Horrible Fanfiction #156: Dibra (part 9), an Invader Zim fanfiction

Posted in Fanfic MSTs with tags , , , , , , on March 17, 2014 by Skepkitty

I’m on break from college now. I had planned on getting more City of Bones reviewed during said break, but unfortunately I forgot to bring the book home with me. So, instead, Dibra.

This is a short chapter, but it’s boring and thus I kept putting off doing it.

Again, due to the author’s incredibly confusing portrayal of Dib/Dibra’s gender identity, I’ve elected to use singular they/them pronouns for the character barring further developments. I honestly do not know what their gender is supposed to be anymore.

Chapter 1

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Book Review: City of Bones

Posted in Books, Mortal Instruments Reviews with tags , , , on February 7, 2014 by Skepkitty

Part of me really, really wanted to do Twilight next, but there are already a ton of chapter-by-chapter Twilight reviews out there, so instead we’re doing the Mortal Instruments trilogy. I might come back to the Twilight Saga at some point, but I’ll most likely be doing oneshot reviews instead of chapter-by-chapter ones.

I received the first two books in this trilogy for Christmas a few years back. I think a friend who liked them gave them to me. I know for sure that I read the first one, and I probably read the second, but the entirety of the plot has gone out of my head since. I’ll probably have a lot of “oh, yeah, I remember this!” moments as I reread the book, but going in I basically recall nothing, so for all intents and purposes this might as well be my first read-through.

The author, Cassandra Clare (real name Judith Rumelt), was a big name in the Harry Potter fandom a while back. She wrote The Draco Trilogy, a series of three novel-length fanfics about Draco Malfoy from Harry Potter. If any of you are familiar with the term “Draco in leather pants,” used to refer to an unpleasant or villainous canon character getting a more sympathetic and sexualized fanon makeover, her fanfics are where the term originated. (There’s a famous scene in one of them in which Draco wears very tight leather pants.) There were several fandom controversies and a lot of drama surrounding these fics. As I understand it:

  • The fics were ostensibly about a Draco/Hermione/Harry love triangle, but there was also a lot of Draco/Harry subtext. Might not seem like a big deal, but back in the day you either liked het pairings or you liked slash (gay pairings), and the Draco Trilogy’s predominately het-fan audience wasn’t always comfortable with the amount of gay subtext in the story.
  • The author plagiarized a fairly long section of text from an out-of-print novel; when this was pointed out by a reader, the fics were removed from Fanfiction.net. As you can imagine, this caused a huge backlash from the trilogy’s many fans, who defended Cassandra’s plagiarism as an “homage” to the original work. (She was well-known for referencing other works in her fics; characters were often quoting Buffy the Vampire Slayer at length, for example, and she rarely cited her sources. It’s not uncommon for fan works to contain a fair number of references and shout-outs, but this author really used a ton of them, to the point where a large portion of her work was not original content.)
  • Just to really drive home the above — Cassandra Clare was definitively proven to have lifted an entire scene from a book by another author, and much of the witty dialogue her fics were praised for was in fact taken directly from other works. The inconsistent nature of her prose, furthermore, suggests that she may have plagiarized far more than just that. Keep in mind, too, that she wrote these fics as an adult.

After first hearing of this drama, some time ago now, I got interested in rereading the Mortal Instruments series, but until now I haven’t gotten around to it. I haven’t heard anyone claim that the author plagiarized anyone’s work in her published novels, so maybe she learned her lesson; still, I’m having a hard time believing that someone who made a name for herself borrowing work from other authors has much chops as a writer.

(Bit off-topic, but I’ve just realized that she lives about 15-20 minutes away from my college. As I type this, there is a bus pulling up outside. If I were to get on this bus, it would take me to the town where she lives. Small world.)

Before beginning the review proper, one last note. I’m reading a hard copy of the book, rather than a PDF like I did for Fifty Shades. For this reason, I won’t be doing “alerts” at the end of these reviews. It was easy to do with Fifty Shades because I could just copy and paste quotes and do searches for phrases like “inner goddess” and “oh my” that the author used frequently. I’m still going to be doing a “thoughts so far” section at the end of each review.

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Book Review: Fifty Shades of Grey (part 26)

Posted in Books, Fifty Shades Reviews with tags , , , , , on January 27, 2014 by Skepkitty

Well, this is a giant fucking weight off my chest. I’m thrilled to be done with this garbage, I can assure you.

