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What does a girl want? According to Heinlein: spanking, gangbangs, and washing dishes.

I Will Fear No Evil

Berkley Medallion, 1970, 512 pages

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.

About a third of the way into this novel, I couldn't stop hearing this musical number from Flower Drum Song:

Oh yeah, it's that bad.

The Heinleinian Woman

Previously, I thought Friday was the point Heinlein-the-author started to go seriously off the rails. But I Will Fear No Evil, a 1970 novel reeking of the same "free love" wankery as Stranger in a Strange Land, is just a complete and utter trainwreck. Even his fans generally consider it to be one of his worst books. In fairness, he apparently wrote it while literally dying (he got better) and it was a barely-edited first draft that got published. That might excuse the fact that the book essentially has no plot, but it's a revealing look at what the inside of Heinlein's brain looked like when it was baking with fever.

I've always accepted that Robert Heinlein was a creepy old man who had great big honkin' issues, but he could tell a damn good story. His books are guaranteed to be entertaining, if you can get past... well, his issues. You may occasionally hear his stalwart defenders waxing with neckbeardy enthusiasm about "Heinleinian women," who are generally strong (for a certain value of "strong"), independent (for a certain value of "independent"), super-competent female characters. They are also always, always, hyper-feminine and super-hot male fantasies. They may be super-competent — even super-human — but they'll always bite their lip and meekly submit to the authority of their lord and master, the male lead. Just about every adult Heinlein novel I've ever read has a scene where the li'l spitfire has had a good run, being all feisty and independent and shit, and then The Man needs to put the little lady in her place.

He stepped to the wall and squeezed down the intercom to zero, then said gently, “Get dressed, dear.”

“I won’t! If we leave now, you’ll have to stuff me into the car bare naked.”

He sighed and picked her up; she stopped crying and looked suddenly happy.

The expression did not last. He turned her in his arms as he sat down on a straight chair, got a firm grip on her, and walloped her right buttock. She yelped. And struggled.

He got her more firmly, placing his right leg over both of hers, and applied his hand smartly to her left cheek. Then he alternated sides, stopping with ten. He set her on her feet and said, “Get dressed, dear. Quickly.”

She stopped rubbing the punished area. “Yes, Jake.”

Neither said another word until he had handed her into the car, climbed in after her, and they had been locked in. Then she said timidly, “Jake? Will you hold me?”

“Certainly, darling.”

“May I take my robe off, please? Will you take it off me?”

With the robe out of the way she sighed and snuggled in. After a bit she whispered, “Jake darling? Why did you spank me?”

It was his turn to sigh. “You were being difficult…and it is the only thing I know of which will do a woman any good when a man can’t do for her what she needs. And right then—I couldn’t.”

The important thing to know about this scene, from I Will Fear No Evil? The female character actually has the brain (literally) of a 90-year-old man.


He enjoys being a girl

The premise of I Will Fear No Evil is that Johann Sebastian Bach Smith, a nonagenarian billionaire, has devised a scheme to escape his doctors, who won't remove him from his intrusive life support and let him die. So he arranges to have his brain transplanted into the next available healthy body, by a surgeon who believes he can actually perform this feat but has been unable to test it on a human. Johann doesn't actually expect to survive the procedure, but he does — in the body of a super-hot young woman. That's only half the twist; the other half is that the young woman was previously his secretary, who was tragically murdered going home one evening. And once Johann takes over her body, he finds that she is still inhabiting it, so the two of them are constantly having a mental dialog while he learns how to get in touch with his feminine side.

This had the potential to be thought-provoking science fiction, problematic as it may have been. Johann himself does raise the possibility several times that he might just be imagining Eunice inside his head with him, but the narrative makes that increasingly hard to swallow, as does an additional twist at the end. So somehow, even though her brain is not just dead but cremated, Eunice is still hanging around giving her old boss tips on how to be a girl. And boy does he go all-in on the "girl" thing.

