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A sound of thunder

  1. Sep 15, 2006 #1

    Evo

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    Ok, I really need to pull my head out of the sand once in a while.

    I was telling a friend about this great time travel story I had read back in my teens, but couldn't remember who wrote it. I decided to google it and found out the story I had read as a teen was a short story by Ray Bradbury. "The story is a fictional exploration of the Butterfly Effect (or "sensitive dependence upon initial conditions," in the words of Edward Lorenz) through the literary device of time travel. Interestingly, the story pre-dates the work of Edward Lorenz by nearly 10 years, long before the term was coined and the principles understood by the scientific community. The same effect occurs in planetary dynamics and was studied by Henri Poincaré in the 1900's, but not under its modern name. These subjects are grouped into the mathematical field of chaos theory."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Sound_of_Thunder

    Then I realized it was released as a movie last year and I found this review. The movie sounds like it has virtually NOTHING to do with Bradbury's story other than it involves time travel. :grumpy:

    WARNING - do not read this review if you have anything in your mouth.

    "What exactly is the sound of thunder? If this movie is any indication then it's the sound of moviegoers thundering towards the exit, demanding their money back. Yes, the movie is that bad.

    "Hey Johnny, how bad is it?" This movie is so bad that Ray Bradbury wishes he could invent a time machine so that he could go back in time and NOT write the short story, thus preventing this movie from ever being made.

    "Whoa, that bad?" Worse. In fact, this movie is so bad that Ray Bradbury might kill himself just so he can roll over in his grave. I know you think I'm trying to be cute, but I'm being serious. This was one of the strangest movie experiences I've had in quite a while. The problem is that I went into the movie expecting to enjoy it. I thought it had the chance to be pretty good. So at the very start I was trying to make excuses for what was unraveling on screen."


    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0318081/

    Has anyone else read the original story?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 15, 2006 #2

    Danger

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    I did, about the same time that you did. It always bothered me, though, that the 'travel agent' couldn't have known about the changes in his timeline. Then again, Bradbury is a fantasy writer and poet, not an SF writer.
     
  4. Sep 15, 2006 #3
    nope, haven't read this one. but there is one book that I think needs to be a movie and I've been thinking a lot about trying a screenplay based on Heinlein's Stranger in a strange land
     
  5. Sep 15, 2006 #4

    Evo

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    But they did, that's why "In order to avoid a time paradox, they are very careful to leave history undisturbed on the principle that even the slightest change can cause major changes in the future. Travelers are only allowed to shoot animals that are already about to die, and they are required to stay on a path which hovers slightly above the ground. Hunting trophies are not taken; no souvenir is allowed except a photograph of the hunter standing next to the dead monster." But if I rememebr the story correctly, they somehow new when the dinosaurs were going to die, so they knew killing it right before it was going to die anyway wouldn't affect the future. I think they might keep killing the same dinosaur by going back to just before it died. Only need to pinpoint one dying T-Rex that way. I think I just assumed that though, I dont know that he wrote an explanation, I wish I had the book.

    He was never technical, but he falls into the science fiction genre. Fantasy is more like trolls and wizards.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2006
  6. Sep 15, 2006 #5

    Evo

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    That book was SO HYPED when it first came out (ok, I read it a few years after it came out, not going to say how few, I think I was 12) and I didn't think it was worth the hype. Perhaps I just didn't grok it. :wink:
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2006
  7. Sep 15, 2006 #6

    Evo

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    "The Illustrated Man" is another must read by Bradbury. Anyone read "The Veldt"? :bugeye:
     
  8. Sep 15, 2006 #7

    Danger

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    What I mean is, if he had changed it, it would have become part of history and so be undetectable to the agent (assuming that the agent even existed in the new present).
    There are a couple of different interpretations of what constitutes SF. 'Bradbury science' tends to deviate from probability a little too much to suit me. He's a good writer; I just don't happen to like his stuff.
     
  9. Sep 15, 2006 #8

    Evo

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    No, think about it. The travel agent tour guide went back with the guy that stepped on the butterfly, so they both came from the original timeline. It wasn't until they returned to the "present" that the tour guide noticed the "subtle" differences, which turned out to be devastating politically. How could he have pre-knowledge of what the changes might be before the return? Nothing had changed for them before the return.

