can live for millions of years. Also, for some reason the story views are lower in the first chapter and higher in the last chapter.

10586104

It is apparent that history is doomed to repeat itself, what with the rise and fall of civilizations, botched archive transfers, and bad analogies.

Yep, that echoing is intentional. But it is meaningful that the second botched archive transfer was due to budget cuts, which is pointed out as a concept that translates between the eons and species with absolutely no need for modification. It is not necessarily a sign of failing to learn the lessons of the past; economics is a force of its own.

And yet, the other feeling I had is that everything we do matters, simply because it's happening now. You let Maud say it best:

I aspire to be the kind of pony the Maud I wrote is. You got the lesson I wanted to impart without me directly stating it in the text, so thank you!

You can't change the past (this story notwithstanding)

I intended for this story to not be an exception. Even if Starlight had succeeded, she would have saved a Maud but not her Maud, the one who died in her timeline and whose death drove her to agree to this mission for Princess Twilight Sparkle, then-ruler of Equestria. Though I suppose one could say under certain interpretations of what counts as the same person, she would have, considering this Maud had the exact same memories and experiences up to the point of her Starlight’s death. Time travel is confusing, isn’t it?

These worlds may only exist in the mind, but they define who we are.

Having spent twenty hours on writing this thing, more with these comments and blog posts, I have to agree. This stuff is definitely an outlet for who I am.

There's also something to be said for interpretations of things that once existed in the past.

That is definitely one of the themes. The entire pony civilization once meant a whole lot to the ponies that lived in it, but in the timeframe of Geologic the meaning is now as a source of arguments, papers, research jobs, and status for a subset of academics, whose interpretations are incapable of being right, as you said since there is a fundamental assumption they are making about how the universe worked. But what the pony civilization’s interpretation means for them does not actually depend on the accuracy of the interpretation. They are doing their best to match their theories with the evidence, in this game there will be theories that work better and theories that do not, and the meaning they derive from how nicely the theories fit the evidence is what matters.

I don't usually make posts like this, but your story is pretty much the only one so far that's got me to think like this.

I really appreciate you saying this. This is the kind of reaction I wanted the story to invoke.

This story does not touch on the concept of afterlife, but my thoughts naturally went there regardless.

All I can say is that my Maud does not believe in an afterlife. I haven’t decided what the range of beliefs in my pony civilization are. As far as I’m aware, the canon has completely steered clear of this topic, which I think was a wise move.

Anyway, I've spent far too long writing this up.

I certainly appreciate all of the time you put into it!

Long story short, Boulder is clearly the most powerful character since he can live for millions of years.

I briefly considered writing a fourth chapter, Cosmological, which does deal with this little loose end (which I appreciate you having noticed). But on further reflection I can’t bring myself to kill off the most innocent and precious character on the show as well. I will probably write the chapter as a blog post and link it in the Author’s Notes at the end, but Boulder will still be “alive” at the end of it, whatever your interpretation of that is.

Also, for some reason the story views are lower in the first chapter and higher in the last chapter.

I ended up loading the last two chapters a lot while working on edits to them since I like the way the site presents it better than my own word processor, not to mention while replying to comments. I had hoped that this site counts views from the same IP and account on the same day as not separate views, but if it does not, that would explain the statistical oddity.

The detached descriptions and prose that dominate the majority of this chapter are a bold stylistic choice. One that I feel paid off. This is especially apparent to me because I started reading this story with the thought that Maud would be the one to die, not Starlight, so the fact that Maud ends up as the surviving partner makes the style feel... more suitable, I guess. Like there's more distance placed between what happened and how it felt.

She goes back on her interest in the unicorn at all. In unicorns at all. Clearly, something isn’t right here, in this imbalance of power. That is all this incident means for her.

I can see your thoughts on unicorns carrying over here. It makes sense that Maud would analyze such a thing in a similar way, I think. The disparity between Earth ponies and the other two races isn't one that the show wants to tackle outside of Winter Wrap-Up and Hearth's Warming (along with The Ending Of The End), but I can't imagine no Earth ponies (particularly studious ones) haven't considered it.

But if she realizes this, if mortal creatures realize in general how fragile their lives truly are, they would never get anything done due to being paralyzed by fear.