Is this an interesting, mind-bendy exploration of how a 90-something guy who grew up in the Great Depression might adjust to living as a 20-something woman in the early 21st century? No, it's about how being transplanted into a female body instantly turns you into a super-emotional hormonal nymphomaniac girly-girl.

Okay, as Johann repeatedly tells Eunice, he's been around the block a few times and all the hip sexin' she thinks her generation invented is nothing new to him. And probably an open-minded guy would, umm, explore the possibilities of being in a female body. But there is no hint that Johann was ever anything but a heterosexual before the transplant, so the fact that he shifts immediately into girl-mode, calls herself "Joan," and proceeds to jump on every dick in sight, is, umm, questionable. As is the notion that this guy who has been a rich and powerful corporate patriarch for the last few decades would let another man turn him over his knee and give him a spanking. And have an orgasm as a result.


All of this is with encouragement by Eunice, who was also a free lovin' wench who, as she tells him, "knew what my purpose in life was all the way back in Girl Scouts, when I was still a virgin and before I had tits." She lovingly instructs him in the art of being a woman, which means making sure she's made up and hot at all times (her biggest concern after coming out of a weeks-long coma following her death is that her butt has gotten a little saggy) and always agreeing with men. Eunice, of course, was another Heinleinian woman: very smart, very beautiful, a too-good-to-be-true angel who never met a man she didn't want to fuck.

Eunice was married to an artist named Joe, who's portrayed as one of the other really good and decent people in the book, but he's a great big man-child who only cares about art and sex. He literally lets himself and his girlfriend (who replaced Eunice) go hungry because dealing with tedious practical matters like making a living off his art (or in any other way) is not something his manly artistic mind can comprehend. Not to worry, though: Joan shows up and, while working out a sneaky way to subsidize Joe (who is too proud to accept any charity), tells Gigi, his girlfriend, that she has to always take care of Joe, including washing the dishes and cleaning the toilets, even if it means losing hours of sleep, so he's never distracted from his art by, you know, dirty dishes or a toilet.

Suggest that maybe Joe might take a moment from his painting and screwing to wash a dish himself? Heavens no, that's a Heinleinian woman's job!

Anything with a pulse

There is not. A. Single. Male. Character. In. The. Book. That Joan doesn't strip for, have sex with, or at the very least, kiss and offer to have sex with.

I mean that literally. I'm searching my memory after having just read it, and I can't think of one. The judges and lawyers involved in her competency hearing? (Johann's grasping granddaughters -- who it turns out are none of them actually biologically related to him because every one of his children by his multiple wives was by another man because WIMMIN R WHORES) all get to see Joan strip. Her bodyguards? Even the Magical Negro who's a Christian preacher when he's not driving shotgun in an armed SUV, she kisses and talks to everyone else about wanting to screw if he weren't so darn Christian. The doctor who performed her brain transplant? Turns out he's an asexual sadist so he turns her down, after she throws herself at him. Even the petty bureaucrat who obstructs her emigration to the moon gets a kiss with tongue.

No, seriously. Every. Male. Character.

Of course, she also gets it on with a female nurse (incidentally, no Heinleinian woman is a doctor, scientist, engineer, lawyer, you get the idea), but not in any way that would actually make either of them, you know, lesbians or bi. Because they're still totally hotting themselves up for every man in sight, even when they are together.

Too bad there wasn't any story to go with that sex

All of this skeeviness, I might have forgiven, at least with the, "Yeah, the poor guy was fevered and dying when he wrote this shit" excuse, if he had actually included a plot. But there isn't one. I've pretty much told you the entire plot, above. It's all about Johann becoming Joan and going Maximum Girl for the rest of the book. There's a bit of Heinlein's wanking on social issues, but not in a particularly deep, interesting, or original manner. It's set in the early 21st century and we see news snippets at the beginning of each chapter telling us about the ongoing deterioration of civil rights, the economy, and the environment.

In this falling-apart America of the early 21st century, incidentally, the fashion for women is... body paint. And not much else. That cover picture above is actually a pretty accurate representation of how Eunice/Joan walks around.

