Read Trouble with Lichen by John Wyndham Online

trouble-with-lichen

A satirical and fantastical foray into world of biochemistry and the discovery of the cure for aging. An outstanding, classic science fiction text....

Title : Trouble with Lichen
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780140019865
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 208 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Trouble with Lichen Reviews

  • Nayra.Hassan
    2019-04-07 16:20

    ان جيلنا لا يعبأ بالتعاسة التي سيسببها..✒اللعنة على اطفال اطفالنا مادمنا نحن على ما يرام ..و لكن اذا استطعنا ان نحيا حياة طويلة كي نقلق من اجل انفسنا؟؟اننا نخطو نصف خطوة نحو الحكمة و بعدها نشيخ..نحتاج الى الوقت كي نكتسب الحكمة و نستعملها..و الا سنموت جوعا"اهذا هي قصص الخيال العلمي التي تروق لى⚪.. ذلك النوع الطموح الفلسفي العاقل الذي ميز فترة منتصف القرن العشرين فكرة لامعة عن منتج "الانتيجيرون" المأخوذ من "الحزاز" لا يمنحك الخلود بالطبع و لكن يطيل عمر الخلايا بشكل يمنحك وقتا اطول تبهرك الرواية رغم بطء أحداثها و كثرة تفاصيلها و طابعها البريطاني البارد .. و لكن تظل تتأمل في تلك العالمة النابهة "اقدر جدا اختيار مخترعة" ديانا العبقريةالتي تهرب اللاليء الثمينة داخل لاليء مزيفة"مجازا". .فقد وضعت منتجها العبقري في إطار تلك المنتجات التي يتوقع منها الناس النصب دوما. .و للرواية ترجمة جيدة بين روايات عالمية الخاصة بدكتور احمد خالد توفيق تحت اسم..الحزاز

  • Nikki
    2019-04-10 15:18

    Trouble with Lichen didn't strike me as quite as readable as Wyndham's other books, but the prominence of female characters/concerns was a welcome surprise. The plot is a bit different to Wyndham's other books, too. You might be excused, knowing Wyndham's other books, for thinking that this is a book about lichen taking over the world, but this isn't one of his post-apocalyptic efforts.If you've enjoyed Wyndham's other stuff, this is a bit different, but equally enjoyable, I think. The science isn't too stunningly out of date or anything like that; Wyndham's writing is perhaps a little more stilted here than I remember it being in other books, but I enjoyed his hold on characters and relationships more.

  • Arielle Walker
    2019-03-31 10:28

    3.5I'm fast becoming a fan of Wyndham's works. This is a lot more thought provoking than Day of the Triffids, though I will confess to enjoying it far less. Though it comes across a little preachy at times, Trouble With Lichens is nonetheless interesting, funny (at times), relevant and thought provoking, and I can honestly confess that I did not see that end coming.

  • Shannon
    2019-04-07 17:25

    This book was written by the guy who wrote Day of the Triffids, and we should all know what I think of that book by now [it's awesome to the power eleventy billion]. I was expecting something along similar lines – an out of control plant species runs amok, humanity is threatened, and we are forced to face the moral questions that come along with fighting for survival in an increasingly cruel world.That’s not what Trouble With Lichen is about at all, though I did keep imagining this silent creep of green mossy evil, slowly enveloping humans like a oozy blob, because it’s a funny mental picture.One of my major complaints regarding classic-era science fiction is the dearth of female characters with responsibilities that go beyond making tea. I was a bit concerned when one of the first characters introduced was a woman named Diana Brackley, who was described as beautiful and well dressed. Bad sign. However, it was soon conveyed that Diana was weird. Extremely intelligent, Diana receives a scholarship to Cambridge and becomes an extremely gifted biochemist. While working at a research facility, she discovers a plant with the power to slow cell growth by a factor of three, effectively cutting the aging process by a factor of three. With no side effects!Wyndham is great at exploring the moral and social fallout of great change. Most of this book is a dialog between Diana and the owner of the research facility, Francis Saxover, who also independently discovered the life-extending properties of the lichen. I really enjoyed reading Diana Brackley and loved that she was always about four steps ahead of everyone else in the book. The other characters were a little one dimensional, but that’s what happens when a story revolves around the actions of one particular person. Also I’m pretty sure she never made tea.This book isn’t as good as Day of the Triffids, but nothing is. I liked it more than The Chrysalids, and think it’s a great example of what John Wyndham’s work. I’m going to pass this along to a few people I think would enjoy it.This was a bookstravaganza book where only one person voted on the books. Cathey suggested I read this with a glass of Wyndham Estates Bin #999 and I think that’s a great idea. Wine + books = win!

