Thu, July 7, 2005
"A Sound of Thunder" - free reads!—2:27 PM
Andy mentioned today that Warner Brothers is releasing a movie based on Ray Bradbury's short story "A Sound of Thunder". I haven't read the story, but most of us are familiar with its general theme because The Simpsons spoofed it in the "Time and Punishment" segment of their 1994 Halloween episode, "Treehouse of Horror V". Homer goes back in time with a magic toaster, and returns to see that seemingly minor changes in the distant past have created various drastic effects in his present.
The trailer seems interesting although the film necessarily departs from Bradbury's story. (Andy also noted that the film has more writers than can fit in one billing block, which is generally a red flag.) Regardless, the idea of the story is a fascinating analysis of the paradoxes of time travel – a subject always near and dear to my heart.
As luck would have it, Wikipedia links to a copy of the story online. Since I'll be traveling this weekend, I thought it might make dandy plane reading. It simply wouldn't do to just print out the web page version (this is me, after all), so I laid it out with proper type and margins in InDesign, then crafted it into a booklet that I could carry with me. It turned out pretty nicely, so I decided to share it with you in case you want to read it.
I have no idea why the full text of this story is freely available online. As far as I can tell, it's still protected by copyright. However, if Dr. Snavely can do it, I assume I can as well. We'll try it at least until some crazy lawyers tell me to take it down.
UPDATE 11/22/2016, 9pm: On that note, apparently the folks minding the works after Ray's passing have a hard limit of 11.5 years, and then they bring the hammer down! My web host was contacted with a DMCA complaint, and they are extremely good people, so I removed the files immediately in order to spare them any trouble (or risk them kicking me out–I love it here!). My apologies to anyone seeking the text of the short story, and to all you tireless eighth grade teachers doing your best to keep things interesting in an underfunded school system... to the library with you! (I know, right? So gggggggaaaayyyy.)
A Sound of Thunder [61k PDF]
If you want the booklet like I made, try this one instead. (Print the first five pages on the back of the last five, fold, and staple.)
A Sound of Thunder (booklet) [61k PDF]
By the way, if anyone has any tips on how to get InDesign to output a booklet like this, please do pass them along. The method I've always used is to get a page count, dummy up a mock booklet, and work out which pages should be printed on the back of which by hand. Then I just rearrange them in InDesign and print. I'm sure there's an easier way – I just don't do this often enough to know what it is.