Lest this review scare you off Heinlein forever (and who could blame you?) it really is a crap book by an author who laid quite a few craps in his day, but also wrote some good stuff. Late Heinlein becomes increasingly unreadable even after the nadir of I Will Fear No Evil, but his earlier novels (especially his juveniles) are still highly entertaining SF with a lot less of the squicky stuff (though his gender politics were never, ever anything but regressive and reductive).

But don't read this book. It's got, really, nothing to recommend it unless you just like seeing what the first draft of an author who's on death's door might write.

Poll #1879087 I Will Fear No Evil

Have you read I Will Fear No Evil?

Yes, and Cthulhu r'lyeh w'gah nagl fhtagn ....
No, but now I want to because I am that masochistic.
No, and thank you for reading it so I don't have to.

Have you read anything else by Heinlein?


Verdict: I have read many of Robert Heinlein's novels, but I have not read all of them, so I cannot swear that I Will Fear No Evil is the worst book he ever wrote... but if it's not, may the Furies spare me from ever reading worse. When this book isn't gross and offensive, it's absurd and boring, a meandering wankfest with barely any plot and gender roles that make Piers Anthony look feminist. A trainwreck that should probably never have been published, but Heinlein had already reached the "Can publish anything" stage.

Also by Robert Heinlein: My reviews of Have Space Suit, Will Travel and Starman Jones.

My complete list of book reviews.


( 46 comments — Leave a comment )
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Nov. 16th, 2012 05:43 am (UTC)
Great review. Thank you.
Nov. 16th, 2012 06:17 am (UTC)
What's really sad is that there's a whole subset of a generation that pretty much learned everything they know about women... from Heinlein.
Nov. 16th, 2012 06:21 am (UTC)
Heinlein pretty much mirrored a very common male attitude from around the late 1950's through around 1980. Incidentally, a lot of what we think of as "Fifties" culture is actually more like "Early Sixties" culture. Aka "Camelot," in its highest political manifestation. Notable for its assumption that women existed primarily to please men and men owed them no loyalty for this.

The actual "Fifties" assumption was that the men owed the women a lot of loyalty if said women took care of them. That's the assumption which Boomers found "old-fashioned."
(no subject) - inverarity - Nov. 16th, 2012 01:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jordan179 - Nov. 16th, 2012 02:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - inverarity - Nov. 16th, 2012 10:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jordan179 - Nov. 17th, 2012 02:35 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - haikujaguar - Nov. 16th, 2012 12:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jordan179 - Nov. 16th, 2012 02:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - haikujaguar - Nov. 16th, 2012 02:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - virginia_fell - Nov. 16th, 2012 08:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 16th, 2012 06:18 am (UTC)
Also, the sex scenes aren't even remotely erotic, and Heinlein gets female sexual psychology dead backward: men tend to be more promiscious than women.
Nov. 16th, 2012 10:07 pm (UTC)
Only because the stigma and other consequences fall entirely on women. Ironically, that's the one area where Heinlein was somewhat forward-thinking. But he was writing it very much as a male fantasy: "Wouldn't it be cool if these drop-dead gorgeous women wanted to have sex with everyone, even your wrinkly old ass?"

Note that he doesn't write much about wrinkly, saggy old broads having sex with hot young studs.
(no subject) - jordan179 - Nov. 17th, 2012 02:30 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - inverarity - Nov. 17th, 2012 02:43 am (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 16th, 2012 07:46 am (UTC)
Worst? Maybe not ...
I was somewhere between 12 and 14 (ish) when I discovered (some of) Heinlein's novels, along with the (still very good) story collection, The Past Through Tomorrow, which packaged most of his short Future History stuff).

