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4.3 out of 5 stars103
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 23 December 2014
Excellent follow up to trainspotting and completes the story of all of the characters - this one starts "grown up" but descends to trainspotting levels as the adventures gather pace - Welsh does have a love or hate aura but this is a great read even if not a die hard fan
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on 29 March 2012
The long awaited sequel to Trainspotting, and it is every bit as good as it's predecessor!

Just as raw, rough and ready as always, Irvine Welsh reunites the characters from Trainspotting, for loads more chaos and mayhem!

One question...When is this being made into a film?

Counting to the days to the release of Skagboys, the next in the series!
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on 23 August 2002
This book will probably be heralded as Welsh's return to form but I doubt whether he left it in the first place.
This, the sequel to trainspotting has many welcome continual traits. Drug abuse, scheming, cheating, violence-all the themes that highlight the worse sides of human behavior are all here, that give us that sick kick. However Porno is not as black nor foul as it's predecessor and this is coupled with warmer relationships and a more sedantry pace. The frenetic drug fuelled core to trainspotting has given way to the slow sleaze of porn. The focus on sickboy is fresh and the return of the other characters not tired nor rinsed. Porno is an accomplishment yet what will the critics say? Don't let their consistencies get in the way. This book cannot be agenda setting. Trainspotting has done that already but it is still a well crafted, revealing and most importantly, worthy successor. Roll on film.
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on 29 September 2007
Porno, as everyone should know by now, catches up with the characters from Trainspotting 10 years on. In the books since then (namely, Ecstasy, Filth, and Glue, with the exception of the criminally under-rated Marabou Stork Nightmares), the rascals have turned up in one guise or another so it's no real surprise that Welsh has returned to them. While it does help to create Welsh's own world, his fictional equivalent of Edinburgh as a closed environment. The cynic might say that this makes life easier for Welsh as all he has to do when he requires is let Begbie (or Larry Doyle, or Lexo, all previous creations) pop up.

This time there is no authorial narrative; the story is all told be the various characters. Welsh is superb at voices, and conveys the mindscape of Sick Boy, Begbie, Spud, Renton with no little skill. He also adds a new character, Nikki Fuller-Smith, a highly attractive female student from Reading, who meets Sick Boy and agrees to his scheme of making a porn, which forms the spine of the novel.

Welsh also understands and skillfully evokes the changes and developments of the four ex-Trainspotters superbly. He has a razor-sharp eye for social detail and uses this to great effect. It's one of the sad things in life that while youngsters from different backgrounds may start out on similar paths, eventually these differences alter their lives fundamentally. So Spud is getting nowhere fast, drifting through life and barely coping on a day-to-day basis; Sick Boy fears the onset of age as a user like him would no longer be able to blag it ("I need product" he says); Begbie, newly released from prison, continues on his inexorable path towards death or jail; while Renton, clearly Welsh's alter-ego, is an upwardly-mobile working-class intellectual. How their life trajectories have changed since Trainspotting is the real interest of the novel, rather than the porn fim itself, which sometimes seems like an excuse for some transgressive writing, on the pros and cons of anal sex for instance.

Porno is nowhere nearly as good as Trainspotting, but that was perhaps to be expected, for that has a white-hot intensity that can never be recaptured. It's like a punk band laying down their first album; there's a joyful euphoria to it, even if the material is edgy and bleak. Subsequent works are more professional maybe, but there is never the same focus and intensity. It's the difference between "Appetite For Destruction" and the "Use Your illusion" albums. The philsophical subtexts in Trainspotting (the use of Kierkegaard for instance) and the multiple narratives of Marabout Stork have similarly never been repeated, so Welsh's recent work lacks the literary qualities which once made it so exceptional, and seems fixated rather on the sex, drugs and violence.

Also, there's an unfortunate predictability - Nikki gets a flatmate, and who should it be but Dianne, from the "The First Shag In Ages" chapter in Trainspotting, and you can imagine what happens when Renton returns to Edinburgh. The climax, too, where Renton and Begbie meet, after just missing each other for some time (as you do in a city of 250,000 people) is dreadful. Perhaps it's an ironic joke to have a book called Porno have such an anti-climax, but sadly I don't think so. It's just so disappointing.

