The Fanfiction Report: Invader Zim edition
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I tend to talk a lot about fanfiction on here. In fact, I’ve run a couple awful fanfics on this site and MSTed them. You may have seen some of that.
In all seriousness, though, I don’t hate fanfiction. Some of it is, of course, awful. Much of it, actually. But there are great fanfics, too. They exist. They’re out there.
The thing is, I realized that when I go on fanfiction.net, I’m either looking for fics bad enough to MST or fics good enough to be enjoyable reads. Since I’ve been getting plenty of submissions for bad fics, and good fics are so hard to find, I haven’t done much of either lately. However, it occurred to me that it would be interesting to read one full page of fanfics on fanfiction.net and see what that sample was like — how many were terrible, how many just average, how many good ones (if any), etc.
So, that’s what I did. I went on fanfiction.net and did a search for the 25 most recent Invader Zim fanfics. I did limit the search to complete fics written in English, but didn’t put any restrictions on ratings. Here’s what turned up:
5 of the fics were rated K. 9 were rated K+. 6 were rated T. 5 were rated M.
I think FF.net’s rating system is pretty self-explanatory. K is appropriate for everyone, K+ is older kids, T is teens, M is mature (strong language, strong violence, and/or sexual content). Invader Zim itself aired with a TV-Y7 rating, so that would be roughly a K+ (though IZ was rated a bit low, I think — T might be more accurate, especially since the show is most popular with teens).
Then I read every fic on the list.
Before plunging in, here’s what I expected to find: ZaDR, and lots of it. Mary Sues. Terrible writing. Other common pairings, like ZaTR and ZaGR. Maybe one or two decent fics. Predicable plots, predictable plot twists.
So let’s see if I was right.
1. What is Love?, by cupidity11
Summary: Zim and Dib are assigned to write about love for Skool. Oh, by the way, it’s high skool now, and Zim and Dib are lovers. Of a sort. Dib, not knowing what to write, goes to Zim for help. Zim suggests that Dib write about him. Dib then proceeds to write a poem about his love for Zim, only to be forced to read it aloud in front of his class the next day, forcibly “outing” the pair of them.
What I thought: Well. This one was odd. It didn’t really deserve its M-rating; nothing explicit takes place, and there’s no language. Writing wasn’t terrible, though it didn’t look proof-read. Zim seemed reasonably in character, except for the whole sleeping-with-Dib thing; same goes for Dib. Their relationship wasn’t too sappy, as ZaDR stories often are despite being based off of a love for Foe Yay. Overall, ZaDR fans would probably like it. Me, I don’t know what to think.
Excerpt: “”Zim…?” Dib asked, arms wrapped around his pale, knobby knees, head on top of them and amber eyes alert to the irken’s every movement.
“Yes, filthy-dirt-child?” Zim responded, brows furrowed, tongue sticking out, concentrating on the old ray gun. Dib rolled his eyes at the nickname. They had been sleeping together for 5 months, two weeks and four days now but, the insults never stopped.”
2. Jemna, by cupidity11
Shipping: Red/Purple, Zim/Dib.
Summary: The beginning of the story gives a little history — Jemna is, according to this author, the Irken word roughly meaning love, though it’s not quite the same apparently. It’s a permanent bond between two Irkens. Since the bonding is considered a weakness by the Control Brains, it’s outlawed; Irkens are programmed differently in an attempt to make them immune, and those who do bond are punished. Severely. The story then continues from Tallest Red’s POV, about his feelings for Purple, which started in smeethood. There’s one paragraph which is about the two’s first sexual encounter, though it treads lightly enough to keep this fanfic T-rated. Then, apparently, there’s some sort of fight. Purple leaves and doesn’t come back. Red thinks he’s died. Purple finally does make it back, there’s another T-rated sex scene, and the two finally confess their love — sorry, Jemna — for each other. The next section is from Zim’s point of view describing his love for Dib; it’s basically along the same lines as the RaPR part, only with more Foe Yay.
What I thought: Again, it didn’t look like much proofreading took place here, but the writing wasn’t awful. Just… not good. Everyone was OOC in this one. It was, overall, much too serious and shippy to be a good IZ fic. Oh, and the word “Jemna” is stupid.
Excerpt: “The years flew by and you complained, which wasn’t rare, that we were getting old. I said I didn’t mind. I wanted to grow old with you anyway. But, as smeets we aged and grew taller. The Academy was our playground, the long halls places to slide across in our socks. Serious faced instructors, their rules and the restrictions just a loud buzzing in our antenna. When we got caught, which we did more often than not in our early years, they scolded us, took away privileges, and punished us with shame. I honestly didn’t care, because when you looked at me out of the corner of your eye, a knowing mischievous smirk, I needed nothing else.”
3. World at our Feet, by Kminkphantom01
Summary: It’s a songfic.
What I thought: It’s a songfic.