What you've said about Time Enough for Love pretty much parses with what I remember of it. That said, around the same time I also read Farnham's Freehold. The latter is probably a better novel qua novel than Love (or Friday for that matter), but a story set in a future in which Black Folks have taken over America and gone about killing and (someone correct me if I'm wrong; it has been more than 30 years) even eating the White Folks is a wholse 'nother kind of problematic.
Nov. 16th, 2012 02:12 pm (UTC)
Re: Worst? Maybe not ...
The point of FF was that blacks in charge would be at least as bad as whites in charge: it was racism that was the problem.
Re: Worst? Maybe not ... - ed_rex - Nov. 16th, 2012 05:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Worst? Maybe not ... - veliander - Nov. 17th, 2012 11:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Worst? Maybe not ... - ed_rex - Nov. 17th, 2012 11:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 16th, 2012 07:53 am (UTC)
oh my :0

this review was awesomely entertaining, though xD
Nov. 16th, 2012 04:29 pm (UTC)
I read it twice
once becasue Heinlein books! Shiny!
and the second time many years later, bec. I was in the mood for porn.
Also the green grass-skirt with matching undies, isn't that from this book? If you stand perfectly still, the grass skirt will cover you from hip to ankle. as soon as you move, ever last bit of skin is revealed. But: having the skirt makes it a formal outfit!

That skirt such a symbol of the classic 'her miniskirt made me r@pe her' outfit, I couldn't believe a guy wrote that.
She's dressed formally! she must want me to do her!

He must not have realized what he was doing.
Nov. 17th, 2012 01:16 am (UTC)
I came to Heinlein pretty late in the game, reading Stranger in a Strange Land while I was downrange, and after having read one of his seminal works, I have absolutely no desire to read another one. WTH was that fuckery? I mean, it's one thing to read a book with some very problematic worldviews, and steeped in mores of a far different era. But the story was... I didn't care. I couldn't find it in myself to care about a single of one of the characters.

Hell, even the Mission Earth dekalogy by Hubbard, rife as it with problematic views. (Many of which it ook a while for me to figure out. It was after reading into Scientology and the anti-pscyhology/homosexuality/equality bullshit, that I realized that Soltan Gris's fascination with psychology was supposed to show how dumb it was, or the "harem girl" who associated with little boys was actually a homosexual straw character because all homosesxual men like little children, right?) at least told an interesting story.

Great review, and very helpful in my not feeling bad about not reading more Heinlein.
Nov. 20th, 2014 08:55 pm (UTC)
Oh God, someone else read Mission Earth? *&$#, man.

I got through like, 8 of the books, complaining most of the while that I felt dirty and gross reading them, and didn't like them - and then it hit me like a thunderbolt - I had the power to STOP READING THEM!

Best decision I have ever made.

(no subject) - alexvdl - Nov. 20th, 2014 09:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 17th, 2012 11:14 am (UTC)
I haven't read it and the quotes in this review make me very happy about that. But I still couldn't resisit picking the second choice in the poll!
Nov. 17th, 2012 09:11 pm (UTC)
I thought about saying I hadn't liked it so that I would not have to explain myself (because there is a little bit of peer pressure here to throw your hands up in horror and say "how misogynistic!"). But then I decided I needed to be honest.

So, to put this in context, I read this when I was in high school, which is when I read almost all of the Heinlein I would ever read. What I liked about this book was the idea that this old man was trying to trick the system into letting him die, because he just hurts all the time, and it backfired. He winds up in the body of his secretary. Now, as a woman, I thought it was pretty cool that this guy got to experience life as a woman.

The idea that here was a world where there was no double standard was interesting, that a woman could admit to liking sex was somewhat revolutionary, because you really couldn't do in high school in the 1980's because that would mean a) you had had sex and b) you were a slut, because nice girls didn't like sex.

I haven't re-read it since. But there are other Heinlein novels where I did say WTF? Like the later Lazarus Long book(s), "To Sail Beyond the Sunset", "The Cat who Walked Through Walls", "The Number of the Beast", one or more of which included things like Lazarus traveling back through time and having sex with his mother (while his six year old self disapproved of this it didn't stop him) and also having sex with his nieces, who were clones of himself, not really nieces. This was pretty creepy, to say the least. I don't remember details of what was in which book, but I think that is okay.

I did, however, remember liking "Job, a Comedy of Justice" which did not include any weird incest fantasy.

