“Out of the rubble of the 2026 Coastal Earthquake, California has fared better in many ways than either its China or U.S. rivals, with cities like Los Angeles emerging as a true hope for the future. L.A. is supposedly transforming into an urban paradise where the chaotic and exploitative economic relationships of the past are being overhauled by a political movement based on environmental and economic justice. Or so our leaders claim.”
But into this utopia, a darkness has crept: an addictive drug called Euphoria that promises to keep its users young and beautiful for longer than a normal lifespan. Coveted by many, available to few, it is a drug that has just claimed the wife of a prominent District Attorney.
And while White is only looking for his next story, his next party, the next partner, he finds himself enlisted in a mission: find a cure for the Euphoria addiction and expose the biggest lie of all… its true purpose.
Author Ryan Hyatt has done a pretty nifty sleight-of-hand with this book. Initially setting it up as a sci-fi thriller with ecological undertones, he swiftly shifts into a hard-boiled detective story while still maintaining his razor-sharp eye for political conditions only a few steps removed from our current ones. His deft world building sets up a reality not that much different from our own [the current world, pushed just a few degrees to the extreme (“The Sovereign State of California,” The Eco-Socialist New Democratic Party are both particularly apt...)].
It’s always been a by-product of good sci-fi to comment on the current world, and Hyatt takes that task and runs hard with it, commenting on politics, human nature, greed, eco-socialism, sociology and sexuality, all the while keeping the story brisk and interesting.
I can’t help but thinking of William Gibson’s cyberpunk novels when reading this. Both have that same sense of a world not too far from our own, but Hyatt also infuses his novel with the sensibilities of a Chuck Palahniuk fever dream, then twists it back into something pulpy and period. You can imagine Raymond Chandler writing this book after a viewing of The Matrix and a hit of Mescaline.
If you’re comfortable with such unique genre-meshing, you’d do well to pick up Stay Younger Longer. It’s both a great summer read and a potentially chilling version of the future we face every day.
VERDICT: FIVE Gravity-Resistant Surfboards out of FIVE