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Publisher's Summary

Francis Saxover and Diana Brackley, two scientists investigating a rare lichen, discover it has a remarkable property: it retards the aging process. Francis, realising the implications for the world of an ever-youthful, wealthy elite, wants to keep it secret, but Diana sees an opportunity to overturn the male status quo by using the lichen to inspire a feminist revolution.

As each scientist wrestles with the implications and practicalities of exploiting the discovery, the world comes ever closer to learning the truth....

Trouble with Lichen is a scintillating story of the power wielded by science in our lives and asks, how much trust should we place in those we appoint to be its guardians?

About the author: John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Benyon Harris was born in 1903, the son of a barrister. He tried a number of careers including farming, law, commercial art and advertising, and started writing short stories, intended for sale, in 1925. From 1930 to 1939 he wrote stories of various kinds under different names, almost exclusively for American publications, while also writing detective novels. During the war he was in the Civil Service and then the Army. In 1946 he went back to writing stories for publication in the USA and decided to try a modified form of science fiction, a form he called 'logical fantasy'.

©1960 John Wyndham (P)2021 Audible, Ltd

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  • Norma Miles
  • 12-30-21

"Don't cry, darling, I'll buy you another."

An easy to read story which encompasses far more than the basic premise: the discovery of a way to increase the human lifespan to two hundred or many more years. Although the prospect of extra time for the individual might be engaging, there are ramifications: social, political, religious and media intervention plus feminist and gender issues and fears of overpopulation (especially given the publication of the book set in the mid 1900s, little really changes). Narrator Vanessa Kirby was excellent. Her voice has an attractive to the ear timbre with good timing and intonation, and her clear English pronunciation carried the text thoughtfully. A fine performance.

For some reason, despite having avidly devoured science fiction for over six decades including Wyndham's other books, this was my first reading of Trouble with Lichen and, after a slightly shaky beginning, I loved it. Still fresh and thought provokingly relevant, I recommend this story to all, not just the SF fans.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Stephen Lake
  • 12-19-21

Lichen this very much (sorry)

This book deserves to be better known. The central concept of the discovery of a ‘cure for aging’ is explored from social and political angles by the discoverers of the cure.

Yes it is dated, but Wyndham tells a good story and it is refreshing to have a strong female character at the heart of it. When I first read it the ‘twist’ was very enjoyable.

Vanessa Kirby is an excellent choice of reader and has a voice I could listen to all day long. She brings the story to life with an almost dreamlike mellifluous quality.

Recommended

3 people found this helpful

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  • Lyndylulu
  • 11-27-21

Absolutely excellent!

A deep debate, through the protagonists' viewpoints, on scientific responsibility. Very, very good. Great reading by Vanessa Kirby too!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Jo
  • 03-03-22

Great story, poor narration

the narrator's vouce was monotone throughout, I had no clue which character was speaking until the written word made it clear.
it was so good to see a release of various John Wyndham books but whoever selected the narrator's with the exception of Stephen Fry was so far off point it's ruined them.

2 people found this helpful

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  • B. Hockley
  • 01-22-22

Wonderful retro sci fi

Perfectly conjures the 1950s British society that is the backdrop for this engaging story. A lovely glimpse into history - as well as a future that still could be.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-07-22

My favourite Wyndham novel.

Great narration, her Diana is perfect.
Sharp , thought provoking satire. This could have been written yesterday sadly. The themes in the book are just as relevant today as they were in 1960.

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  • Nick Ford
  • 12-28-21

Good to hear again

A good Si-fi story on an unusual theme. I first read this many years ago

2 people found this helpful

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  • R. Maines
  • 12-12-21

Old fashioned

There is no getting away that this book from 1957 is rather old fashioned sci-fi, with an old fashioned look at the roles of women in society. If you can get past that than this is a thoughtful look at how life changing discovered could effect society.

Narration was good.

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  • Martin G Fisher
  • 12-07-21

The story that’s lost none of its power

Since I first read the story in the mid 1970s I’ve often been drawn back to it. Insightful and intelligent it’s lost in all of its power over the years. A ripping yarn that may yet come to pass.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Andy Boddington
  • 12-04-21

Classic Wyndham

John Wyndham was writing more than half a century ago. This is a book where women are the stronger sex, but not quite. The imaginative plot was a groundbreaker. The reading is very good and a must read for those that want to read older and exceptional science fiction.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-16-21

I loved Triffids; Wyndham excells in this tale too

No Spoilers!

Three days ago I had no idea this story existed. Now I would swiftly recommend it with delight. It has cemented John Wyndham as one of my favourite authors (as opposed to simply the writer of a single book I thoroughly enjoy).

"Trouble with Lichen" features non-animal life in a manner significantly different to it's better-known sibling "Day of the Triffids". Both novels share a dependence upon their notable vegetation to drive the plot, which is more essentially about humanity itself.

Though at first a little slow to start, the pace picks up quite dramatically after the revelation of the first major plot point, and doesn't particularly slow throughout. There are many thrilling narrative beats, interspersed occasionally with digestible bites of insightful philosophy, all of which build together towards a satisfying climax and whole. Despite misgivings, in the end I found myself quite satisfied with how everything played out. I include the philosophy in this statement, which strikes me as an impressive feat considering that the work was first published in 1960.

Trouble with Lichen has a distinctly British feel, which is pleasantly embellished by the talented narration of Vanessa Kirby. If anything, this enhances the comprehensibility of the text, whether newspaper headline or group conversation. Kirby's skillful use of reservation, boldness, quietly-complex undertones and so much more breathe vibrant life into this wonderful rendition.

This book might not be for everyone, but it is certainly enjoyable for broad audiences, and personally I consider it to be an absolute treat. If possible, do yourself a favour and skip the blurb to add scintillating suspense and mystery.

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  • Tony Wood
  • 05-05-22

A great piece of Scifi

It's great to revisit John Wyndham after 60 years or so
The writing style is a bit dated but the them is as fresh as a dose of lichen.
As well as the overall theme I enjoyed the discussions of the sociological implications.
And the narrator was pretty good too.

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  • Leonie
  • 03-28-22

Very dated, but still well worth the listen.

Listening to this book really brought home to me how very much the world has changed, particularly for women, since it was was released in 1960. The story was thought-provoking and addressed the implications of a scientific discovery making it possible to slow the ageing process so that we could live for several hundred years, I found however that it was set in such a different world to the 21st century, that it was difficult to relate to some of the problems and approaches. That said, I enjoyed the book and the narration was excellent

And thank you Audible for putting it and the other John Wyndham works on the PLUS catalogue. Makes a subscription even more worthwhile..

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  • Kelvin
  • 02-12-22

Understated classic British SF

I wasn't sure what to expect from the title and the story took a few minutes to get going. Well developed and insightful without populist violent overtones.
I suspect that this classic has been the inspiration for at least several more modern Sci Fi attempts to address the implications of human longevity.

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  • Philip Morse
  • 02-09-22

it was OK

was not sad to reach the end of this one.
of all of john's stories, this one has held me the least