In middle school I read a 'young adult' book - again I don't remember the name of the book or the author, and in this one, the year is more flexible, I got it from the school library in the mid-80s, which means there's a good chance it was originally published in the 60s or 70s.

In this story the protagonist is a teenager who wakes up from a coma in the future. I specifically remember the opening scene when he wakes up - there's a guy with robot eyes (it turns out the doctor had somebody throw acid in his face prior to the events of the story) and three nurses who were identical (clones) but with brightly colored hair (blue, purple etc, at a time when dying one's hair as such was a lot more novel than it is now). I can't remember what put him in the coma or why he was revived when he was (he may have simply woken up).

I recall a lot of it was about him trying to make sense of the new world he was in, and there was an ecology theme, cause the oceans were an oily yellow and lifeless (I remember one character telling him that maybe since he remembers the oceans as they were before mankind ruined them, that he'd be able to figure out a way to revive them - this seems like an insignificant detail, but I just read on the 'How to write an ident question' page that no detail is too measly), and the overall the state of society was worse than that of the one he'd left behind.

I also don't remember how this ends, although I'm pretty sure it was along the standard lines of 'hope for the future despite uncertainty'.

  • Now that my other questions are answered, I'm focusing on this one. This one is proving to be a lot more challenging however. For 'Planet of No Return', I correctly narrowed it down to a two-year period, and I identified it when I saw the cover on Amazon. For this one, any publication date from 1965 to 1985 seems plausible, and since it was in a middle school library in the mid-80s, it was bound in a generic off-white hardcover that was common for the times, the kind where title might've only been on the spine, and not the front, so that's not helpful either. Mar 28, 2018 at 7:20
  • I'm also trying to figure out the intended age range for the book. (We didn't use the phase 'Young Adult' the way we do now.) It was advanced enough not to be a children's book, but easy enough that it was too easy for me at the time, despite the fact that I was not exactly an advanced reader for my age. But it wasn't that long, I'm not sure it was even 100 pages. I've tried doing an advanced search on Amazon where I select 'science fiction', 'ages 9-12', and 'published before 1986', but it brings up all kinds of books I would consider unsuitable for kids that young... Mar 28, 2018 at 7:27
  • ...and the list is virtually unchanged if I change 'ages 9-12' to 'ages 6-8'. So I'm not finding this method to be helpful. Mar 28, 2018 at 7:29
  • 1
    Have you looked at The Forever Formula by Frank Bonham? Published in 1982, premise is teen boy wakes up from suspended animation after 180 years. One review mentions nurse clones, and Bonham tends to do ecology themes.
    – Dinae
    Apr 1, 2018 at 2:07
  • Holy crap!!! I'm pretty sure The Forever Formula is correct. Dinae, you are my new hero. Apr 1, 2018 at 3:42

1 Answer 1


Check out The Forever Formula, by Frank Bonham. I read it in the 80's (Scholastic published a paperback of it in 1982), and I seem to recall it matching most of your criteria -- teenage boy protagonist, some sort of cryo sleep, pollution, etc.

The main character is a teenage boy who wakes up from suspended animation.
From Goodreads:

A 17-year-old lying in a hospital bed wonders if he has a brain tumor or is suffering from hallucinations. The truth is startling and incredible and, most of all, dangerous.

From Amazon:

After sleeping for 180 years, Evan Clark awakens to a world populated by old people kept alive by drugs, eludes those who want his formula for eternal youth, and joins the Juvie Underground.

I had trouble confirming the clone nurses with brightly colored hair, but this blog review does mention "pretty nurse Eliza (a clone, as are all nurses)."

  • Book came in the mail this week, still reading it, but it's definitely a match. Thanks again. Apr 11, 2018 at 23:29

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.