A Sound of Thunder Cover Image

A Sound of Thunder

by Ray Bradbury

Start Free Trial

Editor's Choice

What are the fears concerning technology in "A Sound of Thunder" by Ray Bradbury?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In "A Sound of Thunder" Bradbury warns us of the dangers of abusing technology. Technology can give us greater control over ourselves, each other, and the world around us. But it can also lead us to think of ourselves as gods, able to change not just the present and the future, but also the past. Technology simplifies our world, yet it can also over-simplify it. The world is a complex place in which everyone and everything is linked together as part of a unified whole; in our headlong pursuit of technological advancement, we often forget this, failing to see how just one subtle change in the balance of nature can lead to disastrous consequences.

Time Safari Inc. may have fairly strict rules in place to prevent a disruption of the ecosystem and with it the flow of human history. Ultimately, however, they prove ineffectual because they fail to take into account the ever-present possibility of human error. Technology has developed to such an extent that the very human foibles of each and every one of us have been carelessly overlooked, placing the precarious balance of nature in jeopardy. So long as humans are fallible—and they always will be—technology can and will be abused. It is far better, then, to think more carefully about what we want from technology and how it can be used more effectively to further human ends, without at the same time disrupting the forces of nature.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

A fear about technology is that humans will invent something that will affect the past or the future.

The science fiction story “A Sound of Thunder” explores the idea of the “Butterfly Effect,” the concept that a small choice can make a big difference.  In this story, a company has a time machine that it hires out to wealthy men who want to go hunting.  You can go back in time to hunt dinosaurs.

As exciting as that might sound, there are potential dangers.  It is a common fear involving time travel that going back into the past will somehow change the future.

"We don't want to change the Future. We don't belong here in the Past. …. A Time Machine is finicky business. Not knowing it, we might kill an important animal, a small bird, a roach, a flower even, thus destroying an important link in a growing species."

The time machine company, Time Safari, is aware that there could be potential drawbacks to traveling in time.  They don’t want to affect the future by messing things up in the past.  This is a common fear that Bradbury draws on.  If one small event in the present can affect the future, then any change to the past must make a huge impact.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial