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Misspent Youth

(Commonwealth Universe #0.5)

3.40  ·  Rating details ·  4,995 ratings  ·  239 reviews
It is forty years in 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 father of the datasphere (which replaced the Internet) and philanthropist extraordinaire. After 18 months in a German medical facility, the 78-year
Paperback, 439 pages
Published 2002 by Pan
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Nutsmuggler I'd skip this book entirely.
I read Pandora's Start first, which is magnificent.
Then I thought I'd go back to this one, which is a kind of prequel.

I'd skip this book entirely.
I read Pandora's Start first, which is magnificent.
Then I thought I'd go back to this one, which is a kind of prequel.

This is really a young adult book with a small tinge of SF.
It's mostly teenage drama and softcore.
Pandora is the place to start from I believe. (less)
Nutsmuggler It's its own story, kind of a prequel, but a very missable one.
It's mostly teenage drama and softcore.
There are a few details liked to the commonwealt…more
It's its own story, kind of a prequel, but a very missable one.
It's mostly teenage drama and softcore.
There are a few details liked to the commonwealth saga, but it's small stuff, and stuff you'd get without reading this book.

Pandora on the other hand is great, I'd start from Pandora.(less)

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Average rating 3.40  · 
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 ·  4,995 ratings  ·  239 reviews

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Aug 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-shelf, sci-fi
It might be best going into this novel not expecting anything. I've only read a couple of Hamilton's novels and this time period or the ones following it directly is relatively unknown to me.

Fortunately, that doesn't mean a dime to my enjoyment.

As a matter of fact, this is pretty much a kind of family soap opera in a slightly more futuristic time than ours. It's soft-SF rather than hard-SF. And by that I mean we have two techs put on a pedestal here. The first is a global networking platform tha
Jun 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
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 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it did not like it
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
Apr 24, 2016 rated it liked it
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. ...more
Jun 15, 2009 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
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 who was the subject of
Dec 17, 2014 rated it did not like it
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
Steve Haywood
Jan 08, 2012 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
Lars Dradrach
Nov 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: e-book
The first Hamilton book I didn’t love.....

When you remove the big space opera background, it’s like what’s left seems a little weak and pointless, Hamilton’s force has never been deep character development and in a novel that evolves around family relationships that’s a clear weakness.

And then there’s the general sexist description of women, which is not uncommon in Hamilton’s books, but seems more pronounced and unpleasant in this novel.
Sep 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This is the first book that I read by Peter F. Hamilton.

Initially, I wanted to give it only three (3) stars. The beginning is somewhat fascinating, but most of it after that seems like a cheap telenovela.

(view spoiler)

That is until the final quarter, where it starts getting real interesting. Actually, the last 25% of the book is what saved it for
Jun 29, 2016 rated it it was ok
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
"The novel has received mixed reviews, with Hamilton himself best describing why: "I could see why it didn't appeal to a lot of people. It was an unpleasant story about unpleasant people. With hindsight, it was never going to be as popular as my other works." [...]
Kirkus Reviews described the novel as "Flowers for Algernon, centering on sex instead of brains.""
I guess it was OK, I would even go so far and say better than expected after reading all the negative reviews.
I'm a big fan of the Common
Ron Morgan
Dec 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Well... There’s a lot about this book I didn’t like, however, by the last 50-75 pages I wanted the story to continue. I only read this because it is, technically, the first in Hamilton’s Commonwealth Saga, though relatively unconnected to the series, being only a story about the beginning of the life-extending science that I understand is prominent in Pandora’s Star and beyond.

