2001 SPACE ODYSSEY quotes



HAL: Look Dave, I can see you’re really upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over.

HAL: I know I’ve made some very poor decisions recently, but I can give you my complete assurance that my work will be back to normal. I’ve still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission. And I want to help you.

HAL: I’ve just picked up a fault in the AE35 unit. It’s going to go 100% failure in 72 hours.

HAL: I am putting myself to the fullest possible use, which is all I think that any conscious entity can ever hope to do.


I don’t want to insist on it, Dave, but I am incapable of making an error.” (24.23)

Human or man-ape, all that matters is that you’re going to evolve into something else. What you do in the meantime while you’re waiting to evolve doesn’t matter, and as far as the novel is concerned, doesn’t even really exist. The novel says:
Now he was master of the world, and he was not quite sure what to do next. (6.11)

But really it’s the novel itself that doesn’t know what to do next.

 Mastery and power and progress are the whole deal; beyond that, the novel has little interest in describing what people (or man-apes) might want, or feel.


HAL 9000: This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it.

Bowman: Open the pod bay doors please, HAL.

Bowman: Open the pod bay doors, HAL.
HAL 9000: I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that.

HAL 9000: Stop Dave. Stop Dave. I am afraid. I am afraid Dave.

Bowman: You know of course though he’s right about the 9000 series having a perfect operational record. They do.
Poole: Unfortunately that sounds a little like famous last words.

HAL 9000: [While being shutdown] I’m afraid. I’m afraid, Dave. Dave, my mind is going. I can feel it. I can feel it. My mind is going. There is no question about it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I’m a… fraid.

HAL 9000: Just what do you think you’re doing, Dave?

Bowman: HAL, I won’t argue with you anymore! Open the doors!
HAL 9000: Dave, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye.

HAL 9000: Dave, although you took very thorough precautions in the pod against my hearing you, I could see your lips move.
Bowman: Alright, HAL. I’ll go in through the emergency airlock.
HAL 9000: Without your space helmet, Dave. You’re going to find that rather difficult.

HAL 9000: Dave, stop. Stop, will you? Stop, Dave. Will you stop, Dave? Stop, Dave. I’m afraid.

HAL 9000: Daisy, daisy.


I am the H.A.L 9000. You may call me Hal.

I am completely operational, and all my circuits are functioning perfectly.

I know everything hasn’t been quite right with me, but I can assure you now, very confidently, that it’s going to be all right again. I feel much better now. I really do.

[On Dave’s return to the ship, after HAL has killed the rest of the crew]Look Dave, I can see you’re really upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over. I know I’ve made some very poor decisions recently, but I can give you my complete assurance that my work will be back to normal. I’ve still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission. And I want to help you.


BBC Interviewer: HAL, you have an enormous responsibility on this mission, in many ways perhaps the greatest responsibility of any single mission element. You’re the brain, and central nervous system of the ship, and your responsibilities include watching over the men in hibernation. Does this ever cause you any lack of confidence?
HAL: Let me put it this way, Mr. Amor. The 9000 series is the most reliable computer ever made. No 9000 computer has ever made a mistake or distorted information. We are all, by any practical definition of the words, foolproof and incapable of error.
BBC interviewer: HAL, despite your enormous intellect, are you ever frustrated by your dependence on people to carry out actions?
HAL: Not in the slightest bit. I enjoy working with people – I have a stimulating relationship with Dr. Poole and Dr. Bowman. My mission responsibilities range over the entire operation of the ship, so I am constantly occupied. I am putting myself to the fullest possible use, which is all I think that any conscious entity can ever hope to do.

Dave[about the AE35 communications device]Well HAL, I’m damned if I can find anything wrong with it.
HAL: Yes, it’s puzzling. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite like this before. I would recommend that we put the unit back in operation and let it fail. It should then be a simple matter to track down the cause. We can certainly afford to be out of communication for the short time it will take to replace it.

HAL: I know you and Frank were planning to disconnect me, and I’m afraid that’s something I cannot allow to happen.
Dave: Where the hell’d you get that idea, HAL?
HAL: Dave, although you took thorough precautions in the pod against my hearing you, I could see your lips move.
Dave: All right, HAL. I’ll go in through the emergency airlock.
HAL: Without your space helmet, Dave, you’re going to find that rather difficult.
Dave: HAL, I won’t argue with you anymore! Open the doors!
HAL: Dave, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye.

Frank: I don’t think we’d have any alternatives. There isn’t a single aspect of ship operations that’s not under his control. If he were proven to be malfunctioning, I wouldn’t see how we would have any choice but disconnection.
Dave: I’m afraid I agree with you.
Frank: There’d be nothing else to do.
Dave: It would be a bit tricky.
Frank: Yeah.
Dave: We would have to cut his higher-brain functions…without disturbing the purely automatic and regulatory systems. And we’d have to work out the transfer procedures of continuing the mission under ground-based computer control.
Frank: Yeah. Well that’s far safer than allowing HAL to continue running things.
Dave: You know, another thing just occurred to me…Well, as far as I know, no 9000 computer has ever been disconnected.
Frank: No 9000 computer has ever fouled up before.
Dave: That’s not what I mean…Well I’m not so sure what he’d think about it.

Dave: You working up your crew psychology report?
HAL: Of course I am. Sorry about this. I know it’s a bit silly.

Dave: How would you account for this discrepancy between you and the twin 9000?
HAL: Well, I don’t think there is any question about it. It can only be attributable to humanerror. This sort of thing has cropped up before, and it has always been due to human error.
Frank: Listen HAL. There has never been any instance at all of a computer error occurring in the 9000 series, has there?
HAL: None whatsoever, Frank. The 9000 series has a perfect operational record.
Frank: Well of course I know all the wonderful achievements of the 9000 series, but, uh, are you certain there has never been any case of even the most insignificant computer error?
HAL: None whatsoever, Frank. Quite honestly, I wouldn’t worry myself about that.
Dave: Well, I’m sure you’re right, HAL. Uhm, fine, thanks very much.

[Dave and Frank are in the D pod, out of earshot of HAL.]
Frank: Well, what do you think?
Dave: I’m not sure. What do you think?
Frank: I’ve got a bad feeling about him.
Dave: You do?
Frank: Yeah, definitely. Don’t you?
Dave: I don’t know. I think so. You know, of course though, he’s right about the 9000 series having a perfect operational record. They do.
Frank: : Unfortunately, that sounds a little like famous last words.
Dave: Yeah, still it was his idea to carry out the failure-mode analysis, wasn’t it?
Frank: Hmm.
Dave: …which should certainly indicate his integrity and self-confidence. If he were wrong, it would be the surest way of proving it.
Frank: It would be if he knew he was wrong.
Dave: Hmm.
Frank: But Dave, I can’t put my finger on it, but I sense something strange about him.
Dave: Still, I can’t think of a good reason not to put back the number one unit and carry on with the failure-mode analysis.
Frank: No, no, I agree about that.
Dave: Well, let’s get on with it.
Frank: OK. Good luck, Dave.

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Author: charlesburchfield

I am an artist working primarily with collage.

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