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Misspent Youth (Commonwealth Universe prequel)

3.38  ·  Rating Details ·  3,638 Ratings  ·  159 Reviews
Readers have learned to expect the unexpected from Peter F. Hamilton. Now the master of space opera focuses on near-future Earth and one most unusual family. The result is a coming-of-age tale like no other. By turns comic, erotic, and tragic, Misspent Youth is a profound and timely exploration of all that divides and unites fathers and sons, men and women, the young and t ...more
Kindle Edition, 418 pages
Published (first published January 1st 2002)
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Donald It appears to be a prequel to the Commonwealth Universe set just as the cloning technology is being researched, so quite far before the other stuff.
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Jun 21, 2011 Roger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was almost scared away by the 2 star review this book seems to carry with it, but I'm glad I picked it up anyway.

Misspent Youth was a departure(albeit a pleasant one)from the space operas I expect from Hamilton. A core group of three or four characters all interacting to form a fairly dysfunctional family experience character development and individual changes that his stories don't usually get the opportunity to delve too deeply into considering how much is always going on with as many chara
Oct 15, 2011 Sam rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I really did not get the point of this book, it started off well creating a futuristic society that has undergone dramatic changes as a result of necessity and intriguing new technologies. But then it rapidly descends into a torrid family drama where Jeff has been rejuvenated and returns to his old life to find his body over-riding his mind as he makes one insanely bad decision after another. The glimpses of the political and scientific worlds is really intriguing but sadly these take a distant ...more
Jul 30, 2011 Luke rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Set in 2040, Misspent Youth portrays a fairly bleak future. It centers on Jeff Baker, inventor of the ultimate data storage system and thus chosen as the worlds first recipitent of Rejuvination.

Jeff returns to his wife and teenage son as a 25 year old man. Understandably this causes breakdowns in his marriage and relationship with his son Tim, particularly after Jeff takes an interest in his son's attractive girlfriend Annabel.

Jeff and Annabel begin a torrid affair, then later after being caugh
Jun 15, 2009 Forrest rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-read
This book is one I borrowed from my local library, but is one that I will be adding to my personal collection very soon.

That said, this book is fantastic, which to be candid is what I have come to expect from Mr. Hamilton. I have read and enjoyed most of the other works he is known for such as the Commonwealth Saga and the Night's Dawn trilogy. His work tends to be like George RR Martin's work in that it is long (without being long-winded) and full of rich detail, big doings, and many, many char
Apr 24, 2016 Chip rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very disappointing book - no plot whatsoever. The story was very shallow - man gets rejuvenated and becomes a sex crazed 20 year old. Some cool technology and interesting social processes. Writing was pretty good (but I expected much more since it's Hamilton) yet no depth. Lots of glimpses of cool story threads but never executes on them.
Steve Haywood
Jan 08, 2012 Steve Haywood rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, science
Jeff Baker, founder of the datasphere, is the first person to be chosen for a new and highly expensive rejuvenation treatment, which completely reverses the aging process in almost every way. 78 years old, and after the treatment he looks, feels and effectively is, 20 again. He just has more memories. Misspent Youth follows the effect his has on him, his wife and son, and society at large.[return][return]This book is a great concept, has a lot of potential, and in the hands of Peter F. Hamilton, ...more
Jun 29, 2016 Donald rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
This is billed as a Commonwealth novel, but it really isn't. It's set 'now' or as near to now as makes no difference. Near future history that is already obsolete with Brexit. One Europe keen to show the world it leads the way in scientific advancement, and so picks a famous scientist to undergo DNA resequencing, turning back the clock on ageing.
So far, so good, early Commonwealth tech in it's infancy.
Yet not really, there's less about the tech, and more about the newly rejuvenated shagging anyt
Feb 17, 2015 Claudia rated it liked it
I started reading this one first to catch a glimpse of the Commonwealth Universe, as it takes place 300 years before the events in Pandora's Star. Well, not the best choice. It does explain indeed, the first attempt in rejuvenation experiment, but that's the only thing that relates the story to the main Commonwealth Universe novels.

