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on 16 May 2017
Complete nonsense, with too many 'Alice In Wonderland' overtones. Having thoroughly enjoyed Vurt. I was really disappointed by this book and gave up reading it at the start of Chapter 2.
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VINE VOICEon 2 July 2006
`Automated Alice' is simultaneously a `trequel' [sic] to Lewis Carroll's two `Alice' books and Jeff Noons earlier `Vurt' novels, following the adventures of Alice as she climbs through a clock's workings and gets transported into fantastic adventures in modern day Manchester. Taken purely as an adult sequel to `Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' and `Through The Looking-Glass' this is a fantastic achievement, with Noon brilliantly aping Lewis Carroll's style and sharing a love of puns, wordplay and nonsense with Harry Trumbore's internal illustrations matching the style of Tenniel's original pictures. Noon has great fun introducing Alice to such modern day concepts as computers and quantum mechanics while skewing things in typically nonsensical fashion (so civil servants become Civil Serpents while the Cheshire Cat is transformed into a chameleonic Quark) while the device of Alice hunting down missing pieces of a jigsaw puzzle drives the story in much the same way as the chess game drives `Through the Looking-Glass'.

When read as a sequel to Noon's earlier shared-world novels `Vurt' and `Pollen' however the book takes on an additional resonance, with Alice's earlier appearance in `Pollen' given additional background while the plotline takes in the `disease' responsible for the merging of humans and animals in the Noon's future world, with plenty of sly winks towards the feather-accessed Vurt.

Read either way this is a fantastic novel, filled with bizarre imagery, wordplay and metafiction, but to really get the most from it you should read both Noon and Carroll's earlier works first.
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on 21 July 2009
Jeff Noon's future-set reworking of Alice starts off well, quick, inventive, unusual. It seems like a good companion to Carrol's Alice. But then Alice finds herself in a future manchester, a future manchester that, disappointingly, isn't that interesting. It's populated with people who are half men and half animals, and the fun Noon has with this goes on for far too long. The second half of the book is far to logically plotted, losing the dream-like logic that started it off so well. We end up with Alice investigating a series of murders, which drags on until the ending comes as a relief. A great idea (wonderland via manchester) never really bears fruit, as the future world just doesn't have any character, much like Automated Alice (alice's underused twin sister) herself.
As for Noon inserting himself into the novel as "Zenith O'Clock," this episode seems just jarring and pointless. Too many attempts are made to deconstruct Alice's character, and too little time is spent making her likeable in the first place.
Well written, well illustrated, and certainly worth a look, but it should have been so much better...
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on 22 June 2000
Automated Alice is a fantastical journey into the issues theatening contemporary society; genetic modification, virtual reality, artifitial inteligence and the abuse of power to name but a few. Wonderland thust into the future at a dizzying pace, keeps you reading with humour, suspense and hyperreal resonance. The continuity of theme within the book mirrors the original adventures to produce a highly intelegent novel to complete with the philosophical complexity of works like 'Matrix' and Boudrillard's 'Simulations'. This book is a must to any one wishing to educate themselves in the problems facing humanity from technoscientific development. Using Lewis Carrol's style, with a demanding injection of his own poetic prose, Jeff Noon leads you through the adventure, as if floatig like a character in the book, thus allowing your mind to ebb and flow with the devilishly intricate issues delt with.
This is a triumph for Noon which makes me want search out more of his work.
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on 20 March 2009
I haven't read any of this author's other works, and only read this because of my passion for anything Carrollian. So, I can't judge this against anything else by Noon, and I never judge Carroll inspired works against the originals themselves, but only as what it supposes to be; a third book in the Alice stories.
For me, it largely doesn't work; the ideas are too mashed together to be overly effective. I could appreciate rendering 20th century ideas, objects, and even people, into Wonderland counterparts... but Carroll would introduce each in its turn, play with it, and then discard for another before bringing them all to an anarchic conlusion. Noon tries to construct a plot around the ideas rather then letting them loose in a dream narrative, and I feel they suffer for it.
So, I could not really recommend this to anyone who is not a Noon fan, because it didn't excite me... or to Noon's fans because I can not make a comparison with his other works.
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on 23 December 1998
J. Noon has once again managed to produce one of the most imaginative ( and bizarre!) sf novels of the year. Essentially a sequal to the original two Alice novels, Automated Alice is written in a style reminiscent of Lewis Carol - the issues are, however, those typically dealt with by Jeff Noon : the idea of identity, individuality and ofcourse humanity. Well worth a read.
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on 8 January 2001
I love Noon's stuff, it's as simple as that, but then his novels work in a similar way to my brain. As a great fan of his work, I've tried to pass on his books to many of my friends, only to have the books returned to me with accompanying quizical looks. Automated Alice on the other hand is a book that I have passed around and had returned by smiley faced friends. For those that want the full experience, I'd suggest starting with Vurt and work your way up to Alice..., for those of you seeking instant gratification, go for it, you won't regret it!
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on 7 April 1999
Jeff Noon is a very diverse writer and this book is very different to his others. His use of language takes you back to another era while the individual words make you pause and think of the wonder of it all. Automated Alice makes you realise that it is possible to write books just as they used to in "the good old days" and for them to be relevent in this day and age. If you buy this book, I hope you enjoy it !
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on 6 December 2013
Tried very hard to get into this book. I suppose I had Alice in Wonderland at the back of my mind but I just couldn't relate to this 'story'. It was too confusing and I gave up about a third of the way through. Perhaps I am just not clever enough!!!!
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on 1 October 2000
(to properly describe this novel I will have to use 'surreal' twice in the first sentence) it for This surreal, oh so very surreal novel from that crazy nutter that brought us the book 'Vurt', comes an effective, interesting novel. Noon captures Carrol's opiate vision and expands upon it for the LSD generation. Less dark and sinister than I expected, and don't let the blurbs description of 1998 Manchester make you think this is a modern version of Alice in Wonderland, as its talking zebra's and saxaphone playing slugs all round. Sometimes Noon looses it slightly and turns to inane, Beetle video imagery to convey feelings of a trip, but hey, they were all completely stoned weren't they?
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