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I Will Fear No Evil (Library Edition)

3.4 out of 5 stars 176 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


''Magnificent. A science fiction masterpiece.'' -- Galaxy

''Those who have thought of science fiction as only child's play will see how wrong they are.'' -- Detroit Free Press

''One is left with the feeling that he has been in the presence of a master!'' --National Observer

About the Author

ROBERT ANSON HEINLEIN (1907-1988) was born in Missouri. He served five years in the U.S. Navy, then attended graduate classes in mathematics and physics at UCLA, took a variety of jobs, and owned a silver mine before beginning to write science fiction in 1939. His novels have won the Hugo Award, and in 1975 he received the first Grand Master Award for lifetime achievement.

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Product Details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.; Unabridged LIBRARY edition (April 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1441740538
  • ISBN-13: 978-1441740533
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.5 x 2.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (176 customer reviews)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Patrick Shepherd on February 8, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Heinlein never lacked for ideas. Many were original with him, such as the multi-generational star-ship. Sometimes he took someone else's idea and added his own fillip to it - which is what he does here.

Johann Sebastian Bach Smith is very old, very rich, very stubborn - and caught in the medical straight-jacket of extensive life support. So he conceives of having his brain transplanted - whether the operation is successful or not, he'll at least escape the straight-jacket. So far, an idea done many times before. Now Heinlein adds his own touch, as the 'donor' body turns out to be that of his young, extremely beautiful secretary, Eunice Branca, who was mugged and murdered. When Johann wakes up after the operation, he finds Eunice there in his head, ready to help him adjust to the new world of being very much a female. Is Eunice real, a product of 'body experience'? Or just a figment of Johann's imagination? Heinlein lays clues to this important question throughout the book, but you'll have to read it and make up your own mind.

Given the scenario above, this seems to be a perfect setup for Heinlein's traditional storming of the taboo bastions adhering to sex and gender stereotypes in American society. And there is no shortage of comments, situations, and happenings about just these items. Unfortunately, there is entirely too much of this material, occupying almost all of the middle section of this book, and after the first few sexual situations that Joan (the Johann/Eunice hybrid) faces, becomes extremely repetitious. Joan is not very believable as a woman (female characters were never Heinlein's strong point), nor do her actions really jive with what a 95 year old man would do.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
There was once a time when I thought of writing a science fiction story of a brain transplant into another body. And then thought of a real twist to it, by putting a male brain into the body of a female. Then one day I read a reference that it had already been written, but didn't say by who. So here it is some fifteen years later that I found out that it was by none other than Grand Master Heinlein himself. (It's not like the book title helped, instead of something like `A Tale of Dual Genders' or "When Gender Switches Happen to Brain Transplanted People", it's a fairly indescript "I Will Fear No Evil" from psalm 23.) He's done such a thorough job here that no other book on this subject (with it being the major plot) need be written again.

It's a fascinating concept and the book goes into a lot of detail about sexual identity. From reading this book, and from some subsequent movies (Switched?), it appears that the general consensus is if one's brain is switched to the opposite gender one should take up that person's new gender. Whew, I guess that's clears up that worry for all of us waiting for that brain transplant at the end of our days. So if a heterosexual male's brain gets transplanted into a females body, it should take up female heterosexuality. (Hmmm, what if a male homosexual's brain gets transplanted into a female, does that person become lesbian... hey, maybe there is room here for another book.) There's nothing here written though about the section of the female brain that regulates female hormones (the pituitary gland?) and that it would have to remain from the original brain for the possibility of transfer to be successful. There is quite a bit written on what is the person's actual identity (with regards to financial ownership) and what constitutes death.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I probably like this book far better than it deserves; if so, it's because I imprinted on Heinlein's stuff during my formative years. At any rate, this novel is based on a terrific concept but suffers from flawed execution.

The concept: Johann Sebastian Bach Smith is ooooold. Oooooooooold. He's going to die soon. But he's also rich, and he wants to spend a huge chunk of his fortune having his brain transplanted into a younger body. This he does. ('Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death . . . ')

Well, the joke's on him. The body -- as he learns after the transplant is performed -- is not only female, it's the body of his beloved secretary Eunice Branca (who was killed in a mugging that conveniently left her in brain-transplantable condition, and who conveniently happened to have the very same rare blood type as old Smith). So Johann has to learn how to be female, and also has to get over feeling just terrible about taking over Eunice's body.

Ah, but the lucky fellow gets some help. Turns out Eunice's body is still inhabited by Eunice -- or maybe Smith is hallucinating her (perhaps as her body rejects the transplant?). Or maybe it doesn't matter which; reality is slippery that way. (' . . . I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.')

_Great_ concept. The idea alone is worthy of a Hugo.

Unfortunately, Hugos aren't given for ideas; they're given for execution. And the execution here is troubled.

Heinlein suffered from life-threatening peritonitis during this period of his life, and his wife Virginia had to help him out with the editing on this one. At that, Heinlein claimed to have trimmed the draft MS by some ungodly number of thousands of words, and the result is _still_ sort of saggy in places.
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