Edited at 2012-11-17 09:14 pm (UTC)
Nov. 17th, 2012 09:19 pm (UTC)
Oh, I admit I put my biases right out there, but I probably would have liked it if I'd read it in high school, too, though I like to think I'd have seen at least some of its problems.

The problem with Heinlein trying to create a world with "no double standard" is that while that may have been his intention, it's still very much a world in which women behave precisely in accordance with male fantasies, and never the reverse (unless you actually believe that what all women really want is to be spanked and cuddled by men old enough to be their grandfathers).
(no subject) - indigo_mouse - Nov. 18th, 2012 05:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - indigo_mouse - Nov. 23rd, 2012 10:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
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Nov. 17th, 2012 11:15 pm (UTC)
Wonderful review! The summary: What does a girl want? According to Heinlein: spanking, gangbangs, and washing dishes and the youtube video had me in stitches.

The notion that this guy who has been a rich and powerful corporate patriarch for the last few decades would let another man turn him over his knee and give him a spanking. And have an orgasm as a result.

Are you aware of the concept of male gaze? John Berger wrote in his book Ways of Seeing: Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at. This determines not only most relations between men and women but also the relation of women to themselves. The surveyor of woman in herself is male: the surveyed female.

If you think of Smith's enthusiasm for being an attractive, sexually active woman despite a lifetime of heterosexuality as an expression of the male gaze then the plot does make sense to me.

You may occasionally hear his stalwart defenders waxing with neckbeardy enthusiasm about "Heinleinian women," who are generally strong (for a certain value of "strong"), independent (for a certain value of "independent"), super-competent female characters. They are also always, always, hyper-feminine and super-hot male fantasies.

The first and last Heinlein book I read was "Time Enough for Love." And I did read that in HS which is when I did most of my old skool scifi reading. Suffice to say, I was not a fan. On one hand Heinlein does have actual female characters which a lot of old skool scifi authors don't bother with. You allude to this with the phrase "Heinleinian Women." Can't really say that there's a commensurate archetype for "Asimovian Women" or "Zelaznian Women."

But the fact that practically all of his female characters serve as a source of sex or nurturing for his male characters is such rage-inducing component of his novels. I don't think I can read his classics without bursting a blood vessel. Yeah, his women are free love proponents and not virginal but its the kind of rancid free love that's about making sex available on tap to the male. Not an uncommon view that blights a lot of hippie writers. Remember reading Steppenwolf at the same time as Heinlein and eye-rolling at that scene where the protagonist Harry and his friend Pablo trade nights with Marie without even consulting her because Harry needs some sexy nurturing to ameliorate his existential crisis.
Nov. 17th, 2012 11:22 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I'm familiar with Male Gaze theory. I think Heinlein was indeed pursuing a common assumption by a certain sort of male, namely: "If I were a hot chick, of course I'd have tons of sex with everybody!"

You are right, though, that a large part of Heinlein's appeal was that for all his faults, he was better than many of his peers. At least Heinlein's women got to do things.
Nov. 18th, 2012 01:53 am (UTC)
Why did I like the book? I don't remember, that was so long ago. However, I can try to imagine. It could have been the "forbidden fruit" factor: Heinlein was one of the very few American authors banned on the far side of the Iron Curtain, as was anything which sounded even remotely erotic, so being caught in possession of erotica from him secured one's place in both the political and the criminal wing of any prison.

It could have been the speculations about the future that the author did get right, like the disintegration of the Communist system:

"A Rolls only by courtesy, my dear—body by Skoda, power plant by Imperial Atomics..." (Skoda would only collaborate with Rolls-Royce over Soviet Union's dead body, which is exactly what happened).

Or perhaps the gasoline-free future that is emerging even now:

"You should have seen a Rolls fifty years ago, before gasoline engines were outlawed"

Admittedly, many of his other predictions were wrong, like the body paint part: that never happened. I've never seen anyone use body paint in exactly the way Heinlein described it, and Internet searches for the term come back with no hits. Oh, well, that's why they call them "writers" and not "prophets" (Yes, I am aware of L. Ron Hubbard. He was neither.)

