Bradbury Daily: “A Sound of Thunder”

First off, let me apologize for the exceedingly late post today, and for the brief, unintentional hiatus. You know how the saying goes, about life happening while making other plans and such. So yeah. Life happened, stories did not. Regardless, we should be back on track now.

On to the story. I’ve actually read this one before, but that didn’t make it any less enjoyable. I mean, how could it? Time travel and dinosaurs? That’s a recipe for awesome. The only thing cooler, as Doctor Who has taught us is dinosaurs on a spaceship.

Maybe I should back up a step or two. The story takes place in a future where time travel exists and is used to allow people to hunt any game they desire (for a price, obviously). It’s a grand sport for the wealthy, and the character in this story has decided to go hunt a T-Rex, because if you’re a hunter you want to take down the biggest, baddest thing you can.

Now being that this is a time travel story there are certain rules in place. Bradbury actually gets around paradoxes quite nicely, saying that time actually does not allow them to happen. Things apparently shift to ensure that they don’t happen. It’s quite a clever solution. Nature abhors a vacuum, time abhors a paradox.

The rules that do exist however are that nothing can be changed; things are extremely carefully planned so that nothing can alter the course of nature and history and thus the future of the human race. Assuming, of course, that everything is followed to the letter. Basically what we’re dealing with is something that follows the ideas of the butterfly effect very closely, though not to the letter. The gist of the butterfly effect theory is that even something as small as the air disturbances caused by a butterfly flapping its wings can lead to big consequences, like a tsunami half way across the world. Here we’re given the idea that even killing something like an ant or a butterfly or some grass that might have fed an animal can lead to the degeneration of an ecosystem or even the entire evolutionary chain.

Interestingly the story actually predates the butterfly effect theory, so it’s pretty cool, to me, how very similar the two concepts are.

The story itself is, as always, beautifully rendered. I suppose the only problem you could find with it is that it’s slightly predictable, if you have any experience with time travel stories. I could be wrong, I suppose, given that I had read it before — quite a while ago, but I had a vague recollection of it that could have biased my opinion here — but I think it’s pretty apparent from the time the rules are set out that ~SPOILER~ they are going to get broken. ~END SPOILER~

I have to give major props to Bradbury’s description of the T-Rex — it’s almost like he went back in time and studied one, that’s how lifelike it is.

In fact, maybe he did.

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