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).
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.
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 jam–packedholidayseason, 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 Tor.com 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 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.
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.)
“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….
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.
Hey game fans, welcome back. In honor of the release of Portal 2 and the return of the wicked GLaDOS, yesterday Tor.com 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.
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.