Indeed. Can't stare too long into the abyss, after all.

A year passed.

Timeskips, beyond being a way to move the plot forward, usually imply that nothing significant happened during the "lost time" as well. I'm not sure if that's intended this way (yet), but, if so, the implications are pretty heartbreaking. It happened, a year passed, and, now, here we are...

“I know we haven’t been officially dating for very long.” Maud said, holding her pose. “But we know each other so well after what we lived through together this past year. And I count us starting from our first date here.”

This was my first indication that something was off.

She would have to tell Maud. She would have to tell Maud everything and she hated every bit of it.

Oh man...

“You’re from the future. ” Maud said with no inflection in her voice. She put the ring away and sat down. “You replaced the Starlight that died under those rocks the moment you came here.“

Well, this was a gut-punch to Starlight and myself. The explanation that follows makes sense, but even if Maud hadn't seen the two Starlights, I think she would have known. Nothing gets past her. The quiet ones pick up on a lot. They always do. Maud doesn't waste time or energy on unnecessary speech, so all that focus goes elsewhere. Plus, y'know, love.

Starlight frowned as she remembered what it took to convince Octavia the guidance counselor to look into it, and the trouble she had to rescue her from afterward.

Huh... I wonder what this Starlight was doing if she had Octavia take her place as guidance counselor? Nice callback to A Horse Shoe-In, though.

“If you want, I can show you the next time I go. I made a really nice rock grave for your body. With pretty stones that I think you would have liked.“

This shouldn't make me want to cry, but it does.

“My world’s fine. I just can’t go back until the timeline catches up, so I have to stay here until then, stay here through…”

The emotion here is so raw and visceral...

“It’s a prion disease.

Fuck, I wasn't expecting that. Prion diseases terrify me in a way that not much else does, even considering a global pandemic and the health issues family/friends have gone through. Something about it just being a protein strand gone awry (that, unlike cancer, has no treatment) is so relentlessly... unfair. Like, not to devolve the comments into my own feelings on, uh, a lot of big-picture stuff, but this is just one of many things about life that strikes me to the core. Poor Maud.

Starlight wanted to but did not say that what the Oracle told her meant that her world was ending. Just not in the way Maud had thought. But she didn’t, because this wasn’t about her.

Y'know, you can zoom-out and describe love in the same way that you described Starlight's reaction to the rockfall, but just like those lines didn't capture what happened to her or Maud after, these lines perfectly describe love. Love cannot be conceptualized or explained in a way that is any more satisfying than paragraphs like this.

"Three years. The first symptoms start in about two.”

The suffering...

The jokes Maud cracked a bit after these were funny, and I felt awful for laughing at them. Good job.

“Of course I’m sad. Three years isn’t enough. There will still be so much more I’d want to learn about rocks. So much more time I’d want to spend with the ponies I love.” She turned to look at Starlight meaningfully. “But three hundred years wouldn’t be enough, either. I’d say the exact same thing.” She blinked. “I’ll have to take some comfort in that.”

Okay, fine, fine. You made me cry. Are you happy now?

“Boulder will live the best life a chunk of basalt ever could!”

I guess I needed it...

Whenever I feel like I’m in the presence and mercy of a powerful being whose world I will never understand, I remind myself that even they can’t stop the continents from drifting.“

Damn, this is almost reverence. My silly spiritual heart can't get enough.

It was because Maud had become a poisoned chalice for her to drink. Every kiss and caress coming with an aftertaste of future betrayal and pain.

... This bit. Yeah. Thanks for writing this. I... it helps with something.

Because that way, the whole world would see who she was. Not as a supervillain, but as somepony who didn’t deserve happiness.

God, thank you. Thank you for getting this about Starlight. This is why she's such a fantastic character to write/watch/read about. So many writers I've on here have just attributed her flaws to "Haha commie horse have anger problem" or "Hahaha commie horse listened to emo music and read pony Marx," but that's not it. Starlight fundamentally doesn't love or accept herself, especially in light of her wrongdoings, and that drives so many of her decisions.

