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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blurred Reality
If there is one thing I love about Jeff Noon novels it is his ability to take two things from opposing ends of a spectrum and mix them together. Humanity meets animal, organic alongside machine, traditional detective thriller meets fantasy, everyday mundane normality twisted into the dreamlike future. Pollen highlights this blurred reality to great effect, almost as if...
Published on 12 Aug 2005 by Simon J. Whight

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A decent read, but not the hottest Noon
Make no mistake, 'Pollen' showcases Noon's unsurpassed talent in twisting reality and language until you lose the ability to understand your own. The plot is interesting and ideas are thrown at you so fast that it'll take an hour for your head to wind down. But, and you knew there was a 'but' coming, it's not the best example of Noon's distinct work.
I didn't just...
Published on 4 July 2001 by Winged Monkey


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blurred Reality, 12 Aug 2005
By 
Simon J. Whight "fourfourfun" (Manchester) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Pollen (Paperback)
If there is one thing I love about Jeff Noon novels it is his ability to take two things from opposing ends of a spectrum and mix them together. Humanity meets animal, organic alongside machine, traditional detective thriller meets fantasy, everyday mundane normality twisted into the dreamlike future. Pollen highlights this blurred reality to great effect, almost as if viewed through the eyes of a bleary hayfever sufferer.
As with most of Noons Vurtual universe, Pollen is set in the near future of Manchester, initially starting out as a bit of a detective romp, following the bizarre hayfever like deaths that build up through the novel. Once again there is a fantastic sense of pace to the book that sees you tumbling through the pages to devour 'just one more chapter' as the countdown to the big sneeze ticks on down. As you progress further throughout the book, the grim reality of the Manchester that it is set in becomes more and more separated from reality as our group of main characters head towards the big showdown in the fantasy domain of John Barleyman.
I love the fact that the Vurtual books can all be linked together, Noon has created a Manchester with a unique identity. Unified through dreams, Alice In Wonderland and the Looking Glass Wars, the mysterious lubricant company Vaz. Everything has a purpose and a history that one book may hint at and another may unfold. Take Vurts central theme of the mysterious dream feathers and how Automated Alice twisted take on Alice In Wonderland gives the history as to where the dreaming originates from.
This is one for underground culture to lap up. References to the modern day underground, be it music or the slightly dark side of our lifestyles today, will hook you in and the pacy, satisfying excitement of the books will have you lapping up each of the books in turn. Its a shame that I've not seen anything from Noon for a while, am hoping the Vurtual universe will be expanded some time in the future. If you're new to Noon, best place to start is Vurt, but if you've been there and are looking for more, the quality carries on through this and Nymphomation. Completists will have to pick up Pixel Juice and Automated Alice to fill you in on those little questions that have been nagging in the corners of your mind.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Vurt fights back, 31 Jan 2006
By 
Jane Aland (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Pollen (Paperback)
Following the huge success of his debut novel ‘Vurt’, it came as no surprise that Jeff Noon’s second novel would turn out to be a sequel. Fortunately, instead of a cynical ‘more of the same’ book, ‘Pollen’ is the very best type of sequel, where the novel takes the under-explored ideas from ‘Vurt’ and develops them further. In the first novel the vurt is introduced as a shared dreamscape filled with bizarre fantasy, and in this novel the inhabitants of this imaginary landscape start to invade reality itself. The background for the virtual reality dreaming of the vurt itself was always skirted over in Noon’s debut novel, but ‘Pollen’ pulls off the tricky task of giving the reader more information while preserving the dreamy fantasy feel. Another good example of the books development of ideas is in the explanation as to the background of the Shadow-creatures – characters completely unexplained in ‘Vurt’, but here given a startling origin concerning the mating of the living and the dead under the influence of a hyper-fertility drug gone mad. Filled with fantastic imagery and evocative writing, ‘Pollen’ is a sequel that matches the brilliance of its predecessor. Highly recommended.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A decent read, but not the hottest Noon, 4 July 2001
This review is from: Pollen (Paperback)
