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A Sound of Thunder by Ray Bradbury

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“A Sound of Thunder” is a 1952 science fiction short story by Ray Bradbury. It is about a man who travels back in time to hunt a Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Non-Spoiler Summary In A Nutshell:

Monarch ButterflyEckels is a man who wants adventure – so he hands over a hefty check to Time Safari Inc, a company that will take him into the past to hunt dinosaurs. Sounds like a blast right? Well, not really, there are just so many darn rules: stay on the path, don’t touch the dirt, only kill the dinosaur right before its natural death – stuff like that. It’s all for a good reason though – they wouldn’t want to do anything that would cause a snowball effect in time and radically alter the future. But when the huge and terrifying T-rex finally shows up somebody (guess who?) loses his nerve and runs away. Only problem is he made a (seemingly) small mistake.

The Monster, at the first motion, lunged forward with a terrible scream. It covered one hundred yards in six seconds. The rifles jerked up and blazed fire. A windstorm from the beast’s mouth engulfed them in the stench of slime and old blood. The Monster roared, teeth glittering with sun.

The rifles cracked again, their sound was lost in shriek and lizard thunder. The great level of the reptile’s tail swung up, lashed sideways. Trees exploded in clouds of leaf and branch. The Monster twitched its jeweler’s hands down to fondle at the men, to twist them in half, to crush them like berries, to cram them into its teeth and its screaming throat. Its boulderstone eyes leveled with the men. They saw themselves mirrored. They fired at the metallic eyelids and the blazing black iris.

My Two Cents:

• The good:

  • A very cool and memorable story that has been widely read by the general population – in fact I myself had to read it for 10th grade English class!
  • Who wouldn’t want to travel into the past on an adventure like this?
  • A classic Ray Bradbury short story – if you like his other stuff then you will most likely enjoy “A Sound of Thunder” too.

• The bad:

  • There is some stilted dialog, but hey, it was written in 1952 so what do you expect?

Fact Sheet:
• Page Count: 10
• Word Count: 4,362
“A Sound of Thunder” garnered the following awards:

  • It placed eighth in the 1999 Locus All-Time Poll for best short story.

Where you can find “A Sound of Thunder”:

  • This short story first appeared in the June 28, 1952 issue of Collier’s magazine.
  • “A Sound of Thunder” is also included in the amazing collection entitled Stories of Ray Bradbury .
  • You can read a nice online version (with full color illustrations taken from the EC comic!) at the Scary For Kids website.

Some Interesting Links:

Craving More Stories?
If you enjoyed this story then you might also like Small Moments in Time, about a time traveling man working in turn-of-the-century Kansas, and the horrible secret he discovers there, by John G. Hemry.