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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 24 April 2017
I love this book, and its my favourite of all the John Wyndhams, but strangely is not very well known. It raises a lot of great questions about the science and beauty industry. Plus of course the key question: what would you do to stay young? I dont want to give anything away, but this is a great, thought provoking book that has aged well, and if anything seems more relevant today. Its only a short leap of the imagination, so suits those who dont like implausible books. Well worth a read even if you dont normally enjoy science fixtion at all.
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on 8 December 2014
My father was a John Wyndham fan, and I started reading his novels when I was about 10 years old. I am now revisiting them, and find them quite refreshing for books that were written in the 50's. Wyndham had quite an enlightened attitude towards the female characters in his books, and 'Trouble with Lichen' is no exception. The plot is fairly straightforward, and although filed under the genre of science fiction, it is not fantasy. As ever, Wyndham places the social dilemmas humankind faces when confronted with new science at the core of his writing. However, it must be said that this, one of his later efforts, does suffer from a peculiarly stilted style and rather awkward grammar & syntax at times. Still recommended.
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on 4 October 2015
This takes me back to reading "The Chrysalids" at school which I must read again as I remember that as being much better than this although it's a good read. The story is believable although the descriptions of broad attitudes to "career women" are a bit dated. I like the parallels to the serendipity of older scientific discoveries. A good solid read.
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on 17 August 2010
"The Trouble with Lichen" is an example of science fiction in the tradition of HG Wells in that the primary interest is in how normal (or clever) individuals respond to potentially dramatic changes. The inclusion of feminism as an issue is additional interest. There is no scary or shocking element in this book (unlike Wyndham's "The Day of the Triffids" where people are dying all over the place). In fact the lichen has no visible effect at all (the cover of this edition of the book is dreadful in this respect), people just age more slowly. But the book is a good read, well paced and sufficiently unpredictable to keep one's interest all the way through. It would be quite possible to read this even if one actively disliked science fiction, etc.

The crux of the matter is a scientific discovery which has huge benefits (makes people live longer) but which cannot be made available to everyone because there isn't enough of the special form of lichen needed. This means that the discovery has moral and political ramifications and it would make a good jumping off point for a philosophical discussion (perhaps I am showing that I studied PPE at university). But this does not detract from the book being a fun read in its own right.

Edmund Cannon, Bristol
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on 31 August 2017
I've not read this Wyndham book before. It was fascinating, and it's one I'll read again
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on 1 June 2009
Few novelists tackle the problem that all cosmetic companies seek as their holy grail - eternal youth. Wyndham, one of our greatest SF writers, did in this book, imagining how it might be discovered much as Flemig discovered penicillen - by accident.
As always, there is a romantic sub-plot, but it has a bitter tang. Though not one of his very best, it's easily as readable, elegant and intriguing as 'Chocky', and good for interesting teenaged girls in SF.
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on 27 May 2011
I have read and loved John Wyndham for years, and had all of his books in paperback, until I had a clear out and gave them away. So, I was delighted to see this for the Kindle and bought it again. I wasn't disappointed. I still disliked the characters that were unsympathetic and loved the main protagonists. Although some of the details were a bit dated, it still had the ability to keep me turning the pages.
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on 1 February 2018
One of the original and best science fiction writers in history.
At the time of writing it shows the vision of Wyndham for future possibilities. Always an easy and enjoyable read.
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on 30 October 2015
In addition to a very clever plot this book is an uncomfortable reminder of attitudes to marriage and relationships in the 1960's - the time when I was young and what is discussed in John Wyndham's book is all too familiar.
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on 8 February 2018
John Wyndham never fails to deliver a story which grips the imagination and challenges the mind.

I love all his books.
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