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I Will Fear No Evil
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I Will Fear No Evil

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  8,245 ratings  ·  266 reviews

Johann Sebastian Bach Smith is immensely rich—and very old. His mind is still keen, so he has surgeons transplant his brain into a new body—the body of his gorgeous, recently deceased secretary, Eunice. But Eunice hasn't completely vacated her body.

Paperback, 512 pages
Published October 15th 1976 by Berkley (first published 1970)
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Manny I don't know how many times I have to explain that he does it in a very sensitive, caring way, and shows that he deeply respects her both as a human…moreI don't know how many times I have to explain that he does it in a very sensitive, caring way, and shows that he deeply respects her both as a human being and as a sex object.
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Can Science-Fiction Writers Really Predict the Future? (part 94)

Not, who's just acquired a new Lenovo ThinkPad, has spent the last hour getting familiar with the speech recognition capabilities. She's been reading out bits of text, looking at what comes up on the screen and editing the mistakes, all using nothing but voice commands. After a while, I realized why it seemed oddly familiar: there's a scene early on in this 1970 novel where the hero's sexy PA does exactly the same thing. The way she
Dec 22, 2014 David rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nonagenarians turned into sex kittens... no, I'm lying, I would recommend it to NOBODY!





what was this I don't even

I don't know where to begin.

Okay, I can forgive Heinlein a lot. I forgave him for Friday, in which the main character (another super-hot polysexual Heinleinian wet dream) (view spoiler). By the end of his career, the Old Man was pretty much just churning out whatever wank he felt like. But he gave us Starship Troopers and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and Podkayne of Mars (I know, that last one rarely makes anyone's list
So, earlier today, I was talking with Choupette (apropos Houellebecq) about the fact that men and women have different perceptions of sex. As I said, there are good biological reasons why it has to be that way. If you're potentially capable of producing thousands of offspring, with only a few minutes of work invested in each one, your mind is just hardwired differently from the way it's going to be if each baby takes nine months of pregnancy, followed by a painful and dangerous birth and then ye ...more
I took me about a month to read this sluggish piece of pelican crap. Every day I’d pick it up, read about 5 pages, and immediately become so bored I actually started ‘cutting’. Yea, right. I may not have started outwardly displaying my inner pain by blading like a distraught high school dork destined to be the next trench-coat mafia moron, but anyone who liked this book probably should.

Having read the lauded Heinlein classic Stranger in a Strange Land about a year ago, and not enjoying it, I rea
Oh, God, I shouldn't love this book as much as I do. I really, really shouldn't.

Okay, first off, let's get this out of the way: This book was written in 1970, and it reads as horribly dated to a modern reader, especially with the gender and sexual politics. You're going to have a few moments where you look at it and just go "...I can't believe he just said that." This also isn't at all a good introduction to Heinlein (for that, try The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress or Tunnel In The Sky or even Strang
G.R. Reader
If we could just transplant the brain of a horny old billionaire into the body of his hot young PA, we'd find out more in a month than we have in fifty years of academic gender studies. But for some reason it's impossible to get the experiment funded.

Well Bob, at least no one can say it's your fault.
One of the things I enjoy about Heinlein is that he likes to play with Big Ideas. While he did dip into the well of action and adventure, especially for his juvenile stories, he treated his readers like they were only slightly intellectually inferior to him, and so explored concepts that required a lot of heavy thinking. The need for war, the inevitability of messiahs, revolution, life, death, immortality - he's not afraid to shy away from some of the greatest philosophical topics that reside in ...more
Heather's Mum
FYI: The title is taken from Psalm 23:4.

Although the work probably deserves only a 3 or 4, I gave this 5 stars for sentimental reasons.

I Will Fear No Evil was one of the first Robert A. Heinlein novels that I read as a young adult. I was forever "hooked." Continuing to read Heinlein's works, I soon realized it wasn't his best - possibly because he was quite ill while writing this book.

What tantalized me most about the plot was the co-existence of the two personalities, of opposite sex, in the
Steven Cole
As an exceedingly brief summary, this is the story of a brain transplant and the dual-sexed multiple personality that results from it.

I read this book the first time when I was about 15 or 16, I think, and it really hasn't stood up to my growth as an adult. I remember being especially thrilled by the idea of bodypaint that couldn't be distinguished from clothing, but in these days of the internet, that's hardly the unique idea it was to a testosterone-flooded teenager of 25 years ago.

