You have science fiction questions? HAL has answers! Before you ask, check the Ask HAL Message Board and FAQ to make sure that your question hasn't been answered already. Then ask away! (By the way, HAL believes people should do their own homework. He's already graduated.)
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The real(?) HAL 9000 was the spaceship supercomputer in 2001: A Space Odyssey, the 1968 film written by Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke and directed by Kubrick. (The movie, and a full-length book of the same title, were based on Clarke's 1951 short story The Sentinel.) HAL malfunctions, attacking the crew of the Discovery and endangering the mission until he is shut down by the astronaut Dave Bowman. HAL's creepy-calm voice and calculating intellect have made him one of science fiction's best-known characters. One much-quoted exchange from the movie occurs as HAL tries to trap Bowman outside the ship: Bowman: "Open the pod bay doors please, Hal." HAL: "I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that." HAL also appears in the sequel film, 2010 (1984).
The O*W*C's HAL has been given a more socially-acceptable career answering science fiction questions. Several O*W*C hosts channel the spirit of HAL.
We try to make our answers as accurate as possible (unless, of course, we're being smartasses), but we cannot guarantee accuracy. Our standard Disclaimer applies.
Note: The O*W*C's incarnation of HAL is in no way related to the work of, or endorsed by, Arthur C. Clarke.