“Because once in a while, you would mess up. You would let yourself be happy. I would have to work hard to make it happen, and it would only last a moment. But that made everything worth it. And maybe that’s not healthy. But that’s how I feel.”

To borrow some of your phrasing in your comments on Tempest: Hey, look, I know writing is hard and getting ideas is like pulling teeth... But can you stop looking into my life and stealing bits of my soul for your fic? Seems pretty fuckin' rude without an attribution. :ajsmug:

On the timescale of a lifetime, it didn’t matter.

Oh no, I'm gonna start crying again.

I feel like this is one of the most profound things I've read in a long while. And something I personally needed.

I don't want to quote every single line in this chapter, but I hope you know that I loved every word.

The only sapient life on the planet for millions of years, destined for greatness and purpose by some creator God, the details of which there was absolutely no agreement on.

Maybe they just aren't reading closely enough.*

*I'm including those links to demonstrate that you wrote words on this site about magical gay horses that reminded me of my own faith. I'm not here to convert or debate you (or anyone else). I just want you to know that you're a brilliant writer to give me that feeling, amongst other feelings, with this story.

Some time from now, but no time at all in the geologic timescale, Discord created their evolutionary ancestors as a prank, because He thought it would be “ironic”.

Discord would, that jerk.

The whole section with Finger and Hand was uproariously funny at points. Analyzing the magical gay horses like a scientist (of any discipline) would is a fascinatingly funny concept.

I mean, can you imagine? Holding hands, cuddling, even having sex with something you could have a conversation with? That would be crazy!”

“Yeah, crazy…” Grasping Hand agreed unenthusiastically.

Someone needs to get out more. :rainbowlaugh:

“The terra’s is at the lower end of the female range,” Grasping Hand um-actuallied, “and the species is low-dimorphism enough for the trait distribution curves of the two sexes to intersect.”

Another great "dialogue tag that isn't a dialogue tag" here. Way to break English right. Trans Maud is a headcanon I can get behind. Something about ponies who insist on wearing clothes at all times makes it easy to have such a headcanon.

Maybe one of them ate rocks. Maybe one of them loved rocks. Maybe one of them had a rock as a pet! Maybe one of them was a time-traveling wizard!“

Okay, now you've lost me. No one would ever believe that.

All the necessary pain done and over in one moment, so that the new finger of emotional maturity and not being obsessed with ponies all of a sudden can grow in its place, or something…. This was a bad analogy.

Is it?

Oh man. Finger giving Hand Boulder...

It seems rather silly to point out the obvious symbolism. So, instead, I'll do something sillier and point out the entire ending of this beautiful story:

What Grasping Hand saw in those images was how that bond felt. Strong and important enough to make an old unicorna lay herself to rest next to a terra that had died a lifetime ago.

And that was something she could neither explain nor admit.

To call it “forbidden” in her species would not quite be accurate. “Impossible” would be a more accurate term.

So what would you call a being who wanted such a thing for herself? Something impossible to realize because the species it was meant for only existed as dead images cast in stone or as pixels on a screen?

“Lonely”, one might say.

That is why she kept the rock all those years. Because whenever she looked at it, inexplicably, it spoke to her. Not in words, but in a feeling of knowing. That the bond she wanted, and would never in her lifetime or in any other lifetime actually have, was not an abstract concept dreamed up by an intellectual exercise, but rather something that once truly existed and was real and precious and strong.

And that made her feel a little bit less alone.

It makes me feel a little less alone too.

Beyond the concept of everything simultaneously mattering and not mattering (which makes the things we do so beautifully, intrinsically significantly unimportant and meaningful in every breath), this story has some meaning for me that I'd rather not get into. So I'll just say thanks for writing it, give you a fave (and the follow that I somehow, in my endless stupidity, forgot to give you already), and post some pictures of magical gay horses:

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The detached descriptions and prose that dominate the majority of this chapter are a bold stylistic choice. One that I feel paid off.

Thank you! I thought it was a necessary one given the timescale it takes place in.

I couldn't figure out how to write this for my Thematic Commentary, but one of the themes is "helplessness", which is most often interpreted as "helplessness in the face of a greater power" (present in Biographical), as well as "helplessness in the face of long timescales" (present in Geologic), but one thing people don't consider very much is "helplessness in the face of short timescales". Our conscious minds simply are not present, and the actions "we" take are actually done by the parts of us that are not "us", in a sense. This makes describing what happens at this timescale inherently alienating and detached.

