content by

Matt London

Cats in Space

What is there to say about a Star Trek / cat video mash up? Nothing except that it’s ABSURDLY AWESOME. Introducing, Cats in Space, the latest venture from identical twin filmmakers James and Robert Dastoli, known for their micro-budget special effects extravaganzas, and formerly the creators of fine Star Wars fan films (try saying that five times fast).

Watch it below.


Adventures in Republic City: The Legend of Korra Premieres!

After years of anticipation, the sequel to Avatar: The Last Airbender has finally arrived. Set seventy years after the original series, The Legend of Korra follows a new avatar, a teenage Water Tribe girl named Korra, as she learns to master airbending and navigate the world’s great metropolis, Republic City. What can fans expect from the show? What are the connections to the old series, and what new surprises are in store? Below the cut, we’ll talk about what’s the same, what’s different, and what to expect this season on The Legend of Korra.


A Preview of the Upcoming Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Few video game series have the rabid fan base and near-universal acclaim of Elder Scrolls. The last installment, Oblivion, landed on more game-of-the-year lists than you can shake a sword at. So of course, in this jampacked holiday season, one of the most anticipated games is Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

Early videos of Skyrim have shown that Bethesda Game Studios has learned from the successes of Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, so fans are already assured of a beautiful, polished game. But what specifically can players expect? I was recently invited to participate in an extended live play demo of Skyrim.

[Check out what I discovered below the cut]

Clarion Workshop Alumni Interviews: Grady Hendrix

In honor of the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop, currently underway in San Diego, California, I am conducting a series of interviews with some of my former classmates to show just how much success a Clarion student can have in only a few years after completing the workshop. Previously, I interviewed my fellow students Shauna Roberts and Kenneth Schneyer from the class of 2009 about their success. Today, I talk with another classmate, Grady Hendrix.

[Check out the interview below]

A Song of Ice and Lego

George R. R. Martin’s fantasy masterpiece A Song of Ice and Fire has swept the nation. This week alone the fifth book in the series, A Dance with Dragons, was released to great acclaim, while the HBO drama series based on the novels, Game of Thrones, received a whopping thirteen Emmy nominations. Capitalizing on the popularity of the series, LEGO has announced they will be releasing tie-in playsets featuring the Starks, Lannisters, and other denizens of the Seven Kingdoms.

Okay, just kidding. These GoT minifigs were actually created by game designer Sam Beattie. By cannibalizing countless LEGO sets, Mr. Beattie assembled strikingly accurate likenesses of the books’ characters. Check out the images below, and click on Sam Beattie’s Flickr for even more images. In addition to ASOIAF, there is also an impressive recreation of Serenity and the cast of Firefly. MiniMal! So you better check that out too.

[Click for more images]

Avatar Rewatch: “The Earth King” (episode 218)

Things move towards the climax of season two in episode 218, “The Earth King.” It’s not the best episode of the series, but it has its moments, including an incredible action setpiece on par with the siege of the North Pole in season one and the Day of Black Sun in season three. It’s not that the episode is bad, it’s just that after so many knuckle-biting episodes in Ba Sing Se, the show treads water here to gear up for the finale. It’s all wind up and no pitch.


Series: Avatar: The Last Airbender Rewatch on

Clarion Workshop Alumni Interviews: Shauna Roberts

In honor of the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop, currently underway in San Diego, California, I am conducting a series of interviews with some of my former classmates to show just how much success a Clarion student can have in only a few years after completing the workshop. Previously, I interviewed my fellow student Kenneth Schneyer from the class of 2009 about his success. Today, I talk with another classmate, Shauna Roberts

[Click for more]

Clarion Workshop Alumni Interviews: Kenneth Schneyer

Today the Clarion Workshop begins. Over the next six weeks, eighteen handpicked students will undergo grueling critiques from their peers and instructors, a team of established authors. Founded in 1968 by Robin Scott Wilson and championed for decades by Damon Knight and Kate Wilhelm, the Clarion Workshop is now held at UC San Diego in sunny La Jolla, California.

In honor of the workshop, I will be posting interviews with some of my fellow Clarion classmates and alumni. To find out more about the workshop and read the first interview, click the link below.

[Read more]

Avatar Rewatch: “Lake Laogai” (episode 217)

Avatar: The Last Airbender episode 2.17 “Lake Laogai” is a story of endings. Three of them.

