Odyssey 2010, The 2010 Eastercon, 2 - 5 April 2010
Radisson Edwardian Hotel, Heathrow, London, UK
If you have a greater than average urge to don a hat, waistcoat, beard or a ponytail (especially if all at once), you may be a Fan and not realise it. I currently seem to be making it to only one con, and even to that at the pathetic frequency of every other year. Each time I decide that I'd like to go to more of them. They are fun and fascinating events. Also probably one of the few places where you'll see teenagers with knitting needles instead of hoodies. Perhaps the only place.
Even though as a child growing up in Finland I was reading Lem, Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke and Vonnegut with the odd Edgar Rice Burroughs' Mars book thrown in long before I'd got into Star Trek and the original Battlestar Galactica, I didn't know anything about 'Fandom' before my first Eastercon in Jersey. I'm so glad I now know they exist. One of the first Fans (with a capital F) I met back then turned out to be a bit of a Fandom superhero, Peter Weston. We still only ever bump into each other and catch up at Eastercons.
According to Mike Carey, the difference between a Comic Con and an Eastercon is that the former feels less connected and less personal and the latter feels more like a bunch of people who've known each other for ages. There must be so many levels of these cons I am completely oblivious to - fandom politics and hierarchy, for instance, but to a naive punter like myself the environment feels un-snobbish, welcoming, inclusive and exhilarating.
As always there were more interesting programme items than time, and short of creating a space-time anomaly, one had to choose. I left out the bondage workshops, animatronics and sword fighting techniques, but there were still plenty of sessions I would like to have seen and couldn't.
When talking about happiness, life coaches and other such bods often recite that experiences make us happier than material things. The good (or bad, depending on one's viewpoint) thing about Eastercons is that they provide you with plenty of both.
We pile into the Smart, put on Jokaiselle Tulta and drive down to Heathrow. The journey is shorter than two years ago because we now live in Farnham instead of Horley.
Life of a Hydrogen Atom, Nik Whitehead
At first I am slightly concerned because the black and white Power Point presentation that greets us seems like an example of 'How Not To Use Power Point' from my presentation skills course. Within seconds, Nik's charismatic delivery and humour override any such doubts. She makes the session feel as though I've been given the pudding before the main meal.
"You're a different audience - different in all the right ways," she quips at one point.
Nik takes us through Life, Universe and Almost Everything in one hour, from the Big Bang to a sobering look at what might happen to our Universe in the end.
Current contenders are:
- The Big Freeze = if our Universe is considered to be open and will continue to expand ad infinitum, it will eventually suffer a heat death.
- The Big Crunch = if our universe is considered to be closed, it may eventually stop expanding and crunch inwards; possibly creating another Big Bang in the process. (Apparently this line of thinking is falling out of favour)
- The Big Rip = Everything will be torn apart by the expansion of the Universe and there will be 'rips' in space-time.
Luckily for us, our Universe is only around 14 billion years old. Still, I do frequently suffer from what could maybe be described as existential depression.
Afterwards, I reflect on how irritating I find it when people prefer superstition and woo to the marvels that are right here and very real. We are all made from stars. Fact. How much more amazing could things be?
Comics 101 - Essential Comics for New Readers, Sam Sykes, Claude Lalumière, Mike Carey, Crazy Dave
"Comics is not a genre. It's a medium."
The panel throws out so much excellent commentary and information that I fill 5 pages of my notebook. It is nice to see Dave Mansfield again though I don't think he recognises me from 2008. (If you're reading - hi Crazy Dave!).
One segment makes me hold my breath a little. "What would you recommend to a child who is new to comics?"
I feel too intimidated to comment at this point, just in case mentioning Asterix, Lucky Luke and Tintin would be thought of as dorky. Relieved that someone else puts their hand up and mentions them instead. Also lament that Marsupilami never really made it over here.
Of course, coming from Finland, my comic book reading was hugely influenced by the Moomin comics, as well as Aku Ankka. I don't mention these.
I'm impressed by Claude. He is insightful and articulate. At one point he says: "Comics is a language - if you haven't been exposed to it from an early age it can be hard to decode." Of course this could be some kind of industry cliché I am blissfully unaware of, but it was certainly one of the most thought-provoking moments for me.
The discussion touches on the lamentable decline and eventual disappearance of newsstand comics, which has probably been one of the biggest causes of declining readership over the last couple of decades. I wonder if we could start some sort of a movement to bring comics back. Maybe that would be as likely to succeed as getting your kids really into radio plays.
