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Yes, Mr. Heinlein, we understand that true happiness can be attained only when everyone has sex with everyone else. We understand that jealousy is a "masochistic vice." Now, how about a plot, please?
Evil starts off with a good premise. Johann Sebastian Bach Smith, a lecherous, wealthy old man, is dying of old age. He puts the word out that he'd like to buy a nice young body in which to stick his brain; his beautiful secretary gets herself killed, and Smith moves in.
From here, one may expect interesting discussions of sexuality and gender identity, but Heinlein never taps these potentials. As far as sexuality, he never goes beyond the penetrating sentiment, "It is good to touch -- to f... -- to be f...ed." And he takes five hundred pages to get there.
Most of the book is devoted to the characters talking about what a wonderful woman dear departed Eunice was, how tragic her death was, and how Smith should honor her memory by using her body to pleasure everyone he/she can. The book is wall-to-wall dialogue, much like in Stranger; unlike that landmark work, though, the characters have nothing to say. Sometimes they say it well. Sometimes they say it too glibly.
The book takes place in a vague future where criminal elements have threatened to overwhelm civilization; the rich live in well defended compounds, and the government has abandoned entire swaths of cities to the mob. It's never clear what goes on in these "Abandoned Areas", but we know that the denizens have anti-air missiles. It's all a bit reminiscent of South Africa.
Here is where Heinlein vents some of his less savory politics. The government has allowed the "fringe" elements of society to break down, and, perhaps, he implies, it's better that way. As in Starship Troopers, he suggests that the fringes of society cannot be redeemed or reformed and should be left to go to hell; let the stronger, the smarter, the richer carve out a safe niche for themselves from which they can safely watch the disintegration of civilization. Heinlein's reverence for the individual crosses into noxious territory. Petty bullying is passed off as a triumph of willpower; characters are portrayed as modern Daniel Boones, braving new frontiers, when really they are selfish little monsters of ego. Heinlein's politics overwhelm his empathy. The book suffers for it.
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