  • Robert
    2019-03-31 11:47

    I read several Wyndham novels when I was 12 or 13 - this was one of them. My recollection of those novels was that they were enjoyable but tended to have poor endings, as if Wyndham had said what he wanted, got bored and just stopped. The exception was The Day of the Triffids which had a satisfactory ending. So how would I respond to re-reading Trouble with Lichen?First I found it a good deal more sophisticated than memory had led me to believe: The book is a feminist tract, following the career of a strong, intelligent, visionary biochemist who uses the discovery of a lichen with anti-aging properties to start a revolution in the prospects for women not seen since the movement for universal suffrage.Second I found it technically distinctive: The narrative is fast-paced and driven largely by dialogue and fabricated quotations from newspapers and BBC broadcasts. Characters (often un-named) are left to discuss the evolving events as representatives of an entire social class or profession or sex, reminding me of the general passages in The Grapes of Wrath (such as the salesman who can't get enough jalopies to shift on to migrating Oakies). Telephone conversations between characters replace descriptions of action. That said, Wyndham does describe some of the most dramatic action directly.Thirdly, the ending, though abrupt, was fairly satisfactory, after all: Many SF writers would be more interested in describing the social consequences of a drug that can extend the expectation of life tremndously but that is not Wyndham is after - he wants to suggest that women are not merely ornaments or baby factories and the beginning of a social revolution gives him plenty of space to do so. He did indeed say what he wanted, then stop, but the resolution is fitting and pleasing.

  • Simon
    2019-03-24 13:47

    When I first saw the title of this book, I thought it would be about how lichen would somehow become a danger to mankind, pose a threat that might wipe us all out. But it's not like that at all. Rather lichen offers mankind the solution to one of it's oldest problems, but the two people who discover it fear the social ramifications of it getting out.I'm not even going to talk about the nature of the benefits this lichen offers to mankind because it's not revealed until about 25% of the way through the book. Though if you happen to glance at the back cover, you'll learn about it right away. But I'm doing my review for people who like to leave as much as a surprise as possible and don't read the backs of books (a very hazardous practice indeed).This is not a post-apocalyptic story, nor is it even apocalyptic, although it explores the trials and tribulations, moral dilemmas and philosophical discourses of the two main protagonists who semi-independently discover a rare strain of lichen that has the most unusual properties. Both realise that the effects on society could be earth shattering but both envisage different problems. First they wrestle with keeping the secret and when that proves no longer possible, they try to manage what happens. It is certainly an interesting premise and quite well written (in Wyndham's usual English, middle class way). But I wonder whether this would have been best condensed to a short story? At only around 200 pages it could hardly be described as long but it still felt drawn out at times. Not the best of his books I've read but still worth reading.

  • Ah Med Yahia
    2019-03-20 13:30

    " ماذا لو عشنا اعواما فوق اعوام من الترف والثراء اهذا حقا لنا بان نظلم اجيالا اخري .. ان تعيش ثلاثة اعمار عمرك .. اين يجد ابنائك العمل ... ماذا لو خلق هذا جيلين من العاطلين .... اللعنة على اطفال اطفالنا مادمنا نحن بخير"قصص الخيال العلمي دائما ما تجذبني نحوها فلا قدرة لي علي تركها ماذا تعرف عن الكيمياء الحيوية؟؟الانتيجيرون المستخلص من الحزاز ..الذي يقضي ع الشيخوخة ويطيل العمر الي مائتي عام .. ما السر ف هذا الرقم؟؟ ديانا الكيميائية التي فاقت التوقعات .. وكما وصفت .. تهرب اللالئ الثمينة بداخل لالئ مزيفة .. الناس لايومنون بمعاهد التجميل دائما ما تتميز باللاشئ . النصب من ثماتهم ولكنهم معها وجدوا نتائج حقيقية بفضل الانتيجيرون!!!!ان طال العلم وبلغ اقصي اقاصيه فلن يمنحك مراد الخلود ف النهاية .. فالموت ينتظر الاشارة لتنتهي رحلتك الدنيوية

  • Daavid (דוד)
    2019-04-08 10:18

    This John Wyndham book, did not really contain anything that made me feel awesome (or even great or wonderful, for that matter), and as a result after loving his books like The Day of the Triffids, The Chrysalids and The Midwich Cuckoos, having read through the years, this one was very much near to boring, and even skippable I should say, much like how Chocky was just prior to this about four years ago. In fact Chocky was slightly better than this!However, still, the idea of not ageing, being the main theme of the book, is put through well enough with its socio-political implications. But more could have been crept in. Barely a paragraph was observed with religious thoughts, and some more of it could have become interesting. Eventually I ended up thinking it was an alright-of-a-read, and was happy that it was only 200 pages long!