Excerpt: I’m not excerpting this. It’s a songfic, in case you didn’t catch that the last couple times. If you wanna go listen to the song, it’s called “World At Our Feet” by Joe Brooks.
4. Love at First Touch, by Lovegirl1
Summary: It’s high skool. Dib is now an attractive sixteen-year-old who turns down every girl who asks him out, though personality-wise he’s the same. Or so the author claims. Zim’s grown quite a bit, too (he’s five and a half feet tall now), thanks to Earth’s atmosphere or something. He’s also growing his own hair through the use of a potion. Oh, and he’s “less sensitive to Earth stuff”. The two of them are still fighting; it’s gotten worse, if anything. Dib sneaks over to Zim’s base one day and notices Zim running in pain from a screeching Gir; this puzzles Dib, as Gir didn’t even touch Zim. Before he can do anything, though, Zim sneaks up behind him and knocks him out, then proceeds to strap him onto a dissection table. Just as Zim is about to make the first cut, Dib screams, and the pain stops Zim again. Apparently, his antennae are really sensitive to such things, though this was never shown in the show and it seems like Zim would just fry his own hearing every time he opened his mouth if this was the case. Zim then lets Dib go. Gir, for no real reason, then jumps on Zim’s head and starts stroking his antennae. This causes Zim to curl up and purr like a cat. Dib, who planted a spy camera, witnesses this and decides he’s going to get some revenge. The next day, at Skool, Dib yanks one of Zim’s antennae and the pain is enough to make Zim cry. Dib doesn’t feel too good about it, though. Zim then proceeds to stay home for a week, and when he finally does show up Dib apologizes for hurting him so badly. As part of this apology, he offers to help Zim with his skool-work, which makes no sense but let’s ignore that. Zim shows up at Dib’s house, armed with a stun-gun just in case, and the two get to work. On Health class homework, of course, because this is a ZaDR. Dib suddenly asks Zim what his antennae are for. Zim answers that they’re just like ears. Dib then grabs one antennae, gently this time, and Zim falls over and starts purring and moaning (how you can do both at once I’ve no idea). Once Dib lets go, Zim panics and quickly runs back to his base to give the Tallest a call. The Tallest reveal to Zim that he’s defective. Zim then starts crying. Meanwhile, Dib confesses to Gaz that he thinks he’s in love with Zim; her response is “You just figured that out?” Back to Zim, who’s spent the whole night up trying to figure out ways to make Dib fall in love with him. The only thing he can come up with is new clothes. At skool, Zim starts crying and Dib cheers him up by sucking on his antennae. Then they tell each other they love each other. The end.
What I thought: Spelling? Bad. Grammar? Bad. Plot? Terrible. M-rated? Didn’t need to be. Ridiculous author’s notes? Oh yes. Potential MST material? Hell yes. I will say no more.
Excerpt: “”OKKIE DOKKIE! I LOVE BIG HEADED MARY AND TACOS AND WALFFEL AND PIGGIES” squealed Gir. Oh his squeals and shrieks tore through my antennas and the pain was unspeakable. I knew Gir would never shut up so I scurried quickly to my lad down the elevator under the table.”
5. A Christmas Carol of Doom!, by bak602
Shipping: Zim/Tak, played mostly for laughs.
Summary: As you’d expect, it’s a parody of A Christmas Carol, told by one of the author’s OCs, a character named Gen. In her version of the story, Tak is Scrooge, and Mimi is Marley. Oh, and Dib is the nephew. And Gir is the kid who sings at the keyhole. And… you get the idea. Gets a little ZaTR shippy, but it’s pretty minimal.
What I thought: While the author’s OCs were kind of distracting, they weren’t Sues. Some of the jokes were genuinely funny, and they clearly knew A Christmas Carol well, which helped make the parody work. There’s some lampshading and fourth-wall breaking which adds to the humor. Overall, though I wouldn’t call this a great fanfic, it was amusing and did not make me want to drink brain-bleach.
Excerpt: “Tak looked at the visitor. “Who are you?”
“I am the Gen- I mean Ghost of Christmas Past.”
“Why are you here?”
“To help you not be a giant jerkhead.”
Tsuki looked at her friend. “Honestly, I think the original version of this story was better.”
Gen glared back. “If you just be quiet and listen, I’ll give you the part I know you want.”
Dib looked around. “This story is kind of messed up. Why is Tak the bad guy?”
Tak looked at the host expectantly. “Yeah, why?”
Gen shouted. “ON WITH THE STORY!””
6. The DaTR Nerf War of Doom!, by Monochrome Masquerade
Summary: Though it’s a bit hard to tell what’s going on, apparently it’s the future and Dib and Tak are dating. They’re trying to fix Tak’s ship, and it’s not going so well, which leads to Tak swearing at Dib (why it’s rated T, I guess). They finally get frustrated and decide to take a break. While on break, Dib finds two Nerf guns. Predictable flirty Nerf-gun fight ensues. Then kissing ensues. Then the story ends.