Here are some of the recommendations:
Flight anthologies - about storytelling and a sense of wonder.
Alfred Bester's The Stars My Destination as a comic. Apparently very hard to get hold of.
Schlock Mercenary (web comic)
Ultimate Spiderman (if you want to get your superhero-fan kids into comics, but don't want to make their head explode by all the back-story).
Sam Sykes recommends Uzumaki by saying: "Are there any Japanese people in the audience?" No hands go up. He continues: "Good, because I might have phrased this a little differently otherwise. If you want truly weird shit, you've got to angle in that direction."
Walking Dead (apparently drawn by a really lovely bloke who once drew Dave a picture of a mad zombie scientist).
Sam also recommends The Boys, which he describes as a "a really horrible, violent comic." I'm beginning to spot a theme with Sam.
Claude mentions Love and Rockets, which I am chuffed about because I've only recently discovered it myself.
Palomar was described as magic realism, which makes me think that I must look it up immediately.
Beanworld is recommended for kids. Apparently it's about walking, talking beans.
Palestine is mentioned as an excellent achievement of conveying complex issues and the genuine horror of war.
Dave explains the general gist of A Super Girly Top Secret Comic Diary. Sadly it seems to have drawn to a close.
The Age of Bronze is mentioned as a good example of historically well researched project.
Lunch - shredded carrot and currant salad from the con Buffet. A bit soggy.
Iain Banks Before the Wasp Factory, David Haddock
The editor of Banksoniain fanzine takes us through what Iain was writing in the 60s and 70s. We hear anecdotes about his early adventure stories and terrible character names. My husband has to explain to me why Toss Macabre is funny.
Allergies - an Introduction to Our Current Understanding, Brian Gray
"Histamine is basically molecular teargas."
Who knew talking about snot could be so entertaining? Brian is a super-charismatic, knowledgeable, educated and a less creepy version of Sideshow Bob. His presentation is engaging and informative. I leave with a well-put-together handout and a grin. I'm also now jealous of North Americans' anaphylaxis kits. Mine is pretty pathetic by comparison.
Was going to go to: Writing Steampunk. Instead end up at: Battlestar Atlantia (LARP intro session)
The hotel corridors are plastered with these cool posters. Both Timo and I are big fans of the new Battlestar Galactica. Even my text message alert goes: "By your command" in a cylon voice. But I digress. I've not done Live Action - or any other kind of - role playing for a very, very long time. I probably won't start again now. However, I must have one of these posters. So I head to the games intro session and speak to the artist. She is delighted that I like her work and lets me have one of the spare copies. I'll frame it later.
I spend the remaining time browsing through the dealer room (for those who don't know what a dealer room is; it's a science fiction fan market with everything from clothing, jewellery and books to two-headed bears). I pass the Genki Gear stall twice before admitting to myself that I must buy at least one of their t-shirts.
Utopia - How the Concept Has Developed in Philosophy and SF, Iain M. Banks, Elizabeth Counihan, Edward James, Nik Whitehead
"In order to create Utopia, you have to destroy what was there before."
A fascinating discussion about the very definitions of Utopia and Dystopia. "Utopias are fun to live in, but crap to write about," said Iain at one point. He clarified by stating that it's much more interesting to write about what he called the peripheral stuff; where conflict occurs.
"Brave New World seemed like a Utopia to the Americans at the time: hey, free drugs!"
How Writers, Artists and Illustrators Interact, Mike Carey, Al Davidson, Deidre Counihan, Chris Moore, Steve K
There is a definite difference between book jacket illustration and graphic novels/comics in that the former is more like packaging design. It's meant to sell a product. There is some more discussion about how novelists and illustrators interact. I've never properly thought about what goes into comic script writing and the session ends up focusing on this topic fairly heavily. I learn about the old Marvel 3-step process and what happens these days instead. The best part is when everyone starts to share their war-stories about demanding agents and ridiculous art direction. Mentioning no names, of course.
I discover that Mike Carey is a fellow book-sniffer and find this delightful. There's nothing like a science fiction convention to make you feel less like an outsider.
It's my birthday and we decide to have a slow start. This allows me to open presents, the winner of which is this super-awesome Irregular Choice bag. I immediately turf out all the junk from my current handbag and put the new one into use.
