FimFiction Link - Short ID: 534411/the-looking-glass
Published: Apr '23
The Looking Glass is a 10k Sad Sci-Fi fic. After the heat death of the universe, Twilight goes around the universe looking for the afterlife.
The first thing that struck me about this fic is how it manages to somehow feel longer than 10k despite nothing happening. The entire story is just Twilight hanging out in her holodeck, reliving past experiences while the ship scans the universe in search of the afterlife.
She interacts with simulations of several ponies, building up to her using the remaining power in the ship to simulate Princess Celestia so Twilight can ask why did she make her immortal.
The fic is... Well, it's not good. But it does have potential, and some of the scenes were neatly done. Overall, it feels lacking, and I don't mean just the barebones backstory. I think that's fine. It's the meat of the fic itself. She does some simulations with Spike just to feel comfort. Sometimes she does simulations with some of the girls. The computer boots a simulation with Shining Armor when she's feeling really bad. It's not clear if Discord was a simulation or not. But while I liked them on their own, they're too bare bones. Too one note.
Sure, it makes sense in-story. It's been established that the ship is on its last legs and can't devote too much energy to the simulations, or it will start failing. But by this point, we've been asked to accept Twilight making a machine that can withstand the vastness of space and all that dwells amidst the nothingness for millenia--but also a similar machine exploded upon exiting Equestria's atmosphere. It's oddly inconsistent. I don't think there was a reason to establish that plot point. Just have each simulation have a deeper impact on Twilight and help her build up the courage to face Celestia.
The ending is also underwhelming. Just when all hope is lost, Twilight manages to find the afterlife. Not much is established, and I kinda got the impression it could be Twilight finally losing her mind. But then the story ends right away, with Twilight ordering the computer to open the ship's doors and initiating the self-destruct mechanism.
And then, it's over. Barely enough time to process things.
While I can't stay the fic is too good, it does have it's moments and the ideas are interesting. It's definitely one of those stories that live on the conversation they generate than on the strengths of its narrative.