  • Fantasy Literature
    2019-04-09 14:31

    Published in 1960, John Wyndham’s Trouble with Lichen tells the story of Diana Brackley, a revolutionary, a feminist, and a scientist.Diana is considered odd because although she is attractive, she does not want to marry. Instead, she is dedicated to her career in the lab, and it is there that she makes her amazing discovery: a type of lichen that slows the aging process. Diana decides to use the lichen to empower women, and she sets up a beauty clinic that caters to rich and influential women (more often, unfortunately, women who are married to rich and influential men). Her goal is to create a class of powerful women who will shield her project and her dreams against the public when it learns... Read More: http://www.fantasyliterature.com/revi...

  • Jessica
    2019-04-11 09:41

    This was AMAZING! I love John Wyndham, but my problem with him was that his books always came across as sexist and racist. Though this book is still massively problematic in Wyndham's understanding of feminism, it's at least an understanding and frankly it's a pretty good one! He seems to have a good understanding of the binary between the public and domestic spheres and how that works in gender, and frankly, it was just well-written and exciting! My new dream is to find a lichen that starts a feminist revolution. This book is beautiful.

  • Havva
    2019-04-17 10:22

    Read this 13 years ago, only fiished it due to lack of alternative reading material. Disliked it enough that it stuck in my memory, although details are fuzzy. Didn't realize it was the same author as 'Day of the Triffids'.

  • Ellie Reynard
    2019-04-03 10:43

    This book is unusual and intriguing. Much more essay-esque than the rest of Wyndham's stuff, and perhaps that's contributed to it's comparable lack of popularity. On the other hand, this is an unusually feminist concept and execution from a white male in the 50s. Especially one who, as far as my limited research has found, wasn't particularly know for his feminist leanings.Could this have effected the book's readership? Possibly. And for feminism it's a highly questionable form of it. Though the movement has evolved a lot since the 50s, I can't see the majority of yester year's housewives reacting at all well to their depiction within the novel. But, as usual, Wyndham lays a very interesting suggestion at our feet. Is the suppression of women effected by our lifespan as well as (but not at all equally to) the patriachy? Without the pressure of achieving a husband and respectable family within our short years, would women feel freer to achieve more? Would we be expected to?However you react to his depiction I really do think The Trouble With Lichen makes an intriguing read. Agree, disagree - just don't leave it on the shelf. You can always toss it in the flames later. Unless you have a kindle.Don't burn your kindle.

  • Ape
    2019-04-13 09:23

    Curious little tale from Mr Wyndham. Published in 1960, and sadly some of the social issues that come up in this book are still as relevant, if not more, 55 years on. I wouldn't say this is his best novel, in fact it felt very slow and meandering to start, and in someways is slow moving, told through people having conversations. And yet when it does get going, it is engaging.This is the story of some Chinese lichen, that has the bizarre property of really slowing down the ageing process. To the point where it can be used for people to be able to live several hundred years. Young graduate Diana Brackley goes to work for Darr House. This is the bio-chemistry company set up by Francis Saxover. Whilst studying various lichens shipped in, Diana accidentally comes across the amazing properties of this plant-fungi. They independently research it and come to the same discoveries; Francis being a man and older is very cautious and doesn't tell anyone, aware of the global implications. Diana, young and female, continues onwards, seeing it as giving humanity the change to grow wise and change the world for the better. She leaves Darr House and sets up an exclusive beauty company, Nefertiti. Fourteen years later (I said this wasn't fast paced!), the truth starts to come out, and it causes uproar throughout the country. Women want to be young for ever. Then their husbands think it wouldn't be so bad either. Trade unions are dead set against it, fearing the lowly paid will be doing crappy jobs for three times as long, to keep the rich in the life of luxary for tripple time. There's panic on about world food shortages and over population; about the fact that the young won't be able to get jobs because the old will have to work longer (goodness, not heard that one before! =) ) and the morticians are worried that business is going to dry up.Diana is marked out as an oddball from the word go, making people uncomfortable. She is pretty with a sense of style. She is intelligent. But she's not interested in getting married and having children. Oh my god! And you might like to think this isn't a problem today in 2015 - certainly not to the same extent that attitudes would have been in the 1960s, but I think there's definately still an attitude with us today that all women must want a child! But Diana thinks women can achieve more than just being wives, just accepting things the way they are, and "diddling" through time without really thinking or wanting to change anything. She thinks in that extending women's youth, it gives them space to grow (the panic for marriage and children is put off if they wish), think and consider that society should be fairer, things can be arranged differently. And in some ways, although we've moved on since the 1960s, some of these issues still ring true. Here's Diana's thoughts:"My great-aunt fought and went to prison several times, for women's rights; and what did she achieve? A change of technique from coercion to diddle, and a generation of granddaughters who don't even know they're being diddled - and probably wouldn't care more if they did. Our deadliest susceptibility is conformity, and our deadliest virtue is putting up with things as they are. So watch for the diddles, darling. You can't be too careful about them in a world where the symbol of the joy of living can be a baked bean." (p45)

