cover image Marionettes Inc.

Marionettes Inc.

Ray Bradbury, . . Subterranean, $35 (118pp) ISBN 978-1-59606-215-3

This slim collection of Bradbury’s classic short works on the subject of substitute people contains little new material: “Wind-Up World” is a vignette of two men complaining about the increasing mechanization of their world, while the screenplay outline “Murder by Facsimile” faithfully reformats the 1950 story “Punishment Without Crime,” in which a man kills a replica of his unfaithful wife. Cherry picking the marionette-themed pieces from Bradbury’s extensive oeuvre does create a nicely unified tone, however. Only in the famous “I Sing the Body Electric” is the electronic substitution for humanity truly satisfactory. In contrast, “Marionettes Inc.” and “Changeling” are traditional tales of replacement gone wrong, with the real horror coming from human love in all its stifling insufficiency. The end result is most appealing to Bradbury completists and those who want a good introduction to his work. (Apr.)