The more I read by Helein, the more I wonder what the fuck was wrong with the guy. The only time he stays interesting is when he sticks to science and adds some action. For some reason, dude had this thing throughout his career of letting his works turn into shit by any mentionings of love or, more typically, sex. If you read my review of The Puppet Masters, I had the same issue with it, but for I Will Fear No Evil he reached a new level of hatred. The majority of The Puppet Masters was good, but it was seriously hampered by a ridiculous subplot concerning the love of the two main agents in the story. Then, yet again, I found this same issue coming to the surface and annoying the piss out of me in one of his most famous works, Stranger in a Strange Land, which I can unequivocally state is not as awesome as the Iron Maiden song. Heinlein in all of these examples seems to do one thing, come up with an awesome idea and then spends so much time to writing about bullshit to apparently take up pages to increase book cost that it leads to bizarre sidetracks into sexuality that make you wonder if he had some sort of fucking problem. Out of his novels I have so far read, only The Moon is a Harsh Mistress comes with recommendations, this one, fuck, just don't even bother.
I Will Fear No Evil was apparently written while he was suffering through some sort of organ inflammation and his wife edited it, so maybe that has something to do with it, I don't know. The plot is simple. It's the future, the world is overpopulated (trust me, they do barely anything with this ripe concept), and this old rich guy is dying. His dying wish is kind of an attempt to commit legal suicide because he doesn't think it will work; he wants to have his brain transplanted into a healthy, young body and he gets the help of a doctor who did it with two monkeys but who was demonized afterwards. He's a crazy old guy and quite a horny coot, which is fine, and the way he talks and has an honest way of speaking makes for a believable character, at first. His secretary and her husband are one of the couples to sign the contract, and of course, she ends up dying soon after and his brain is put into her body.
Now, first off, the particular edition I have fucking blew that shit by talking about it on the back cover. You don't find out it was his secretary, Eunice, until at least a hundred or so pages in when he finally is able to see himself in the mirror. Before that, they play around with it, but if you weren't told, you wouldn't know, so I was a little pissed at that publishing slip. Anyway, you kind of figure it's going to happen and man, what an awesome idea for a sci-fi plot. Not new, really, but just plain awesome. Heinlein, however, fucks it up after Johann realizes who he is.
See, sure, we're all sure if you were a guy placed into a woman's body, you'd probably want to see what it does, no question. Problem is Heinlein spends the whole rest of the goddamn thing with Johann (now Joan Eunice) having sex with everyone under the sun, buying clothes, and really doing nothing of fucking interest. It basically reads like sci-fi for the first hundred pages, and then descends into a shitty romance novel with a Fabio look-a-like on the cover for the other 3/4 of it, which amounts to around 500 motherfucking pages. After the brain is transplanted and Johann is up and walking, the novel descends into one of the worst farces of sci-fi I've ever read. Cheesiness is fine, this just plain sucks. It's like listening to your wife or girlfriend blab about what they did throughout the day, but stretch that over the week or so it will take to finish it. Absolutely nothing interesting happens through the rest of the entire book, take that at face value because I mean it. It's a total travesty to even call this sci-fi, because other than brief mentionings of technology and the year, as well as a small stint about moon travel at the end that goes nowhere, there's almost nothing in here that has anything to do with the genre. It reads like an issue of Redbook you read on the shitter because there's nothing else around or like a Lifetime movie you for some reason won't shut off. Horrible.
The characters are unbelievable, the dialog ridiculous, and the end total blue balls. You'd expect a weird twist, but here it is. Eunice is somehow still functioning in the body and talks to Johann in his mind. That's kind of cool, but when his lawyer dies at the end, who he married and who was having sex with Eunice before she died, he somehow is also put into the mix and they're all talking together. How in the fuck did that happen? And when Johann decides to impregnate his new body with his own sperm that he had frozen away, Heinlein does next to nothing with the concept! Add to it this quasi-religious Indian thing very similar to the bullshit going on in Stranger in a Strange Land and you get one goddamned awful book. This is probably the worst sci-fi novel I've ever read, and I don't think it can be topped. I'm actually dreading reading anything else by this guy it was so fucking bad. AVOID AT ALL COSTS.