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Of the two selections, “A Sound Of Thunder” by Ray Bradbury and “Nethergrave” by Gloria Skurzynski, “A Sound Of Thunder” is a better example of science fiction because it involves time travelers, a time machine, and it is set in multiple points of time.
“A Sound Of Thunder” is written in such a manner that it is obviously science fiction. The beginning of the story features an actual business of taking people back in time in a time machine. Travel agents, of a sort, and their customers travel 50 million years in the past to hunt and kill a dinosaur. The paying customers are given clear instructions regarding behavior and are instructed to stay within an instructed area. Eckels, seems to have little respect for the instructions and when a bit of chaos breaks out he panics and goes out of bounds. That act of defiance caused all of history to be changed. The story also explains how time will not permit you to meet yourself, and create a paradox, it simply slips aside as though you are sidestepping yourself. In “Nethergrave”, a socially outcast boy, had returned home from a very bad day at school and soccer. He can’t wait to talk to his online friends and rushes to his computer. He knows that he disappoints them with his less than brilliant joke so when they all, suddenly, have to log off he feels a bit abandoned and guilty. He is then compelled to follow instructions given to him by someone he doesn’t know. It seems to be an interesting game until he realizes that he is no longer playing an online game but has actually become a part of this game. The extraordinary events that could never happen in real life are the parts that make these works of incredible science fiction.
In “A Sound Of Thunder” the author uses third-person point of view. A third-person point of view lets us understand why the scientist and the guide are mad at the man. If it was in first person then we would not know what the guide said while the main character was gone. In “Nethergrave” the author uses first-person point of view. The boy describes his surroundings so well that we don’t need to know what the other characters are feeling. Other characters feelings are clear to us based on other characters actions as explained by Jeremy.
The theme in “A Sound Of Thunder” is that one little tiny thing can change life as you know it. When Eckles steps on the butterfly the whole world changed. Everything he knew was replaced by a new type of life. In “Nethergrave” the theme is that the games people play or, the activities they participate in, might just be an escape from an unhappy life. Jeremy felt abandoned by his father who never saw him after his parent’s divorce, then by his mother who always worked late, and finally by his friends who ditched him right after he logged in for the day. He used the computer to forget about his real life problems and made up a new life while logged in. Ultimately, he chose to stay in that virtual world where he could be triumphant.
“A Sound Of Thunder” allows the reader to feel more involved with events within the story. Descriptions of their machines, the period they live in, and what they choose to do with their money and vacation time make the reader feel like an actual participant in the story. The reader doesn’t get that sense of participation in “Nethergrave” because it is so clearly explaining Jeremy’s feelings and reaction to events around him.
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