In Ray Bradbury’s short story “A Sound of Thunder,” a wealthy time travel tourist accidentally crushes a pre-historic butterfly beneath his shoe. This delicate, seemingly insignificant mistake ripples forward to create an entire alternate future. It’s a truth that extends far beyond fiction— how the smallest acts can bloat, twist, topple dominos that leave our world irrevocably changed. Like the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand as the catalyst for WWI. Or the World Trade Center attacks resulting in the Twilight franchise.
When ancient Etruscans served up the world’s very first bowl of pasta, they had no idea that humans would still be dining on the dish nearly twenty-three hundred years later. Nor could they have known that their simple meal would one day lead to the birth of one of history’s most feared and beloved monsters. In fact, a single humble noodle would go on to change the course of all of English literature.
We’ll start where it counts: 1816. The Year Without a Summer.