What I thought: Just predicable shipping crap. Not terrible, just boring. And OOC. And… okay, maybe it was kind of terrible. But not MST-worthy.
Excerpt: “”I know you’re here!” Tak shouted into the darkness. “Show yourself, or face my foamy wrath!” Dib then jumped out of the tree she was standing under, shooting her in the arm. “Score one for me!” Dib laughed, turning tail and running away. Tak dashed after him, shooting his back wildly until she ran out of darts. When Dib grew tired, he turned around and fired the rest of his bullets at her. Tak fell to the ground in mock pain, dragging Dib with her. They were both a little warm and sweaty, but they hugging and giggling like they were in elementary school again.”
7. Hidden Pain, by Elena Hurley
Summary: A short poem, from the POV of either Zim or Tak, about the daughter they apparently had who was apparently killed by some guy. It’s intended to be a tie-in to another story the author wrote, which I’m not going to read.
What I thought: Even the author admitted it was crappy.
Excerpt: I’m not excerpting this. It’s too short.
8. I’m Your Master, by SweetPurebloodAngel
Shipping: Zim/Dib, to the extreme.
Summary: This is… okay, how else can I put this? This is porn. It’s written from Dib’s POV, it’s BDSM, and it’s thankfully only one chapter long.
What I thought: There is not enough brain-bleach in the world to clean this from my head. SweetPureboodAngel needs to change her username so that people will not be lulled into thinking she is actually a sweet pureblood angel, because what she really is is a yaoi fangirl. They’re not sweet at all.
Excerpt: There is literally nothing in this fic I could excerpt without making this post NC-17 rated.
9. Symboiant ZaDR, by cupidity11
Shipping: Platonic (mostly) Zim/Dib.
Summary: A oneshot about Zim and Dib’s symbiotic, Foe Yay-ish relationship.
What I thought: Well, since “Mopiness of Doom” more or less made this sort of thing canon, I can’t really object. Pretty mediocre fic overall.
Excerpt: “Miss. Bitters kept talking and talking, it was a drone in Dib’s ears, in Zim’s antenna, as they sent each other sly glances. Their organs clenched with the welcome feeling of hatred, hands shook as the clocked ticked, closer to the time they could stand and battle out the latest argument.”
10. Pleased SaZR, by cupidity11
Shipping: One-sided Skoodge/Zim.
Summary: Skoodge reflects on his feelings for Zim. Turns out he’s in love with Zim and knows it will probably never lead to anything, but he’s okay with that. There’s a flashback to an explosion that wasn’t actually Zim’s fault, shockingly, in which the little Irken almost died. He got better.
What I thought: Again, meh. Bits of it were amusing; the idea that Skoodge is in love with Zim is kind of an amusing character interpretation and one that kind of fits, oddly enough. Nonetheless, I’m getting sick of this author and her endless shipping.
Excerpt: “Skoodge grinned, loving the way his irken did that. Yep, he was so screwed. Falling in ‘love’ with an Invader who could never properly return his admiration. The one he was so enamored with was practically suicidal and homicidal, a masochist as well as a sadist, too destructive to be around anyone, with more baggage than anyone would ever guess, an enemy who was determined to be the Irken’s murderer, and would probably kill Skoodge if a opportunity presented itself where he would no longer be useful.
Still, the Invader waited for him, albeit impatiently. That was something, right?
Climbing into the cruiser, Skoodge glanced at his Jemna, who looked so god damn pleased with himself as he started up the engines.
Leaning back in the seat, he smiled contently to himself, knowing he would never be able to really BE with Zim, but here on this little pitiful planet and helping the Irken he loved, there was question in his mind that Skoodge was pretty god damn pleased as well.”
11. Extraterrestrial ZaDR AU, by cupidity11
Summary: As the title states, this is alternate universe. Dib never met Zim and apparently decided to pursue real science, like his dad. Once he grows up, Dib is pushed into a romance with Zita by his father. After dating for six months, he’s urged to propose to her and does. Though Dib’s fond of her, he’s not sure it’s true love, and as the wedding day approaches he begins to have second thoughts. A week and a half before the big day, Dib runs into Zim on his way home. Sex ensues. Yes, just like that. After finding out about Dib’s engagement, Zim gets mad and sends Dib away. At the wedding, Zim shows up dramatically right after the vows have been said (reluctantly so by Dib), and they fly off together in the Voot Cruiser. The end.
What I thought: This fanfic did have one funny moment during the wedding scene, but by that point it was too far gone to be redeemed any. Too clichéd and stupid.
Excerpt: “”Dib-Thing.” Zim said casually as if he did this sort of thing every day, but I knew better. I could see past that demeanor of cool ice to the stubborn dick beneath.
“Hey, there, Space-Boy. Took you long enough.” I countered, surprising even myself. That was the real Dib talking. Not the one who hid out in labs and let himself be married off to someone. The real Dib was reaching for the Irken already, hands curling around a smooth chin.”
