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I Will Fear No Evil

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  10,135 Ratings  ·  368 Reviews
Johann Sebastian Bach Smith was immensely rich and very old. His mind was keen, but his body was worn out. So surgeons transplanted his brain into a new body. The operation was a great success-but the patient was no longer Johann Sebastian Bach Smith. He was now fused with the very vocal personality of his gorgeous secretary, Eunice-with mind blowing results!
Mass Market Paperback, A Berkley Medallion Book, 512 pages
Published November 1971 by Berkley Publishing Corporation (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…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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May 19, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jan 05, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ace
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
Nov 06, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Mar 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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.
Heather's Mum
Sep 11, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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

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.
Mar 09, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 22, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 15, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Kevin Kuhn
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 18, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, novel
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
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
Dec 30, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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.
May 08, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I read this book when I was a teenager, and disliked it then. I tried reading it again the last week, and unfortunately still dislike. Oh well. And Heinlein's early books were so good.

The plot, such as it is: The billionaire Johann Schmidt, very old, on life support, arranges for the first brain transplant operation and ends up in the body of young, beautiful, nubile woman (Eunine), now named Joan Eunice). With barely a second thought, he/she embarks on a whirlwind of kissing, stripping, coquet
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What???? 1 6 Dec 21, 2017 10:15AM  
Play Book Tag: Fantasy vs Science Fiction 20 32 May 28, 2016 09:24AM  
The world Heinlein discribed was amazingly prescient 3 18 Mar 13, 2013 07:06PM  
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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