The story is a presentation of the social and political environment of an United Europe around year 2040 and the relationship between the man which was the subject o
Dec 07, 2009 Robert rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 17, 2014 Amanda rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The book jacket description led  me to believe this would be my kind of science fiction -  the kind that uses the sci-fi element to explore human psychology and sociology, rather than just being an adventure story set in space or the future (though those can be enjoyable too). And it could have done that, if it hadn't gotten sidetracked by male hormones. Apparently the author feels that the only thing a man suddenly made young again will want to do is have sex with as many women and girls as pos ...more
Nov 29, 2014 Armando rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
John Brown
I like Peter F. Hamilton's work as a whole, but this felt a little self indulgent. The writing, as ever, is excellent and the use of key locations - albeit with a mild future twist - is always a pleasant experience but this was really just a family drama played against the background of mild SciFi, the rejuvenation of Jeff Baker.

80+ year old Jeff goes through a physical rejuvenation giving him the physical appearance of a 20 year old, relationships are made, broken, mended and re-forged between
Paul Baker
Set in the very near future, this novel speaks to the shallow nature of our advancement. Much like the populations in Jack McDevitt's novels, Peter F. Hamilton gives us a future of "intelligent idiots," people who are brilliant technologically, but definitely not advanced in any sense emotionally or socially. However, McDevitt usually manages to elevate one or two of his brain-dead geniuses into some kind of psychological advance, whereas Hamilton's heroes are pretty much obsessed with sex, mone ...more
Jan 12, 2011 Mieneke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction, 2011
As I've often stated I'm not that well-read on the SF side of speculative fiction. Not having a hard science bone in my body, made me think I wouldn't understand the science in Science Fiction, so I stayed safely on the Fantasy side of things. After discovering last year that actually I rather liked military SF and that not all SF equals scientific equations, I decided I was going to broaden my scope. Misspent Youth, the first book set in Hamilton's Commonwealth Universe, is another step on that ...more
The dialogue is fresh, but the style of writing harkens back to the 50s and 60s style of SF. The plot is pretty much nonexistent, but we do get glimpses of the future that is to be, and I think that may have been more what Hamilton was shooting for. Worth a read, but not likely that most will go back for a second reading.
Jada Roche I'm far from a prude but the sex scenes were overwrought and pointless, smacking of "nerd fantasies from Grade 10". There's a good book in it somewhere...too bad I didn't get to read it.
Mar 21, 2017 Stacy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Too long between books that I forget the timeline. But I love Hamilton's writing and imagination. His characters are well developed too
Oct 06, 2012 Christopher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tahieuba Chaudhry
Jeff Baker is granted the gift of eternal youth. However, it's not all it seems...
Set around 2040, Seventy-eight-year-old Jeff Baker has revolutionized the world by inventing the ultimate method of information storage and allowing free use of it with no profits going into his own pocket. Because of this generous act, he is chosen by the European Union to be the first recipient for rejuvenation technology, which will leave him with the body of a young man. As part of the deal, he will support the
Roddy Williams
‘It is forty years into the future and, following decades of research and trillions of euros spent on genetics, Europe is finally in a position to rejuvenate a human being. the first subject chosen for treatment is Jeff Baker, the creator of the Datasphere [which replaced the internet] and philanthropist extraordinaire. After eighteen months in a German medical facility, the seventy-eight-year-old patient returns home looking like a healthy twenty-year-old.

Misspent Youth follows the effect his r
Nicholas Whyte[return][return]This book is about a rich old man who gets rejuvenation treatment in a future Britain subordinated to a federal Europe. Hamilton has a pretty good reputation, but I think that must be based on other works than this. It is an odd mixture of bits which work very well and bits which don't, sometimes both at the same time.[return][return]To start with the less political: this is one of the best treatments I have read of rejuvenation. This is ...more
Andrew Couzens
It is interesting reading this book, in which European separatist movements play a major role, in the aftermath of Brexit. In some ways it seems prescient, though in most it seems overly simplistic. The interesting ideas present in this book (of which there are quite a few due to the fact it is set in the very near future and offers a vision of the natural result of a number of contemporary concerns) are undermined by the simplistic prose, awful characterisations, and narrative leaps of logic. N ...more
Roger Neyman
May 26, 2015 Roger Neyman rated it did not like it
Recommended to Roger by: George Reiswig
Shelves: science-fiction
So - some good bits, and one good quote, but...

