A Sound of Thunder

by Ray Bradbury
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By preselecting animals about to die, what events do the Time Safari people prevent from happening?

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In science fiction stories, time travel is a tricky business. You may want to go back to the past to do something or to fix something. But every action causes a reaction. Every act in the past has ramifications for the future. Here the Time Safari folks have done their...

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In science fiction stories, time travel is a tricky business. You may want to go back to the past to do something or to fix something. But every action causes a reaction. Every act in the past has ramifications for the future. Here the Time Safari folks have done their best to prevent “accidents” from happening. They don’t want to change the future. They have constructed a metal path that every visitor must stay on, in order not to touch any plants or the ground. Someone has gone on ahead and has noted which animals will die of natural or other causes. He paints them with a red paint bomb so that no mistakes will be made. In this case, the Tyrannosaurus rex that the group is aiming to kill was going to be destroyed by a falling tree anyway. If all goes to plan, they will kill the beast, the tree will fall, everyone will stay on the path, and no problems will occur. But of course, perfection would make for a boring story.

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