  • Philip
    2019-04-02 10:23

    ‘Who wants to live forever?’ Freddie Mercury once asked, well it turns out John Wyndham asked the same question years earlier, and the answer isn’t what you expect.Of course the knee-jerk position is to say Yes, of course I want to live for 200 years (as the rare form of lichen discovered in this book would allow you to do), but Wyndham takes the opposite view. When I gathered what the gist of this book was going to be, I assumed the rest of the narrative would be concerned with various governments and wealthy individuals killing each other to gain the secret of this plant’s life-extending properties, but no. Wyndham looks at the whole situation with much more insight.For example, if you were in a job you hate, barely scraping by on the wages you make, would you want to stay in that job for 150+ years? And what about your children? How are they going make a living if the previous generation don’t vacate their jobs? What if you have a painful and debilitating disease? This lichen doesn’t heal all illness; it just slows your metabolism slightly so you live 3-4 times longer. You can still get sick. You can still get hit by a bus. And what about overpopulation and food resources? How are you going to feed and house all these people if everyone lives two centuries? The author addresses these and many more social concerns of extended life for the masses.My one qualm, and it is a minor one, is the title of the book, which put me off for a while. It’s not very dramatic, considering the huge subject it tackles. Perhaps it’s just that Wyndham was part of that modest generation who invented British understatement. You can imagine someone similar saying: ‘This Hitler chap is causing a bit of trouble,’ during World War II.Once again Wyndham has delivered a highly intelligent novel with a compelling theme and addresses it in an interesting and unique way.

  • Lysergius
    2019-03-23 16:42

    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?

  • Jordan Thomas
    2019-04-10 17:34

    More like a 3.5, but I have bumped it up simply for my love of Wyndham. A very interesting look into the huge responsibility that comes with scientific discovery.

  • Lou Robinson
    2019-04-07 13:39

    Book club choice for February from Sue, and it's taking us back a few years, published in 1960. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, a certain feminist edge to it, and sci-fi but not space sci-fi, short and set in the UK, ticked plenty of boxes. My one and only criticism, a pretty abrupt ending, and I want to know what happens next!