We bump into Martin Owton, Dave Gullen, Gaye Sebold from the T-party. I make a feeble attempt to explain why I've let my membership lapse to never-seen associate status. Martin suggests I should try the (now) local to me writing group he is a member of in Farnborough.
Guest of Honour: Iain M. Banks, interviewed by Jane Killick
I am beginning to understand why the only two authors I really couldn't seem to get into when I first started reading English fantasy and science fiction as a non-native speaker were Terry Pratchett and Iain M. Banks. Who knew space opera could be so...colloquial?
Iain is animated, charismatic and charming. His talk keeps everyone entertained and the hour whizzes past.
I am still catching up with my Banks reading. I've gone up the science fiction 'branch' of his career first.
Iain's fantastic Scottish accent is beginning to flavour my internal dialogue.
Bad Science, Ben Goldacre
"All Men Will Have Big Willies"
At first I couldn't believe my luck when I saw that Ben was going to be here too. You'd just have to throw in some kind of olfactory lecture and it'd be perfect programming for Pia.
There are some technical difficulties in the beginning. Ben ends up with his laptop on a chair, on a table and comments: "Now that the Pierrot-part of my presentation is over..."
A great presenter, Ben shows that he's done this sort of thing on stage before. The early technical hitch cuts the show short, which is a shame because everyone is enjoying themselves immensely.
I already know most of the stories he tells us because I've got his book and read his blog, but I'm thrilled at the opportunity to see him in action.
We pile out of the room and to my surprise, Ben stops me: "Don't I know you from somewhere?"
We talk for about an hour and Timo joins in half-way through. I tell Ben about the book I'm working on and he scolds me for not pulling my finger out and sorting it out already. He threatens to write it if I don't.
We end up missing what we were planning on doing and decide to have something to eat instead.
I pop to the dealers room and treat myself to an adorable (very flattering) portrait done by Al Davidson. I can't resist the pull of another Genki t-shirt, so I reason that it's my birthday and who needs to eat lunch anyway? I end up chatting with Lydia on the stall and she tells me about their adventures as an independent company.
Drawing Comic Art, Al Davidson
"Never commit too early to your lines."
I signed up for this session, which is lucky since it seemed over-subscribed. There aren't enough chairs and the arrangement is awkward for Al because he needs to draw onto a flip chart from a seated position. Somehow Al manages to run the session with ease despite these difficulties. He shows us some of his Doctor Who original artwork panels, discussed various drawing techniques - and we get to participate in some quick lessons in comic art short-hand. It's amazing how much Al is able to fit in. I learn a lot, but leave wishing I could sign up for a course taught by him.
Whisky tasting with Iain Banks
Did you know that Iain's original idea for a science fiction pen-name was a blend of his favourite whisky brands at the time?
We didn't sign up for this session, which means we were banished to the back rows and only got a few glasses passed around to us. The volume of audience 'participation' increases in tandem with number of whisky samples. The mods seem annoyed by this, but I don't mind. It's like a strange kind of bar with pauses for tasting notes. To my delight, the discussion touches on olfaction a fair amount, at which point I am able to contribute a little. Now it really is a perfect programme for Pia.
The whisky tasting ends at 6pm and we head home. I only sniffed, so I'm driving.
Biggest Biological Tropes in SF, Stephen Gaskell, Paul McAuley, Michael Owen, Sharon Reamer, Gary Stratmann
"Life as we know it (if there's a Jim in the audience)".
The usual topics of carbon-based life forms versus the possibility of silicon-based; what IS life anyway and all that jazz gets covered. Very interesting, but find myself once again mesmerised by Paul McAuley's brain.
The question of "is there another type of life on Earth that we just haven't discovered yet?" is an interesting one.
Gary has a fantastic way with words: "The broader question of life is easily answered - it's DNA versus Lego." And: "It's been important to human psychology to believe we are special."
Guest of Honour: Alastair Reynolds
"It's a great time to be writing science fiction. Science moves faster, so you just have to work a little bit harder."
Alastair presents a journey through early science fiction to modern writing by drawing on the theme of how science and fiction interact. He puts developments in the genre in political and cultural context and admits to still hoping that faster than light travel could be possible.
He mentions his frustration at not knowing what will be discovered by science after he has gone and I nod in agreement. It's one of the most annoying things about being curious.
We pick up a copy of Murky Depths from the dealers room. This is a new one for me, but the sample copy I picked up looked interesting.