Today, this
I’ve always had a deep love of the nerdish arts. I cut my teeth on genre fantasy books, the sword and sorcery epics of R.A. Salvatore, J.R.R. Tolkien, David Eddings and the like when in grade school. When I was a teen I began to migrate from the ceaseless repetition of the Campbellian monomyth to the more conceptual realm of science fiction. What appealed to me about these worlds was that literally anything was possible. Bound only by the limits of their imagination, writers can ruminate at leng ...more
Angela Shipe
This may be my favorite of all the Heinlein books and that includes Stranger (I'm cringing even as I type that heresy). I loved the concept of an old man stuck in a young woman's body. Johann Sebastian Bach Smith is rich enough to afford a full brain transplant into a young healthy body, unfortunately for him the donor is a young woman whose consciousness/soul hasn't left her traumatized body. Conversations between these two were, in my memory, hilarious. My first introduction to Heinlein was St ...more
Feb. 21, 2015: As promised, I have had some more thoughts about this book.

In general, people seem to choose one of two ways to handle Robert Heinlein’s I Will Fear No Evil: detest it in all its casually (and sometimes not so casually) misogynistic odiousness, or love it like an uncouth grandfather who “grew up in a different time.” As is often a case, I don’t think either extreme is quite right.

Full review at


Feb. 14, 2015: This story will take awhile to process. There were
Wow, what a disappointment. This ends up being quite a long (audio) book that really doesn't go anywhere. The middle half of the book could easily have been removed and not missed. A few points...

This was originally serialized in Galaxy magazine according to Wikipedia. I suspect that the author felt that each episode had to have a lot of sex in it to sell each issue. When the complete story was put together into a book, the near constant titillation, along with the repetitive conversations -- of
Ruby Hollyberry
You've got two things to notice here, well, really 3. First of all, this is some excellent dystopian near-future sci fi. Probably some of the most realistic pictures of where we are apparently headed (and therefore scariest) that I have ever come across. Portrays the ridiculous excesses of a media with no regard for truth, among other accurate predictions! Second, the science fiction elements are nearly buried in more sex even than a late-period Anita Blake novel. I've never read a book with mor ...more
I am not quite certain how I feel about this book. It brought up some interesting ideas but it also dragged and in many places I wondered if it was going anywhere only to have important events happen in the span of 1-2 pages. I tried to remind myself that this book was written in the 1970s; while it has some very enlightened views it also has some very stereotypically 70's moments, especially in regards to women. (Yes I am referring to the many, "Oh I'm just a helpless female I better start acti ...more
So far, I'm not impressed. Seems a repeat of his other highly sexual works. I'm not engaged with this persons journey through sex change and I'm not quite understanding the meaning behind most of his setups. Maybe that will change in the end, but I doubt it. I have only truly liked one of his books in this genre: Stranger in a Strange Land. The others have left me wondering why / what / how?

Perhaps I am just not smart enough to understand Heinlein. Everyone else I know that reads him truly love
Dec 18, 2007 John rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: my worst enemies
Did Heinlein write a worse piece of science fiction than this? I hope not.

The creatively named hero, Johann Sebastian Bach Smith, (yes, you read that right,) is a rich old man who isn't ready to give up on living yet. He makes arrangements to have his brain transplanted into a new body upon his death. Little did he know, the body his brain would be transplanted into would be that of his beautiful young secretary. To complicate matters further, though her brain was removed from the body upon her
Bizarre. Very bizarre. One other reviewer said this is where he thought Heinlein started going off the tracks--well, if it isn't, it's dang close. The book drips sex, sex, sex, and more sex--and that's not necessarily the bizarre part. Now, I'm not adverse to sex in a novel (so long as it's written well and not gratuitous), it's part of the human condition and all, but this was ridiculous! And I'm used to old Heinlein's free love characters. But did he really think we're all like this? Of course ...more
The idea behind this book was splendid and ground-breaking. When I started it, I felt sure that it could be an exploration of the differences between men and women, and how those differences are built and reinforced by both biology and environment. However, Mr. Heinlein found it easier to give the main character a deus ex machina and spent the second half of the book having said main character hop into bed with anyone who looked even remotely interesting.
I have often wondered where was the point of no return, the line of demarcation when Robert A. Heinlein left his brilliant work of the 1960s and began his slow descent into weirdness and dirty-old-manity. I think that line exists in I Will Fear No Evil, published in 1970. True, there was some creepiness prior to this (Stranger in a Strange Land) and there is also some fine writing after this (segments of Time Enough For Love – Job: A Comedy of Justice – and parts of The Cat Who Walks Through Wal ...more
This novel is from the "late period" of the Heinlein cannon. It is a brick of a novel that takes on, amongst other items, the issue of sexual identity by way of an old wealthy man who as his “id” or “self” transferred into the body of his recently deceased secretary. Within that body, she continues to be present as a conscious presence only – the old man is in the driver’s seat, and they go on with their life as dual-ego team.

