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Misspent Youth (Commonwealth Universe)

3.35 of 5 stars 3.35  ·  rating details  ·  2,466 ratings  ·  105 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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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
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
While I don't believe it is mentioned as such, this book is a prequel to the Commonwealth Saga (Pandora's Star & Judas Unchained), and takes place around 2040, about 10 years before the prologue of Pandora's Star. The story revolves around Jeff Baker, a well-known British scientist who had previously developed a digital storage device based on crystals that has many more times the storage capacity of hard drives, and had given the design away for free for anyone to benefit from. He is in his ...more
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
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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
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 possi ...more
Roger Neyman
May 29, 2015 Roger Neyman rated it 1 of 5 stars
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.

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
Benjamin Dornel
What happens when you put a 78 year old man back in the body of a 20 year old? You can probably guess.

It's interesting how none of the characters are "good" in any sense, which pushes you to either hate them, love them, or both. I found that this really made the characters human - they gradually found themselves throughout the novel. There are many odd character parallels that you can observe if you pay enough attention.

Some critics criticized the lack of action, the abundance of sexual scenes o
I did not enjoy this book quite as much, as I have others from this author (and it seems the same reality). But for the most part it was actually the character that I didn't like, if you read the story I am sure you will figure out who and why quickly. But that was all part of the story. The best authors can make you love, and hate, characters. Sometimes it's actually the same character, that you feel both emotions for. This is definitely worth a read, especially if you enjoy science fiction, an ...more
"Why? Why'd he write this book?" is what I kept asking myself while reading it. Ultimately, it seems to be a thinly veiled scree against England and other European countries losing their independence to a United Europe. Maybe that plays better on the other side of the pond, but for me, there just wasn't enough of a good story here.

This is the tale of the first person to be rejuvenated in the Commonwealth. A brilliant old man becomes a very horny young man. There's family drama, teen romance, tee
"Lifson" Kate Glover
It's the first time I've read anything by Peter F. Hamilton. I've wanted to have a look for a while, but the gargantuan size of his novels has put me off. Misspent Youth is a reasonably sane 439 pages long, and I felt that it was something of a toss-up as to whether it belonged in Sci-Fi, or in Young Adult.

I saw pretty much most of the twists coming, with only a couple of minor exceptions, but it remained engaging throughout. I could have done without the sexy bits, but they did at least fit in
William Stafford
While I enjoyed the author's style and the depiction of a UK forty years from now, I think the story gets bogged down a bit. The main character, Jeff, who undergoes a process whereby his body is rejuvenated while retaining all the knowledge and experience of his real age, is a bit of a prick. I couldn't take to him. The book has things to say about preoccupation with ageing and the lengths people go to in order to counteract the effects of ageing, ultimately showing that they do not work. The cl ...more
Bob Jamieson
The first 80% of this book? One star.

That last 20%? 5 stars.

Peter F Hamilton writing in the Commonwealth Universe should be a slam dunk generally. I was incredibly excited about a prequel to Pandora's Star. However it's all a bit... teenage drama. Most of the grand, spectacular world building is gone. That last 20% though... the main character pulls your standard PFH main character grand act in the style of Paula Myo, Ozzy or Sheldon and brings it all to a startling finish.

Worth reading if you l
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.

3.5 stars

The back-cover blurbs would have you believe that this is a Dune/Foundation-level epic. It's not - there's nothing epic about it. But that doesn't mean it's a bad book.

Peter Hamilton is a somewhat uneven writer - from an interesting but not engaging Fallen Dragon to the generally strong The Dreaming Void. Here, he turns his attention and talent to the use of genetic therapy to regeneration and a second youth.

The writing is smooth, the characters interesting and r
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
If Peter F Hamilton really is ‘Britain’s No. 1 Science Fiction Writer’ (as the cover of my copy of Misspent Youth testifies) then the whole genre has got to have gone to the dogs. All I got here was bad descriptions of sex, poor characterisation and a non-existent plot.

If Hamilton was trying to create a near-future Orwellian world of surveillance, political corruption and abandoned values he does seem to have some of the right ingredients. There’s the corrupt and power-hungry pan-European gover
Oh, man what a great read. Ok, I know it was first published in england in 2002 and from what I can gather from the acknowledgements is that it was published in the united state in 2008. That is such a log gap!

So the book is about a man who gets gene treatments that reduce his physical age from 80 something down to 20 something. But he keeps his memories. For any of you in the over 30 crowd you know how valuable those lessons are.

They can be very difficult - falling in love way too hard and late
Neal Dench
This was not one of Peter F Hamilton's best, though I did still enjoy it. Shame, because some of the themes it addresses (particularly the differences between the generations) are fascinating. What's nice about this book is that it explores the genesis of some pieces of technology that Hamilton frequently uses in other books, most obviously that of regeneration of the human body. Having read several of his books in which such technology is taken for granted, it was nice to read a story that deal ...more
I'm a fan of Peter Hamilton's epic s-f, but this prequel is just bad. Hamilton is not someone who makes real characters. He is a traditional ideas writer. The characters in his novels are two-dimensional and meant to reflect or demonstrate an aspect of the the incredibly deep universe he creates. In "Misspent Youth" Hamilton seems to almost be writing a YA book, trying to be about "character development" and some kind of youthful coming of age... and it simply doesn't work. If the characters are ...more
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
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
I thought this was a good book. To be fair, I haven't read any Peter Hamilton before but I doubt I'll change my rating once I've read The Commonwealth Saga and the Void trilogy etc (we'll see anyway).

The pacing is very good and Hamilton's prose is very readable. Something happens in every single chapter with virtually no slowdown. The characters are vivid (though many readers have found them unlikeable) and I found the near future sci-fi setting (especially the politics involving the future of
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

I wish I could give half-stars; I'd rate this between a 3 and 4. It was an enjoyable read, and had good characters. It was fun to read it with an eye towards the society that Hamilton develops for a few hundred years into our future in Pandora's Star/Judas Unchained (there's a wink at the reader that this is, indeed, the same timeline and society). I'd recommend reading that duo before this; readers looking for a sci-fi romp with good alien (and human) villains will do better with that; this is
Tanya Korval
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
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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.
More about Peter F. Hamilton...

Other Books in the Series

Commonwealth Universe (8 books)
  • Pandora's Star (Commonwealth Saga, #1)
  • Judas Unchained (Commonwealth Saga, #2)
  • The Dreaming Void (Void, #1)
  • The Temporal Void (Void, #2)
  • The Evolutionary Void (Void, #3)
  • The Abyss Beyond Dreams (Commonwealth: Chronicle of the Fallers, #1)
  • Night Without Stars
Pandora's Star (Commonwealth Saga, #1) The Reality Dysfunction (Night's Dawn, #1) Judas Unchained (Commonwealth Saga, #2) The Dreaming Void (Void, #1) The Evolutionary Void (Void, #3)

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