What is reincarnation? It's the dead coming back to life. What is being frozen in a cryogenic tube for 1000 years and then revived? It's essentially a dead man coming back to life. What is the Turangalila Symphony about? It's about death and rebirth. What is Camelot 3000 about? It's about the dead returning for a second chance at life. What was Matt Groening's biography like? He had a miserable existence until he suddenly became wealthy, succesful, famous, respected and influential. Why do you think his first creation was called "Life in Hell"? During one low point, he ran the cash register in a record store, probably earning minimum wage off the books. To a large extent, he is Fry. The Simpsons was a second chance at life for him. No doubt he feels extremely fortunate and has said so on numerous occasions. Why shouldn't he create a work of fiction dedicated to this idea? Futurama is his "child of old age," as it were, the story he always wanted to write. He can do things here he could never do in any other forum. It's an opportunity for him to really convey the messages that are important to him.
"You know, I'm the luckiest guy in the whole future. I've been given a second chance, and this time I'm not going to be a total loser." That's what Fry says when he is being debriefed from his resuscitation in the very first episode... and that's what it's all about basically.
There is a recent school of thought in theology that maintains Biblical prophecies about the Resurrection of the Dead will take place via scientific means such as cloning and cryogenics. Ripped from tomorrow's headlines indeed. Quantum Theology attempts to reconcile religion with the sciences. Should these phenomena not be considered miracles just because we understand how they work? "When you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all." Did you ever notice how much the snow resembles a big fingerprint when that statement is made in the final scene of "Godfellas"? Watch as the camera pans out for a bird's eye view. There's a lot more going on in this show than meets the eye. A lot more. Those poor monks... they might have found what they were after had they but set their sights a little closer to home.
"OMNIA MVTANTVR NIHIL INTERIT" (Everything changes but nothing is ever truly lost.)
That's from the Sandman by Neil Gaiman. Pick up a copy if you get the chance. You'll be glad you did.
Camelot 3000 was extremely important to the comic book industry and medium when it came out in 1982. It was the first comic book in the modern era specifically written for adults. It was the first "maxiseries," being twelve monthly issues in a finite series with a definitive ending. It was the first book released through the direct sales market. It made Frank Miller's "Dark Knight Returns" possible. "Dark Knight Returns" made the Batman movie possible. The Batman movie made a resurgence of superheroes possible for television and movies. That made a general interest in animated programming possible. That made it possible for the Simpsons to leave the Tracy Ullman Show vignettes and stand on its own. That made it possible for us to have Futurama today. So I guess we owe a lot to Camelot 3000. Groening probably recognizes this debt and wishes to repay the comics medium by producing the Futurama comic book.
My reason for mentioning the Ondes-Martenot was that it's an extremely rare instrument. Assuming my guess was right, Turangalila Symphony and Psyche Rock are probably the only songs many of us will ever hear featuring it. It is probably the "missing link" connecting those two songs. Invented in 1928, it is one of the first electronic musical instruments ever made and may be the only one from its era still in use today. As such, its music may be considered among the first true science fiction music ever made. Like the little speech Groening had Fry give to Leela about the first Lunar Landing of 1969, Groening probably thought that fans of science fiction ought to remember and appreciate the things that inspired our imaginations and made sci-fi possible as a literary genre. In that same episode, we see Luna Park's mascot, "Craterface," a character taken from the very first science fiction motion picture ever made for the silver screen. "Le Voyage dans la Lune" (A Trip to the Moon), was made in 1902 by Georges Melies and based on the novel "De la Terre ą la Lune" (From the Earth to the Moon) written by Jules Verne in 1868! It was a black & white silent film, 14 minutes in length, shown to audiences between Vaudeville acts. It was the Neanderthal of sci-fi but it got the ball rolling. It also evinces a heavy influence of H. G. Wells. Bender's robotic sweetheart might have been a tip of the hat to "Die Frau im Monde" (The Girl in the Moon). This book, written by Thea Von Harbou in 1929, is possibly the first science fiction novel to have been written by a woman.
An excellent resource is Zvi HarEl's Jules Verne Collection at: http://jv.gilead.org.il/
In "A Clone of My Own," the Professor explains to Cubert about the wonder and mystery of science and how it can accomplish almost anything if given the chance. Groening apparently subscribes to the school of thought that says the difference between science and science fiction is a timeline. "Science" is merely the science we have in our posession now and "science fiction" is the science we wish we had now, or to put it another way, the science we will have in the future if we just keep working at it. Isaac Asimov once said that magic is just science that is currently beyond our grasp.
In that episode, the Professor sums it all up by saying, "Nothing is impossible, not if you can imagine it! That's what being a scientist is all about!"