This is one of Heinlein strangest. Written when he was at the end of his life and edited by his wife, it makes me wonder what it would have been like had he lived long enough to make his own changes... Published in 1973, it amazes me that it wasn't banned.
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...
A 500 Page Cerebral Exercise!, December 8, 2000
Reviewer: Kevin Spoering (Buffalo, Missouri United States)
A Mr. Smith is very old and not far from death, however, this Mr. Smith is extremely rich, so he pays to have his brain transferred to a young body whose previous owner died of massive brain damage. So starts this novel, with several surprises in store for the reader, which I will not mention here so as not to spoil them. There is much banter back and forth between a couple of the main characters which I found enjoyable and well done. A lot of this book, in fact most of it, explores man/women relationships, some may not like this and want a shoot-em up space opera, which this is not. This book is the near equivalent of a university course, say, Human Relations 101, expertly written. Heinlein was always great at looking at the human nature side of things. Another of my favorite authors, William Barton, also writes in a similar style and if you like these types of science fiction novels I do recommend him.
What happens when a rich old man finds his brain tranplanted in his secretary's body? Read on......
This book is better than Stranger In A Strange Land. Heinlein knows how to keep the action rolling and his characters are truly coming to life in this novel.
For me the unexpected is right up there with the Holy grail. I know Heinlein was deathly ill during the writing of this book, and it doesn't have the flash and polish of some of his others. Yet it stands alone among literary classics.