The 21st Show

Author Rebecca Makkai; Lasting Impact of 2001: A Space Odyssey; Muslims In Amazon Series ‘Jack Ryan’


Rebecca Makkai

On the 21st: Chicago author Rebecca Makkai talks about her latest novel, The Great Believers, which has been nominated for a National Book Award. And, it's been 50 years since 2001: A Space Odyssey hit screens in 1968. We examine it's impact and legacy. Plus, we speak with Loyola's Omer Mozaffar about his consulting on the Amazon Prime series 'Jack Ryan.'

Chicago was one of the last American cities to experience the beginnings of the AIDS epidemic. That time during the 1980s is the subject of a novel called 'The Great Believers.'

The book has been lauded by EW, People Magazine and, the queen of book recommendations, Oprah. It was also nominated for a National Book Award. They are being hosted by University of Illinois alum Nick Offerman tonight. 

Its author, Rebecca Makkai, is from Lake Forest and she joined us to talk more about the book.

And - 

2001: A Space Odyssey is considered an all time great, garnering praise from the likes of Roger Ebert, Christopher Nolan, and George Lucas.  The voice of the supercomputer in the movie HAL resonates today in all our A.I. devices, whether it’s Alexa or Siri, all echo this friendly, calm voice.

The voice of HAL came from Douglas Rain, a Canadian theater actor who passed away Sunday morning. 

The American Film Institute ranked Hal as one of the greatest movie supervillains of all time, but Stanley Kubrick didn’t initially mean for Douglas Rain to play the voice of Hal.

He was a last-minute replacement for the Oscar-winning Martin Balsam. Balsam had a narrated a 1960 documentary called Universe. Kubrick, who reported watched that nearly 100 times, picked Balsam and had him record all of those scenes. Then Kubrick decided it was too “colloquially American." 

At the time of recording Hal’s voice, Douglas Rain had played in almost 80 productions at Ontario’s Stratford Festival, everyone from MacBeth to King Lear to Humpty Dumpty. He recorded his part in 2001 working for just two days.


Over the summer, as fans of the film celebrated its 50th anniversary, we spoke with Brand Fortner about the film's lasting legacy. He is is a University of Illinois alum who is still an advisor to the National Center for Supercomputing Applications who also teaches physics at North Carolina State University.

Plus -

The Amazon Prime Video series Jack Ryan has been growing in popularity. Have you seen it yet?

It’s the most recent adaptation of the Tom Clancy character. It’s true to the original novels in its intensity and blockbuster action sequences.

But in this modern adaptation, all the characters including James Greer, Jack Ryan’s soon to be wife Cathy and the new character, the terrorist Suliman, are different than what we normally see on TV.

Loyola University Chicago professor and chaplain Omer Mozaffar consulted on the series. He’s also a longtime contributor to and he joined us to talk about how Muslims are depicted in this TV series.

Story source: WILL