I can see your thoughts on unicorns carrying over here. It makes sense that Maud would analyze such a thing in a similar way, I think. The disparity between Earth ponies and the other two races isn't one that the show wants to tackle outside of Winter Wrap-Up and Hearth's Warming (along with The Ending Of The End), but I can't imagine no Earth ponies (particularly studious ones) haven't considered it.

Yes, the equality between tribes is NOT tackled very thoroughly by the show at all, but nopony talks about it. Except Maud, in her stand-up which I linked in the Thematic Commentary, though you may have seen that since I see you left a comment there. That is what informed my Maud's changing stance on unicorns. Also, obviously, this is the only reason she could possibly have to decide to start a relationship with Mudbriar over the two lovely unicorn ladies in her life!

Indeed. Can't stare too long into the abyss, after all.

Indeed.

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Well, this was a gut-punch to Starlight and myself. The explanation that follows makes sense, but even if Maud hadn't seen the two Starlights, I think she would have known. Nothing gets past her. The quiet ones pick up on a lot. They always do. Maud doesn't waste time or energy on unnecessary speech, so all that focus goes elsewhere. Plus, y'know, love.

I co-sign all of this. But now I will have to figure out how to actually cash this emotional check in the Zebra Lands adventure fic I’m going to write.

Huh... I wonder what this Starlight was doing if she had Octavia take her place as guidance counselor? Nice callback to A Horse Shoe-In, though.

Not quite nailed it down yet, but at the minimum, Future Starlight’s plan in the past would require her to be free to do the mission, so at the very least she would have to refuse the guidance counselor post. And thanks! I’m glad Octavia got one more chance to speak in that episode before the show died, rip.

This shouldn't make me want to cry, but it does.

I literally lie in bed bawling my eyes out because I thought up a sad line or scene in a fic I’m not even planning to write for months in the future! And I cried a lot for this fic. So you are in good company there.

Like, not to devolve the comments into my own feelings on, uh, a lot of big-picture stuff, but this is just one of many things about life that strikes me to the core.

I have a feeling I might feel the same way about life as you do. The relentless unfairness is just… *sigh*, you know? Like a puzzle piece that just doesn’t fit.

Y'know, you can zoom-out and describe love in the same way that you described Starlight's reaction to the rockfall, but just like those lines didn't capture what happened to her or Maud after, these lines perfectly describe love. Love cannot be conceptualized or explained in a way that is any more satisfying than paragraphs like this.

Thank you so much. I cannot think of a higher compliment I could receive. This really means a lot to me.

The jokes Maud cracked a bit after these were funny, and I felt awful for laughing at them. Good job.

This might be an equally high compliment in a way. I really tried to capture the combination of Maud’s stoicness, wit, and love for Starlight in those jokes, and I’m really, really glad that it came through for you. :)

Okay, fine, fine. You made me cry. Are you happy now?

Yes. :) I am very happy. Crying happy tears.

Damn, this is almost reverence. My silly spiritual heart can't get enough.

:)

... This bit. Yeah. Thanks for writing this. I... it helps with something.

I’m really glad it does. It’s something meaningful to me as well.

God, thank you. Thank you for getting this about Starlight. This is why she's such a fantastic character to write/watch/read about. So many writers I've on here have just attributed her flaws to "Haha commie horse have anger problem" or "Hahaha commie horse listened to emo music and read pony Marx," but that's not it. Starlight fundamentally doesn't love or accept herself, especially in light of her wrongdoings, and that drives so many of her decisions.

Anti-communism really robs people of their humanity and I say that as a decidedly ex-communist. Starlight is a beautiful magical gay horse who deserves to be able to love and forgive herself.

To borrow some of your phrasing in your comments on Tempest: Hey, look, I know writing is hard and getting ideas is like pulling teeth... But can you stop looking into my life and stealing bits of my soul for your fic? Seems pretty fuckin' rude without an attribution. :ajsmug:

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Oh no, I'm gonna start crying again.

