A Sound of Thunder and Other Stories

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Overview

With his disarmingly simple style and complex imagination, Ray Bradbury has seized the minds of American readers for decades.This collection showcases thirty-two of Bradbury's most famous tales in which he lays bare the depths of the human soul. The thrilling title story, A Sound of Thunder, tells of a hunter sent on safari -- sixty million years in the past. But all it takes is one wrong step in the prehistoric jungle to stamp out the life of a delicate and harmless butterfly -- and possibly something else much ...

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Overview

With his disarmingly simple style and complex imagination, Ray Bradbury has seized the minds of American readers for decades.This collection showcases thirty-two of Bradbury's most famous tales in which he lays bare the depths of the human soul. The thrilling title story, A Sound of Thunder, tells of a hunter sent on safari -- sixty million years in the past. But all it takes is one wrong step in the prehistoric jungle to stamp out the life of a delicate and harmless butterfly -- and possibly something else much closer to home ...

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060785697
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/30/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 231,221
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.79 (d)

Meet the Author

Ray Bradbury

In a career spanning more than seventy years, Ray Bradbury, who died on June 5, 2011 at the age of 91, inspired generations of readers to dream, think, and create. A prolific author of hundreds of short stories and close to fifty books, as well as numerous poems, essays, operas, plays, teleplays, and screenplays, Bradbury was one of the most celebrated writers of our time. His groundbreaking works include Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, Dandelion Wine, and Something Wicked This Way Comes. He wrote the screen play for John Huston's classic film adaptation of Moby Dick, and was nominated for an Academy Award. He adapted sixty-five of his stories for television's The Ray Bradbury Theater, and won an Emmy for his teleplay of The Halloween Tree. He was the recipient of the 2000 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, the 2004 National Medal of Arts, and the 2007 Pulitzer Prize Special Citation, among many honors.

Throughout his life, Bradbury liked to recount the story of meeting a carnival magician, Mr. Electrico, in 1932. At the end of his performance Electrico reached out to the twelve-year-old Bradbury, touched the boy with his sword, and commanded, "Live forever!" Bradbury later said, "I decided that was the greatest idea I had ever heard. I started writing every day. I never stopped."

Biography

Ray Bradbury is one of those rare individuals whose writing has changed the way people think. His more than 500 published works -- short stories, novels, plays, screenplays, television scripts, and verse -- exemplify the American imagination at its most creative.

Once read, his words are never forgotten. His best-known and most beloved books -- The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, Fahrenheit 451, and Something Wicked This Way Comes -- are masterworks that readers carry with them over a lifetime. His timeless, constant appeal to audiences young and old has proven him to be one of the truly classic authors of the 20th Century -- and the 21st.

Ray Bradbury's work has been included in several Best American Short Story collections. He has been awarded the O. Henry Memorial Award, the Benjamin Franklin Award, the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Grand Master Award from the Science Fiction Writers of America, and the PEN Center USA West Lifetime Achievement Award, among others. In recognition of his stature in the world of literature and the impact he has had on so many for so many years, Bradbury was awarded the National Book Foundation's 2000 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters and the National Medal of Arts in 2004.

On the occasion of his 80th birthday in August 2000, Bradbury said, "The great fun in my life has been getting up every morning and rushing to the typewriter because some new idea has hit me. The feeling I have every day is very much the same as it was when I was twelve. In any event, here I am, eighty years old, feeling no different, full of a great sense of joy, and glad for the long life that has been allowed me. I have good plans for the next ten or twenty years, and I hope you'll come along."

Good To Know

In our exclusive interview with Bradbury, he shared some fascinating facts with us:

"I spent three years standing on a street corner, selling newspapers, making ten dollars a week. I did that job every day for three hours and the rest of the time I wrote because I was in love with writing. The answer to all writing, to any career for that matter, is love."

"I have been inspired by libraries and the magic they contain and the people that they represent."

