Literature / A Sound of Thunder

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The year is 2055. A hunter known simply as "Eckels" prepares to take the trip of a lifetime: going back in time to the Mesozoic to hunt the greatest predators that ever lived. However, when he goes back to the Late Cretaceous he panics when confronted with a Tyrannosaurus rex, and falls off the path and crushes a butterfly, breaking some of the myriad of rules the time agency has to keep the time line from changing. When the party returns to the future, they find out that the world has changed for the worse. In the original timeline, the United States presidential election was recently won by Keith, a fairly moderate candidate, as opposed to Deutscher, a fascist extremist. However, in this changed timeline, the reverse is true (words and phrases are also spelled differently). A distraught Eckels pleads with Travis, the guide, to take him back in time and fix what he's done, but Travis, having previously warned him that it's impossible (the time machine skips over any moment in history that they've already visited), silently lifts and fires his rifle, presumably at Eckels.

First written by Ray Bradbury as a short story for Collier's magazine in 1952, "A Sound of Thunder" has become the most republished science-fiction story of all time. Its influence can be seen all over the fictional world, particularly due to its introduction of the Time Travel plot in which "small changes in the past snowball into the future". It is one of the Trope Namers for Butterfly of Doom, which is... well, exactly what it stated above. This story has also led to the creation of numerous other works, including a spin-off novel series and the short story series Rivers of Time. Oh, and a movie, released by Warner Bros. in 2005, starring Edward Burns, Ben Kingsley and Catherine McCormack, and directed by Peter Hyams. But someone else can walk you through that better than we can.

This page has some nice illustrations.

Not to be confused with the Pink Floyd live album/concert film A Delicate Sound Of Thunder.


The short story contains examples of:


The spin-off novel series contains examples of:


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