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New year, new news

Posted in News with tags on January 16, 2014 by Skepkitty

Hey, Halfworlders. I would have posted that last chapter of Fifty Shades several days ago, but unfortunately my laptop containing the in-progress review is away for repairs. I’ll have it back in a few days, no worries.

Over the last couple days, I’ve been going through my old MSTs — doing some minor edits, mostly. It’s been a bit of a nostalgia trip for me, as odd as that sounds, but it also got me thinking. Back when I first started doing MSTs, I was a fifteen-year-old kid; not much older than the authors whose works I was mocking, and, indeed, younger than at least a couple of them. Now, though, I’m a few months away from turning nineteen, and it’s starting to feel a little unfair of me to be picking on bad fanfic writers; many of them are in their early teens, or even pre-teens. They’re just kids. They may not know how to write, but their poor attempts at writing are basically harmless, and for me to be ripping apart the work of barely-pubescent kids seems pretty cruel now that I’m past that age myself.

That isn’t to say I’m condemning the idea of MSTing fanfic in general, or that I’m never gonna do another MST, but I think it’s time to refine the criteria a bit. Many of the fics I’ve MSTed in the past have been author-insert fics written by fangirls in their early teens, but that sort of thing doesn’t seem too fair for me to criticize — if young girls wanna pretend that they have super awesome powers and that they’re married to Zim from Invader Zim, then more power to them, I guess, and far be it from me to judge them for a little harmless escapism. Seemed like fair game when I was around that age myself; doesn’t seem fair now.

On the other hand, stuff like My Immortal and Forbiden Fruit will forever be fair game for reasons I’m sure don’t need explaining (you can’t not laugh at one of those). I stand by my sporking of Love Knows No Race, as it was the literary equivalent of a hairball and also contained multi-generational alien twincest (somehow presented as totally okay?). Trollfics, like those of MarissaTheWriter, are practically written for people like me to pick apart and have a laugh at. (Well, in the case of MarissaTheWriter’s fics, they were literally written for me.) And I feel justified in MSTing Dibra, as the way it portrays sex and gender is pretty screwy and deserves to be criticized.

I’m not gonna swear off MSTing; I think it’s fun, and I think there are fanfics that deserve it (hell, some authors are totally fine with their work being picked over in this manner, too — I’ve even had authors request that I MST their fics a few times). But I’ll be more careful in choosing my targets. I don’t want to turn into some sort of internet bully here; that’s never been my aim with these MSTs. I don’t want to dissuade any twelve-year-olds from becoming writers simply because they wrote a second-rate fanfic (and, honestly, I’m not sure what other kind of fanfic you could expect from a twelve-year-old).

You know what is always an acceptable target, though? Published fiction.

I don’t know if I can continue on to the rest of the Fifty Shades saga right away; I might need a break. But there are plenty of bad books out there. There are so many works of fiction — bestselling ones, even — that are absolutely dreadful. Look at Twilight. Look at all the shitty young adult novels inspired by Twilight. And now remember that everything written in those books is being read by a large and impressionable audience. Surely that kind of writing deserves to be ripped to shreds here on THW.

In short, what I’m saying is that this blog is gonna be shifting focus a bit; there’ll still be MSTs from time to time, but I’m planning on doing mainly bad book reviews. Please do not send me any submissions for fics to be MSTed at this time. I may decide to close MST submissions indefinitely. 

I’ll be finishing up the MSTs in progress; no worries.

Thank you all for being a great audience. Here’s to another year of awful writing and despair-inducing blog posts here on The Half-World!

Book Review: Fifty Shades of Grey (part 25)

Posted in Books, Fifty Shades Reviews with tags , , , , , on January 5, 2014 by Skepkitty

This is it, friends. The second-to-last chapter. I would have posted sooner, but I’ve had other matters to attend to over the past couple days. You can expect the last chapter shortly, and then we’ll finally be done with this pile of shit.

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Book Review: Fifty Shades of Grey (part 24)

Posted in Books, Fifty Shades Reviews with tags , , , , , on December 31, 2013 by Skepkitty

We’re close enough to the end that I can taste it. It tastes disgusting.

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Book Review: Fifty Shades of Grey (part 23)

Posted in Books, Fifty Shades Reviews with tags , , , , , on December 28, 2013 by Skepkitty

It’s been months. I would apologize for the delay, but I know I needed a break from reading this book and I’m betting some of you also needed a break from hearing about it.

We are near the end, friends, and I’ll try and get us there by 2014.

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