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I Will Fear No Evil

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  11,163 ratings  ·  434 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 April 15th 1987 by Ace Books (first published December 1st 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 b…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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Average rating 3.67  · 
Rating details
 ·  11,163 ratings  ·  434 reviews

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May 19, 2014 rated it did not like it
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 LoveJob: A Comedy of Justice – and parts of The Cat Who Walks Through Wal
Oct 30, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  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
Jan 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was having dinner with some friends the other night when I was reminded of this book. Well, this one and several others. We were talking about how teens in Singapore these days have so much more access to positive representations of gay men and gay life than when we were young. It’s not only because of the internet and gay celebrities coming out. It’s not even only because at the time I was a teen, it was the decade of AIDS and mainstream representation of gay men was singularly stereotypical ...more
Jan 05, 2008 rated it did not like it
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
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
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
Mar 24, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The Bad --
Sexism (Misogyny?): Reading Heinlein's books today, any of his books, it's hard not to wince at the things that just aren't acceptable by today's standards. His sexism is probably the most difficult, so reading a book where the main character, Johann Sebastian Bach Smith has his brain transplanted into the gorgeous and perfect Eunice Branca -- effectively becoming a woman -- is bound to be off-putting. And it is.

The way that Heinlein saw women would make anyone taking a Women's Studie
Jan 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reread, sf
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
May 19, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
I read this back in my younger sci fi days and it was so bad I never read another Heinlein book. An old bloke becomes a young girl of very good looks and the point is laboured for about a 1000 pages. Well that was what it felt like anyway. Great cover though, that smoking skull. Good name for a book too.

Hey what the heck, after having a look around Goodreads it all remind's me of some of the complete trash I once read. I Will Fear No Crap Book I Once Read.
Aug 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2017
I'm not sure how I feel about this book. How can one book be so progressive about sexual identity and so sexist at the same time?!?

When one thinks about it, this is an incredibly forward thinking book. Published in 1970, it accepts the idea of multiple labels for sexual desire, beyond hetero/homo. It also takes the idea of not seeing gender but just loving a person to a new height. And yet, it is probably one of the most sexist books towards women I have ever read.

To Mr. Heinlein sexual freedo
Jan 26, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
I’ll “tell ya bang”, using the books slang, that you have to sift through a mountain of “hoo-hoo” to get to what little good this story has. Basically a lecherous 90-year-old brain gets implanted into 20-year-old swinging beauty queen, with a geriatric fetish, as written by a fantastic author in his creepy old man phase and edited by his equally old disturbed wife. Let's do the math:

Horny[(Heinlein(Wife*Author))+(Nonagenarian*Tart)] = Boredom. Yep, that about sums it up. Who said I'd never use
Nov 06, 2010 rated it did not like it
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
Mar 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
G.R. Reader
Apr 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 26, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: transgender
Before we get into things, let’s deal with the most common complaint regarding the book. Yes, it is sexist, anachronistic, and often patently offensive in it’s portrayal of BOTH genders. It’s also a book that was first published in 1970, and is the work of a man who began writing science fiction as early as 1939. Critiquing Heinlein for not being properly progressive regarding gender equality 40 years ago is like lambasting Mark Twain for not being politically correct regarding race 135 years ag ...more
Steven Cole
Aug 16, 2011 rated it liked it
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
May 22, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Heather's Mum
Sep 11, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sciencefiction
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
Nicholas Whyte
Apr 11, 2015 rated it it was ok

I simply couldn't finish the book. It is too dreadfully bad. Just before the half-way point, I realised that I couldn't take any more.
Sep 16, 2015 rated it it was ok
Four years ago, or maybe five, I began what I expected to be a brief sabbatical from Heinlein. Although I had originally enjoyed his books, his portrayal of women (which I described at the time as "golden retrievers that you can have sex with") really started to grate on me. I decided that I was SO annoyed at Heinlein that it would be best to put him aside for a time and come back when I'd calmed down a bit.

It took me a while.

But, finally, I was feeling up to giving him another shot, and I thoug
Mar 09, 2010 rated it did not like it
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
Feb 25, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
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
Cara Hinton
Jun 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book is written by one of my favorite authors! Considering it was written in 1970 it's amazing how prophetic it is. Many of the tools and technology represented have in fact, become common place. Fortunately the horrible crime has not. I'm not sure about colonizing the moon if that is a good or bad thing. However, this book definitely shows what was on the minds of Americans in 1970. The moon, sex, sexual equality, and the differences between the sexes. It's obvious this book was written by ...more
Dec 18, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  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
Jun 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Scott Golden
Jan 08, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 15, 2008 rated it it was ok
a 95+ year old billionaire gets his brain transplanted into his young secretary's body and uses his newfound gender to have sex with everyone he encounters, including medical staff, bodyguards, his lawyer, etc. like 85%+ of the book consists of dialog, most of which is really corny. heinlein's female characters are always one dimensional (guess which dimension that is) and the book goes on for way, way too long. with the twist at the end foreshadowed at the beginning of the book, this would have ...more
Mar 28, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Kevin Kuhn
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
Bryan Alkire
Nov 05, 2019 rated it did not like it
Absolute rubbish...Imbecilic and insensitive yammer yammer yammer Heinlein’s worst novel by far Didn’t make it 20 percent and skipping ahead showed more of the same
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What???? 3 20 Jun 01, 2018 11:27PM  
The world Heinlein discribed was amazingly prescient 4 27 Mar 26, 2018 08:29PM  
Play Book Tag: Fantasy vs Science Fiction 20 34 May 28, 2016 09:24AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Missing cover art 1 18 Oct 28, 2011 01:43PM  

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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

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