The title is related to three events in the story.What are they?
To what extent has bradbury used the basic idea that all life on earth is linked in a dynamic ecological balance?
You could see it that way, but at heart I think it's rather a time paradox story.
Time travel isn't really possible, but if it were, you can take two views of it:
Firstly, that the future can't be altered, and that all attempts to meddle with the past will somehow be thwarted, with all your attempts to change the course of events leading, eventually, to the same result. You can find this approach in the movie "Groundhog Day".
Secondly - and this is the idea used by Bradbury - there is the opposite idea that every little change made in the past will have a snowball effect and that time travellers will change the future even if they try not to.
As writers often do, Bradbury tweaked scientific accuracy for the sake of the story. In fact, if the second premise - the snowball effect - is correct, even breathing the air in the distant past would have brought about changes. You would destroy or introduce micro-organisms and ever so slightly change the chemical composition of the atmosphere, with who knows what results 65 million years later ...
Excellent response, Douglas. Another book which I enjoyed concerning the thought of time travel was Michael Crighton's TIMELINE. Another neat movie was "Frequency" with, I believe, Dennis Quaid.
If it were possible to go back in time, one would almost have to go back in a space suit, of sorts, that would not allow any form of contamination. And then float upon the ground not allowing a butterfly to be crushed.
But even then, you'd displace air, which means that a gnat may change the course of its flight, which means that a chameleon, which would have caught the gnat, loses its snack, which means ...
Perfect insulation is impossible. Even if you just cast a shadow, there will be consequences.
It's just hit me that a great example of the "absorption of changes" approach is Geoffrey A. Landis's story "Ripples in the Dirac Sea", in which the protagonist keeps ending up in the same place, despite his efforts to change the course of events.
There is also the idea (based on a quantum interpretation of the universe) that "past", "present" and "future" are all human concepts, based on OUR subjective perception of what we call "time". By this perspective, it is not possible to change, divert, wipe out, or create new or previously-existing timelines -- the only thing subject to change is the orientation of the traveller. Thus, if you as time traveller go into "the past" and kill your father before you are born, you do not "wipe out" the "present" you came from (else how could you have travelled back?), but you have changed your own orientation, setting yourself on another pathway branching from a common point, which would only allow you to "return" to an "altered" present. From an omniscient perspective, all alternative "pasts", "presents" and "futures" exist and have always existed. The only difference is which way the individual conciousness flows along the pathways.
i just read that story because it is one of my favorites and because i came across it looking for a different story. i am not litterary enough to spot all three references to the sound of thunder. its probably the shotgun, the tyranysourus rex's roar, and then maybe the tim machines noise.
on another note ray did approach the breathing air in thge past thing. he had them wear suits if you remember.
positronic, kinda makes you wonder where we the bulletin board writers are, have been or could be from? eh... in time space or otherwise.
Yes, how do I know the color I perceive and call "blue" is the same thing you perceive and call "blue"? We all assume a common core of experience that we call "reality" largely on faith. What happens when something comes along to test the limits of our belief systems?
It's often been remarked that "time flies" or "time drags" depending on whether you're having fun or being bored or being tortured... Maybe we are all a bit like Tomas Gomez and the martian Muhe Ca in Bradbury's Night Meeting. Could we all be only hallucinations from the past or future, according to each others' subjective perception of time? Or merely "Two strangers passing in the night"? And I wonder, did Bradbury write that line before Sinatra ever sang it? Or does it matter?
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