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My Little 'Pocalypse

Dreamed 2019/5/10 by Wayan
for Sherilyn Connelly, author of Ponyville Confidential

I'm watching a documentary on the gruesome effects of the Chicxulub impact, at different distances, as inflicted on... the dinosaurs? No, no such silly fantasy. On the real inhabitants of the last geological age: the characters from "My Little Pony". When the Big One hit, what we lost was Equestria--that feminist, equine near-Utopia.

Killing off rainbow-colored unicorns may sound like Mean Scientists Trashing Childhood Innocence, but it's not; the Innocence volunteered! The filmmakers interview the actors--the talking ponies, unicorns, pegasi, griffins and dragons who play the show's characters--who actively auditioned to get massacred for fun.

And for their careers. "Such a lovely opportunity", as Rarity says (over tea) to one reporter, "to step beyond our current roles and audience. I am eternally grateful to the show--who knew we would be a cult hit?--but a girl must always strive to transcend typecasting."

Rarity from 'My Little Pony' interviewed by a reporter. Dream sketch by Wayan. Click to enlarge.
Surprisingly, the first of our volunteer deaths occur even before impact--just a few seconds, but still. Three adorable fillies are under the fireball's flightpath; a supersonic shockwave flattens poor Apple Bloom, Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle. In a blazing moment, they're baked and their ashes compressed into Barbie-sized miniatures of themselves. Blastwave-shadows--like the eerie silhouettes of people found on walls in Hiroshima.

65 million years later, Hasbro will dig up these fossil figurines to sell. The secret origin of My Little Pony dolls! Little souvenirs of the Apocalypse.

The Cutie Mark Crusaders, from 'My Little Pony', killed by the Chicxulub impact. Dream sketch by Wayan. Click to enlarge.
Next, at time zero, ground zero, the princesses of Equestria flash into light. Luna, princess of dreams. Cadance, princess of love. Twilight, princess of friendship. Even Celestia, the Sun Goddess herself, can't take a flash ten times hotter than the face of the sun. A moment, a glance, and they're gone. In a moment, alicorns go extinct. Friendship, Love and Dreams go extinct. Worse yet, good government goes extinct.
Princesses Celestia, Luna, Cadance and Twilight, from 'My Little Pony', killed by the Chicxulub impact. Dream sketch by Wayan. Click to enlarge.
Half a second after impact? 25 miles out, just midway to what will be the crater rim. It used to be thought an initial ring of ejecta hit here, but new calculations say it soared much farther out; instead, here there's just (just!) a mile-high wave of magma. Pinkie and Applejack grin, twin Gollums swimming in the lava of Mount Doom. They burst happily into golden flame and are gone. Sociability and commonsense go extinct. Ponies go extinct.
Pinkie Pie and Applejack, from 'My Little Pony', killed by the Chicxulub impact. Dream sketch by Wayan. Click to enlarge.
Fifty miles out, just past what'll be the crater rim, a rain of flaring debris, like butterflies of fire, pelts and scorches poor timid Fluttershy to death. You can love Nature, but sometimes Nature's love for us is a bit too... ardent. Won't say no, even to the shy. And gentleness goes extinct.
Fluttershy, the timid pegasus from 'My Little Pony', killed by the Chicxulub impact. Dream sketch by Wayan. Click to enlarge.
Even 100 miles out, Rainbow Dash, that record-breaking aerobatic pegasus, isn't fast enough to dodge the hail of sizzling thunderbolts--though she heroically tries. I usually find her a bit of a jerk, but as she takes hit after hit--flaming as she flies--I can't help respecting that stubborn courage under fire--literal fire. But courage ain't enough. Even Dash can't take it. Pegasi go extinct.
Rainbow Dash, from 'My Little Pony', killed by the Chicxulub impact. Dream sketch by Wayan. Click to enlarge.
Minutes later and hundreds of miles out, Rarity, deafened by the shockwave and stunned by the spectacle of the impact--that dome of terrible fire--suddenly sees it all go dark as a torrent of scalding black mud pours down. Rarity the Immaculate Girl spatters, sputters, chokes and falls. Perfect conditions for a fossil, but we know her body will never be found--if she had been, we'd have known all along that unicorns were real--once. Mud covers her, and the last unicorn goes extinct.
Rarity from 'My Little Pony', killed by the Chicxulub impact. Dream sketch by Wayan. Click to enlarge.
An hour and a thousand kilometers farther out, Gabriela sees all the Land of Equestria swallowed... and then the tsunami reaches her, a black wall of brine, ash, treetrunks and bones, a thousand feet high. Wings beating fiercely, she briefly rides the monstrosity's face, but it's too fast, too high; a snag catches her, and she's swallowed. Griffins go extinct.
Gabriela the enthusiastic griffin from 'My Little Pony', killed by the Chicxulub impact. Dream sketch by Wayan. Click to enlarge.
Ten thousand miles away, Spike, visiting Ember... oh, distance does no good. Dragons are tough, and they may well survive the ashfall, but this midnight will last a year or two or ten; how long before they freeze or starve? It's the sunless, hardscrabble reign of Nightmare Moon. Quietly, in the endless dark, even dragons go extinct.
Ember and Spike, dragons from 'My Little Pony', killed by the Chicxulub impact. Dream sketch by Wayan. Click to enlarge.
Yet as My Little Pony's actors all die gruesomely, they look so gleeful! Dying for fun? Well, fun and cameos and the freedom to step out of their usual wholesome roles. I love this special's bold premise--personalizing mass extinction, making it real to us. And wow, do we need to face it.