I feel like this is one of the most profound things I've read in a long while. And something I personally needed.

I don't want to quote every single line in this chapter, but I hope you know that I loved every word.

I love that you loved every word, and especially that it gave you something you needed. I put in a lot of thought, effort, and myself into this, and was afraid it would sink into the depths without being seen. But I feel as if my writing is seen now with your comment, and that is very precious to me. Thank you so much for reading.

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I just want you to know that you're a brilliant writer to give me that feeling, amongst other feelings, with this story.

Dare I accept such a Great and Powerful compliment? (Thank you! You are too kind.)

The whole section with Finger and Hand was uproariously funny at points. Analyzing the magical gay horses like a scientist (of any discipline) would is a fascinatingly funny concept.

Yes, I loved writing how the remains of a magic-powered civilization and species would be interpreted by magic-less paleontologists millions of years in the future. There is just so much potential in it that I’m surprised I am apparently the first one to do it. But maybe hard sci-fi nerds like me are actually hard to come by on this website. (Wait, scratch that, I’m not a nerd! I am, in fact, very cool.)

Another great "dialogue tag that isn't a dialogue tag" here. Way to break English right.

Anything can be a dialogue tag if you’re brave enough.

Trans Maud is a headcanon I can get behind. Something about ponies who insist on wearing clothes at all times makes it easy to have such a headcanon.

Ha, I never considered that commonality between stoic rock pony and homeless magician. But unlike Maud, Trixie eventually starts hanging around without clothes.

Okay, now you've lost me. No one would ever believe that.

I gotta say, out of all of those eating rocks is still the weirdest to me. But that is what makes Maud so dang quirky and fun!

Oh man. Finger giving Hand Boulder...

Fun fact: Boulder is the only character to appear in all three chapters. It is a cruel injustice that he does not have a character tag on this site.

It makes me feel a little less alone too.

Me too.

Me too.

Beyond the concept of everything simultaneously mattering and not mattering (which makes the things we do so beautifully, intrinsically significantly unimportant and meaningful in every breath), this story has some meaning for me that I'd rather not get into.

I am glad you were able to get so much meaning from my horse words. I tried to put as much meaning into them as much as I could.

So I'll just say thanks for writing it, give you a fave (and the follow that I somehow, in my endless stupidity, forgot to give you already), and post some pictures of magical gay horses:

Thank you for your kind words and your pictures of the horses. I imagine them to be scenes from Starlight and Maud’s all-too short but beautiful time together, after Starlight started allowing herself to be happy. Also thank you for the follow, I can finally say that senpai followed me.

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I couldn't figure out how to write this for my Thematic Commentary, but one of the themes is "helplessness", which is most often interpreted as "helplessness in the face of a greater power" (present in Biographical), as well as "helplessness in the face of long timescales" (present in Geologic), but one thing people don't consider very much is "helplessness in the face of short timescales". Our conscious minds simply are not present, and the actions "we" take are actually done by the parts of us that are not "us", in a sense. This makes describing what happens at this timescale inherently alienating and detached.

Yeah, I can see that helplessness shining through in all three chapters. And yeah, on a neurological level, so much that "we" do is not up to us. Synapses fire and adrenaline floods and does whatever that system thinks is best before we even know what's going on or why we're feeling that way. It's both beautiful and terrifying to think about.

Yes, the equality between tribes is NOT tackled very thoroughly by the show at all, but nopony talks about it. Except Maud, in her stand-up which I linked in the Thematic Commentary, though you may have seen that since I see you left a comment there.

I did see that!

That is what informed my Maud's changing stance on unicorns. Also, obviously, this is the only reason she could possibly have to decide to start a relationship with Mudbriar over the two lovely unicorn ladies in her life!

Oh, obviously.

I co-sign all of this. But now I will have to figure out how to actually cash this emotional check in the Zebra Lands adventure fic I’m going to write.

I'm sure you'll find a way. :)

I literally lie in bed bawling my eyes out because I thought up a sad line or scene in a fic I’m not even planning to write for months in the future! And I cried a lot for this fic. So you are in good company there.

