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  • Vurt
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 31 May 2001
Noon draws a thin line between hope and despair then grabs you by the hand and runs along it at break neck speed. Vurt is the ultimate trip, a world where you can go to escape but somewhere you may never escape from. Noon has created his own virtual reality in this book, based in Manchester the story revolves around a handful of strong dead-beat anti-heroes. Vurt itself is a world of dreams you enter using vurt feathers, the parallels between virtual reality and drug use are so close they often merge at points to become vurtually indistinguishable.
Scribble the main character is searching for his sister, who has become lost in the vurt world. Helped and hindered by his friends the stash riders, a group of social misfits who jump from one bad trip to the next. To reach his sister he needs to find a meta-feather, curious yellow. Once he has the feather he can exchange his sister for the vurt alien he bought back from the trip where he lost her. Unfortunately in his quest for the feather he loses the alien and that's just the start of his problems!
This is one of the most beautifully crafted stories you are likely to read, to label it as a cyber-punk novel is accurate but this must not deter you if Sci-Fi is not your thing. As a fast paced surreal adventure the story often leaves you breathless, and sometimes so close to tears it hurts. If your looking for a great Sci-Fi book or something fresh and different read this, you won't be disappointed.
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on 8 October 2003
The first of Noon's books. Take a trip into the twisted world of future Manchester, a world where everything we know around us has just warped that little bit more as time has progressed. People taking trips using brightly coloured feathers, the police force sponsored by the worldwide burger chain, DJs projecting music via their mind into nightclubs, the mix of humanity and technology. Some where in the middle of all this you are introduced to the plight of Scribble and his friends, on a quest to find his sister after a trip into a feather known as Curious Yellow goes wrong.
Jeff Noon manages to conjure up a world familar yet warped just beyond our recognition, his writing style is unique, taking life as we know it and projecting just a little into the future. I've never read a book which has such amazing pace to it. As you read further and further it just gets more exciting with every page as you find yourself staying up until the early hours to find out what happens next as Vurtual Manchester draws you in. As vivid as a comic book, you'll never experience anything like this. Those well versed in club culture and technology will find this book a particular joy. The future vision of Gibson mixed with the fantasy of Alice In Wonderland.
Read this, then read everything else he has done, no weak links in his chain.
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on 17 September 2000
I'd heard about this book from friends. I saw the play at The Contact Theatre, Manchester. This awsome production, the "Theatre Reximx", scripted by Noon himself was truly inspiring and was the last straw in getting me to read the book.
The book is truly unputdownable and explores drugs, rave culture, loyalty, science fiction, fantasy, sexuality and political control on a head rushing ride of a story that questions the boundaries of reality.
Read the book, ride in the stash van, avoid the robocops.
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If you want a twisted convoluted Cyberpunk world that takes modern day Manchester to a twisted slick future, then you really have to read this book by Jeff Noon. The world is wonderfully delightful to spend time in, with fully realised characters, cracking thoughts such as a corporate owned police force all wrapped up with a storyline that really grabs you by the nether regions refusing to let go.

Back all this up with top notch prose, great characters alongside a plot line that keeps you guessing and all round I was a more than happy reader by the final page. Just thank god I have the second to embark upon straight away as I found this title to be almost as addictive as the mythical curious yellow feather.
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on 20 October 2008
I read this book many years ago and it still sticks with me to this day. I really do mean it when I say that this book changed me... I am not sure if it changed me for better or worse, but it sure did something.

You will feel asif you are in a dream and by the time you flip the last page you will have gone through a mind ****.

This is what Jeff Noon intended to do and he sure did his job. You travel through dark streets, dream worlds, horror flicks, and find a few friends who are as real as any book writer could create. You will also find yourself strangely drawn to hating some of these people and at the same time wanting to know more about them.

This is Alice in wonderland with no rules. If you want a glimer of what this is like look at it like this:

Alice is screwing her brother, her best friend is making love to a dog who is human like. And while all this is going on the Cat is writing a guide on the best drugs and which ones to take and which not to take.... But Alice being a bad girl takes a bad one and gets screwed up.

This book is truly sick and twisted! You will never find a book like this again... Before reading this book write a diary... Cos you will want to look back at how you was before opening up the pages to this whole new world.
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on 12 August 2007
Vurt is an odd beast. I found it hard to start with, but soon the world had sucked me in. In futuristic Manchester those looking for hallucinogenic experiences suck on feathers to enter virtual worlds, Vurts. Stash Riders, a bunch of miscellaneous losers, hunt for interesting feathers and try to find Desdemona, who got stuck in a bad Vurt.