  • Sandy
    2019-03-20 15:38

    By 1960, British sci-fi author John Wyndham was popularly known as the creator of what Brian W. Aldiss would later call "cosy catastrophes," largely by dint of a quartet of highly successful novels from the previous decade. "The Day of the Triffids" ('51) had dealt with walking, malevolent plants and a world gone blind following a meteor storm; "The Kraken Wakes" ('53) had told of an alien invasion from the oceanic depths; "The Chrysalids" ('55) had described a postapocalyptic world, and the puritanical society that had arisen in its wake; while "The Midwich Cuckoos" ('57) had treated of a group of youngsters with alien-enhanced abilities. His 1960 offering, "Trouble with Lichen," however, dealt not so much with cataclysms and inimical life-forms from the stars, but rather, with the societal upheaval that ensues after the announcement of the discovery of a life-prolongation substance. The book was initially released as a hardcover by the British publishing firm Michael Joseph; I was fortunate enough to have recently acquired the American, 35-cent Ballantine paperback from that same year of release. As it turns out, the book is another unqualified success for Wyndham, if a tad drier than those other four titles just mentioned. A very British affair, it still holds great appeal for an international audience, and aside from a few passing references, feels not a bit dated, despite being 57 years old as of this writing.In the book, the reader encounters a young woman, mainly via flashback, named Diana Brackley, whose funeral we witness in the opening pages. We later learn that Diana was a Cambridge graduate and a gifted biochemist, who had begun working at the chemical manufacturing plant established by one Professor Francis Saxover. After eight months on the job, Diana had noticed the strange effect that a spot of experimental lichen had shown in a saucer of milk. Independently of one another, and doing separate investigations in private, Diana and Saxover had each discovered a startling fact: This strain of lichen, which only grows in one small area of Manchuria, has the ability to slow the metabolic rate in an organism, and to retard the aging process! It is estimated that, depending on the purity and strength of administered doses, an age of 200 – 300 years could easily be reached by those people treated with it! The reactions of the two scientists are quite different, although both deem it wisest to keep this bombshell news from the general public. Francis treats himself and (secretly) his immediate family with the lichen, while Diana quits her job, opens up a high-toned beauty shop in London's posh Mayfair district, and treats herself and (secretly) several hundred wealthy, influential and well-connected women, whose aid she will probably need when the secret of the "antigerone" (as she calls her discovery) is eventually revealed. And after a nice run of 14 years, that secret does indeed come to light, resulting in society-shattering repercussions....The astute reader will notice that Wyndham did not name his book "THE Trouble with Lichen" (as might normally have been expected); such a title would of course have suggested a single solitary problem. And the troubles that the big reveal of the antigerone's existence causes are indeed manifold. One would think that such a discovery--the Fountain of Youth, the alchemist's Elixir of Life, realized at last--would be hailed as a modern-day miracle blessing by the world's populace, but as the author shows us, such might not necessarily be the case. Thus, there are troubled discussions of what might happen to the institution of marriage, when faced with a "till death do us part" vow that could last for three centuries. (We see this dilemma most starkly through the eyes of Francis' daughter, Zephanie, and her fiancé Richard.) At one point, Diana even wonders if the concept of "wife" might not soon be outmoded, to be replaced by the more practical "companion." Diana later ponders whether or not the current school system will be sufficient to prepare a child for a 300-year span. And what of the life insurance companies, which might soon be paying out annuities for many hundreds of years? And eventually, of course, the Church puts its two cents (or rather, pence) in, declaring it an abomination for the scientists to give mankind more than the "three score years and ten" spoken of in the "9th Psalm." And then the morticians start making noise about being put out of business, and the Russians declare that they have discovered the magical lichen first, and the Chinese move to seize the Manchurian wonder drug for themselves, and the conservative British papers start wailing about the unemployment and starvation guaranteed to follow, and...as you can see, there surely are more troubles than anyone could have imagined, following the announcement of the miracle substance, and Wyndham takes the time, in his densely written, compact book, to explore many of the ramifications.Modern-day readers of "Trouble with Lichen," especially women readers, may be gratified to observe how nicely feminist the author was here, in his penultimate published novel. Diana is shown to be not only beautiful, but something of a genius; always hatching long-range plans for the future, and always with Plans B and C up her well-tailored sleeve. Through her, Wyndham gave the reader some then-novel ideas on a woman’s place in society. Thus: "...being just a woman and nothing else does strike me as one of the dead-end jobs. You can't get any promotion in it--not unless you take it up as a courtesan...."And this: "The greatest enemies of women aren't men at all, they are women: silly women, lazy women, and smug women. Smug women are the worst; their profession is being women, and they just hate any women who make any other kind of professional success...."And this: "What I don't like about us is our readiness to be conditioned--the easy way we can be made to be willing to be nothing better than squaws and second-class citizens, and taught to go through life as appendages instead of as people in our own right...."For such enlightened statements as these, "Trouble with Lichen" is worthy of any modern reader's approbation.The book, of course, is hardly a perfect affair. As I mentioned, it is a bit dry, essentially humorless and, unavoidably, a bit dated in some instances (for example, the reference to the British newspaper "The Chronicle," which folded in 1960, and to the Russian newspaper "Izvestia," which ceased publishing in 1991). Much of the dialogue feels overwritten, especially that between Diana and Saxover, but I suppose that two bona fide geniuses just might be expected to converse in such a manner. Several plot points--such as the matter of Saxover's daughter-in-law stealing the antigerone secret--just peter out, never to be heard of again. And the book really is awfully talky; this reader could have done with a few more exciting sequences, such as the one in which Zephanie (is that really a name, by the way?) and her fiancé are kidnapped and coerced to spill information regarding her father's discovery. But basically, "Trouble with Lichen" is a novel of ideas, and of the effects on society of one of the greatest scientific discoveries of the age. Fortunately, Wyndham keeps his story moving at a brisk clip, and even reserves for his readers a wonderful surprise ending of sorts. And in this year of 2017, in which the very notions of science, facts and research are being denigrated and pooh-poohed by so many, how nice to come across a book with this telling statement about the matter...and from the British prime minister, no less: "...if you turn your face away from Science, she will land you a mule’s kick on your backside."Love it!(By the way, this review originally appeared on the FanLit website at http://www.fantasyliterature.com/ ... a most ideal destination for all fans of John Wyndham....)

