Editorial Reviews. From Publishers Weekly. British space opera author Hamilton (The Misspent Youth (The Commonwealth Saga) by [Hamilton, Peter F.]. Misspent Youth [Peter F. Hamilton, Steven Crossley] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. After decades of research, scientists of the. A gripping near-future novel by bestselling author Peter F. Hamilton. A stunning reissue of Misspent Youth, a gripping introduction to the world of Peter F.

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Wagner Support SF Reviews. Hamilton describes the US misspen as “noticeably different from the original. But a quick gander at the Amazon UK listing for this book reveals that it hasn’t gotten a lot of love, to put it gently, from Hamilton’s UK fanbase.

Sorry to say that, having read it now myself, I can see why, and I shudder to think how much worse the UK version might be.

To put it succinctly: Sure, sure, Hamilton has never exactly shied away from melodramatic moments even in his most thrilling stories.

But those moments are part and parcel of a much greater and more satisfying whole. The lives, loves, and conflicts of Hamilton’s enormous ensemble casts in his epic space operas provide the human element that gives us points of reference within the stories’ larger canvases. They inform that larger canvas, allowing us a personal investment, without being yough entire canvas.

Misspent Youth by Peter F. Hamilton

It’s what lifts Hamilton’s epics above the ordinary, making books that might otherwise be unbearably self-important and pretentious feel grounded in real and relatable human hopes and needs. Does any of that make sense? Hamilton’s gift is his skill in blending the personal with the monumental.

Here, we’re presented with a moderately SFnal television prime time sudser, the sort of thing the Sci Fi Channel oh, excuse me, the “Syfy” Channel might cook hamiilton, were they to try their hand at something like The Hills or The OC. While there are global ramifications to what transpires in this near-future, entirely earthbound story, mostly the book just offers a love triangle formula that can be summed up thus: Well, okay, to be fair, it is a fine example of unbridled Hamiltonian audacity that he’ll have most of London destroyed in one of the biggest riots in its history simply so it can serve as the plot device yotuh motivate a father-son reconcilitation.


It’s almost as brazen a conceit as the Michael Bay film Pearl Harborin which that history-making attack was portrayed as this thing that inconvenienced Ben Affleck’s love life.

But it’s also an example of just how this book makes even its biggest moments feel trivial. Misspent Youth is simply the shallowest story Hamilton’s ever written. There are hints of the deeper, more substantive story Misspent Youth almost was. Perhaps these were the bits Del Rey asked Hamilton to develop?

The book is set — with great relevance — against a seething geopolitical backdrop, where nationalist feelings are high concerning Britain’s participation in an expanded EU that’s more yough a little hostile to personal freedoms and cultural autonomy.

Britain has essentially become Ireland to the EU’s There’s one brief scene where we learn this is the world that will go on to become the far-future Commonwealth. Ultimately, though, all this takes a backseat to the characters’ sexual escapades. Our protagonist rose to fame in the early 21st century for advancing data storage technology by quantum leaps, then cementing his geek god status the world over by open-sourcing all his work. One negative result of this overwhelmingly positive development is the death of almost all creative art that relies on media distribution.

Movies, music and novels became so rampantly pirated that the art forms themselves are extinct, being no longer sufficiently lucrative for misspemt creators to produce at all. But it does give this otherwise safe novel what little edgy commentary it has.


Amusingly, Hamilton has an aged version of dark fantasy writer Graham Joyce appear as himself. I wonder if this some cute quid pro quo thing between pals, and that Joyce has or is planning a novel with Hamilton in a bit part Yoyth, here’s an irony: Hamilton’s character work here is very good.

The writing in Misspent Youth is much more immediate, and less demanding, than in, say, the Night’s Dawn or Void trilogies, simply because the story’s character driven, and not an epic with fifteen interwoven plot threads demanding your attention. But I didn’t really care about these people for most of it. They’ve got wealth and beauty beyond that to which most of us can aspire. And while I know many people seek out stories of the bold youhh the beautiful as a wish-fulfillment exercise, I’m not misspnt dumb as to confuse envying a character with liking him.

Everything that happens is telegraphed, because of Hamilton’s fidelity to love-triangle formula. When Jeff Baker, the story’s rejuvenated protagonist, scopes out his son Tim’s girlfriend Annabelle and tells himself You absolutely cannot, not with herany reader who isn’t a congenital idiot knows that he absolutely will.

From there you should have a good idea how the rest of the novel will play out.

Misspent Youth

When this novel’s Icarus gets his wings hamiilton, it’s hard to feel much anguish. After all, not only is Jeff world famous and probably the most influential man of his generation, but he got to shag his son’s hot model girlfriend! Maybe it was a brief, exhilarating ride. But was it worth it? More for him than for us, at any rate.