RAH – I Will Fear No Evil

In the continuing quest to bring to our readers some of Heinlein’s works, I have decided to focus today on one of his most misunderstood ones (second only to Starship Troopers).  In this novel, one written during the latter half of his prolific career, the reader is faced with a series of moral, ethical, and medical dilemmas.  In doing this RAH forces the reader to either make certain assumptions or fight against the author the entire time. The premise itself is a simplistic question, where does “self” reside; is it in the mind, the root of intelligence or in the body, the root of all being at the cellular level?

The paradox is discussed within the mind of the protagonist, whose brain has been transplanted into the body of the “other” main character. The duologue between them gives you, the reader, the option to form one of 2 conclusions. One, two separate selves can coexist within one body; or two, there is only one persona alive and it is insane, trying to cope with a situation far beyond its ability. Unlike earlier incarnations of this theme, where the murderous hand of a killer is transplanted on the arms of an unwilling innocent in need of a transplant, this is handled with both a wry humor and skilled storytelling, making the most absurd situations seem more than normal, all within the framework of a dystopian future and a society gone well off kilter.

This is Dome sayin’: Read it, you might actually enjoy the experience.

One Response to “RAH – I Will Fear No Evil”

  1. I’m torn on this one. It’s an amazingly well-written book, with some of the most memorable and well-rounded characters I’ve read in a long time. I can honestly say that I never knew what was going to happen next! My problem is that I just couldn’t believe it. I had no problem with the internal dialogue or the setting itself. What got me was that everyone just accepted the fact that if you put a hetero male brain in a female body, that personality will be all female. I mean, really? Not even a little resistance? Not even a “this is really, really weird and I’m feeling uncomfortable with these strange new feelings”?

    Okay, I could even accept our protagonist’s gusto in switching teams — but then there’s all the people who knew the woman who the female body belonged to, being perfectly okay with this change. Several of them end up having a physical relationship with this new person AND EVERYONE’S OKAY WITH THIS!!! If a spouse or ex-lover of yours died, and their body was then used as a vessel for a brand-new personality of the opposite sex, would you really be so accepting of the new situation? Wouldn’t you have any reservations about sleeping with this new amalgamation?

    Having said that, I still heartily recommend this book. It’s even more controversial than Stranger In A Strange Land and a great novel to debate with friends over a bottle or two.

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