Reviews of Misspent Youth (2002)
Review by Oneiros (2003-07-25)
This novel suffers again from the usual Rutland-centering that plagues most every other Hamilton novel except the far-future ones (reminiscent of King's fixation with Maine). The usual themes of Hamilton permeate it as well: a fascination with the lifestyle of the rich-and-famous, and how every other character not so lucky races to catch up with them; near-future technology blending in relentlessly with everyday life and some nuances of concern as to the morality of it's applications; and the peculiar Hamilton mix of euro-loathing and fascination, backed by a loose political-socioeconomic-ecological analysis.
What sets this novel apart is that Hamilton really seems to care for the characters and his theme, trying to get a feel for all their conflicting emotions (this is also apparent from the rapid switching of POV's) when a seemingly geeky benefactor of society is given a second chance in youth, which he grabs by the horns while trying to rescue a failing relationship with his son. This is actually a book about the meaning of life and second chances, touching and corny at turns.. actually, the corny parts are the touching ones as well.
Also of interest, the book contains a poignant analysis on the impending collapse of IPR-driven markets (publishing, film-making etc) due to distributed network filesharing; the authors' standpoint on this is crystal clear, of course..