  • Hilary
    2019-04-13 17:40

    3.5 starsRereading some old favorites. This is one that I come back to less often than others (The Day of the Triffids, The Kraken Wakes) but still find new points to enjoy nonetheless. It's different from most of his others, being more concerned with potential/actual societal change and the philosophical musings around what would happen if we could live 200 years.There's a preponderance of strong female characters - not entirely unusual for Wyndham, but they almost entirely dominate, making a nice change, and all with different voices.I still consider it one of his lesser books - it's also quite short - but much more enjoyable than, say, Chocky.

  • Elizabeth Elwood
    2019-04-19 12:18

    This was a quick read, breezily satirical and crisply written, with a charming heroine and an interesting hypothesis: What would happen if a lichen could be found and processed to create a potion that could slow the rate of human’s growth and extend people’s lives. Like all Whyndam’s novels, the interesting prediction of the future is eerily accurate in the foretelling of the problems that will come with progress. Written in 1960, the book is relevant today in its discussion of the implications of extensions of life and youth on society. With the aging bulge in population by ‘Zoomer’ baby boomers who are healthier, more active and numerous than previous senior generations, many of the attitudes described in Trouble with Lichen are showing up today. While I’m not generally a science-fiction reader, every so often I stray into one of the John Wyndham classics and always enjoy them sufficiently that I want to go back and re-read his other novels.

  • Alison Lang
    2019-03-28 13:45

    Not the best known of Wyndham's books - the Triffids offer stiff competition - and one I'd overlooked. It's of its time, a time before genetic engineering was dreamt of, and yet curiously relevant to our own age of obsession with self-image and eternal youth. It explores the questions that will always attend new technologies - who benefits, are they being misused, should they be reserved for the elite? - and has a good dig at the hysteria of the popular presses along the way. The heroine is curiously distant and we can't be sure her motives are entirely noble. The pursuit of scientific truth? Yes, but with millions in the bank and a life expectancy of three hundred years, Diana's not exactly a martyr to the cause. Or is she? She's a misfit, but one with means and wiles and goodness knows what plans for the "improvement" of humanity. An enjoyable read, if you like an enigma, which I do.

  • Heather
    2019-04-20 09:47

    I enjoyed the fast pace of this book, which followed the evolution of a female scientist and her male counterparts facing a moral dilemma with a new biological discovery. I felt that the character development was a bit shoddy. The author also uses different characters to move the story along and it left me wanting to know more about those characters than what was provided. In general it seemed to have a short story feel. It was a very quick read, I finished it in about 4 hours. Even so, I thought it was an interesting, fun, and somewhat insightful story.

  • Manny
    2019-03-30 11:42

    It's the 50s, and she tells people she's going to be a scientist. She meets with a variety of negative reactions, including "Huh?", "Why would a pretty girl like you want to do that?" and "You'll grow out of it when you meet the right man." But the one that really annoys her, and which they keep saying behind her back, is "What does it matter, as long as she's happy?" She grits her teeth and decides she'll damn well show them. And she does.

  • Iain
    2019-04-03 10:38

    A book with good intentions and good ideas that has not aged well. Not helped by the fact that it mainly features characters explaining events to each other rather than experiencing them, nor by substantial sections showing weird attitudes to the lower classes. Clearly sets out to be feminist and maybe was in the 50s, but that is the part that's aged worst. The best ideas are wasted and the whole is quite dull.

  • Amanda
    2019-04-06 11:19

    It is nice to explore the ethics/morals of scientific discovery, both the discovery process itself and the potential impact such a discovery would have on society and the environment. The book is paced quite well, and I finished it in one sitting. :)

  • Bettie☯
    2019-04-13 10:25

    A comfort read for a tired (faux) lady.

  • وائل المنعم
    2019-03-24 16:33

    Very naive and modest writing, maybe this isn't one of John Wyndham best works, but the man who wrote like that - even once - i can't expect any thing from him.