12. Family Assessment: Membrane Household, by doompants
Summary: Social workers assess Dib and Gaz’s home life.
What I thought: I was genuinely amused by this one. It’s short, but funny. Writing’s pretty good, too.
Excerpt: “The father, Professor Membrane, was interviewed via his floating head-display robot as he was reportedly “at the lab working on a critical experiment.” It should be noted that the head-display robots, although they do float and have arms, are not considered an adequate method of child supervision by this Agency. The Professor reported that he does not believe the children are in any danger, but he would like help with Dib’s behavior as he has concerns for Dib’s mental health. The investigator discussed with the father that floating head-display supervision is not appropriate, as the children’s age and developmental level is not considered enough for full independence, and a safety plan including alternate supervisors for the children was put into place.”
13. Fun at Barnes & Noble, by Elena Hurley
Shipping: Platonic Zim/Dib, plus a bit of implied Zim/Tak.
Summary: Zim and Dib go to Barnes and Noble and make fun of Twilight and other vampire-centric teen romance novels. That’s it.
What I thought: Decent writing. Everyone is partially OOC, though, and the whole making-fun-of-Twilight thing gets old fast — don’t get me wrong, I enjoy mocking Twilight as much as the next person, but it wasn’t done very creatively in this fic.
Excerpt: “Dib grinned. “I’ve got an idea! Let’s see what one of the books say!” He picked up a random book from the vampire young adult shelf and read the flap inside. “This book is called, ‘Rose Thorn’.”
“It already sounds AMAZING!”
“I know, right?” Dib glanced down and began to read. “Richman academy is an exclusive boarding school for the most beautiful students of all-” Dib glanced dramatically at Zim’s direction. “-Vampires.”
“Rose Mackenzie, the beautiful, loving, sweet, angel spawn of two vampires, has always been told that her destiny was to become-” Dib glanced, again, dramatically in Zim’s direction. “-One of them.”
Dib chuckled a bit and continued to read, “But Rose falls in love with Denis Tomstead, a gorgeous new exchange student from England, and the two fall in love, as soul mates.” Dib looked up and held back a laugh. “Holy crap, that was the best plot ever!”
“That was amazing,” Zim replied, sarcastically. “I just want to read it over and over again.”
14. Closer than Enemies, by MoonToy
Summary: One day at Skool (high skool, by the way), Torque Smacky starts picking on Dib only to be attacked by Zim. When Torque turns on the Irken, Dib beats up Torque. I know, this makes no sense but just go with it. After Skool, it’s raining so hard that Zim can’t leave the building until it stops. Yes, he’s wearing paste, but apparently the rain would wash it off. Even though it wouldn’t. Whatever. Dib has an umbrella and, for some reason, offers to walk Zim home. Zim does manage to get one arm wet, but Dib treats the burn with some sort of purple substance Zim has in his base. The storm gets worse, apparently causing “major damage in the area”, and citizens are urged to seek shelter and keep out of the storm. Dib is now stuck at Zim’s house, but luckily Irken technology is such that Zim can just tell the house to make a bedroom for Dib. After preparing Dib’s room, Zim leaves. Shortly afterwards, Dib hears the sound of grinding metal and becomes curious, following the sound to a room in Zim’s lab, when he suddenly hears Zim scream. It’s not clear what happened, but Zim somehow injured himself very badly. Blood is everywhere. Dib gets the medicine from earlier and uses it to treat Zim’s wounds. Once Zim’s recovered a bit, he reveals that the Tallest somehow created the storm for their own amusement, and that he’d been trying to counterattack with a bomb; the bomb detonated in his lab, of course. The next day, there’s a predicable Foe Yay scene followed by a kiss. The end.
What I thought: I could MST this, easy. The author misuses words constantly, the plot is one big cliché, the writing’s bad, etc.
Excerpt: “Dib turned off his cellphone then and placed it in his pocket. He clenched and unclenched his hand not knowing what to do. The scythe teen then strode over to the bed and collapsed.
“What should I do?”, Dib thought aloud. Through all of the years he could never break that habit,(1). In fact Dib had grown accustom to answering his self also,(2). Dibs eyes slowly closed, the sound of the rain was hard to ignore when anyone became heavy beat of rain made him feel sluggish, and the grinding of medal … wait grinding metal?”
15. Home, by Selene69
Summary: This is a short oneshot about the Irken Empire’s structure and history, which gets a little out-there with the fanon. It ends with a mildly shippy scene between the Tallest, though it’s also directly stated that the two are “mates”. And not in the British way.
What I thought: Wasn’t crazy about the fanon stuff. Red and Purple weren’t convincingly written. And… well, to get back to the fanon, some of it is downright bizzare. Yeah, I didn’t care much for this.
