As a “2001” nut, it was my goal to incorporate as much of the relevant technological backstory into my history of how to get from 1968 to 2001 as was available. A new bit of “2001” data has come to my attention… and, wow, I’m having a hard time rationalizing it.
In the scene where astronaut Frank Poole is shown blandly eating his meal on the Discovery’s centrifuge, you can see him reading something on his paper-thin tablet device. There is of course zero possibility of making out just what he’s reading. You’d expect it to be just a page of random text… but no, this was a Stanley Kubrick film, and the whole page was fiction created just for this. And apparently that page of text was preserved and published in the “Stanley Kubrick Catalog,” which I’ve not seen. But a small scan of the “newspaper article” was posted HERE, and is just barely legible. I’ve blown it up and cleaned it a bit, and the whole thing tells a rather remarkable tale.
It seems Atlantic Airlines flight 423 was presumed lost somewhere between New York and London. That’s not terribly interesting in and of itself. But AA flight 423 was a Mach 3-capable HEP/COMM 11-Z4 airliner with 12 engines, 2,109 passengers and 199 crew (including 11 pilots). Why the hell an aircraft capable of Mach 3 flying from New York to London would need *eleven* pilots is anybodies guess.
In the world of “2001,” I can easily assume the existence of Mach 3, 70,000 ft-altitude jetliners. I can grimace and kinda accept Mach 3 airliners with more than 2,000 passengers. But 200 crew? Nope. Sorry. Willing suspension of disbelief system failure.
Note that supersonic aircraft are described as “Mark 2″ and “Mark 3″ capable, which I’m guessing means an editing failure, as it would’ve made more sense for them to be “Mach 2″ and “Mach 3″ capable. I know, shocking… the press making dumb errors about techmologicamal stuff, even in the far distant era of 2001.