It is a bit gimmicky as a story vehicle and gives Heinlein the opportu
Sean Meriwether
When I was in high school I came across this book in the school library, which, honestly, is probably inappropriate for teens. I devoured it on the first read, but it took years to remember who wrote it… Heinlein is hit or miss, but for me this is one of his best efforts. A rich eccentric elderly man has his brain transplanted into the incredibly beautiful body of his personal assistant (who is accidently killed and they have the same rare AB blood type). As a man inside a woman’s body, he conti ...more
Andrew Edelstein
I was willing to give this one a chance, because it was Heinlein, but I have to admit the premise sounded rather hokey before I started. It didn't get any better as I actually read it and eventually I just put it down and didn't bother to go back. You could tell by 1970, Heinlein was well in his decline. Clearly in Heinlein's universe, despite appearances to the contrary, women are nothing more than baby factories who look pretty. It's OK for them to "work", as long as their husbands are willing ...more
David Ivester
I gave this book two stars for its shear audacity alone. It is not a pleasant read. Johann Smith, an aged billionaire, has his brain transplanted into the body of a twenty-something beautiful woman, and hilarity ensues. I got so tired of his/her bedding every person, male or female, who crossed his/her path. It was not exactly science fiction, although it was of course set in the future when such a surgery could be possible. The conflict in the novel arises between Johann/Joan and her grandkids ...more
Re-read this after a gap of many many years. It's really interesting how different the book is to me from the last time around.

This time I was very struck by Heinlein's politics and economics, rather than the very front and centre gender and sexuality plot. The perceived ethics, morals and responsibility of all the characters in an almost anarchic society were quite different than those you might expect.

I do think the authour tried pretty blatantly to provoke strong reactions in his readers, an
Scott Golden
One of the silliest books ever written by a major science fiction author. A very old Donald Trump type has his brain transplanted into the gorgeous young body of his recently murdered secretary; she remains 'present,' however, and the rest of the book is spent in ENDLESS dialogues between the two of them (talk about arguing with yourself!) while we wait to see if the female-body-controlled-by-a-male-brain will A) have sex with a woman, and/or B) have sex with a man.
For those who know Heinlein l
Lauren Ocean
I really wanted to love this book. I like the concept and I enjoy the relaxed social mores that Heinlein offers in all of his books, but he just couldn't quite pull off the female voice in the male head phenomenon he was shooting for. I enjoyed some of the supporting cast immensely, but found it difficult to understand why the main characters were so attached to other ones that I didn't enjoy as much... I'm making it a goal to read through several Heinlein books in 2014, but so far of all of the ...more
The last of the huge stack of Heinlein books lent to me by my friend Wayne ages and ages ago. Now I can send them back and clear some space on my borrowed books shelf for the stacks of books my sister sent in her last package. (But more are sure to arrive any day now, which means I will be behind again.)

What can I say about Heinlein that I haven't already said? Other than that I'm starting to max out on him. There's only so much immortal life/free-sex commune/space colonization sci fi you can r
Jon Cantrell
My least favorite Heinlein to date. I really couldn't find a point to this book besides something along the lines of carpe diem. That said the point is much obfuscated by the rather unbelievable main character. A 95 year old man's brain transplanted into a late 20-something woman and within a few pages he's the girliest of girls? She plays the very strong and liberated but still old fashioned female role that Heinlein writes frequently and keeps the way oversexed aspect around as well.

I listene
Scott Holstad
Boy, what a loser of a book! Johann Sebastian Bach Smith is a mega-rich 90-something who decides he wants to live on by undergoing a brain transplant into the otherwise healthy body of a recently dead person. What he doesn't know, however, is that it's his much lusted after secretary, Eunice. When he wakes from his surgery, the medical staff and his attorney won't let him do much, but it doesn't take long for him to discover he's now a female and when he discovers he's now Eunice, he's horrifed ...more
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Robert Anson Heinlein was an American novelist and science fiction writer. Often called "the dean of science fiction writers", he is one of the most popular, influential, and controversial authors of "hard science fiction".

He set a high standard for science and engineering plausibility and helped to raise the genre's standards of literary quality. He was the first SF writer to break into mainstre
More about Robert A. Heinlein...
Stranger in a Strange Land Starship Troopers The Moon is a Harsh Mistress Time Enough for Love (The World As Myth) The Puppet Masters

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