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''Aporia'' is a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Rational Fic that discusses My Little Pony's canon and the reason for its numerous inconsistencies, the "humans in Equestria" genre of fanfiction, and the nature of storytelling in general. It features two multiverse travelling women — Mary, a proper British lady and Rika, who simply describes herself as an Eldritch Abomination — who decide, on a whim, to visit one of the many versions of Equestria. Despite Mary's initial reluctance to interfere with the local ponies' affairs, soon they become caught up in the story, altering it heavily as they nudge the ponies into discovering the true nature of Equestria. It all starts with a simple question: "who invented sandwiches?"The story consists of "conversations", rather than chapters, never from the same character's perspective twice in a row, and while it indeed features a lot of talking, it also has some epic action scenes, sometimes involving tech from other universes. The story is both a treatise on the nature of fiction, and a letter of love to My Little Pony, anime, science fiction and other media.


Aporia contains examples of:

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  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality: The first thing Mary realizes in Equestria is that the cartoon's portrayal of it was not entirely accurate.
  • Address The Audience: In Rika's chapter, she talks directly to reader. Rarity also does that, as soon as she accepts the "reality is fiction" theory.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: Twilight Sparkle is disturbed when she realises that Rika doesn't breathe. Later confirmed by Dorothy who goes as far as calling Rika's body "a doll".
  • Alien Geometries: When Rika yanks Lyra 'from the chapter's text into a footnote', this is her experience.
  • All Stories Are Real Somewhere: The whole thing's premise. Whether storytellers create stories that become real, or just discover and write them down, is a chicken and egg problem that the characters argue about on occasion.
  • All There in the Manual: The author spent so much time writing a blog of research notes on MLP canon and detailing various theories that went into the construction of Aporia, that the total word count of the blog posts exceeds the actual story they were written for.
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  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Several ponies, especially Lyra and Blueblood, who are very different from their typical portrayal in the fandom. Also, Rika discusses Celestia's character interpretation with Celestia herself.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Several character discuss whether changelings are this. They aren't.
  • A Million Is a Statistic: Defied by Mary: back in another world, she started a revolution that took lives, but she made point of making death toll as low as possible and knowing every victim personally. She later threatens Rika to recite her the names of every victim of her actions.
  • Angst: Mary describes the Unlimited Library as causing existential dread, once you realize the humanity's insignificance.
  • Author Tract: The whole story is essentially a treatise on the philosophy of storytelling in form of a series platonical dialogues (interspersed with some action).
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  • Berserk Button: Twilight Sparkle, when she witnesses Trixie. Destroying. BOOKS.
  • Big Good: According to Rika, this is what happens when a magical girl wins forever. She heavily implies this is exactly what happened to her, and it's far from being a happy ending.
  • Bros Before Hoes: Blueblood's explanation of the way he treated Rarity so badly at the gala: it was his revenge for the way she played with Spike's feelings.
  • Cannot Tell Fiction from Reality: Rika accidentally steps inside a story Pinkie is telling, rather than the main one. It took her time to figure out what happened, which pissed her off, because, apparently, telling the stories the way Pinkie does is an extremely dangerous form of reality-bending magic.
  • Canon Welding: The story is set in a multiverse where every story ever told is real somewhere, and it's possible to travel between them.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Used a lot of times liuterally, and also played with: Mary wields a laspistol that belonged to one commisar Chekhov.
  • Clarke's Third Law: Mary discusses it with Twilight.
  • Cloak & Dagger: Whenever the Office of Special Investigations of Their Highnesses Civil Service is involved.
  • Combat by Champion: A non-violent version: Luna and Celestia disagree whether Twilight should continue looking for the answer to sandwich mystery, so Luna sent her own student (Trixie) to stop her and hope that whoever's right wins.
  • Compound Interest Time Travel Gambit: how Mary funds her travels without Rika.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Sombra is dispatched in seconds and Rainbow Dash complains it was anticlimactic.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Mary's golden eye causes her a lot of trouble, including making her immune to antidepressants and anaesthetics, but she admits it's actually useful.
  • Deal with the Devil: Lyra thinks this is what Rika offers her (expecting her to ask for her cutie mark rather than soul).