Excerpt: “He laughed at the irony of being on the Massive and taking over another planet. They were destroying other races to save their own. Purple looked at the information before him. It showed something he just couldn’t believe. He knew long ago that Irkens had not always been Irkens. Long ago they had been called Ancients and had been a much gentler race, but the Ancients had broken apart when they learned they could reach far into the Heavens.
They became two separate species. Gians and Irkens. That had been thousands of years ago. Before the Great Sickness and the Control Brain. It had been far to long ago to be of any matter, except that Zim had found the remaining Gians. On a planet called Earth, Zim had found Humans, Irk’s ancient ancestors. They had evolved past the humans and into fearless, deathless creatures.”
16. Family Get-Togethers, by Potatoes4Eva
Summary: This one involves quite a few OCs, and it’s next to impossible to figure out who any of them are supposed to be. Dib is apparently in love with someone called “Zima”. There’s also OCs named Oval, Smidge, August, Zig (apparently Zim’s daughter),Tib, and Dak (those last two sound like they could be alternate names for the Dib x Tak/DaTR pairing). Basically, all that happens is that they all watch several movies.
What I thought: Well, the OCs were distracting, and it wasn’t much of a story to begin with. It just left me feeling very confused.
Excerpt: “The second movie was some paranormal/sci-fi flick that Zima and Dib, those horrid stinking love-pigs had chosen together. It didn’t make any sense. Even GIR looked confused. Zim braved through it, though he didn’t understand a second of the crap. Why was the guy having a seisure now? He had just been eating cereal the moment before… Stupid confusing movie! Curse you!”
17. I am Zim, by Cookie VanDeKamp
Summary: It’s a little… poem? Song? I don’t know. From Zim’s POV. About Zim. And how he is Zim.
What I thought: It was kind of funny and in character. Didn’t love it, but it was somewhat amusing.
Excerpt: “Don’t get in my way,
or I’ll shoot you down.
With my superior-ness,
I will blow up this whole town.
I’ll show the Almighty Tallests
that I can be one of them.
I’m the greatest Invader of all,
for I am Zim.
Yes, I am Zim.” (That was the chorus, by the way.)
18. A Mile in the Wrong Shoes, by bak602
Summary: Gir’s carelessness wrecks an experiment Zim was working on, nearly destroying Zim’s lab in the process. Oh, and this experiment? Dib was in it, and thanks to Gir’s carelessness he escaped. The explosion seemed to temporarily render Zim, Dib, and Gir unconscious, but when Zim wakes up Dib is gone. The next day, Dib shows up late for Skool and is behaving very oddly; it’s apparent to the reader that Dib has Gir’s personality now, but Zim doesn’t seem to catch on. Actually, Zim’s behaving a bit oddly himself. More focused than usual. And when he gets home, he finds Gir acting oddly bossy. Gir manages to figure out that the three of them switched personalities; Dib has Gir’s personality, Gir has Zim’s, Zim has Dib’s. Zim’s response is to claim that Dib is actually a robot out to destroy all Irkens and run out of the room, leaving Gir to try and solve the problem. At Skool the next day, Dib isn’t wearing a trenchcoat. Zim is. No one notices, of course, but I thought it was worth mentioning. Anyway, they behave as you’d expect them to behave based on the above. At lunch, Zim grabs Dib and races back to the base to attempt to get Gir to fix the problem, but Gir didn’t have any success at trying to find a solution. Screaming match ensues until Gaz shows up and knocks them all unconscious. Once they’ve re-awoken, they’re all back to normal.
What I thought: I liked this. Everyone was in character (in everyone else’s character, that is), the premise, though not hugely creative, was amusing, and… well, overall I liked it.
Excerpt: “Zim was lost in thought. “I mean that Dib’s an actual robot, not just a human with a robot’s personality. I’ve done some research and it’s obvious! He’s out to destroy all Irkens! I know it! It’s in plain sight! Just look at him!”
Gir slapped his head. There had to be some way to get out of this. “Master, you go on with your normal… stuff. I’ll stay down here and try to fix this.” Zim disappeared into the elevator.”
19. Tears, by Wings Eternal
Summary: A poem from Zim’s POV about how the Tallest never listen to him. It’s based off the premise that the Tallest told Zim that he’s a defective and his “mission” was invented to get rid of him.
What I thought: Far, far too drippy and sad.
Excerpt: “Then one day you do call back,
And you don’t listen to me,
Defect, you sneer, Mistake, you laugh,
Never call again you say,
For your not one of us.
My whole world comes crashing down,
And I know you don’t care,
Still your laughs taunt me,
And your glares cut through the air.”
20. Drive-ins Rule!, by rosegirl220
Shipping: Zim/Dib, a little bit of Gir/Gaz for laughs.