My main issue with this book is that many chapters begin with a great idea, and the possibility of a serious look at soc
This is set in the Commonwealth universe by the smallest of direct links; a single character name mentioned in passing. I have read almost everything by Hamilton at this point and can say without question this is the weakest book he has written. I'm a big fan of his so would only recommend this if you also like his writing and just want to experience everything he's done. This is not space opera but I do not really know what to call it. Meandering and pointless for the most part. It only really ...more
Brian Shelby
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
Weaker than the other Commonwealth books. I was disappointed when the story of a man given a new life devolved into a drama about his son. Other impacts on society were ignored or glossed over. Essentially the story would be the same if the father had been his true age and done the same things.
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
More soap opera than space opera. I am reading it because I have some completist bug for Hamilton.
Terrible way of writing women and treats them as objects but written long enough ago to give him a pass on it. It should not be the first book of his you read. Readable though.
Dec 07, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sf
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 29, 2014 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
John Brown
Sep 17, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Tim Popko
May 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Cryonics, time travel, age rejuvenation. These are long-trodden topics in the science fiction genre. But rarely does anyone put a strong focus on the psychological underpinning for the mythical fountain of youth. Literally, why become young again? What does youth returned mean to a person who has lived to old age? And to those around him?

In Misspent Youth, set in a mid-21th century England future, 70+ yr old protagonist Jeff Baker becomes the first man to undergo radical age rejuvenation, becomi
Alex Shrugged
I liked it. I didn't love it mostly because there wasn't much action except toward the end. There was a lot of emotional interplay between father and son, but that sort of thing normally happens in the midst of action such as solving a mystery, inventing a way out of a world-wide catastrophe, etc. Unfortunately, no mystery. Just anguish.

The story: A famous scientist is the first to be rejuvenated in a very expensive and experimental process. It turns him from a 70-something into a 20-something.
David Quijano
May 17, 2021 rated it did not like it
It has been years since I finished Peter F. Hamilton's Commonwealth novels. They are among my favorite books and I would consider myself a huge fan. For whatever reason, Misspent Young, which is the first book to take place in that literary universe, never made my to-read list. In retrospect, I must have read negative reviews about it because its ties to the Commonwealth universe are minimal and the book itself is fairly boring.

First off, this book goes nowhere. Nothing happens. It is as if the
3/5 stars. Sci-fi imagining of a near-future Earth in which full physical rejuvenation has just been made possible. Jeff Baker, the man responsible for generously giving away his discovery of 'memory crystals' (an extremely high-capacity digital storage medium), is chosen to be the first recipient of the prohibitively expensive treatment.

Misspent Youth follows Jeff's re-emergence into a world wracked with envy and political unrest, where his own invention has done away with copyright (and thus a
Costin Manda
Feb 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
I wondered about this book, since it had Hamilton's later style combined with a nearly marginal subject. Also, Misspent Youth has the title Magic Memories on my PDA. But the bottom line is that this is the story of the beginning of the rejuvenation technology, heavily featured in the Pandora/Void universe, but with other details that link it to Night's Dawn. However, if you completely ignore this science fiction limbo status and the few social issues that Peter F. Hamilton raises in the book, th ...more
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5 stars and that because I had a couple misapprehensions about this story before I started reading it. First off, that this story was a recently written prequel to sort of backfill some Commonwealth Universe history (it isn't, this book was written well before all the others back in 2002). Second, that this book would tie in to some of the other major characters in the main series (it doesn't)

Non spoilery summary: First 5% of the book is introduction & stage setting and hints about a big awkwa
Angus Mcfarlane
Sep 19, 2020 rated it liked it
Second hand bookshop during the first opportunity to escape covid enclosure earlier this year and an author I have enjoyed reading in the past...why not? My only reservation was the very disappointing ending of the first series I read, and while this one didn't quite match the previous experience, it was a pretty tame outcome. It is a somewhat saucy story, taking risks with social norms of today but not really exploring this much in terms their moral consequence in any way. Written in 2004ish, i ...more
Jan 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
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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

Other books in the series

Commonwealth Universe (8 books)
  • Pandora's Star (Commonwealth Saga, #1)
  • Judas Unchained (Commonwealth Saga, #2)
  • The Dreaming Void
  • The Temporal Void
  • The Evolutionary Void
  • The Abyss Beyond Dreams
  • A Night Without Stars (Commonwealth Universe, #7)

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