  • Deconstructor Fleet: neither Mary nor Rika can spend 5 minutes without putting a lampshade somewhere.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Trixie just wants to be friends with Twilight. Her definition of friendship includes duels and mortal peril.
  • Disney Death: Shining Armor is killed by Chrysalis, and immediately ressurected by Cadance's love.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Rika. A Humanoid Abomination type, who Was Once a Man, and then than managed to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence, becoming Anthropomorphic Personification of hope.
  • Evil Gloating: discussed. Rika believes it's a sign of Chrysalis being stupid, Mary argues it's a part of brilliant plan. Later on, Crhysalis actually does use gloating tactically.
  • Evil Laugh: Chrysalis.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: Fluttershy overhears Rika and Mary talking. At first it seems to be a Contrived Coincidence, later turns out to be part of Rika's plan.
  • Fingerless Hands: One of the story's central plotlines is Twilight Sparkle trying to figure out why pony civilization has so many artifacts designed for fingers.
  • Fire Is Red: Rika has glowig red hair and burns stuff. It's up to interpretation whether she's Red Is Heroic or Evil Redhead.
  • Fix Fic: In-universe, Mary fixes the ancient Japanese fairy tale The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter.
  • Food Eats You: National Dessert Competition ended with this, the dessert abomination coming alive and attacking the attendees.
  • For Want of a Nail: Multiple instances. While Mary's question of who invented the sandwich triggers a lot of changes in the canonical plot, what derails it completely is Rika spoiling Fluttershy the changeling invasion.
  • Genre Savvy: Many cases, including Spike and Shining Armor being geeks and knowing genre tropes.
  • Gigantic Gulp: During the wedding arc, Luna drinks coffee from a vase.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Mary is mostly used to Library and Rika, but even she has things that she prefers not to think about too much.
  • Guile Hero: Mary's primary mode of operation.
  • Hero of Another Story: Mary insists she's this so often that it's almost Arc Words. Rika also states that her story had ended long ago, and she's not going to steal the spotlight from a different story's heroes.
  • Humans Are Bastards: discussed. Rika makes fun of it being a common trope in pony fanfiction, with humans interference causing Innocence Lost. Mary parries with Good Is Not Dumb, as ponies are anything but Incorruptible Pure Pureness, oblivious to evil.
  • Humongous Mecha: When Mary realizes that Rika had turned Lyra into a magical girl, she comments that at least she hasn't given her one of these. Later, Mary triggers Spike's greed growth, effectively using him as one and getting Shining Armor to be the pilot.
  • It Was a Dark and Stormy Night: Pinkie starts the story of sandwich invention with this line.
  • Jumping Out of a Cake: Spike isn't sure what a bachelor party is, but ponies keep telling him it needs to include this.
  • La Résistance: Before coming to Equestria, Mary manipulated one into victory.
  • Magical Eye: Mary has one.
  • Magical Girl: Rika, formerly (she gives Twilight Sparkle a lecture on the term). Later, Lyra.
  • Magic Music: "Heartsongs" are seen by ponies as an important part of life and self-expression, but with the introduction of Grayswandir, what would otherwise be just Music for Courage is used for more tangible side-effects — specifically, as a magic-conducting medium.
  • Mary Sue: A massive deconstruction. Rike discusses the concept with Lyra while explaining that no, she's not going to steal the spotlight from the heroes of a story that's not hers. All the heroic feats belong to the universe's natives.
  • Mechanical Lifeforms: the spiders were supposed to be just tiny robots, but Fluttershy knows better.
  • Medium Awareness: Mary, Rika, Pinkie Pie.
  • Meta Fiction: In her very first conversation with Twilight, Mary insists they're *both* fictional characters, and proceeds with laying out a model of the universe where fictional worlds interpenetrate and cross-pollinate each other with no "real" world anywhere to be found.
  • Mind Probe: Mary discusses this trope with Luna: she's surprised how ponies have little problem with mind invasion.
  • Morton's Fork: discussed, taken to extreme with Rika who's nearly omnipotent, but says: "Have you ever encountered a situation where you can do anything, and yet, none of it will do the least bit of good?"
  • MST3K Mantra: reason for a quarrel between Mary and Rika about Watsonian vs. Doylist: Mary refuses to employ doylean approach, insisting on her version of Moff’s Law.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: "decoherence" — Equestria in general and changelings in particular. Mary wastes no time pointing out that various fanfiction portrayals of Equestria are often Never Was This Universe to each other.
