FimFiction Link - Short ID: 157329/more-about-time
Published: Feb '14 — May '15
More About Time is a 77k word story featuring somepony who claims to be Twilight discovering an unfinished spell by Star Swirl, the Bearded, and decides to try it out, only for it to have unexpected side-effects.
This is a curious case. I’m going to mention all the positives right off the bat before I elaborate on why you shouldn’t read this story.
Upon going around the Castle of the Two SIsters, Twilight comes across a spell that lets her travel back in time to for a brief period while she’s asleep. After casting it, Twilight does a minor alteration in the past that leads to Owlowiscious no longer being her pet. This leads to Twilight trying to correct the timeline, only to end up in a world that’s far different than the one she left behind.
I’ve got to say that the mechanics of time travel are solid, and that’s to be commended. The story itself is properly paced, the reveals are slow and reel you in, the alternate timelines are interesting, and you’re invested in how the rest of the girls are different now as well as wondering what are the full effects those alterations had in Equestria.
One particular is that in an alternate timeline, Rainbow Dash never hurt her wing, and thanks to this she got to meet Soarin and they both fell in love. Views on SoarinDash aside, those chapters were very well done. Dash was written with surprising depth while still feeling like her usual self.
While not to the same degree, I feel the author did a good job balancing the new characterisation of canon characters and the new versions that come with the new timelines. Once you understand what those changes caused, it makes sense why certain characters now behave differently. This applies to Equestria as a whole, too. Some of the changes made by Twilight have profound effects not only on Ponyville, but Equestria as a whole, and they’re all logical and clever sometimes.
So, the plot is great. Time travel is great. The different personalities for canon characters is great and makes sense. The changes made to Equestria are interesting. All’s great, right?
I’ll tell you what isn’t great. Having Twilight suffer a massive stroke and have her bumble her way through time ruining everything for everyone.
First of all. Remember that bit about altering the past with time travel? Remember how the lessons of About TIme and Magical Mystery Cure were “Don’t fuck with time” and “Don’t fuck with other ponies’ destinies”?
Too bad, this Twilight doesn’t. She doesn’t do much thinking in general. Throughout the story she becomes this reactive character who limits herself to fix things on the fly instead of thinking things through and making a plan.
To add insult to injury, when she DOES make a plan, it’s to make superficial changes that don’t really address core problems and in many cases show a disregard for the struggles of her friends.
Not only that, but for some reason she seems unable to think beyond the most simple and superficial. Whenever she gets rebutted, or an idea of her fails, she’s unable to think why and adapt, or analyse the situation and come up with alternatives. There’s even an entire scene where she goes off to mope about how sad she is instead of thinking or even asking for help.
And the worst part is that Twilight doesn’t even learn her lesson! By the end of the story, she’s not only made Owlowiscious disappear, she’s also undone lessons Dash and AJ learned, made drastic changes to Ponyville’s dynamic, majorly shifted power players in Equestria’s economy, maimed Spike, and indirectly caused Celestia’s death, but she comes up with a stupidly convoluted plan to fix things that leads to even more changes.
But this time, everything went well. All the negative effects are brushed away while everyone gets to keep the positives, all thanks to Twilight’s master planning. Except the entire story was set in motion because of Twilight trying to micromanage her friend’s lives, and instead of realising what she did was wrong, she gets rewarded for it.
And to rub salt on the wound, the epilogue shows how Starswirl discarded that spell because he came to the conclusion that everyone is master of their own destiny and you should face the future instead of dwell on the past.
Gee, I wonder who could’ve used that lesson.
I don’t really want to think about this story for longer than I have to. I’ll summarise by saying don’t read it. Everything about this story is great--excellent even, at some points--save for Twilight, and she sadly poisons the entire experience.
Don’t read this story, unless you want to analyse how not to write Twilight.