First, it is the end to Appa the sky bison’s long absence. Second, Jet’s plotline comes to a tragic conclusion. Lastly, in the final moments of the show, Zuko ends his career as the Blue Spirit.

The doors that we have seen open for much of Season 2 are now closing. We can see the finale on the horizon. Characters change, relationships evolve. Avatar accomplishes a feat rarely seen in children’s television—closure.

[Watch the doors slam shut after the jump.]

Series: Avatar: The Last Airbender Rewatch on

The Little Things: An Appreciation of Spirited Away

Hayao Miyazaki is known in film circles as the Walt Disney of Japan. As a writer and director, he has brought us such classics as My Neighbor Totoro and Princess Mononoke. In each of these masterpieces, he hand-draws tens of thousands of individual frames. His films are recognized for their grand scope and unforgettable characters. It always amazes me to think that a Miyazaki film is as epic and original as Star Wars, only to be dumbfounded by the fact that each unique Miyazaki film is equally magnificent. He may not be as prolific as a Woody Allen or an Alfred Hitchcock (though he certainly deserves to be compared to such luminaries) but every Miyazaki film is a classic.

I was happy to learn that the readers of had recognized Spirited Away as one of the best films of the decade. Many fans and critics agree it is his best film. Spirited Away won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival, the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film, and it was the first film in history to make more than $200 million at the box office before opening in North America. The film has a special place in my heart. I first saw it in theaters during the original US release. Although I had previously watched Kiki’s Delivery Service and Princess Mononoke, nothing could compare to the experience of watching a Miyazaki film on the big screen. I remember being absolutely floored by the intricately crafted imagery and the lasting impact of the story. Every time you watch Spirited Away, you discover something new. I’d like to talk about some of these discoveries below.

[It’s all in the details, below the cut]

Series: Decade’s Best SFF Movies Viewer’s Poll

Avatar Rewatch: “Appa’s Lost Days” (episode 216)

It has been many episodes since we last saw the beloved sky bison Appa (and many, many months in rewatch time), but this week, the furry Millennium Falcon returns in episode 216, “Appa’s Lost Days.”

In just twenty-two minutes, we revisit old friends, foes, and locales from earlier in season two, and the creators once again remind us that we can laugh, cry, be afraid, and cheer in triumph in a short episode of children’s television.

[Click for more]

Series: Avatar: The Last Airbender Rewatch on

Avatar Rewatch: “Tales of Ba Sing Se” (episode 215)

In this week’s Airbender Rewatch, we look at episode 2.15, “Tales of Ba Sing Se.” This episode is unique in that instead of a standard A/B plot structure, it shows a series of disconnected vignettes, called tales, each focusing on one of the main characters. Some are relevant to the plot, others are not. The tales range from totally pointless (Sokka) to story critical and deeply sad. (Iroh.)

Let’s get started.

[Click for more]

Series: Avatar: The Last Airbender Rewatch on

Avatar Rewatch: “City of Walls and Secrets” (episode 214)

“City of Walls and Secrets” picks up where “The Drill” left off. (Are we beginning to see a pattern here?) Aang and company settle into Ba Sing Se, and attempt to inform the king of the impending solar eclipse. Spooky tour guides and the city’s secret police get in the way of our heroes’ quest, and there is still no sign of Appa. Meanwhile, Jett’s suspicions of Zuko and Iroh come to a head….

[Even Avatar occasionally has a Dystopia Week]

Series: Avatar: The Last Airbender Rewatch on

Avatar Rewatch: “The Drill” (episode 213)

It is no wonder that this and the previous episode aired on the same night as a two-parter called “Secrets of the Fire Nation;” “The Drill” picks up precisely where “The Serpent’s Pass” left off, with Aang and Momo on top of the outer wall of Ba Sing Se, gazing in horror at the Fire Nation’s secret weapon, a giant drill tank. This episode lacks the character development and big revelations of the past few episodes, but instead we are treated to a giant action sequence the likes of which we have not seen since the Season One finale.

[Click to find out if Azula’s drill breaches the walls of Ba Sing Se]

Series: Avatar: The Last Airbender Rewatch on

Top Five Overrated Video Game Villains

Hey game fans, welcome back. In honor of the release of Portal 2 and the return of the wicked GLaDOS, yesterday counted down the five best villains in video game history. Today, we will be counting down the Five Most Overrated Villains in video game history. We were going to do a Top Five Worst list, but since those awful tedious boss battles are all in games we hate, we will instead examine popular villains who have been getting off the hook for a little too long.

