HAL 9000 as portrayed in Kubrick's film

HAL 9000 is the semi-sentient computer in Arthur C. Clarke's Space Odyssey series. The name is short for Heuristically Programmed ALgorithmic Computer (the popular legend that it was based off the letters before IBM, the computer company, has been denied by Clarke and others).

HAL 9000 first appears in the book and Stanley Kubrick film 2001: A Space Odyssey, where he is the computer system for a ship heading towards Jupiter. In the book, HAL 9000 goes haywire and begins killing off crew members; in the film he finds out that the astronauts are about to temporarily shut him off, and so turns against them out of a belief that doing so will save the mission. In both versions, his escapades are stopped when a surviving crew member shuts him down.

HAL 9000 appeared again in the book and film 2010: Odyssey Two, where he is rebooted by a Soviet-American investigative team. He also appeared in the books 2061: Odyssey Three, and 3001: The Final Odyssey, though in much lesser roles.

The character is most well known for the chillingly calm voice as delivered by Canadian actor Douglas Rain, as well as for the line: "I'm sorry Dave - I'm afraid I can't do that." HAL 9000, as well as Rain's line delivery, has become iconic for intelligent but hostile computers, and references to the character have been made in countless mediums. The "shut down" scene has likewise become infamous, mainly for HAL 9000's human-like pleas, such as, "My mind is going...I can feel it."

Open the Pod bay doors, HAL

Open the Pod bay doors, HAL.

The most famous scene involving HAL from the film.

In Empress Theresa, the alien force that enters Theresa Sullivan is named after HAL 9000, though he is known by the shortened form "HAL." Theresa names the alien after HAL 9000 after she rents 2001: A Space Odyssey to watch. After this, OOPS becomes aware that she knows there is an alien force inside her. Why this is significant is never explained. Even more peculiar is that, in a conversation with Jan Struthers,[1] Theresa admits a few facts: HAL is an alien, not a computer; and HAL doesn't talk, whereas HAL 9000 does. What connection HAL 9000 has with HAL, then, is completely unknown, except maybe in Norman's own mind.

References Edit

  1. pg. 15
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