Make no mistake, 'Pollen' showcases Noon's unsurpassed talent in twisting reality and language until you lose the ability to understand your own. The plot is interesting and ideas are thrown at you so fast that it'll take an hour for your head to wind down. But, and you knew there was a 'but' coming, it's not the best example of Noon's distinct work.
I didn't just step off the 'Vurt' bus and climb aboard 'Pollen' expecting the same mad genius. I've read the rest of Noon's stuff too and I've come to the conclusion that this is probably his weakest novel. The story is a little messy and the characters failed to draw me in. It IS a good read, but not an extraordinary one, particularly when you place it in context to the rest of his catalogue. For a follow up to 'Vurt', I believe 'Nymphomation' is a far more interesting in its relations, and if you want Noon to take you somewhere slightly different, try the excellent 'Needle in the Groove'. In summary, read 'Pollen' (and enjoy it) if you're a fan, but if you're not then don't expect it to convert you.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Unreal, 28 Nov 2004
This review is from: Pollen (Paperback)
Even though this book stands alone it is helpful to have read Vurt which will get you used to Noon's unique writing style and also the slightly queasy world he writes about. It also helps to share Noon's fondness of Manchester. I love the fact that the city seems to be the only constant as reality and dreams mingle.
The vivid characters such as Boda, a cabbie with an all over tattoo of the streets of Manchester, and her dalmation boyfriend, Coyote find themselves fighting against the Vurt, dreams that want to take over reality. The strands of the story come together linking the Shadowcop Sybil and the prirate DJ Gumbo with Boda and Coyote as they try to get into the Vurt and stop the invasion of Persephone and her murderous flowers: there aren't many writers that could make flowers terrifying.
The only critism I have is that towards the end the story gets very confusing and I had to retrace my steps several times to understand what was going on. But I still enjoyed it, not least because some of the weird and slightly disgusting stuff from Vurt is explained.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Weird but compulsive., 7 Feb 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Pollen (Paperback)
This novel is certainly somewhat odd. While I agree with the previous reviewer that towards the end things become severely tangent I think this has the effect of drawing you further into the breakdown between dream and reality which the central theme of the story. You are meant to feel lost and disorientated.
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4.0 out of 5 stars messed up X-rated episode of Dr Who, 13 July 2006
By 
This review is from: Pollen (Paperback)
It's been a while since I read Vurt, Jeff Noon's first novel of Manchester set 'cyberpunk' but, even with my memory, I can guarantee that Pollen is far more messed up than its predecessor. A through the looking glass tale involving various forms of inter-species breeding (human-dog, human-corpse, human-plants), in which the zombies live near Alderley Edge. However, in its modernising / continuation of traditional myths this has a lot in common with Alderley Edge's Alan Garner, who I'm sure would approve of the prominence of John Barleycorn.

This is the most messed up X-rated episode of Dr Who never made.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Why haven't you read this yet?, 13 July 2014
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This review is from: Pollen (Kindle Edition)
I read this ages ago (in paperback) and have recently re-read it now on the Kindle. I do like Jeff Noon's work and think Pollen is probably one of the best (even better than Vurt and Nymphomation which are both excellent books themselves). If you've not read this yet and like the whole 'Vurtchester scene' then I can wholeheartedly recommend it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars another present, 4 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Pollen (Paperback)
My son loves Jeff Noon books and was missing this one - he loves it and no doubt I shall borrow it at some point
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as Vurt, 13 Feb 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Pollen (Paperback)
This book begins well but declines badly later on, becoming simply too detached from reality, and verges on the unreadable towards the end.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars And on with the dream..., 8 Jan 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Pollen (Paperback)
Definitely one for Noon lovers amongst us, but I'd certainly recommend reading this one after Vurt. Not because you need to, simply because of the way the author plays with the reader, slowly giving away more details about characters and situations from his previous (and follow up) books. A fast paced spiral into mancucian decay. Excellent train reading on account of the story being much more involving than a commute into the city could ever be!
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Pollen
Pollen by Jeff Noon (Paperback - 7 Dec 2001)
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