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A provocative look at the days not too long after tomorrow.
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 for treatment is chosen: Jeff Baker, the father 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 reappearance has on his family and friends - his young ex-model wife Sue, his teenage son Tim, and also on his long-term pals who are now all pensioners, and starting to resent what Jeff has become.
Though this was written and published ahead of Pandora's Star, I read it after I had finished that book, simply because I like to get the huge tomes read ahead of the small paperbacks. I now wish I had read them the other way around.
Despite both of them being stand-alone stories, they follow the same trend in most of Peter's 'series' stories, where each tale refers back to key elements of previous stories set in the same 'universe'. This story gave a lot more insight into the Rejuvination Treatments and Memory Crystals used commonly in Pandora's Star. I can also see elements from this universe in Fallen Dragon, but they are a bit more subtle and I'll leave you to discover them. :)
I found this tale to be quite 'racy' in that the rejuvinated Jeff Baker seemed to be quite willing and able to have 'liasons' with almost every 16+ year old female in the entire book, much to the envy, and outright emotional torment, of his teenage son. Now I have to admit, if I was a 78 year old man suddenly given a teenagers body again, I probably would have given it a try too. However, it is something to keep in mind if you are buying this book as a gift - can they handle the tone?
There was little super-technology evident, which is a slight disappointment for me, since I quite enjoy how Peter manages to cover all the bases with his hyper-tech... but I guess you can't have your chips and byte them too. However the gadgets he does use in this tale could quite easily be achieved with today's level of technology... albeit at somewhat higher cost than the average consumer would pay today. We are starting to see some of the precursors appearing in today's market, with hybrid devices such as cellphone/pda/digicamera all-in-ones.
Overall, I found this story to be really quite engrossing. I have just spent the last 3 hours reading it non-stop, just to get to the last page and find myself almost in tears. Be careful folks, there's a heartbreaker of a punchline. This book will appeal to a very wide reading audience, so if you haven't encountered any of Peter's works prior to this, start with this one. It raises a few key moral issues, has some great moments, and is just a great sit-back-&-relax read.
Random listing from 'Books'...
From the author of the Night's Dawn Trilogy, comes a novella and six stories set in the same brilliantly realized universe.
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"You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend"