Saturday, August 25, 2018

Misspent YouthMisspent Youth by Peter F. Hamilton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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 that has turned pretty much the whole world into the same architecture used by torrents today. Swarming data fields where tons of individual users make up a whole of some kind of information platform funneling at the end user.

The man who made it possible gave the tech away instead of getting filthy rich. And so he became a massive celebrity... who is eventually made the recipient of the first real fountain of life treatment, turning his old body into that of a man in his early 20's.

So far, so good. The premise of many a great and not so great trope, right here.

Now, where Hamilton makes it good is his characters and the interpersonal stuff. The focus is nowhere else.

In the end, it's a treatise on young man's follies (when he's actually an old man) in love and family. He's almost the same age as his son. His sex drive is driving him crazy. His wife, all his friends, everything is a mismatch.

The conflicts are great and the soap opera really unfolds in delicious and tragic ways, tempting us with a redemption arc ... or perhaps not. :)

Again, it's soft-SF. And where it shines is the characters.

For some reason, this novel kinda hit me harder than the previous two I had read, even though the official ratings on the other two were quite high. It may just be a case of right tale, right time, or perhaps I'm just getting used to the author's style.

Or perhaps he just meant this to be a bit more than a light tale and more a tale of growth and family. For that, I just happen to be in the right place to appreciate it. :)

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