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Short story about a guy thinking of leaving his spouse by substituting a lifelike android of self to cover in his absence. But when he finally decides he shouldn't follow through, he lays back down bed with his wife and when he rests his head on her chest he realizes from the sound that she has already done the switch herself, and she is off somewhere cheating on him and has left an android for him to snuggle with.

This would be an older story, I think I first read it in about 1974 or so. Most likely it was a mainstream well known sci-fi author if I was reading it in high school. The reason I am looking is I would love to find the haunting audio version of the story as read by Burgess Meredith.

marked as duplicate by Otis, Gallifreyan, TGnat, user14111 short-stories May 19 '17 at 21:29

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  • Take a look at this guide to help jog your memory and edit any more details. Specifically things like when you read it, or where? Also, take a look at our tour to get a better understanding of our site and earn your first badge! – Edlothiad May 17 '17 at 17:32
  • This would be an older story, I think I first read it in about 1974 or so. Most likely it was a mainstream well known sci fi author if I was reading it in high school. The reason I am looking is I would love to find the haunting audio version of the story as read by Burgess Meredith. – Zarrin Vuckovic May 17 '17 at 17:33
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I came across Marionettes, Inc, a story from Ray Bradbury's short story collection called The Illustrated Man.

Synopsis:

The characters are Braling and Smith and their wives. Braling's wife was quite mean to him and forced him to marry her, while Smith's wife acted as if they were still honeymooning.

Smith learns about "marionettes", exact robotic duplicates produced by Marionettes, Inc. The manufacturer, whose motto is in the markets of the marionettes as temporary replacements for the customer. Braling reveals to Smith that he has been using a marionette to fulfill his obligations as a husband while he pursues his personal interests. His wife is completely unaware of the duplication, and he plans to visit Rio de Janeiro while his marionette is replacing him at home. Braling shows off his marionette to Smith. Smith, fascinated by this solution, decides to buy his own marionette to escape his domestic prison.

Conflict is introduced when Braling's duplicate expresses emotions towards Braling's wife, and resists Braling's attempts to remove the marionette from his home life. Smith then finds out that he himself has been tricked by his wife's own marionette, and that she took $10,000 of the $15,000 they had in their joint bank account.

Braling tries to call Marionettes, Inc. for support, but is physically restrained by the duplicate. The marionette reveals his plans of traveling to Rio with Braling's wife and locking his master in a box, and then says goodbye to his owner.

The story ends in the bedroom with "Braling" kissing Mrs. Braling, but Bradbury skillfully uses pronouns to make it unclear whether "Braling" is really Braling or his marionette duplicate. The reader's interpretation could indicate either that the duplicate has disposed of his former master, or that Braling has won out and subsequently found new appreciation for his wife.

Burgess Meredith recorded Marionettes, Inc on the B side of a record titled: Burgess Meredith Reads Ray Bradbury

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    Gosh darn it. You just beat me to it. – FuzzyBoots May 17 '17 at 17:45
  • Wow. Did Ira Levin know about this when he wrote Stepford Wives? – Organic Marble May 17 '17 at 18:47
  • Thanks for the extreme speed and accuracy in this answer! You hit the nail on the head! Much appreciated! – Zarrin Vuckovic May 19 '17 at 3:22

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