  • Lee
    2019-04-08 15:37

    Here I am, then, seven books into Penguin’s sexily reissued novels by John Wyndham. And yet, seven books in, he still surprises and delights me with his work. The rascal.The first Wyndham novel I read, not-coincidentally seven years ago, was The Day of the Triffids. That book may be better known than my most recent consumption Trouble with Lichen, but the two works do have some surprising parallels. Both have plants lurking ever-present in the background as the story’s ostensible focus, but make no qualms about the fact that no matter how big a deal the plants are, it’s we humans that really decide whether to make the world a better place for ourselves.That’s not to say the two stories are simple copies of one another. In Triffids the eponymous plants are a man-eating threat, kept in check until a peculiar meteor shower renders most of humanity blind. Civilisation promptly collapses while the Triffids shuffle around chomping on a mostly defenceless population. It’s up to the luckily not-blinded protagonists to band together against the threat of the Triffids and the more nefarious groups of sighted survivors. Conversely, in Trouble with Lichen the plants are neither mobile nor threatening. Rather the titular lichen is found by a pair of scientists to have astonishing life-lengthening effects, stretching out a human lifespan to several hundred years. The real story here is how to deal with this discovery. Sell it to the highest bidder? Use it to spark a cultural revolution? Destroy the samples and ignore it? All of the above? No, not all of the above. You can’t sell it and destroy it or the buyer will want a refund; and how’re you going to use it to revolt if you’ve sold and destroyed all the samples? Honestly, get a grip.The Day of the Triffids is often called a “cosy catastrophe” novel since it describes society going up shit creek in a handbasket all while the stiff-upper-lipped heroes sit around discussing philosophy and drinking tea. Trouble with Lichen meanwhile isn’t particularly cosy nor catastrophic, it’s more of a social commentary on the way science is misunderstood by society and the evils of gender inequality. (Thank goodness those aren’t issues any more, fifty-six years since the book’s publication. Ahem.)Despite all these differences, the two works really did strike me as sister novels. And, it turns out, the parallels between Triffids and Lichen are not a coincidence. Archivists at the University of Liverpool recently found two opening chapters, prepared by Wyndham in the early 1950s. They are, alas, just early glimpses of what could have been since Wyndham appears to have ditched both storylines in favour of the novels we eventually got. Still, it behoves me to reproduce them here for posterity. I’ll start with the opening words from the truly terrifying The Trouble with Triffids…The Trouble with Triffids, Chapter 1 [reproduced with the kind permission of Prof. T. Winklebottom, University of Liverpool].Not even the most optimistic estate agent would call the building sturdy. Half the windows were missing and the door looked like it couldn’t quite decide whether to rest on its hinges or the floor. But there were four walls and a roof, and I damn sure couldn’t run any longer. Besides, it was just possible the pack following me would miss this place and I could stop running. At least for a while.I thought back on the journey that had brought me here, and I shuddered. Three of us had fled the city under cover of darkness. We thought we’d been clever. We thought we were safe from those bloodthirsty things. We thought wrong. Only two of us made it into the woods. I honestly believed we’d be safe there, a belief I held on to right up until we were ambushed and my companion was torn to pieces beside me. Safe now in the dilapidated cabin I couldn’t suppress a shudder; I could still hear the terrible noises the creatures made as they feasted. No, wait. I really could hear them. They were at the door.I could only keep still, hoping they would pass by, leave me be. But the hope was dashed almost as soon as it arrived as the door creaked open, revealing my pursuers. There were three of them, too many to fight off by myself. And yet they entered the building slowly, almost nervously. Their movements seemed to have a purpose to them. I could almost believe they were intelligent, driven by something other than base chemical reactions and a desire to feed. But no, that was absurd.Once they realised I was alone they seemed to relax, hunger radiating from them. It was hard to tell, but I was fairly sure that two of them were female, and one a male. They looked young too. Of course, that meant nothing any more. Ever since they had realised that Triffid flesh halted their ageing process almost every adult human had been an enduring twenty-something. But not for much longer, now that so few of us remained. It was scant consolation, but I took it gladly as the three bore their teeth and approached.Not to be outdone, here’s the opening of what would have been Wyndham’s break-out novel had he not written Triffids instead.Day of the Lichen, Chapter 1 [ibid].Will Stonecutter was one of the lucky ones. On the evening of May the eighth he was in hospital for ear surgery. He had lost one of his ears and the other had been damaged in an accident during his work as a lichenologist, a word that is totally real. The operation to treat his remaining ear was a total success, but the quantity of bandages used on his recovering lughole left him unable to hear anything short of nuclear armageddon. Or maybe not even that. Fortunately his eyes were unaffected so he was able to enjoy the unusually vibrant meteor shower taking place that night, although he fell into bed and asleep before the show reached its peak.The next morning he awoke to find his room’s window shattered. He wondered what could have caused it, but this mystery was replaced by another when he noticed the clock and discovered it was nearly midday. He should have been awoken hours earlier, both for breakfast and to have his bandages removed, and yet his broken window suggested that no one had been in his room at all. Taking matters into his own hands, Will carefully unwrapped the bandages, and heaved a sigh of relief as the cool air reached the clammy skin of his ear, and sounds returned to him. But what unusual sounds they were.His violently open window allowed all the sounds of the city outside to come to him, and it sounded like bedlam. Car alarms blared, sirens wailed, and while he couldn’t discern individual voices there sounded like a lot of shouting going on. Will frowned at this. All this shouting and noise didn’t seem very British to him.At that moment a new sound joined the cacophony - Big Ben announcing midday. Will was due to be discharged during the morning, so he felt perfectly within his rights to change into his waiting clothes and see himself out. He intended to have some aggressively polite words with whatever nurse was on duty so as to make felt his displeasure at not being seen, but his plans hit a snag when he made it to the front door of the hospital without seeing a single member of staff.Outside the hospital was a gentle orgy of civil carnage, scenes to make any self-respecting Englishman really rather discomposed. The shouting Will had heard from his room turned out to originate from people on the street simply conversing, albeit louder than seemed necessary and standing closer than could be called decent. The numerous car alarms seemed to be caused by people bumping into parked cars hard enough to trigger the alarm, but Will was horrified to note that these people were then walking on without apologising profusely to the inanimate object. It didn’t take long for Will to realise the shocking truth: London had been rendered almost entirely deaf. From various shouted conversations he discerned that the meteor shower of the previous evening had been so loud as to, at least temporarily, deafen the entire populace.Odder than even this aural malady was the green lichen that seemed to have sprouted up overnight all over the city. Most people seemed to be giving the lichen a wide berth, which Will considered a wise idea. The lichen infesting the city he recognised from his studies as munchius onpeopleius, a rare variety normally confined to laboratories that was technically carnivorous, although animals had to literally fall on top of it in order to be digested. A fate, he saw, that was about to befall a hapless young lady who was not looking where she was going and was about to walk right into a patch of the predacious plant. (Although, as a lichenologist, Will was well aware that lichen is not a plant but a symbiotic organism consisting of algae and fungi.)“I say, watch out,” called Will to the lady. But she didn’t hear him, what with the deafness and everything. He considered grabbing her by the shoulder, but that so deeply offended his sense of propriety that he decided it was better to let her be slowly consumed by lichen over the course of the next few hours. Happy that the lady’s honour had been maintained, Will headed off into London wondering if in this land of the deaf, the one eared man could be king.

