Trouble with Lichen : Classic Science Fiction Paperback
by John Wyndham
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?
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 208 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
- Publication Date: 07/08/2008
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780141032986
Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.
Review by penwing
I whizzed through this book in a day. Other reviewers have mentioned that it is irrelevant to today but I disagree. Management of desire to commercial or political ends is still very much in fashion - look at the annual Christmas must-have toy. Management of scarce natural resources in terms of both fulfilling short term desires and longer term as a result of our aging and growing population is still a somewhat important topic - look at pensions, look at the work needing to be done to improve crop yeilds. And the correct way of dealing with medical and scientific advances - look at badscience.net and tell me that's not still an important issue.So, relevant and thoroughly enjoyable!
Review by soylentgreen23
I've read a lot of Wyndham now, and his books seem to be of a sort - semi-serious examinations of difficult philosophical or societal problems with a tongue set firmly in cheek. I prefer his 'The Day of The Triffids' which I felt was just serious enough; this is more like 'The Chrysalids' which is sad, dramatic and also occasionally 'funny' (the humour doesn't always age well).You could say that 'Trouble With Lichen' is also one of Wyndham's more experimental pieces, as he starts the book with something of a retrospective of the main character, looking back almost from the end. Such a stylised form is unlike his other writing, and doesn't entirely work. However, once the story of a scientist's discovery of an anti-aging lichen gets underway, it is pretty interesting and offers a lot to think about.
Review by sanddancer
Sci-fi is just not my sort of thing, but I love John Wyndham and am gradually working my way through his books. In this one, Diana, a bright, beautiful but unconventional bio-chemist accidently discovers that a lichen possess the powers to slow the aging process. Her boss and mentor has also discovered this secret, but while he doesn't quite know what to do with it, Diana puts into place a masterplan that she hopes will change society forever. The book was published in 1960, so some of the dialogue and the attitudes expressed by some characters about a woman's role seem a bit dated, but, as with his other books, the big ideas about the implications of science of still relevant today. The book poses the question of what would happen if people lived longer - although we aren't reaching 200 years old, recent medical advances mean that an aging population in a very real issue in our society today and the other issue of women's limited years of fertility has also become more of an issue in recent years as woman have careers and delay becoming parents. Many other reviewers have said that it isn't his best work, and whilst it isn't a classic like Day of the Triffids or The Chrysalids, I still thought it was thought-provoking and a good story too.