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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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!

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  • Tristan Rowley
  • 01-20-22

Fantastic stuff

Loved this, absolutely gripped by it. Great performance and fascinating story. Thought provoking and brought a tear to my eye at times too, felt especially remarkable given its original publication in 1960. I'd already enjoyed reading The Day of the Triffids and The Chrysalids, but will now need to devour all of Wyndham's work!

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  • Mr. M. Elsy
  • 01-19-22

A great story by John Wyndham.

This is a great story about life extending Lichen that's been discovered by accident superbly narrated by Vanessa Kirby. The only problem is chapter's inside chapters, when she says chapter 15 it's actually chapter 16 in the menu how hard is it to do the chapter's correctly. Audible do this time after time.

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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.

1 person found this helpful