by Ray Bradbury
• Page count: 9
Marionettes, Inc. is a famous short story by the legendary science fiction author Ray Bradbury.
Marionettes, Inc. is a story about two men who feel they are trapped in their marriages, and the desperate and misguided attempts they make to get out of them by replacing themselves with identical robots (hence the “marionettes”). However, not everything turns out as they had hoped!
I would wager that there are very few people indeed who haven’t heard of Ray Bradbury or his famous book The Illustrated Man. He has several very famous science fiction short stories, but I had never read Marionettes, Inc. until recently. A great piece by one of the classic masters of science fiction.
They both stared up through the dark air.
In the window above them, on the second floor, a shade raised. A man about thirty-five years old, with a touch of gray at either temple, sad gray eyes, and a small thin mustache looked down at them.
“Why, That’s You!” cried Smith.
“Sh-h-h, not so loud!” Braling waved upward. The man in the window gestured significantly and vanished.
Where you can find Marionettes, Inc.:
• Marionettes, Inc. first appeared in March 1949 in Startling Stories.
• It was also published in 1951 in Ray Bradbury’s book of collected short stories The Illustrated Man.
Unfortunatley, this (and any story by Ray Bradbury) is very difficult – if not impossible – to find for free online. If you want to read Marionettes, Inc. you’ll have to get a copy of The Illustrated Man. The nice thing is that the book is famous enough, and has been around for so long, that it is easy to find. You can certainly buy a new copy, but you could probably also find one at your local library, in a used bookstore or on eBay.