As I said, I can't explain why I liked the book, but then again I can rarely explain why I like something. On the other hand, I'm getting a clear idea about why so many of my fellow readers hate it: as another reviewer aptly put it, "it does not age well". Objectification of women may have been the norm in Heinlein's days, but today there are severe social, and often, monetary penalties for those who practice it. At least among the book-reading public there are. At least I would like to think so. So, that's where he got it wrong. He failed to foresee the inevitability of the structural changes in our society. He knew that this society's greatest weapon against the Soviets was freedom, yet somehow managed to miss the obvious fact that this weapon is at only 50% power, for half the people were not really free.

But going back in time and slamming a long-dead author for failing to make an accurate prediction is not exactly nice, either. "I Will Fear No Evil" may not be Heinlein's greatest book. I'm even willing to concede that it's one of his weakest. Nevertheless, it represents at worst a failure to write well, and in no way a failure of the author's moral character. For if that is the case, I have a much more worthy candidate for your virtual auto-da-fé: a glorifier of underage sex and mutual statutory rape having taken place a long time ago in a town called Verona.

Edited at 2012-11-18 01:59 am (UTC)
Nov. 18th, 2012 03:27 am (UTC)
Fair enough - those who like it seem to have liked it at the time they read it, long ago, when it might have seemed more daring and transgressive. It's certainly not a book that holds up well today.

Heinlein wrote better books which were closer to the mark in predicting future trends, but my criticism isn't based on the inaccuracy of his predictions.

Meh. The creepy old man is dead - my vitriol can't hurt him.

Re: As asked, FOR THE LOVE OF CTHULHU - indigo_mouse - Nov. 18th, 2012 05:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: As asked, FOR THE LOVE OF CTHULHU - veliander - Nov. 18th, 2012 06:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: As asked, FOR THE LOVE OF CTHULHU - indigo_mouse - Nov. 20th, 2012 02:26 am (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 4th, 2013 09:24 am (UTC)
Since no one else has apparently mentioned this yet:

This book seems not merely misogynistic, but practically archetypal of SFnal transmisogyny -- a nominally SF premise (no matter how absurd) to set up "man becomes woman, and transforms to straight cis male porn fantasy."
Mar. 2nd, 2015 04:51 am (UTC)
I will say there are a couple Heinlein women who pretty much run their respective shows. Not a great ratio, I know.

Hilda, from Number of the Beast (as well as her later appearances in the Lazarus Long books) takes no real guff from male or female once she gets the lay of the land. She even mostly successfully bosses Lazarus..."keeping him in check."

Gwen/Hazel in The Rolling Stones was the other. Granted, she's the matriarch in that one, so a certain amount of obedience might be expected from children and grandchildren. She does have a role in The Cat Who Walks Through Walls (a misnomer if ever there was one) and while she does play at being submissive, she's the one who knows what's going on for the most part and seems to successfully "boss" Richard around.

One of Lazarus' tales in Time Enough for Love involved a dominant female and you do get occasional flickers of pity that her mate was being bossed about by her. He's a much more passive type, at any rate.
Bill League
Jan. 17th, 2017 06:57 am (UTC)
This reviewer must be a Millennial... reasoning? Only one of that generation is so disconnected from History or it's flow and changes would get so hung up on the sex thing.. Also our intrepid reviewer spouting the old slur against RAH being a male chauvinist pig just shows the lack of reading that this literary critic has done. Again the Critic shows his Millennial limitations on understanding those who have come before by painting RAH with the misogynist label. That is so far from the truth I will use only 2 examples to blow it away.. The Rolling Stones- Not only is the Grandmother An Engineer she also takes over writing a serial her son (the Man of the spaceship) was tired of. Oh yes and the Son's Wife is a Doctor. That book for the record was published in 1952! For a writer to have a Woman Doctor in that year is impressive to have a Woman as a Chief Engineer was at that time sacrilege. So get your pork elsewhere RAH was a firm believer in Women's rights but with an honest view that tips it's hat to evolution in that most men are stronger than most women and etc etc for other areas where it's not a matter of training or whatnot just biological facts.. RAH was as quick to point out women's advantages in endurance and other areas. A more enlightened view than the militant Feminists who will admit no area of male superiority.