"I hate all politics. I don't like either political party. One should not belong to them -- one should be an individual, standing in the middle. Anyone that belongs to a party stops thinking."

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    1. Also Known As:
      Leonard Douglas, William Elliott, Douglas Spaulding, Leonard Spaulding
      Ray Bradbury
    2. Hometown:
      Los Angeles, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 22, 1920
    2. Place of Birth:
      Waukegan, Illinois
    1. Education:
      Attended schools in Waukegan, Illinois, and Los Angeles, California
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

A Sound of Thunder and Other Stories


By Ray Bradbury

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2005 Ray Bradbury
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060785691

The Fog Horn

Out there in the cold water, far from land, we waited every night for the coming of the fog, and it came, and we oiled the brass machinery and lit the fog light up in the stone tower. Feeling like two birds in the gray sky, McDunn and I sent the light touching out, red, then white, then red again, to eye the lonely ships. And if they did not see our light, then there was always our Voice, the great deep cry of our Fog Horn shuddering through the rags of mist to startle the gulls away like decks of scattered cards and make the waves turn high and foam.

"It's a lonely life, but you're used to it now, aren't you?" asked McDunn.

"Yes," I said. "You're a good talker, thank the Lord."

"Well, it's your turn on land tomorrow," he said, smiling, "to dance the ladies and drink gin."

"What do you think, McDunn, when I leave you out here alone?" "On the mysteries of the sea." McDunn lit his pipe. It was a quarter past seven of a cold November evening, the heat on, the light switching its tail in two hundred directions, the Fog Horn bumbling in the high throat of the tower. There wasn't a town for a hundred miles down the coast, just a road which came lonely through dead country to the sea, with few cars on it, a stretch of two miles of cold water out to our rock, and rare few ships.

"The mysteries of the sea," said McDunn thoughtfully. "You know, the ocean's the biggest damned snowflake ever? It rolls and swells a thousand shapes and colors, no two alike. Strange. One night, years ago, I was here alone, when all of the fish of the sea surfaced out there. Something made them swim in and lie in the bay, sort of trembling and staring up at the tower light going red, white, red, white across them so I could see their funny eyes. I turned cold. They were like a big peacock's tail, moving out there until midnight. Then, without so much as a sound, they slipped away, the million of them was gone. I kind of think maybe, in some sort of way, they came all those miles to worship. Strange. But think how the tower must look to them, standing seventy feet above the water, the God-light flashing out from it, and the tower declaring itself with a monster voice. They never came back, those fish, but don't you think for a while they thought they were in the Presence?" I shivered. I looked out at the long gray lawn of the sea stretching away into nothing and nowhere.

"Oh, the sea's full." McDunn puffed his pipe nervously, blinking. He had been nervous all day and hadn't said why. "For all our engines and so-called submarines, it'll be ten thousand centuries before we set foot on the real bottom of the sunken lands, in the fairy kingdoms there, and know real tenor. Think of it, it's still the year 300,000 Before Christ down under there. While we've paraded around with trumpets, lopping off each other's countries and heads, they have been living beneath the sea twelve miles deep and cold in a time as old as the beard of a comet."

'Yes, it's an old world."

"Come on. I got something special I been saving up to tell you."

We ascended the eighty steps, talking and taking our time. At the top, McDunn switched off the room lights so there'd be no reflection in the plate glass. The great eye of the light was humming, turning easily in its oiled socket. The Fog Horn was blowing steadily, once every fifteen seconds.

"Sounds like an animal, don't it?" McDunn nodded to himself. "A big lonely animal crying in the night. Sitting here on the edge of ten billion years calling out to the Deeps, I'm here, I'm here, I'm here. And the Deeps do answer, yes, they do. You been here now for three months, Johnny, so I better prepare you. About this time of year," he said, studying the murk and fog, "something comes to visit the lighthouse."

"The swarms of fish like you said?"

