Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for science fiction and fantasy enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I read a short story about four years ago and can't remember the title or author. The only thing I know is that it is relatively old--like Huxley or Asimov era. Can anyone help me?

The basic synopsis is this: a man clones himself and has his clone do the parts of his life that he doesn't enjoy. He deceives his wife about this; she doesn't know he has a clone. Whenever the man and the clone are both home, the clone is locked in the "toolbox" in the basement. The clone starts to treat the man's wife better than he had previously. His wife starts to fall in love the clone, and the man decides he needs to get rid of the clone. When he tries to do so, the clone overpowers the man and locks him in the toolbox in the basement!

I'm hoping to share this story with my English class this school year. Any help is appreciated!


share|improve this question
up vote 13 down vote accepted

You're referring to "Marionettes, Inc" by Ray Bradbury. It was originally published in "Startling Stories" magazine but you're far more likely to have seen it collected in his "The Illustrated Man and other stories" anthology. You can read the full version online here.

“I’ve had him for a month. I keep him in the cellar in a toolbox. My wife never goes downstairs, and I have the only lock and key to that box. Tonight I said I wished to take a walk to buy a cigar. I went down cellar and took Braling Two out of his box and sent him back up to sit with my wife while I came on out to see you, Smith.”

at the end;

Braling Two said, “I’m going to put you in the box, lock it, and lose the key. Then I’ll buy another Rio ticket for your wife.”

“Now, now, wait a minute. Hold on. Don’t be rash. Let’s talk this over!”

“Good-by, Braling.”

Braling stiffened. “What do you mean, ‘good-by’?”

Ten minutes later Mrs. Braling awoke. She put her hand to her cheek. Someone had just kissed it. She shivered and looked up. “Why—you haven’t done that in years,” she murmured.

“We’ll see what we can do about that,” someone said.

The story was also converted into a short TV segment in the Ray Bradbury Theater;

Part I

Part II

Part III

share|improve this answer
Dang, you beat me by 17 seconds! – Ward Jul 19 '14 at 15:46
@Ward - You need to be a bit quicker; – Valorum Jul 19 '14 at 20:12
@Ward did you remove your answer because Richard was quicker? There's no need to do that; the OP may like yours better, or yours may include details that Richard left out. – SQB Jul 19 '14 at 22:33
Wow, thank you so much for the help! I really appreciate it. I read "Marionettes, Inc" a long time ago, and I'm going to use it with my freshmen English class to show how an author creates tension. – user30566 Jul 22 '14 at 13:24

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.