Pictured: our book haul from the con.
Best Unread (in English) European SF books, Jonathan Cowie, Jo Fletcher, Kirill Pleshkov, Hannu Rajaniemi, Christian Sauve, Ian Watson, Cheryl Morgan
Discussions about the difficulties of translation - and specifically - interpreting the content correctly are always fun, given my background, but I was cheating a bit and mostly looking for some good Finnish recommendations. Hannu mentioned Karsta, Apina ja Uusikuu and Lumikko ja Yhdeksan Muuta. I'll have to get hold of them when I next visit. I didn't know that 'New Weird' was called 'Uusi Kumma' in Finnish. It sounds funny.
Mike is interviewed by Paul Cornell. The conversation moves fluidly through Mike's works. I am charmed by both of them. I hadn't noticed how much Mike looks like Lucifer in the comics until Paul points it out.
The pair cope admirably in what can only be described as a Monty Python-moment when two gophers decide to sweep the stage during the talk.
The description of this panel featured a question I would have been interested in: "How interdependent are language and culture?"
Instead most of the panel focuses on Culture; which is still fine and entertaining, given that we're in the company of the person who invented it and another one who is writing her PhD on it. Audience participation moves the discussion towards personal experiences and reading of accents - how much we use accent and dialect as a social marker and so forth.
Timo suggests that I should give Feersum Endjinn a go. Iain says he wanted to make a short book longer "...so I thought I could slow it down by making you have to figure out 'what the hell is he saying now?'"
Was: Climate Scepticism: Pros and Cons, but we tossed a coin and went for Just a Minute instead.
Just a Minute, a rip-off of the game by the same name. John Dowd, Lisa Konrad, Sue Mason, Neil, Henry Proctor and Alastair Reynolds.
Some of the topics: the geography of Radisson Edwardian hotel, the colour blue, potatoes.
Black Holes For Beginners, Nik Whitehead
"Singularity really means: shit, we don't know what the maths is doing here. It's where it all breaks down."
I realise that we've come a full circle and end our con with another Nik Whitehead item. This session is even more fascinating than the first - probably because it involves so much more tantalisingly unknown and mysterious material. I wish I could attend lectures by Nik all the time, but I doubt I'd have the smarts for it.
She mentions the 'spaghettification' of space-time and I can't resist shouting out: "Does that mean the Pastafarians are right?"
We're hungry and knackered and decide to head home. We're in the lobby paying for our parking when I lament to Timo that I hadn't had a chance to get my copy of Lucifer signed by the author. At this point, in a spooky replica of the John Meaney-moment from 2008, Mike Carey turns up and I get my autograph. He asks us whether we enjoyed the con and we try not to be too tongue-tied.
Listening to Plastic Beach on the way home, we discuss the con and how it feels for it to be over and whether we'll be going to the next one, or the one after that. Maybe the every-other-con pattern will continue, which may be just as well considering how much you come away with. We pick up a bottle of Dalwhinnie 15-year-old. Cheers, Iain!
Posted at 22:03 in Autobiographical, Books, Culture and Society, Current Affairs, Fantasy, Finland, Languages, Networking and socialising, Personal development, Reviews, Science, Science fiction, Shopping, Stranger than fiction, Writing and art | Permalink | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0)
This could very well be (at least part) childhood nostalgia warped memory, but I'm pretty sure libraries in Finland are much better than the ones in UK. On the other hand, in UK, I can have access to documents that would be out of reach if I still lived in Finland. Yes, I can register as a reader at the British Library and research to my heart's content. I can go to my old college and sniff my way through their rare collections.
Yet what I mean by "better" doesn't relate to the availability of hard to obtain data. I guess what I mean, is the state of the everyday, local library. The one where I live now has just had an expensive "re-vamp". The main change being that it now smells slightly less damp in there. The selection of books still seems like a set of cast-offs from Lake District B&Bs and what was left over from Uncle Jack's car boot sale. There is no child and parent area. There is nowhere for you to sit down and read. A metal rack in front of the customer service desk offers dated DVDs for rental. It's soulless.
