Monday, September 11, 2006

A Sound of Thunder

In yesterday's Toronto Star, columnist Rosie DiManno writes:

In Ray Bradbury's famous short story, A Sound of Thunder, a time traveller changes the course of evolution by stepping off a designated tourist path and crushing one little butterfly underfoot.

Cause and effect — extraordinary what-if possibilities, conjecturing about the known and unknown — are as much the purview of imagination as science.

One is driven to speculate: what if ... 9/11 had never occurred?

"It's an interesting parlour game, but the fact is it did happen," says Peter Bergen, the bin Laden biographer and adventuresome university professor who is more widely recognized as CNN's terrorism analyst.

"On some levels, they [the terrorists] got some lucky breaks. But history is made by the lucky and inflicted on the unlucky."

A TI list member recently requested that I show a certain early 50's illustration to a Ray Bradbury story from Collier's magazine. Though I didn't have that particular image in my collection, it got me thinking about doing a week on science fiction illustration in mainstream magazines of the 50's.

As luck would have it, I came across another illustrated Ray Bradbury story: A Sound of Thunder. When I first read the story in Mr. Jackson's grade 7 English class, it profoundly affected my world view. If you've never read it, I encourage you to seek it out - strip away the trappings of science fiction and you're left with a thought-provoking examination of cause and effect - of choice and consequence. In light of the sad events on this day five years ago and DiManno's reference to the story I thought it would be the most appropriate choice to begin this week.


  1. SOUND OF THUNDER was one of the first Sci Fi stories that I read. I remember finishing it, and then, the next day, reading it again. I did not see the recent movie which, as far as the reviewers were concerned, was crap.

    Thanks for the repros of the great illustrations!

  2. You're most welcome, Mike - its my pleasure to share all these great illustrations from my collection with others who enjoy seeing them - and are, hopefully. inspired and educated by these long-forgotten treasures!

    "Sound of Thunder" affected me deeply when my Grade 7 teacher, a passionate SF fan ( who collected old pulps ) gave it to us as an assignment in English. I went on to devour Bradbury's writing because of that story. He made me want to become a writer - but illustration won the day. ;-)