Summary: Set in the future. Dib and Zim are no longer enemies; they became friends after Zim found out his mission was a fake. Anyway, Dib, Gaz, and Professor Membrane go to the drive-in theater together, but as soon as they’re nicely situated Membrane has to leave because “some experimental super-waffles just exploded!”. Dib starts feeling upset, because not only is the family night ruined, he doesn’t even have a ride back. He breaks down and starts crying, and Gaz, after a pause, starts trying to comfort him. Of course, her moment of sibling-comforting doesn’t last long, but it does cheer Dib up a bit, and he and Gaz head over to the snack bar. There’s a brief incident where someone tries to cut in front of Gaz in line, and she responds by kicking him in the crotch. As they head back to their spot, they see a group of kids from their Skool picking on another kid; Dib realizes it’s Zim once he hears him yell. Dib then steps in and punches the leader of the group, who then decides to leave Zim alone out of respect for Dib. Zim is grateful for the assistance and offers to do something in return; Dib asks if he can get a ride home with Zim and share his spot to watch the movie. During the movie, two of the characters kiss and Zim asks what they’re doing. Dib tries to explain, a bit awkwardly, that two people kiss to show they have feelings for each other. Zim is then silent for the rest of the movie. Once the movie’s ended, Gaz goes to get some more snacks and Gir comes with her, leaving Dib and Zim alone. Zim then asks Dib if he’s ever kissed anyone. Dib says he hasn’t. Zim innocently asks if Dib would like to kiss him, and Dib explains that friends don’t kiss. Zim hints that he’d like to be more than friends, and Dib, who apparently feels the same, goes in for a kiss. Cue instant ZaDR. Gir apparently saw the kiss and is the one to deliver the “I knew you liked each other!” line so common to ZaDR stories, before being chased by Gaz who is apparently mad that Gir kissed her. Zim and Dib watch the second movie together. The end.
What I thought: Well. This one was completely mediocre. The OOC wasn’t too bad, though it was present, the story was clichéd but not terribly done for what it was, and it didn’t get too depressing or sappy though the humor wasn’t great either. Meh.
Excerpt: “I glanced back, and I realized that my sister had apparently kicked the man in the groin, and pushed him into the popcorn machine, breaking the front glass. I gave a heavy sigh and walked up to teenager running the cash register – he apparently saw what happened, because he had this bewildered expression engraved onto his face – and took out my wallet.
“How much for the popcorn machine’s glass?” I asked, grabbing a few bills in my wallet. The pimply-faced teen had this distant look in his eye, as if he heard what I said, but didn’t understand it. He blinked a few times, shook his head, and he finally came back to earth.
“Oh, right. The glass on the popcorn machine is…..$300.” he said, still sounding a bit distant.
I sighed heavily again. Luckily I had stopped by the bank earlier that day, and withdrew $500 dollars from my savings for just such an emergency.”
21. Something Better Left Unseen, by ThatPieYouAteLastNight
Shipping: Zim/Dib… all the way.
Summary: Professor Membrane comes home after a nice day at work and hears some odd crashing noises from upstairs. He opens the door to find Zim and Dib doing… well, you get the idea. Membrane gets mad and shuts the door, threatening Dib that they’ll talk about this later. More ZaDR stuff happens. Use your filthy imagination.
What I thought: The title of the fanfic describes my feelings towards it perfectly. I don’t know what was in that pie the author ate the night before she wrote this, but it’s likely illegal. Me, I think I’m going to bake a pie filled with brain bleach and eat that.
Excerpt: I. Am. Not. Excerpting. This. You don’t want to read it, trust me.
22. ZaDR The Dance, by SpyroForLife
Shipping: Zim/Dib, obviously, though it’s not necessarily romantic.
Summary: Set in the future. Dib remembers back to something that happened when he was in ninth grade. There was some kind of dance taking place at Skool, and Dib decided to go even though he didn’t have a date. Zim showed up late and seemed depressed for some reason; Dib confronted him about it and learned that Zim was going to be executed by having his PAK removed. The Tallest, of course, were behind this; they wanted to get rid of Zim once and for all. Dib, not sure how one should react to being told their archenemy has been scheduled to die, asked for one dance to remember Zim by. Zim obliged. Later that night, Zim left Earth and never returned. Dib, eventually, came to the conclusion that Zim had been killed, and now, all these years later, he misses his old rival.
What I thought: I have a general aversion to any Invader Zim fic that isn’t darkly humorous, or at least one of those. This is a little dark, but not in a very IZ way. At all. Nonetheless, for what it is it’s not bad.
Excerpt: “”I’m not dancing with anyone!” Zim glared up at him. “If you’re so curious, then why don’t you dance with me?”
“Because I hate you.” The words were familiar and spoken lightly, but this time, they caused quite a reaction in Zim. The irken’s eyes widened slightly and his look became distant, as though remembering something. Then he shook his head and ran toward the back door of the gym, shoving people aside.
“Zim? Where are you going?” Dib sighed and chased after him, wondering what his problem was.”