Good quote: Babies are God's way of persuading parents to have teenagers.

After all was said and done, this book was too much about popular-culture-bound men's awkward take on sex and relationship, mostly on sex, than about anything to do with larger issues like politics and/or technology's impact on society and/or the consequences of messing with the human body and lifespan and/or etc. Any one of which would have made this more interesting.

Feb 21, 2017 Sonic rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's hard to say anything about this book without spoilers, but it is definitely worth a read and asks some interesting questions.
Mar 25, 2013 Jobby rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In many of the author's other books people live for centuries using a medical procedure known as Rejuvenation. Those books are set hundreds of years in the future. Misspent Youth is set just a few decades from now and tells the story of the first person, Jeff Baker, to undergo the Rejuvenation process.
This gives Peter F. Hamilton the chance to really concentrate on the people rather than crazy galaxy spanning wars. And he does a pretty good job of it.
Jeff is 78 and modestly rich. He has created
Tanya Korval
Jan 16, 2013 Tanya Korval rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a bit of an oddity (not necessarily in a bad way). Firstly, it's early Hamilton - very early, so his writing's not so assured. It's a credit to the author, though, that even at this early stage he could out-write most sci-fi authors.

Secondly: Hamilton's always happy to have some sex in his books: that applies right through all of his series. Not a lot: don't get the idea that he writes sci-fi erotica, because he doesn't. But the characters tend to bed hop quite a bit and there are a lot
Servius  Heiner
Jan 19, 2008 Servius Heiner rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who has read and liked judas Unchained and Pandoras star series.
Shelves: sci-fi
Misspent youth, is a very different story then what I usually expect from Hamilton. It was a well written story and in truth good. Just different then what I was expecting.

I find that I hold Hamilton to a higher standard then I do most authors, mainly because I know the quality he is capable of. What made this prequel interesting was how close to our own time it is. The story takes place just a few decades from now, and he spends a decent amount of time demonstrating the changes and how abruptl
Kari Chapman
Misspent Youth is set a few decades in our future. The setting is an interesting one - the European Union is slowly taken over all of Europe, while in the US the religious conservatives have taken power. The economy is not in great shape, and the Datasphere (which replaced the internet) has completely changed the way humans interact and think about things - thing torrents and Wiki Leaks taken all the way to the end of the slippery slope.

Trying to keep the interest and support of it's citizens t
Ginger Harris
I gave this 4-stars out of respect for the genre. I do understand this is a male-heavy genre and that I, as a female, embody an abberant, maybe even unwanted, opinion. After reading the other reviews though, I am happy to see that most other readers catch whiff of the shallowness of this novel, its 'hero', and its ideals.

It is plausible (though not likely) that an intelligent, accomplished, famous 80-yr old who has become rejuvenated falls in love with an 18-yr old barely out of high school. Thi
Apr 14, 2011 Kate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Jeff Baker, inventor who gave the world, free of charge, a revolutionary storage device, undergoes a taxpayer-funded procedure that remakes his 77-year old body into that of a 25 year-old.

The story is about what the rejuvenation does to Jeff and his family. Jeff's son Tim, is just about to go to university. His wife Sue, is part of the family under contract. These people are rich. Super rich. They have lots of gadgets, money, fame, sex, and a fairly interesting dynamic. Jeff's new body changes s
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Peter F. Hamilton is a British science fiction author. He is best known for writing space opera. As of the publication of his tenth novel in 2004, his works had sold over two million copies worldwide, making him Britain's biggest-selling science fiction author.
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Other Books in the Series

Commonwealth Universe (8 books)
  • Pandora's Star
  • Judas Unchained
  • The Dreaming Void
  • The Temporal Void
  • The Evolutionary Void
  • The Abyss Beyond Dreams
  • A Night Without Stars (Commonwealth)

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“babies are God’s way of persuading parents to have teenagers.” 1 likes
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