Noon has cooked up a futuristic and surrealistic world. The language is colourful and takes some getting used to. The world isn't explained thoroughly; some readers will certainly find Vurt too strange a feather to swallow. However, if you can accept that the world doesn't always make sense, the story moves on with a good pace and the plot is interesting.

Vurt isn't the easiest and most accessible book, but it's worth the effort. If you like it, there's more: Noon has written several books set in the same vurtual world.
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on 20 April 2001
In this first title by Noon we are treated to his ideas of what the future could be like. The book is set in Manchester, UK, (there is no mention of football teams) in the not too distant future (arent they always?), but although essentially an impossible future, Noon does draw you in and makes you really believe in his characters.
The book is based around the feathers, a drug which induces pre-programmed hallucinations. The twist is that there are different colours of feather - the blue ones are the only legal ones, pink are porno-vurts, and as for the yellow and silver ...
The story revolves around our rather unlikely hero who is struggling to retrieve his sister from the vurt-land along with his "crazy" friends - a non too easy mission. On the way they manage to pick up a thing, become involved in chases with shadow cops and generally get themselves into endless trouble.
I read this book for the first time about five years ago and make a point of reading a couple of times a year even now. Noon just manages to strike the perfect balance between reality and absolute madness. After the first few chapters you can imagine what a feather would be like, you want to drive with VAZ on your hands, you need to speak to the Game Cat ... In conjunction with Noons other works, some of which tie in very cleverly with his first offering, this has to be one of my favourite books of all time. I have reccomended it to all of my friends, most of which throughly agreed with me after reading it. So Im going to reccomend it to you aswell. There.
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VINE VOICEon 15 December 2005
Jeff Noon’s debut novel is a startling mix of science fiction and fantasy, essentially taking the tropes of cyberpunk SF and transforming them into something far stranger. Central of these is vurt itself – where Noon turns the standard hi-tech virtual reality of cyberpunk fiction into a ‘vurt’-ual reality (geddit?) of shared dreaming accessed by the oral intake of various coloured feathers – but Noon’s near-future Manchester is just as bizarre, peopled by robots, shadows, and man/dog hybrids. The storyline follows the adventures of narrator Scribble, as he desperately tries to win back his sister/lover from the vurt, and in the process learns it’s ultimate secret. A fantastic debut, full of lyrical prose, dreamlike imagery and a heart-rending emotional core, Vurt is like Neuromancer as written by Lewis Carroll. Essential for SF fans looking for something out of the ordinary.
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on 8 June 2001
This book cuts to the chase, literally, from the start. You knew you were entering another world, which had passages to more worlds still. In fact, where did it stop? Did you want it to? You were forced to deal with situations that would be morally controversial in our world, and just run with it in this one. You experienced everything that was on offer so vividly, that it was sometimes a wonder if you would get out too. The pace was fantastic, I loved or despised with passion every character, though they all seemed real and diverse at the same time. I raced through to get to the end but still wanted it to go on forever. But as we should know from the book, if not otherwise, nothing lasts forever.
It was funny in places, which is always needed in such an intense book, and its modern theme calms it down a little so it doesn't get too hysterical. It demands all of your attention when you read it, testing your imagination aswell as giving you little bits here and there, that are familiar to our time. The mental exploration was a bit like Trainspotting, but more powerful and upfront. It's definitely a book to give to my friends, but only begrudgingly, because I feel it's a dream of my own, though mine are a little more mundane.
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on 2 January 2016
I think I have read other reviews that make comparisons to Gaiman and PK Dick and the novel, Trainspotting. And yes, the elements of fantasy, the dreamlike quality, the uncertain nature of reality of some of these writers works and the disjointed, frenetic pace and structure of Trainspotting are all there but it doesn't feel derivative.
It feels like the complete vision of this authors imagination. A drug addled, dystopian roller coaster of a nightmare; set in an alternate reality which blurs the boundaries between real life and the 'feather' high and an unfamiliar cast of creatures: human, synthetic, part canine and shadow.
None of these things is ever fully explained but that is part and parcel of the experience.
Reading this novel is like jumping onto a moving train which takes you through an unfamiliar landscape at break neck speed. All the scenery is there but there's no time to fully examine it and you didn't get your copy of the guide book. You have to keep up with the narrator and main protagonist, Scribble and hope that the most pertinent dots will be joined up as the adventure moves along. Some are, some aren't. However, the story still manages to be: humorous, revolting, violent, moving, tense, poignant and always engaging.
I'm really not sure if it's a three and a half or a five star rating. I'm still ruminating but from the jumping on point, I liked it. I liked it a lot, so I'll go with four stars. Bite down on the feather if you dare and see where it takes you.
Note on the Kindle version: only spotted one small typo; other than that, all good.
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