  • Musical World Hypotheses: The Alternate Universe Hypothesis variant: all songs are in-universe, being a part of the harmony magic. Crowd Song and Audience Participation Song are seen as normal and usually desirable parts of life.
  • Must Have Caffeine: Luna, when she skips sleep for three days, guarding Canterlot from invasion.
  • Nanomachines: straight from the Noon Universe.
  • Nested Story Reveal: Pinkie is really good at telling stories. So good she fools Rika, who steps into her story, rather than the main one.
  • Never the Selves Shall Meet: averted: during time travel Mary meets herself multiple times (and even gets to cry in herself's arms).
  • Oh Crap, There Are Fanfics of Us!: Twilight Sparkle doesn't want to think of the implications.
  • Older Than They Look: due to direct effects of repeated and frequent time travel, Mary looks considerably younger than she actually is, and at the same time, suffers from problems otherwise associated with old age.
  • Orphaned Etymology: discussed at length. Seems like many Equish words have a completely different origin, and often, slightly different meanings, despite Equish being otherwise nearly identical to modern American English.
  • Painting the Medium: Rika drags Lyra into a footnote to talk, essentially implementing Frame Break in a textual work.
  • Portal Book: in the Unlimited Library, naturally.
  • Rational Fic: played with. The author says: "It could be a rational-fic, but since idealistic philosophy is typically not seen as very rational, it’s only a philoso-fic instead". In any case, it's a thorough Deconstruction Fic, in a world with a deliberate shortage of Idiot Balls.
  • Razor Floss: Lyra's weapon.
  • Reading Ahead in the Script: Twilight Sparkle asking Mary for "prophesies".
  • Reality Warper: literally everyone in the multiverse. Since the reality itself consists of stories, everyone is a storyteller of at least their own life.
  • Ret Gone: Mary's original timeline.
  • Retroactive Preparation: Mary explains this to Rainbow Dash.
  • Right Behind Me: Lyra deliberately invokes it when failing to locate Bon-Bon through conventional methods.
  • Rubber-Forehead Aliens: discussed by Celestia, when she talks to Twilight Sparkle about Mary and Rika,
  • Schrödinger's Gun: According to Luna, the world includes undecided facts, and finding them out may be dangerous, depleting the resource that makes the miracles of harmony possilble.
  • Shout-Out: numerous, varying from Lovecraft to Aristotle.
  • Tastes Like Friendship: the reason for the battle of Appaloosa becoming a food fight: buffalos don't fight those they shared food with, so Thunderhoof and Silverstar conspired to force-feed younger buffalos apple pies.
  • Temporal Mutability: the branching timelines variation.
  • The Anti-Nihilist: Mary believes that the true adventures are in making the universe better, even though on a cosmic scale this goal might be futile.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: Pinkie understands the multiverse reality much better than anyone else. Rika suggests it's due to a bug, as she was lucky to see These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know and not to Go Mad from the Revelation.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: in Mary's original timeline, the three maidenly virtues were modesty, music, and applied mathematics.
  • Theory of Narrative Causality: discussed at length.
  • The Power of Love: magic can't ressurect the dead, but Cadence's love brings back Shining Armor.
  • The Worf Effect: discussed by Rika with Shining Armor.
  • Time-Travel Tense Trouble: made even more confusing by talking about things that happen in different versions of the same timeline.
  • Toon Physics: Pinkie sometimes operates under these.
  • Unknown Rival: Trixie, to Twilight Sparkle.
  • Unwinnable Training Simulation: the dragon egg hatching test, which Twilight Sparkle manages to pass.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Mary can't help being that to whatever world she visits, her simplest actions starting a cascade of consequences — all to Rika's amusement.
  • Watsonian vs. Doylist: discussed a lot.
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: being an actual Edwardian lady, Mary notes that Luna speaks this.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: discussed by Mary, who has proven this to be wrong.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: the reason why Mary won't teach Twilight Sparkle to travel between worlds: she can only teach her to go away, not to return back.
  • Zeerust: Spike, and later, Cadance refer to Mary's laspistol as a "death ray".
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