  • KtK8 Sharma
    2019-04-11 12:28

    I'd forgotten a lot of this book since reading it first in high school. It resonates strongly today with the crisis our world is facing, part of which (population growth and feeding all the people of the world) was obviously seen by the author all the way back in the early 60's. The underlying idea of the book is that the world is stuffed because people don't live long enough to lead anything but self centred lives, not considering future generations, women rushing happily into marriage knowing that eventually they'll die and get out of it! Anti gerone slows the aging process and therefore a carefully selected group of people find that in fact, they are going to live much longer. The finder hopes that this will lead them to take on leadership roles, and in fact the wealthy, connected women are chosen to be given anti gerone without their knowledge for the ease of making that happen, and start to care for the world better. In doing so, women will be further emancipated. I enjoyed the book and hated to have to put it down while reading it, but the (I assume) blindness of the author to ingrained sexism evident in the book annoyed me (maybe it was purposeful?). It annoyed me that in the end Diana was in love the whole time and stated to her love that she had built a lab so that he would be able to discover a synthetic source of anti gerone, rather than doing it herself or both together as a team.

  • Megan Olsen
    2019-04-18 16:33

    I love science fiction--particularly mid-century short stories and novellas, so I was excited to dive into this one headfirst. Gender power structures and biochemical discoveries? I was ready to fall in love! (I'm not being facetious.) Then I started this one, and everything went off the rails. To begin, the pacing was a lot slower than I expected. Yes, modern media has conditioned us to consume only insta-action page-turners, but this felt slow even by standards of earlier literature. This novella definitely would have been more effective as a short story.Also, I expected women's empowerment to be more of a direct part of the plot, but all the important things just seemed to get passed over quickly or sort of mentioned in passing.I didn't connect with either of the main characters, nor did I really empathize with either of their feelings. I expected to love it, but it was pretty disappointing and forgettable. I've heard a lot of things about his other books, so maybe I started on a dud. I'll have to give him and his work another chance.