    See, you're very technical, so that makes sense. I'm not technical, so I can appreciate his stories .
     
  10. Sep 15, 2006 #9
    The Illustrated Man..was a wonderful movie too. Rod Steiger was fantastic in it.
     
  11. Sep 15, 2006 #10

    Evo

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    YES!!!!!!

    Oh, I Love you hypatia!!!! I've been thinking of that movie all night, the wife was Claire Bloom. GREAT MOVIE!!!!

    I didn't think anyone would know of that movie.

    Claire also starred in another of my favorites "The Haunting" with Juile Harris. The remake was absolute crap. The original black and white from 1963 is the scariest psychological horror film ever made. :surprised

    With halloween coming up, I suggest you guys check out the film.
     
  12. Sep 15, 2006 #11
    I read just about all the extant Ray Bradbury when I was a kid and "A Sound of Thunder" was one of my favorites. His description of the T-Rex was fantastic. In his imagination it was alive and had enormous mass which was remarkable for a time when everyone's idea of it came from the now primitive, jerky stop-motion animated models of movies in which dinosaurs moved as if they weighed nothing. I remember having the impression he must have seen a real one.
     
  13. Sep 16, 2006 #12

    Danger

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    Apparently, Evo, I didn't remember the story accurately. I though that the agent stayed behind and sent the main character off by himself. Either way, though, the paradox remains.
    And also in my second favourite movie of all time. I brought this up in a previous thread about trivia... the only SF movie in history to win an Oscar for Best Actor--Cliff Robertson (Uncle Ben to the Spidey fans) for 'Charly', in 1968. Claire was his teacher/love interest.
     
  14. Sep 16, 2006 #13

    BobG

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    I read A Sound of Thunder in a short story collection called "Eco-Fiction" edited by John Stadler.

    Good story that sticks in the mind, but not the best in the book - it's a very good collection of short stories.
     
  15. Sep 16, 2006 #14

    DaveC426913

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    The imdb synopses say:
    "When a hunter sent back to the prehistoric era runs off the path he must not leave, he causes a chain reaction that alters history in disastrous ways."
    "a game hunter ... goes on a time-traveling safari owned and operated by Kingsley's character to hunt dinosaurs in the prehistoric era. When he kills a butterfly, he unknowingly sets off a chain reaction that will erase humanity from existence. A team of experts must return back in time and replace the butterfly."

    Well, the hype was really the grassroots fans. They really did grok it.

    Was that the one about the kids and the playroom? Yeah. Yikes. That was actually required reading in grade school for me.
     
  16. Sep 16, 2006 #15

    Evo

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    What happend upon the return in the book was very subtle, he only noticed a few words misspelled, but the evil dictator was in power insted of the good guy. In the movie humans and creatures had mutated...

    that happened in the book

    that didn't happen in the book
    that didn't happen in the book either

    Aside from going back in time and killing a butterfly, the movie had nothing to do with the original story

    Yes, that's the one. Required reading in grade school??? The book was about two children murdering their parents in a rather gruesome way. What kind of school did you attend? :bugeye:
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2006
  17. Sep 16, 2006 #16

    DaveC426913

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    Yeah. The book was more subtle.
    'Subtlety' and 'movies'. Like 'jumbo' and 'shrimp'.

    Yeah, sounds like the book was the first ... quarter of the movie? I mean, it sounds like the book was the premise, they just carried it to a conclusion.

    Books make you ask questions. Movies spoon-feed you answers.

    Yep. You know, now that I think about it, there were a number of ... challenging ... stories that were required reading.

    One I can't remember the name of:

    A young boy about 9 years old promises to hide a fugitive in a hay bail on his dad's farm. The sherriff comes by asking questions and bribes the boy with a gold watch to give the criminal up. The kid does.

    When his father finds out that his son has sold this stranger out, the father gets furious at the boy's treachery, drags him out behind the barn ... and shoots him dead.

    I will never forget the importance of keeping a promise, any promise...
     
  18. Sep 17, 2006 #17

    Evo

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    :bugeye: Well, I guess that boy will never do that again. Not exactly the way you teach someone a lesson. Geeze in my school we were reading about riki tivi tavi in the Jungle Book. I wonder if I can track down your story?
     
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