I will admit is that this book is not one of my Favorite Heinlein books. That being said the simplistic comparison of this book to Stranger in a Strange Land shows that the Reviewer couldn't grasp the concept of either book.
Simply put in this book Heinlein carried the direction of our culture in the 1960's forward but forward as if the entire aids situation never happened.. hey it's his alternate future he's allowed to keep or delete what he wants. He does keep the decline of the American educational system extended to the point where a High School graduate can still be illiterate (seen a Fast Food Cash register lately?) In view of our Millennial's short years and minute experience I'll put this gently Son until you've experienced a crippling injury or condition don't go talking about something you've no way of knowing and not enough empathy to feel. I will Fear no Evil can be looked at in one or two ways... One you accept the Central Character's position of sharing body and brain with first one and then a second person our character is in love with. From that perspective you will either accept a person given options at end of life. The second way to read the book is almost as a cautionary tale of a rich old man's wish and the horror of the sacrifice his beloved secretary made to grant that wish.. his subsequent decent into a congenial madness, joined by his best friend and his secretary's lover who also cannot accept the death of a vital young woman and their brief marriage with a further collapse of the main character's psyche following the death of "her" Husband..
As for all the sex which following RAH's morals is almost painfully pg.. from almost any angle it's a fantasy from the male perspective that began the first time a woman admitted to a man that not only could they out perfom him but were multi-orgasmic to boot! I put it to you that if either brain transplant's could be done with the 100% recovery the main Character seems to have or if a man could make a true transformation to a woman's body that the amount of sex those changing would indulge in would make what was shown here pale by comparison..
Jan. 17th, 2017 01:45 pm (UTC)
Wrong on all counts
Sorry, son, get your pork elsewhere. You're wrong in every respect.

I'm not a Millennial.

I'm a big Heinlein fan.

I never called him a "male chauvinist pig."

I'd be willing to wager I am more well-read than you, both within and outside the SF genre. (See my reviews list for a sample.)

You can read my reviews of Heinlein's other books. Some of them were fantastic, and ahead of their time. But Heinlein also cranked out some crappy, ill-thought works, and this was one of them.

Your criticism is little more than kneejerk butthurt spewing. You didn't engage me on facts or point out a single thing that was wrong in my review, you just didn't like that I criticized the Master for a book he wrote while he was literally on the verge of dying of brain fever.

I don't have a problem with you disagreeing with my review, but instead of a thoughtful disagreement (I love arguing about Heinlein), you just waddled in with sneering about how "Any reviewer who criticizes Heinlein must be a Millennial who doesn't understand evolutionary psychology hurr hurr." Go elsewhere if you are looking for SJWs to fight.
Randolph Miller
Feb. 28th, 2023 07:30 pm (UTC)
I will fear no evil
It's really great that this reviewer can tell me what all the readers of the book think! Typical critic, always wrong. Like most whores must get paid for it. But not an honest whore. I read this book when it was published and reread it a few times since. Interesting concepts, a glimpse into the mind of someone born in the golden age of America. Im sure its now racist etc. All the liberal rant about fags, freaks and the rest being the current norm. Take a chance, thats what science fiction is for.
Feb. 28th, 2023 11:55 pm (UTC)
Re: I will fear no evil
Man, I wish I got paid for writing these reviews.

Take a chance, thats what science fiction is for.

I have probably been reading science fiction longer than you. Though maybe you're old like me.

It's deeply amusing to me that in all my years of writing reviews, it's this one - about a book that even Heinlein's fans generally admit was one of his worst, which he literally wrote while dying of a fever - gets the most butthurt responses.

Edited at 2023-02-28 11:57 pm (UTC)
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