Nonetheless, there are many things to enjoy about this book: the humour, the narrative verve, the insight and detail, the characters, the cultural references are all good fun. But the book isn't a literary novel; it's popular fiction, and that's the difference between Irvine Welsh being great and him being quite good.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 24 December 2002
Before you read this book, you definitely must first read Welsh's first novel Trainspotting, and you should probably also read his last one, Glue. Porno is a direct sequel to Trainspotting, bringing back virtually all the characters some ten years later, and it's a semi-sequel to Glue, adding some of that book's characters into the mix, most notably "Juice" Terry Lawton and Rab Birrell. Porno will lack a great deal of depth and resonance for readers not familiar with those earlier books and their characters and settings.
And therein lies both Porno's attraction and minor disappointments. If you loved Trainspotting, reading Porno is very much like the experience of having seen a great band in a tiny club when they were just starting, and then seeing the same band ten years later in a large venue when they are more popular. They may still be amazing and play your favorite songs, but inevitably they've mellowed a touch, the intensity is isn't the same, and you get a little wistful. And to a certain extent, that's exactly what the book is about, aging, maturing, and getting over one's past. It's totally unfair to expect another Trainspotting from Welsh, an author can only write that passionate and electric a book once, and it's usually the first book they write. In any event, readers have had ten years to get used to reading Scots dialect and it's hard to conceive of what Welsh could write about that would be equally shocking as his heroin underworld.
In any event, Porno is a carefully plotted and constructed story, told in alternating first-person chapters by Sick Boy, his new lady Nikki Fuller-Smith, Spud, Begbie, and Renton. The central character is Sick Boy, who's seeking to reinvent himself as post-millenium entrepreneur, starting by making a porn film with his circle of acquaintances. Eventually this intertwines with the reappearance of Renton and the question of what went down in London ten years ago when he cheated Sick Boy, Begbie, and Spud on a heroin deal and skipped town. Cynics will no doubt say that Welsh is looking to ride the sequel bus to potloads of money, which is, again, unfair. Clearly the Trainspotting crew were the characters closest to his heart, so of course he's going to want to revisit them and it seems churlish to suggest that an author who uses characters twice is a sellout.
Foe most part the characters are exactly as they were in the earlier books, although to varying degrees, most realize they're getting older and need to change. In this regard, Spud's story is the most poignant and affecting of the lot. And of course Renton's attempt to settle the past and lead a normal life is hard not to empathize with, which is why mad-dog Begbie is such a menacing presence throughout the book. Ultimately however, this is a comedy, lacking the darkness of Trainspotting, or Welsh's severely underrated Filth. It's a wonderful sentimental adventure full or wacky hi-jinks, and comuppances aplenty.
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on 19 January 2015
Another delightful paddle in the warped comedy mind of Welsh. His ability to build characters,make you squirm and physically laugh out loud is second to none. I cannot wait until a Decent Ride lands in mid April. A true master of his craft.
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on 5 October 2013
This is a hilarious followup to Trainspotting. Whereas Trainspotting was quite serious and a bunch of short stories, this is one long story and an out-and-out comedy (I still laugh thinking of Begbie's reservations about a Thai restaurant)!
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on 29 October 2012
All too often I read a 'next in the series' book only to be disappointed but after reading 'Porno'- which Iread in a couple of hours- the second book to trainspotting I changed my mind. Porno takes the reader back to Leith with trainspotting's characters, older and wiser, it can only be said though for some and with additional characters and the re-appearance of an old face or two. Welsh's portrayal of the characters is fantastic, Simon 'sick boy' Williamson is still as determined as ever to make it rich no matter how many people the steps on to get to the top and the planning, plotting and scheming of sick boy and the addition of juicy new characters' antics and wit had me literally laughing out loud. Welsh is a genius; Will definitely be purchasing Skag Boys and every other book that Welsh has ever written. After reading both books I found myself saying 'pish' and 'likesay', this book really gets under your skin and once i started reading I just couldn't put it down.
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on 16 May 2015
I'll start by repeating what others have already said.

It's a direct sequel to trainspotting, set 10 years later. It isn't trainspotting. In fact, it varies in several ways.

Whilst trainspotting was more a collection of first person short stories that ultimately ended in a short third person ending (Renton ripping the gang off), Porno has a more direct narrative. Yes there are first person narrative from Simon, Nikki, Spud, Renton and Begbie, but each chapter gets us along further in the story. Also, the inclusion of a female narrative, however unlikeable she is, makes for a great change in the "trainspotting" world.

I think there are positives and negatives most definitely, the negative being that is much more linear than trainspotting, but that is also the huge positive. As I type this review I am lying on holiday in the Caribbean, and depsite the tranquil setting I'm surrounded by, I still couldn't wait to get back to my room to read about Spud trying to write his book, or Begbie go on about a "tie restaurant in leith!"

Trainspotting is most definitely the book you will pick up in future and read a random chapter, and I think Porno is the one-time-only thriller that you read and love, and when Mr. Boyle and Mr. Welsh get it together, it will be the movie we all love.
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on 7 November 2002
As I read Porno I was pulled back into the world of renton, sick boy et. al, and was pleased to say that despite all the hype that trainspotting went on to produce, the new book is a truly believable 10 years on. Don't know how they'll film it though. In my top 3 welsh books - trainspotting and marabou stork nightmares being the others. Highly recommended.
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