FimFiction Link - Short ID: 379960/unforgettable
Published: Jul '17
"Unforgettable" is a story in six short chapters by Trick Question, the author of The Element of Surprise, which is one of my personal favorite one-shots. Just like the latter, this fic deals with the topic of death and its inevitability, and just like the latter, it's a rather heart-wrenching read.
In this story, Starlight discovers a spell that can predict when a pony is going to die, and after deciding that the pros of it outweigh the cons, she and Twilgiht cast it on the entire Ponyville to potentially prevent some tragedies. Most of the fic is about them dealing with the implications and consequenses of this decision and divng into existential themes.
Despite the fact that this story may seem somewhat like a piece of specualtive fiction with ponies added for flavor, it is written very nicely and keeps a healthy tonal balance. Even though the author uses several characters as mouthpieces for varying views on whether one should know the future and what to do with it, said views align pretty well with their personalities: Twilight is rational but hesitant, Applejack is skeptical, Rainbow Dash is compassionate and defiant, and these qualities influence their opinions and feelings accordingly.
In what seems to be a trend in Trick Question's work, "Unforgettable" has a simple "setup-windup-punchline" kind of structure, which is admittedly efficient, even if the windup part drags just a bit. And just like with "The Element of Surprise", it's the punchline that really hits you. Except what I thought to be the punchline (and an unexpectedly funny one at that in an otherwise melancholic story) then gives way to a last-second twist that is almost too cruel for my tastes.
All in all, it's a good idea executed fairly well, if slightly dryly in the beginning and with one oddly out-of-place saucy moment, and even the ending is on the bitter side of bittersweet, I recommend this story to those who like fics that explore existential matters and/or want a healthy dose of feels. A solid 7/10.