But I'm not so wild about its science. There's no mention at all of the Deccan Traps. The largest lava flows in Earth's history, venting insane amounts of toxic gas, had no effect on life? Not likely. Yet the show makes no attempt to weigh the evidence for these rival causes of the extinction. And might the Chicxulub impact have caused or vastly worsened the Deccan eruption? Two record-breaking catastrophes in the same geological instant--come on! The burden of proof is on skeptics.

Chart shows the timing of the biggest known impact crater and eruption in Earth's history--the same geologic instant. Pure coincidence, of course!

NOTES IN THE MORNING

Well... I am intrigued by both the scientific puzzles posed by the last mass extinction, and by the feminist utopia of My Little Pony, an attempt to teach civics and basic decency in a world whose leaders sneer at both. And I had recently read a whole symposium on vulcanism versus impacts. So the dream has some obvious sources.

But the dream has a private meaning too. I've been facing my personal extinction lately. I'm very sick--high fever, in pain. Just the shingles virus, but my immune system seems helpless to it. Vision in one eye is at risk. [MONTHS LATER: the attack was severe and recovery slow, but I saved my eye.]

But those actors gleefully dying on stage... The dream suggests that my dream- or spirit-self sees pain and illness as just a show. As if my dreams are postulating, behind my face, behind my body, behind my life and illness and eventual death, a soul. Maybe you have one too. (Check under your bed. The stuff I find down there...)

True, my soul appears to be... a pony. Equally pathetic to religious and scientific readers. But as I look at you human beings, I can think of worse souls to have. And worse heavens to go to.

See you in Equestria. Once we build it.

Rarity from 'My Little Pony' rolling in a meadow. Dream sketch by Wayan. Click to enlarge.

A FEW MONTHS LATER

As I was finishing the illustrations and preparing to post this dream, I got an email from a TV production hoping to use some of my art of a terraformed Venus for a documentary on climate catastrophe, comparing Earth to its oven-hot twin. While I've gotten lots of requests to use my art in games and books before, this was the first TV show, and I was a bit startled at the dream's timing--and its prediction the show would be on mass extinction.

A few weeks after that came the announcement that My Little Pony's ninth season is its last. The Age of Ponies ends!

Remember the show's motto, "Friendship is Magic"? As this predictive dream shows, Dreaming Is Magic. Too.

As long as I'm dabbling in TV, wouldn't it be lovely to produce My Little 'Pocalypse? Especially a version that gave volcanoes their fair credit in killing off the other hemisphere. Let Spike and Ember narrate that end of it, while swimming happily in the Deccan Traps' rivers of lava. Because Scientific Controversy Is Magic. Too.



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