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on 12 August 2005
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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on 7 February 2000
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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on 13 February 1999
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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on 8 January 2001
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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VINE VOICEon 31 January 2006
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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on 13 July 2014
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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VINE VOICEon 6 April 2013
The second novel in the series by Jeff Vurt and to be honest I'm just pleased that I read them back to back as otherwise the complex cyberpunk world would have not only become confusing but also something that would have had me missing certain links and sleight of hand tricks that made this such a compelling read.

The prose is sharp, the story wonderfully rich and when added to characters who the reader just can't help but want to know more about, all round makes this a series that for me has to be a modern classic. Add to the mix some wonderfully subtle twists, alongside some seriously delicious dialogue and all round you're in for one hell of a treat. Great stuff.
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on 31 August 2016
good product
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on 4 January 2014
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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on 17 February 2015
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