HAL is the nickname given to the alien life force in the book which enters Theresa Sullivan when she is only ten-years old. After this, his presence within her gives her the ability to perform many super powers, including strength, accurate shots, and other abilities.

Later in the story, it is the name given to all the aliens similar to the original HAL.

Inspiration Edit

HAL is named after HAL 9000, the semi-sentient computer in Arthur C. Clarke's sci-fi novel 2001: A Space Odyssey, later made famous in Stanley Kubrick's film by the same name.

Why Theresa chooses to name the alien inside her after HAL 9000 is not entirely clear. The alien's connection to a computer is also unclear. Take, for example, this confusing bit of dialogue from the book between Theresa and Jan Struthers:

"All right."[SIC] She dropped that line immediately! "You rented 2001: A Space Odyssey. What did it show you?"
"It showed me not to talk to this thing. It's like talking to the devil."
"Do you have a name for it?"
"Like the computer. The monolith was the alien, not the computer."
"The monolith didn't talk."
"Does HAL talk?"

In a brief exchange, Theresa admits two things: HAL 9000 wasn't an alien, and HAL 9000 talks. Both of these put him at odd with the alien, which is (obviously) an alien, as well as something which doesn't speak. It is also never explained why Theresa believes that she shouldn't talk to the alien since "it's like talking to the devil," given she watched a movie with a villain that was neither an alien nor mute.

Role in the Story Edit


Is HAL an alien? Edit

One of the most peculiar debates Norman had with critics on Amazon was over whether or not HAL really was an alien. This stemmed from a larger argument, where Norman was denying that his book wasn't science fiction on account that it had no aliens in it[2] - as expected, HAL was brought up by critics as a contention to that. According to Norman, HAL is not an alien, and for several reasons:

HAL is not alive, not conscious, not intelligent, has no specific design, has no definite size, is not made of matter or energy, is never destroyed, and did not originate on another world.[3]

Where these standards come from for what constitutes an "alien," Norman never explains - most likely they came from his own mind. For example, that an alien must be "intelligent" is not always the case; Michael Crichton's book The Andromeda Strain, for example, is about a microorganism which comes from outer space. This doesn't even touch on the fact that characters regularly refer to HAL as if he does have some form of intelligence (for example, HAL is said to be "interested" in Theresa even while she was in her mother's womb).[4]

Furthermore, HAL comes from outer space, therefore he must originate from somewhere. The term "extraterrestrial," often used in reference to aliens, comes from a conjugation of words literally translating to "outside of earth," and refers to any form of life outside of the planet earth, regardless of source.

References Edit

  1. pg. 15
  4. pg. 107