"No, this is something else. I've put off telling you because you might think I'm daft. But tonight's the latest I can put it off, for if my calendar's marked right from last year, tonight's the night it comes. I won't go into detail, you'll have to see it yourself. Just sit down there. If you want, tomorrow you can pack your duffel and take the motorboat in to land and get your car parked there at the dinghy pier on the cape and drive on back to some little inland town and keep your lights burning nights, I won't question or blame you. It's happened three years now, and this is the only time anyone's been here with me to verify it. You wait and watch."

Half an hour passed with only a few whispers between us. When we grew tired waiting, McDunn began describing some of his ideas to me. He had some theories about the Fog Horn itself.

"One day many years ago a man walked along and stood in the sound of the ocean on a cold sunless shore and said, 'We need a voice to call across the water, to warn ships; I'll make one. I'll make a voice like all of time and all of the fog that ever was; I'll make a voice that is like an empty bed beside you all night long, and like an empty house when you open the door, and like trees in autumn with no leaves. A sound like the birds flying south, crying, and a sound like November wind and the sea on the hard, cold shore. I'll make a sound that's so alone that no one can miss it, that whoever hears it will weep in their souls, and hearths will seem warmer, and being inside will seem better to all who hear it in the distant towns. I'll make me a sound and an apparatus and they'll call it a Fog Horn and whoever hears it will know the sadness of eternity and the briefness of life.'

The Fog Horn blew.

Continues...


Excerpted from A Sound of Thunder and Other Stories by Ray Bradbury Copyright © 2005 by Ray Bradbury. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2006

    A Sound of ThUnDeR

    This is one of my most favorite short stories. It has great detail and a whole bunch of other stuff. But my favorite thing is how it ends with a cliffhanger. We never really know what happens, all we know is that 'There was a sound of thunder.'

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2005

    The Quintessential Collection of Short Stories by Ray Bradbury

    'A Sound of Thunder & Other Stories' is a collection of Ray Bradbury short stories published between 1943 and 1956. Originally published as 'The Golden Apples of the Sun,' the collection features 32 of Bradbury's best short stories. In 'The Fog Horn,' the inspiration for the 1953 black and white science fiction classic `The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms,¿ the nameless protagonist and his boss are putting in a night's work at a remote lighthouse when the resonating fog horn attracts one of many `mysteries of the sea.¿ In the futuristic tale `The Pedestrian,¿ Bradbury presents an eerie tale that might make you think twice before you step outside for an evening walk. And in `A Sound of Thunder¿ upon which the Peter Hyams film of 2005 is loosely based ¿ very, very loosely ¿ Time Safari, Inc. promises safaris anywhere in time to hunt prehistoric animals. Every precaution is implemented to avoid a time paradox and disturbing history, based on the principle that even the slightest change can cause major changes in the future. Travelers may only shoot animals already predestined for death by natural causes or circumstances at the exact moment and are required to stay on a path that hovers above the ground. Unfortunately for the protagonist, he unintentionally deviates from the path and takes one small errant step¿ Ray Bradbury, perhaps best-known today for his work `Fahrenheit 451¿, had once seized the minds of American readers for decades and inspired many more to follow in his literary footsteps. His stories have been the basis of screenplays for the classic television series `The Twilight Zone¿ and `The Outer Limits,¿ and feature films such as François Truffaut¿s brilliantly visionary film `Fahrenheit 451.¿ His stories are at once imaginatively complex yet simplistic in literary style. If you love science fiction ¿ the imaginative, visionary, thought-provoking, classic form of science fiction ¿ Ray Bradbury is a must for your personal collection.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2014

    Don't recommend

    I purchased the book specifically for one story. Having a difficult time with the stories. I have to admit after finishing some of the stories I scratch my head wondering what the message of the story was.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2013

    Sound

    Very good author and writer of these srories

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2007

    Beware of the butterfly!!!!

    I love, love, love this story! Can not get enough of it. Read it in class and it was awesome!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2005

    A real sound of thunder

    it is a great story about how a simple butterfly was hurt 60 million years ago and how we have to suffer from it now in this time.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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