Oh, I figured as much. No way someone could write words like this and not be impacted by them. As the falsely attributed Hemingway quote goes, "All you do is sit at a typewriter and bleed..."

Thank you so much. I cannot think of a higher compliment I could receive. This really means a lot to me.

You're welcome. I'm glad it does, because the story meant a lot to me too.

Anti-communism really robs people of their humanity and I say that as a decidedly ex-communist. Starlight is a beautiful magical gay horse who deserves to be able to love and forgive herself.

It really does. All the Starlights of the world deserve better.

I love that you loved every word, and especially that it gave you something you needed. I put in a lot of thought, effort, and myself into this, and was afraid it would sink into the depths without being seen. But I feel as if my writing is seen now with your comment, and that is very precious to me. Thank you so much for reading.

From one high compliment to another, I'm happy to say you're welcome. :twilightsmile:

Yes, I loved writing how the remains of a magic-powered civilization and species would be interpreted by magic-less paleontologists millions of years in the future. There is just so much potential in it that I’m surprised I am apparently the first one to do it. But maybe hard sci-fi nerds like me are actually hard to come by on this website. (Wait, scratch that, I’m not a nerd! I am, in fact, very cool.)

While there are a decent handful of stories on the site with the Sci-Fi tag, I don't think your kind is very common, no. The paleontologists were an idea I, at least, hadn't seen before. You made it pretty interesting and fun, even for someone who is not as nerdy cool as yourself.

Ha, I never considered that commonality between stoic rock pony and homeless magician. But unlike Maud, Trixie eventually starts hanging around without clothes.

True, Trixie eventually gets more confidence. Plus, she has that imbalanced magic (illusion spell) on her side. The other trans character I wrote, on the other hand hoof...

I gotta say, out of all of those eating rocks is still the weirdest to me. But that is what makes Maud so dang quirky and fun!

I could see her doing it.

Fun fact: Boulder is the only character to appear in all three chapters. It is a cruel injustice that he does not have a character tag on this site.

I noticed both. Life is so unfair...

I am glad you were able to get so much meaning from my horse words. I tried to put as much meaning into them as much as I could.

Be glad, because you succeeded.

I imagine them to be scenes from Starlight and Maud’s all-too short but beautiful time together, after Starlight started allowing herself to be happy.

That was the intent. :twilightsmile:

Also thank you for the follow, I can finally say that senpai followed me.

I'll accept being called an anime term exactly once. You earned it.

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True, Trixie eventually gets more confidence. Plus, she has that imbalanced magic (illusion spell) on her side. The other trans character I wrote, on the other hand hoof...

I skimmed through that one actually, and I gotta say, I was instantly convinced 1000% percent. It really is uncanny. It’s also funny that all of Starlight’s friends are trans now and that is the only thing that makes sense to me.

While there are a decent handful of stories on the site with the Sci-Fi tag, I don't think your kind is very common, no.

Sci-Fi isn’t all spaceships and laser guns!

I'll accept being called an anime term exactly once. You earned it.

Thank you, s—
Thank you!

Interesting making of a distinctly unhuman species, with little details revealed, though the 'broodmale' term was introduced a bit before it actually made sense.

I'll be honest, I half expected Boulder to talk or otherwise communicate in some way.

Well you did say you aren't an expert so just one comment on the time scale: it rather depends on how advanced Discord started them as. The transition from the first mamalians to homo sapiens took what, 70 million years or so? 'Millions' suggested no more than 10 million to me, but they could well have started out somewhere equivalent to homonoidea or even hominidae (...homonid grouping names all look too similar if you ask me).

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"Broodmale" is not supposed to make sense at first, it's supposed to throw the reader off together with the the implications for the Paleontologists' worldview. Also I only picked that because "broodmare" is a term I've seen used in… other… parts of the fandom and I thought it would be fun to reverse it.

If you're talking about the timeline for emergence of sapience in general, well, they kind of had a head start in weird ways which I indicated with the atavism bit. Also we have a sample size of 1 for "how long it takes for sapience to evolve", and even asking that kind of question is taking a teleological perspective anyway.

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To both: Fair enough. And yes I was referring to sentience evolution. I missed the atavism part. Does that imply Discord's creations were sentient?

Millions of years passed.

Fuck.

I can't say much that wouldn't be an echo of GfG's earlier comment, but still. Holy damn do you write insanely well. Every single story of yours I've ever read has been an absolute banger, every word. I'm glad you think you'll continue. You deserve the world for it.

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Thank you so much! Comments like this really keep me going

A really interesting world you’ve built here, I greatly enjoyed reading it :twilightsmile:

Hello, a review to your story has been posted. I hope you find it helpful. :raritywink:

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Thank you so much! I am very honored that you took the time and effort for such a thorough review. I learned a lot about my work from it. Wanted to give my thoughts in response to your thoughts here:


To preface, I’d like to say that I posted this fic in your box not because of your reviewer summary, but because I read your review of Loqui Veritatem In Caritate by Gay For Gadot and was very impressed with it. It showed me you were a great reviewer, and I would continue on about that but I admit I feel a bit self-indulgent praising your abilities after leaving such a positive review!


I believe, however, that this feeds into my larger takeaway: that this is a story about, on some level, unknowability, but perhaps, even more importantly, the acceptance thereof.

I think in the end this is a common theme to all of my serious works. Knowing just how unknowable the world and even ourselves are, and finding ways to accept both that and our place of helplessness in it.

Yet I don’t think we can actively say the narrator isn’t a character. It does do something to the story: it brings the reader to it far more intimately than we might have expected. In this way, the narrator seems to be able to render the story as not a story, but as an experience.

I did feel very much as if the narrator voice I used in this had a lot more of myself than the usual mechanical, functional one I use otherwise. In a way it had to be, as otherwise the sections without characters would not have a voice at all, and that is just not good writing. Trying to render it an intimate experience is precisely what I was going for without thinking of it in those words, so thank you for giving me the words for it.

My point is that I’m not sure I would consider them well-rounded characters. They are, rather, flat, and they don’t really exist in the story’s plot so much as the narrator, in a way, invents them to explore the story further. This is, no doubt, an ironic assessment given the nature of stories.

This really makes clear for me exactly what was “off” about Geologic. I am glad that you found it enjoyable nonetheless, but something in me could see something in the contrast between the reception to it and Biographical.

While a writer of greater skill than I could have made these characters less flat within the constraints that I had, in the end I think it was a mistake to render this as a traditional dialogue scene between two entities. Instead, I should have written this in the same narrative tone as Neurochemical and the first part of Geologic, which would itself emphasize the unknowability of the two characters in it. In essence, I took two characters that were designed to be unknowable and tried to render them legible and knowable by flattening their interactions to a dialogue, and this was the mistake.

It’s telling that the parts of Geologic that I’d always been happiest with were the beginning and end, since those were the parts that see a return to the omniscient narrator voice. With a few modifications, the whole thing could have been done that way and been better for it.

I often say that I want good comments because I want to learn something new about what I wrote, and this is a big and important thing I learned just now. Thank you for it.

There shouldn’t have been a period after “Don’t,” since what follows isn’t an action, but a dialogue tag. Such an issue pops up a lot in the second chapter, but that’s largely because the second chapter is, itself, a traditional story more-or-less.

Funny story! At the time of writing this story I was feeling ambivalent about the standard convention for how dialogue tags work. So there may have been unintentional errors for Starlight’s lines as well as the Palentologists’. However, the use of periods at the end of every sentence by Dr. Maudileena Daisy Pie was an intentional breaking of rules to get across the monotone definitiveness of how she talks (I imagine she ends all of her text messages with a period).

This is both the fault of and not the fault of the author.

This is where one of the weaknesses of writing the central part of Geologic as a dialogue comes in. If anything, I erred on the side of a casual conversation between two scientists as being too “As you know, Bob”, but in the end it has to be a casual conversation, which means a lot of what is said can’t really be picked up by an outsider casually listening in. An omniscient narration would have allowed me to rotate and flatten concepts and draw out metaphors to make the actual thing that is being said under the jargon easier to understand.

Yet, it sings, doesn’t it? One doesn’t get lost. One feels gently guided by a narrator who knows how to string a bunch of words together to get this sense of time passing.

