By the first decade of the twenty-first century, billionaire Johann Smith, nearly a century old, has become so sickly that he is a prisoner of the life-support technology and constant medical attention that sustain him. He tells his trusted friend and lawyer Jake Salomon, and well as his devoted young secretary Eunice Branca, that he wants to escape existence by a risky, untried method: transplanting his brain into another body.
Jake and Eunice use Johanns wealth to obtain the services of a gifted maverick surgeon and organize a pool of young people willing to donate their bodies after death. Because Johann has a rare blood type, the number of acceptable donors is small. By an extraordinary coincidence, Johann’s brain is transplanted into the body of Eunice after she is killed in a mugging. The shocked and grieving Johann, who loved Eunice, is surprised and pleased to discover that Eunice somehow lives on inside her body and that he is able to communicate with her. Johann initially wonders if she is only a figment of his imagination and tries to determine how she could have survived, but eventually he simply accepts her. Eunice seems equally pleased to have survived and is content to live passively, sharing experiences and offering affectionate advice and support. Fearing questions about Johann’s sanity, they agree to keep Eunice’s existence secret.
With surprising ease, Johann adjusts to life as a woman. He approaches the experience as appealing new territory to explore. At Eunices urging, he learns to act “like a lady.” Johann eventually adopts the name Joan...
(The entire section is 651 words.)