Libraries played a huge part in my love affair with books. I'd go to the one in Kouvola when visiting grandparents during school holidays. Being a child, it obviously seemed more vast and cavernous than it really is, but its size wasn't the only awe-inspiring element. Back in the late 70s, it felt high-tech for having children's audiobook tables by which you could perch with headphones not too unlike the ones sported by Princess Vespa of Druidia and listen to stories to your heart's content. There was a large children's book section from where I borrowed such gems, as Edgar Rice Burrough's Mars series and the more mundane, yet obvious titles like "Little Women" and "Treasure Island". The SF section was amazing - and much bigger than the one at my school library where most of the books were in Russian for a start! One of the main genre publishers (Kirjayhtymä) had decided on a uniform font and a black&white jacket cover design, which made it easy and moorish to select SF books. I'd stand there staring at rows and rows of books that looked alike, knowing they'd all be exciting somehow. I read Asimov, Aldiss, Brin.... Heinlein - in fact I suspect I might have read the whole section alphabetically from start to finish.
The summer visits were best because I was allowed to borrow a big pile of books, take them to our cottage and then bury my head in them whilst trying to avoid my mother dragging me into the sun.
The library in Pasila, Helsinki was something else too. I lived in that area for a short time in my late teens. The building looked pretty awful on the outside (there is a particular widely used "modern" style of Finnish architecture that emanates a kind of bureaucracy-aesthetic). Not really paying attention to the exterior at the time, I happily devoured the delicious selection on the inside.
That's just two Finnish libraries that hold particular significance to me, but I've used many more. The little ones in suburbs, the huge ones in Helsinki, a library bus.
And something just feels better about them. When I move to a town, or visit one for a long time, I look out for the library. So far I've been to a dozen or more local libraries in UK and have been dissapointed every time. They all seem to be a book-slum; the lowest common denominator, like a charity shop for books (except some charity shops have better selections). They make me melancholy.
I understand there are funding issues - but there are similar issues in Finland. I am sure my points of reference are out of date in regards to the state of the Finnish library system, but I'm trying to account for equivalent degradation when making mental comparisons.
Perhaps the difference is that Finns are a nation of public-service lovers, unionised in workforce and have proportionally higher percentage of people who seem to be born administrators.
I don't think that Brits love books any less than Finns. It has to be about the bureaucracy-aesthetic; after all, its appreciation in architecture is only a manifestation of a deeper, cultural feeling for what's right and what's wrong. Maybe that's the very thing that keeps Finnish libraries breathing whilst similar public services in other countries slowly suffocate.
"The more I think about it, the more geeky I realise I am," I said to Timo today. Having just returned from Eastercon, it's no wonder I've not floated down to "somewhat normal" yet.
"What, you're surprised by that?" Timo replied.
"No, what I mean is that there are a few things I'd always taken to be my little quirks, which I now realise are traits shared with many others. This sounds so naive, but I really didn't think that there'd be so many people for whom having complete sets of things, or having such sets categorised and organised in some specific way would be as important."
I'm not a collector; not exactly. There are very narrow areas in which I'd say it's important to have the set for its own sake. Mostly that happens to me with books.
Today, whilst dusting the shelves (and looking for Timo's copy of Coraline, which Neil Gaiman's comments during the Darker than Potter panel made me want to read), I spotted a pattern.
The book series for non-SF/Fantasy fiction, say, by a Finnish crime publishing house, are uniform in colour and typeface, but don't have numbers on the spines. Same goes for "modern classics" and, upon further inspection, all other mainstream fiction series we have knocking around. Hmm.
Whereas - most of the SF/Fantasy book series are numbered. Even "...best new SF" uses this device, even though it might have made sense to print the actual year for which these are meant to be the "best" collections for. Instead they've sequenced using numbers. And the numbers are big on the spine too; it'll be really obvious if you've missed one.
I wonder if this is a deliberate attempt by marketing departments to tap into the geeky tendencies of the target audience for these books. If it is, it's working and I'm impressed.
Something else that's impressed me - Neil's business sense and his ability to use it in subtle and effective ways. Coraline did get mentioned rather a lot during the con and what do you know; it's due to be released as a film soon. And if you're quick, you can still download a free copy of American Gods from his website (but expect to feel the urge to buy it afterwards - the sales of this book have gone up significantly since the freebie offer).
Someone asked Neil: "Since you record and sell audio books, does it bother you that these have been made illegally available via peer-to-peer download services?"
He replied by asking how many people in the audience had found their favourite author by buying a book they knew nothing about, apart from the blurb on the cover. Some hands went up. He then asked: "How many of you found your favourite author for free; through borrowing a book, or by some other means?" A forest of arms shot up.
"See?" said Neil.