23. Zim in Wonderland, by bak602
Summary: Gir makes a hole in the dirt and Zim falls in. He falls for a very, very long time. Once he hits the ground, he finds himself inexplicably wearing a dress and a lacy hat. This makes him so mad he breaks through the fourth wall and hits the author on the head to stop her from describing the rest of the outfit. Back in Wonderland, Zim steps through a door and winds up in a forest, where he meets Keef. Keef is wearing suspenders and a beanie and is VERY happy to see Zim. Zim is somewhat less happy to see Keef, and marches off. Keef is excitedly planning what he and Zim are going to do and doesn’t notice. Zim then comes to a flower garden, where all the flowers have the personalities of Skoolchildren and begin throwing cafeteria food at him. Once Zim makes it out of the garden, the author informs Zim that he cannot remove his disguise, because it’s “more fun that way”. Next, Zim runs into Gir — that is, Gir appears in a tree and grins at him, Cheshire Cat style. He tells Zim that the path to his left will take him to the Mad Hatter’s house. Zim heads off in that direction. As he’s walking, he begins to hear music. Irritatingly happy music. It annoys him so much he decides to find the source of the music and destroy it. He follows the sound to a house, where he finds Dib wearing a hat and old-fashioned coat. Dib is acting uncharacteristically cheery as he talks excitedly about a tea party. Just then, Gir shows up again and sits down for tea. Gaz shows up, too, but after taking one look at the party she mutters “Not this again” and leaves. Apparently, Dib has lost all his memories and gone insane. He asks Zim if it’s his birthday, and when Zim is confused and says it isn’t Dib acts delighted and Gir sings Zim an “unbirthday” song. Dib then starts spinning Zim around and Zim’s wig falls off. The author pops in to say that she changed her mind about the wig, but it’ll stay on after the party. Seeing Zim’s antennae under the wig, Dib freaks out and starts throwing hot tea at him. Zim quickly grabs his wig and runs away, replacing the wig as he runs. He then bumps into Gir again, who warns him about something bad down the road Zim’s traveling on. Zim keeps going. He ends up in the courtyard of a castle, hoping to destroy it and its ruler, when he runs into Tak, dressed as the Red Queen. She challenges Zim to a croquet match; if Zim wins, he’ll be free to leave, but if he loses he’ll be stripped of his head and his PAK. Tak goes first and hits Zim over the head with the croquet mallet. When he regains consciousness, she tells him that since he was unconscious for his turn, she got Gir as a substitute, and she won. Zim is taken to be executed, but right as the axe is about to fall Dib shows up and starts chasing Zim. Zim runs towards a door and leaps through, shooting back out the hole he fell into in the first place. He feels greatly relieved until he realizes he’s very late for Skool. When he shows up, Dib asks him why he’s wearing a dress.
What I thought: I enjoyed this. The Alice in Wonderland parody was well done, the fourth-wall breaking was humorous, Zim was perfectly in character, etc.
Excerpt: “Zim sat up. “Stupid human…” He didn’t know how long he had been unconscious, but he really wanted to get his hands on that author right now…
As he stood, Zim realized that something was wrong. His clothes felt… strange. As he looked down, he realized something horrible. Humiliating. Terrifying. Dreadful.
He was wearing a dress.
His normal pink shirt had extended downward, keeping the same pattern but looking horribly embarrassing. He quickly felt his head. There was a frilly pink bow, with lots of lace and curls…
Zim stepped out of the fourth wall, hit the author on the head with a frying pan, knocked her unconscious, stopping her from writing the rest of the last paragraph.”
24. Half Knowledge, by invaderzimfannumber1
Shipping: Possibly Gir/OC, but a very minor part of the story (hinted at briefly).
Summary: This is the author’s thirty-eighth Invader Zim fic, and she warns you that if you haven’t read her previous stories you won’t “get” this one. I wasn’t about to read thirty-seven more fanfics, so I might not “get” this, but what the hell. Anyway, Dib is watching Mysterious Mysteries with a dragon called Thistle. Someone on Mysterious Mysteries is being interviewed about being attacked by mutant zombie vampire doughnuts, when the program is interrupted by a news broadcast. The reporter explains that a grocery store employee suddenly got some sort of strange condition, then approaches the man only to be bit. Dib, horrified by the vampire attack he’s just witnessed, decides he’s going to try and get to the bottom of it. The setting then switches to the Skool cafeteria. Two people called Jason and Paige are sitting together, when suddenly Dib walks up. Apparently, Jason is a vampire and Dib thinks he’s responsible for the attack on TV. Jason explains that he wasn’t behind it, pointing out as evidence that his fangs are bigger than the marks on the employee’s neck were. Dib believes him and asks for Jason’s help. Jason doesn’t want to help, because apparently he’s a wanted criminal, but he agrees on condition that someone else helps too. Dib asks around, but the only person with an interest is Keef. They get all ready (camera, stake gun, garlic which Keef eats) and head off to the store. The man behind the counter tells them that Luke, the infected man, went out to the dumpster and came back looking like a vampire. Surveillance tapes back up this story, but show that the attacker was not a vampire, but a group of those genetically enhanced vermin Zim was throwing around in “Mortos Der Soulstealer”. Dib sets off alone to confront Zim, but as soon as he reaches the base there’s an explosion and Zim, Gir, Minimoose, and 3 female OCs come flying out the door. The explosion was Gir’s fault, naturally. Dib explains to Zim about the vermin and asks Zim if he has any way of tracking them. Zim says he put trackers in all of them, and pulls out a tracking device from his PAK. Gir grabs it, a scuffle ensues, and Dib manages to grab it and run off. The story then goes back to Keef and Jason, who are doing something unimportant to the plot when Dib shows up. Apparently, Dib’s tracker led him to a laboratory; he guesses that someone in there modified the vermin into vampires. They go inside and find a man named Ned, who has been doing bizarre animal experiments. Keef releases one of the experiments and it attacks him and Ned, but Jason manages to pull it off. He then pulls out the camera and starts recording, while asking Ned about the vermin. Ned explains that he tried to combine their DNA with bat DNA, but used vampire bat DNA by accident. He then tells them that the creatures are attracted to cherry Jell-O, and to use that on them. To make a long story short, Dib and the other two manage to attract and kill all the vermin. The end.