[Click for more.]

Avatar Rewatch: “The Serpent’s Pass” (episode 212)

In our last post, we talked about how the two-parter “The Library” and “The Desert” represented a mid-season climax for Book II: Earth. Though the ending is a downer, there is a sense of peaking action. Having spent much of the season on the run, doggedly pursued by Azula and her cronies, and receiving no quarter from the very people Aang hopes to save (he has been chased out of many of the Earth Kingdom villages he has visited) the story now transitions into a new chapter—the adventures in Ba Sing Se, capital city of the Earth Kingdom.

[But how do they get there?]

Series: Avatar: The Last Airbender Rewatch on

Top Five Greatest Video Game Villains

Portal 2 came out April 19th, and in honor of the return of GLaDOS, the most iconic and diabolical villain in recent video games, presents the Top Five Greatest Villains in Video Game History.

A few things to consider about this list. I omitted Bowser from Super Mario Bros. for a few reasons. First, Bowser is The Beatles of video game villains. Of course he would be on the list. Boring! Rather than take up a slot, check out the analysis I did of King Koopa for Mario’s 25th anniversary.

I also omitted all licensed games, limiting this list to villains who originated in video games. I could probably make another list exclusively of villains in licensed games. Special mention goes to the Shredder Squad in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade, the Doctor Octopus/Carnage symbiote in Spider-Man for N64, and Boba Fett in Dark Forces.

[And now, without further ado — the list!]

Nukes and Waves: Godzilla and the Vulnerability of Japan

Peter Wynn Kirby at the New York Times Opinionator blog compares tragedies past and present in Japan with monster movies of the 1950s.

As the great saurian beast emerges from Tokyo Bay to lay waste to the capital in 1954’s ‘Gojira’ (‘Godzilla’), the resulting explosions, dead bodies and flood of refugees evoked dire scenes from the final days of the war, images still seared in the memories of Japanese viewers. Far from the heavily edited and jingoistic, shoot’em-up, stomp’em-down flick that moviegoers saw in the United States, Japanese audiences reportedly watched ‘Gojira’ in somber silence, broken by periodic weeping.

It’s heartbreaking stuff, especially with the shocking images of tsunami devastation so fresh in our minds. Japanese artists have long turned tragedy into great art, from Kurosawa’s Ikiru to anime classics Barefoot Gen (contains disturbing images) and Grave of the Fireflies, drawing some comfort out of unthinkable horror.

Perhaps this sentiment offers little solace when so many have lost their lives, their homes, and so many more are still missing, but artists challenge their fellow citizens to face their fears and reach catharsis.

Matt London is an author and filmmaker who lives in New York City. He is a graduate of the Clarion Writer’s Workshop, as well as a columnist for, Fantasy Magazine, Lightspeed, and Realms of Fantasy. His fiction is out right this second in the anthology The Living Dead 2. Follow him on Twitter.

A Personal Reflection on Brian Jacques

Always the tide comes flowing in.
Ever it goes out again.
Sleep ’neath the shore evermore,
Free from hunger and pain.
Morning light will bring the sun;
Seasons go rolling on.
Questing ever far from home,
For Salamandastron.

—Gonff the Mousethief, Mossflower

Students were allowed to check out two books at a time from my elementary school library, with one exception. Students could only check out one Redwall book at a time—they were just too popular. At times the librarian, a tower of hardbacks in her arms, would sit us in beanbag chairs in the reading corner and dole out the big books with the mice on their covers. There were seven books then, and I had come late to the party. As the other fourth grade boys fought over who got to read Martin the Warrior next, the only thing they could all agree on was that I had to read Mossflower first. It wasn’t the first book in the series, but it was the earliest chronologically, and it was everyone’s favorite.

[Read more]

Unlimited Batarangs: The Video Games of Batman

The gaming industry has had a long love/hate relationship with the Caped Crusader. His popularity and iconic imagery are ripe for the gaming model. In spite of this appeal, Batman has long struggled to find his place in the pantheon of great game franchises. Unfortunately, most Batman games are notoriously awful. And not in that “doesn’t look good I think I’ll pass” kind of way, but in the “this game is so bad I will write songs about it” way. We are talking E.T. caliber awful.

[Click to see Batman as ninja, commando, and mayor of Metro City]

Series: Bat-Week