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R A E Mayhew (London)

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Misspent Youth
Misspent Youth
by Peter F. Hamilton
Edition: Hardcover

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hamilton's Tease, 6 Mar. 2003
This review is from: Misspent Youth (Hardcover)
In Misspent Youth Peter Hamilton tackles a potentially fascinating subject, and a likely possibility in the future, when introducing the rejuvenated Jeff Baker. Baker, a philanthropist who developed the 'datasphere' was chosen by an evolved EU as the first lucky recipient of this highly expensive rejuvenation technology.
After a period of time in treatment he emerges, a lean, handsome youth, with the wisdom of an 80 year old, plenty of money, the sex drive of an 18 year old and the inhibitions of a randy mongrel. The driving force behind the rejuvenation, for the EU, seems to be a desire to better the USA, rather than to provide a technological benefit to better the individual citizens of the EU. The futuristic, undemocratic and totalitarian EU comes in for much critisism.
The book does not challenge the moral aspects of the technology, however. European reasoning behind the rejuvenation is that as more people undergo the treatment, so the cost of treatment will decrease. How the EU plans to accommodate these people, for example, is not touched.
The political situation, in a book set within the lifetimes of most of us, (forty years hence) could have made this book. Instead the book seems to descend into a teenage mini soap, where their sex lives become the chief focus of the story, as does Jeff Baker seeming to become an eighteen year old alongside his 'genuine' eighteen year old son. There is plenty of casual sex, plenty of high jinx, and a little background information on a potentially explosive situation among a deeply unhappy citizenry across the country.
Alas, the initial promise of the book is not fulfilled, it simply teases the reader as the story unfolds. Hamilton has at least moved away from the deus ex machina at the ending of the story, which so marred the Nights Dawn Trilogy and Fallen Dragon. But the story weakens as it progresses, and the end disappointed. It is hard to believe that the writer that wrote this also wrote the Night's Dawn Trilogy.
Unlike the Night's Dawn Trilogy, the technology is rarely explained, the plot seems more about teenage sex than rejuvenation, and Mr Hamilton would do well to concentrate on his strengths, such as the brilliant Night's Dawn Trilogy, rather than Misspent Youth, which in reality seems to be a small diversion of a book.


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