What I thought: Stupid story. Too many OCs. Bad writing, bad grammar. Just… bad in general. Not in an amusing way, either.
Excerpt: “-Dib- (He was about to knock on the door, but then he heard an explosion coming from inside and all of a sudden Zim, Kierra, Gir, Mini Moose, Diva, and Amethyst all came shooting out of the base scorched up from the explosion and Amethyst ended up falling on top of Dib.)
-Zim- Uw Gir how many times have I told you not to touch things that can explode?
-Gir- WOO IT GO BOOM!
-Kierra- Dah of course it go boom, because you’re not supposed to touch it idiot.
-Diva- Hey don’t talk about my love like that.”
25. What You Didn’t See Coming, by SirenSecret
Shipping: Zim/Dib, one-sided OC/Dib.
Summary: A girl called Siren has showed up in Dib’s class. From her name, we can assume she’s an author insert. She’s not very new, but Dib didn’t notice her before because he was too busy staring at Zim. Siren is, of course, Irken and on some sort of mission. (By the way, it is three years into the future). After Skool, Dib follows Zim home, unaware that he is being followed by Siren. Dib is telling himself that he’s doing this for Earth, but it’s clear that his reasons are much more ZaDR than that. When he gets to the base, he sees Zim talking to the Tallest, and… well, if you can’t guess what happens, congrats, IZ fanfiction has not ruined you. Gir then rushes in and waves to Dib, calling him “big head boy”, and Dib automatically responds, whereupon the lawn gnomes shoot him unconscious. Zim, worried for ZaDR reasons, opens the door to see Siren dragging Dib away. Dib wakes up in a small Irken ship, where Siren tells him that she’s devised a plan to destroy Earth and that he is to be her new love. Zim then shows up in Tak’s ship and opens fire, managing to rescue Dib, though his ship (or Tak’s, since he’s using that one for some reason) is badly damaged. Siren’s ship is, too, though she manages to make it onto a bigger ship that she has. Oh, and apparently something happened that the author didn’t tell us about, because a smeet is hatched. Hers and Dib’s. Named Diz.
What I thought: Terribly written, and… hey, let’s play “find the plot holes”! Actually, let’s not, there are just too many. Definitely could be MST material.
Excerpt: “the human didn’t see that there was a hole opening in the ship that linked to a huger ship right below it till Siren rose from hit. Her Irken eye’s were black like her human form and two antennas replaced her hair, right were the pigtails were. Her pack was visible now that her long hair that half up and half down wasn’t hiding it. She wore the same outfit as zim’s except green and blue “morning dib-love” she cooed
struggling to understand Dib didn’t move when for gloved fingers touched his face “i hope you slept well cause I didn’t want you to miss the show” suddenly a screen came down “first I should explain that I have filled earth with bomb’s and plan to blow it up, second you will be my prize and new love”
Siren removed the gag and asked “any questions” before kissing him “I want let you do…how come your not in pain?” he asked realizing that his saliva was mostly water and Zim usually burned in water
“glue based lip gloss, no smell, no taste, and no burning from anything earth has to offer. Made multiple things to make myself seem human if it took long to capture you””
Well! That’s everything.
So, to sum it all up: Two of the stories were lemons, out of the five rated M. I’d say that I genuinely liked about three of these. As for MSTing, at least three of them would make good MSTs. Shipping-wise, we have ten ZaDRs, two RaPRs, one DaTR, one ZaTR, one SaZR, and a few involving OCs (I excluded platonic shippings or cases where the shipping was very lightly implied).
Overall, what have we learned? Nearly all IZ fics are written by fangirls, nearly half contain ZaDR, almost all have some type of romance, and very few are good.