MISSPENT YOUTH by Peter F. Hamilton


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Terse—for Hamilton (The Dreaming Void, 2008, etc.)—yarn, first published in the United Kingdom in 2002, about rejuvenation and its consequences.

Half a century hence, GM crops—and weeds—cover the English countryside; the omnipresent datasphere, which physicist Jeff Baker's invention of a memory crystal made possible, and, incidentally, sounded the death knell for intellectual property rights, has replaced the Internet. Jeff literally gave his billion-dollar idea away free but still managed to make vast amounts of money. He's now a creaky 78, with a marriage of convenience to much younger ex-model Sue and a son, Tim, by artificial insemination. So, in the hope that he can do for room-temperature superconductors what he did for computing, and also to further the career of ambitious politico Rob Lacey, Jeff receives a full rejuvenation treatment. The drawback: Due to the threat of English nationalist terrorists, the family must be closely guarded by heavy-handed Euro-cops. Reborn in a 20-year-old body, Jeff rediscovers sex, first with a surprised and delighted Sue, then with almost any warm, attractive and willing body—as high-schooler Tim, lusting after his stunning and well-endowed classmate, Annabelle, discovers all too soon. Jeff, meanwhile, finds that his old friends have turned into dinosaurs. To sustain his sexual appetite, he starts popping Viagra by the handful, and only incidentally begins to notice he's destroying his marriage and his son. Unfortunately, Jeff fails to convince as an old head on a young body, and the stridently anti-European subtext poisons the entire enterprise.

Flowers for Algernon, centering on sex instead of brains.

Pub Date: Sept. 16th, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-345-46164-3
Page count: 416pp
Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2008


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