By doing this sort of thing, he is clever on so many levels. Instead of demonising potential fans, he works with them. Instead of struggling upstream against the inevitable changes in how the market and technology is evolving, he swims with the current and uses it to his advantage.
I've got into the habit of listening to podcasts and audio books whilst sat at airports waiting for delayed flights, or trying to relax in uncomfortable hotel rooms. I found Stardust as an audio book on iTunes, narrated by Neil - and am now tempted to buy it. Can't decide whether it would be silly, considering I have it as an actual book (now also autographed; thank you very much!).
There is no way I'd use a peer-to-peer service, just in case you're wondering.
[EDIT: See the 2010 report here!]
This year's Eastercon was the best one I'd been to. Orbital 2008 was held at the Radison Edwardian hotel, Heathrow and I went for the whole weekend with my husband Timo. Didn't think anything would beat the 2002 con in Jersey, but I was wrong. Not that I'm a seasoned con-goer and a fan, unlike the veterans celebrating their 40th Eastercon, but nevertheless, measuring by my own tiny scale, this one tops the lot.
The first time I saw the bottle design for Thierry Mugler's Alien perfume, I had a nagging feeling I'd seen it somewhere before.
The commercially successful Angel by Mugler is a love-or-hate scent, you know, a bit like the Marmite adverts in UK. You either want to smear it all over you, or it makes you want to remove yourself from even a hint of its presence. Preferably a few postcodes away, actually.
Well, as far as Angel goes, I'm in that second category. So had it not been for the intriguing bottle, I may never have decided to sample Alien at all.
The scent is soft, sweet, warm, loaded with Jasmine and suits my skin exceptionally well. It transforms to a faintly powdery (but not dusty) amber on me. Very nice for feeling cosy and sultry. And I'd much rather be an "alien" than an angel any day.
It didn't take me long to figure out what the design reminded me of either.
"The truth points to itself", as Kosh would say.
I was really, really, really, REALLY hoping to get this perfume for my birthday. Maybe. Maybe?
I had a genuine surprise this morning - there was a golden package next to the Valentine's card on my desk. Timo was already at work. The sneaky devil! We've never done Valentine's presents! Cards, yes, but presents, no. So, I now have my own mini-Kosh.
Maybe he was being extra thoughtful because we're getting married this year? In fact, 5 months from today. Yikes.
Timo played a really cruel trick on me recently.
I fell in love with them instead.
The fucker! After getting caught up in the characteristic Joss Whedon layers of emerging and intriguing stories, ready to bubble into the surface... I get told, sorry, you'll never find out how they'll develop. Will they, won't they? Does River lose it completely, or will she now become the best pilot in the known universe? What was all that about Book's past? How... when... who?
We watched couple of episodes a night, finally finishing with the film yesterday evening, and then, it was all over. I sat on the floor, forlorn, repeatedly mewling: I want more FlyFly.
This is indeed, a cruel and hard world. And there are too many moronic American TV executives who should have their innards fed to them in some peppery sauce.
Theme from Firefly
Take my love.
Take my land.
Take me where I cannot stand.
I don’t care, I’m still free.
You can’t take the sky from me.
Take me out
to the black.
Tell ‘em I ain’t comin’ back.
Burn the land and boil the sea.
You can’t take the sky from me.
Have no place
I can be
Since I found Serenity.
But you can’t take the sky from me.
Words & Music by Joss Whedon
Performed by Sonny Rhodes.
Comedy Central has resurrected the former Fox animated series from "The Simpsons" creator Matt Groening and David X. Cohen. At least 13 new episodes will be produced -- the first since the series' original run from 1999-2003.
The new batch is part of a deal the cable network made with 20th Century Fox Television last year to pick up syndicated rights to the existing "Futurama" library of 72 episodes. Comedy Central also had an option to air any new episodes produced.
New and old episodes will begin airing in 2008 on Comedy Central. Actors Billy West, Katey Sagal and John DiMaggio have agreed to return as voices for "Futurama."
"We are thrilled that Matt Groening and 20th Century Fox Television have decided to produce new episodes of 'Futurama' and that Comedy Central will be the first to air them," said David Bernath, senior vice president for programming at the network.
"There is a deep and passionate fan base for this intelligent and very funny show that matches perfectly with our audience, and it is great that we can offer them not just the existing library but something they've never seen as well."
Time for the Zoidberg freedom dance! Freedom, freedom, freedom, OY!