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Summary

As startling and provocative as his famous Stranger in a Strange Land, here is Heinlein’s grand masterpiece about a man supremely talented, immensely old, and obscenely wealthy who discovers that money can buy everything.

Johann Sebastian Bach Smith was immensely rich—and very old. Though his mind was still keen, his body was worn out. His solution was to have surgeons transplant 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, recently deceased secretary, Eunice—with mind-blowing results! Together they must learn to share control of her body.

Once again, master storyteller Robert A. Heinlein delivers a wild and intriguing classic of science fiction. Written at the dawn of the 1970s, this novel is the brilliantly shocking story of the ultimate transplant.

©1970 Robert A. Heinlein (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic reviews

“Magnificent. A science fiction masterpiece.” ( Galaxy)

What members say

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Inside the mind of a dirty, old flasher

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

A pseudo-philosophical study into identity and sexuality, told with the emotional intelligence of Twilight, subtlety of Benny Hill and plotting finesse of a telephone directory; imagined by a dirty old man, gleefully rubbing his thighs.

This book has done for Heinlein what Cop Out did for Bruce Willis - it's so bad, it has cast its miasmic cloud over all other associated works and ruined them a little bit for me. Avoid (also avoid Cop Out).

The premise could have worked and at the very beginning, I had hope. An elderly, dying businessman wants to find a way to escape his hospital existence and since he's also filthy rich, decides to have a bit of fun and puts out an outrageous demand: find a healthy, young body for me to put my brain into.

When his secretary conveniently dies shortly after, his brain is put in her body and the Benny Hill theme tune comes on. It doesn't stop until the very end, by which time we've had hours of internal dialogue between 'the boss' and his secretary (yes, her consciousness somehow survived in her body without her brain in it), sex, talk about sex, 1950s sexist attitudes, competitive promiscuity and worse. There's also an assumption that now that the boss is inside a woman's body, his sexual orientation is automatically female. The topics aren't the problem. It's the way in which they are handled. I suppose you might enjoy reading this if you've always wanted to know what it's like to be inside the head of that man in the park, wearing nothing but an anorak and hoping to expose himself to children at an opportune moment.

What does Anthony Heald bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

The performance was great, considering the quality of the book. Having this as an audiobook meant I suffered it through to the end (had it been a physical book, I'd have given up a few chapters in). I don't know whether having spent 19 hours of my life listening to this counts as a bonus, alas.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Archaic

Some books I can accept were written in less enlightened times but this sexist twaddle is simply awful. Couldn't finish it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Sean Smith
  • 15-03-18

Disappointed.

Having read and loved nearly all Heinlein's books, I found this one hands down the most disappointing one of the collection.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ed W
  • 09-05-14

Booooooooooring

What disappointed you about I Will Fear No Evil?

Sorry Robert but this story was boring.

What was most disappointing about Robert A. Heinlein’s story?

The whole thing

What does Anthony Heald bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Very good reader

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from I Will Fear No Evil?

From chapter 2 to THE END

Any additional comments?

I like most Heinlein books but this one just had no plot. Kind of get tired keeping track of who was bedding who. The basic premise of the book was interesting but it went no where. If it wasn't for the very good reader, and the idea that there must be a story in here some where I would have deleted it after the first hour.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Noora
  • 27-04-14

Horrible. I should have read the reviews.

The author's views on gender and sexuality are so out of date that it makes me sick. Sure, the book is old, but it's not nearly old enough to be forgiven.

This story is rather like a late night fantasy of some hormonal teenager who simply doesn't know yet how people work (or doesn't care, for the sake of the fantasy). Such manuscripts should be buried at the bottom of the drawer, found 15 years later by the author, read with great agony and embarrassment, and then burned.

I picked this up at a sale, otherwise I might have noticed the earlier reviews. I thought I couldn't go wrong with picking a Heinlein. I was wrong.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • C. A. Kyrias
  • 04-04-16

Soft-core porn gets boring

If I wanted sexist soft-core porn, I'd buy some. And like most porn, chapter after chapter gets boring. Hardly qualifies as science fiction. As in all his later books, Heinlein's women are all the same, defined by their biology. They're all stunningly brilliant and equally beautiful but they all want to have sex and babies as their major, if not only, fulfillment. Almost the only action in the story is an adolescent boy's wet dream. Only a couple of scientifically interesting ideas alternate with his retro-conservative politics and judgmental opinions straight out of 18th century myths about "John Wayne" men and compliant women who are hot to trot and just want to get laid.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Bill
  • 03-05-13

Did Heinlein Really Write This Tripe?

I truly love Heinlein - which is why I was floored by this meandering stringing-together of male adolescent fantasies. I'm no prude and I've read racier scenes than these in much better novels. It's just that these were awkward, uncomfortable and unapologetically misogynistic.

Yes, Heinlein was a product of his times and I've forgiven him on numerous occasions for (mostly) mild misogynistic behavior in his characters. And I could even put up with a little of his sermonizing on the evils of Victorian ethics and the beauty of free love. (The book was originally published in 1970.) But in this novel, it never ends...

The biggest shame here is that the plot had all kinds of potential: brain transplant, being suddenly young and "doing it all over again" and especially the different ways men and women think about sex. Although I think Heinlein thought he was doing the latter, he simply projected his male fantasies into the mind of a woman and made her the two dimensional mirror image - a sex object that lives only to make men hot and happy.

It's truly staggering to me that the same mind that produced Stranger in a Strange Land (one his best) and dozens of other sophisticated, thoughtful novels wrote this. As others have said, if you're new to Heinlein please don't start here. In fact, fan or not, just skip this one entirely. Let's all just pretend he never wrote it!

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Barry
  • 24-09-12

My first return

Very disappointing, It was hard to finish the book, and it felt more like a cheap paper back sex story than science fiction.

14 of 17 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • satisfied customer
  • 05-01-18

Awful. I'm a big Heinlein fan,but this was a turd.

I couldn't finish this book, it was terrible. I only listened to 3/4 of it because I paid 8 dollars for it.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Jeremy
  • 21-06-14

Not what I expected

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

This was not the same as most of Heinlein's other works. It was boring and I felt like it was just an expression of 'free sexuality' that he was exploring in his later life. No action. No real mystery.

How could the performance have been better?

The performance was fine.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Heinlein does know how to craft interesting characters and paint vivid pictures of possible futures.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Benjamin
  • 09-04-15

Drivel

The dialogue resembles twilight. You might as well read crappy fiction from the 50 shades of gray lady,
Simply awful.

10 of 13 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Joseph E. Mercier
  • 03-01-14

Hienlein Fans should run

The man is a great writer but I just couldn't stomach this book. Page after page of adolescent erotica. I know that I should consider the so called "free love" cultural hype of the period in which it was written but I lived through that period and even then I would have considered it junk. The narrator did a fine job but you can't make a silk purse out of.... you get the idea.

10 of 13 people found this review helpful