I am really glad you saw and appreciated this. I am not a good enough writer to have moments of poetry come easily enough so that they can themselves be used as notes in a composition, so the moments of poetry that do find themselves into my work are precious to me, and the quoted sentence as well as the section around them are one of them.

The unknowability of language faded to make way for the experience of language, and, after reading this story, I can’t say that that isn’t a little bit fitting.

This itself is a beautiful way to express an experience. Thank you for it.

This story is unknowable. Yet it is also knowable for that same reason. I find that that’s part of the story’s charm and which even contributes to its excellence. One of the core questions raised by the end of the story is, How much can we actually know about love, or our past, or the ancestors, or anything, really? It’s wholly unknown, and while the story plays around with entertaining explanations all throughout, there isn’t really anything to suggest a concrete answer to everything.

Yes, this. This is my worldview, which is also why I find so distasteful certain very specific subgenres of ponyfiction which do not seem to treat the universe that way. There is something I find sacred in the unknowability of the universe/pure mathematics/ourselves, and that is something I hope to reflect in my writing.

(Did I mention this story has me feeling existential? It does, but that’s a lovely thing sometimes).

I am glad you experienced it as lovely!

Love and stories and time, and the intermingling of all those things in this experience we call life, do not demonstrate a clear and absolute conviction towards reason or sanity. They happen, as many things do, but the joy is not in figuring them out so much as realizing they exist and that we have the chance to have them, too.

This is something beautiful I myself could not have written in analyzing this work. Thank you for it.

It’s warm, that’s what I’m saying, I think. It’s incredibly warm, and despite the sadness, it’s reassuring in this way.

That is exactly what I aim for. Even in my darkest and saddest stories there will always be that warmth, because without it the sadness doesn’t really have a purpose. It is also in my view inhuman to write sadness without any warmth whatsoever, because to actually respect the characters going through it, you have to find that warmth, even if the characters truly are suffering and the situation is so very unfair, else you are just reveling in their sadness.


With a work such as this, I really do end up putting a lot of myself into the story and its themes, and a thousand upvotes are outweighed by one person showing me that they really understood this piece of myself and were impacted by it. I am very grateful for both the time you took in reading this story and the I imagine much greater time it took to compose this very thorough review.

On a personal note and admission of weakness, sometimes I lament that I joined a dying fandom and that I missed my opportunity to reach a large audience with my words. There are many times when I post something whose reception falls short of what I had hoped, and I feel frustrated at just how many hours of my life it takes to push out a story and wonder if what I’m doing is worth it. This review will be one of the things I reach for to reassure myself that it definitely is worth it. Particularly the way you started it all.

Ah, buck. Buck buck bucking buck buck buck I should not have been listening to “Itsumo Nando Demo” (Always With Me) while reading this ooooooooh buck man buck

You want a summary? I dunno, here. It’s a story about Maud and Starlight and love and time travel and existential decay and endurance of the qualities that best define or best destroy that which has the potential to live and then to die. I don’t know. This is a story that I cannot, in good conscience, provide an adequate summary for - it’s an experience that needs to be done blindly. You want a summary? You have to read this story for yourself. That’s the summary.

BUCK

I really could not ask for higher praise than that. Thank you for everything.

just wanted to pop by and say this story affected me on a deep and visceral emotional level and i want to thank you

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No, thank you! Comments like this always mean a lot to me

Chapter 1: Oh, this is interesting, I... wait. Oh no. :fluttercry:

Chapter 2: *sobs* :raritycry:

Chapter 3: I am not remotely smart enough for this today. :rainbowderp: Maybe tomorrow.

The irony of Maud, of all ponies, dying of 'mad pony disease' is... bracing. I have TWO incomplete stories about prion disease, though with... ahem... a darker transmission vector.

Feeling sad Maud died, going to look at pictures of her now.

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Instead of Jakob-Creuzfeldt, I actually based the disease on ALS, so Maud's mind is intact until the end but all her muscles waste away one by one...

And your comment made me realize that between this and Sisters, Maud Pie is having a lot of bad things happen to her in my stories! Maybe I should write something nice and fluffy with her to balance it out.

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OMG Sisters is so good. Love that story. Gonna go read it again.

But yes. Maud fluff.

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