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on 28 April 2001
Nymphomation is not (in my opinion) the best of Noon's books. That honour is reserved for Vurt, a book for which five stars can never be enough. If you want to make complete sense of Nymphomation, you should really read Vurt, Pollen and Automated Alice first (and if you do the poignant surprise at the end of the book will blow you away). Then again, you can read this one on it's own and it wil still make a brilliant entertaining read. This world just isn't big enough to encompass the contents of Jeff Noon's mind, but thankfully he has created one that is. I guarantee you'll fall in love with at least one character and pine for them, and you'll find yourself wishing you were one of the others. Read it, then read it again and again and again.
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on 2 April 2001
Jeff Noon is not a cyberpunk author. People often expect his fiction to be something close to Stephenson or Gibson, but his brand of science fiction is about dreams and music, rather than algorithms and implants. Like the other books of his I have read this is a sharp, darkly allegorical story taking sex and mathematics, the ultimate lottery and the socially excluded and throwing them together into a maze with endlessly shifting walls. It connects with his other work set in the world of the Vurt, filling in a few more spaces in the mystery of how that world works, and how it got that way. I would recommend reading Vurt and Pollen first, but this book is more than strong enough to stand alone.
Don't read this book if you want hard, gadget-heavy sci-fi, read it if you want something innovative and different from anything by any other writer you should give this serious thought.
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VINE VOICEon 26 August 2006
Jeff Noon's 4th novel `Nymphomation' is also the authors 4th (and at the time of writing final) book in the series he began with `Vurt'. As such readers unfamiliar with Noon's previous work will find this a mindbending but perhaps slightly frustrating tale of a Manchester based domino lottery, and the insane mathematical ideas behind it that lead to a transformed country. As ever with Noon's work the book is filled with mind-bending SF concepts (Black Maths, Burgercops, Blurbflies) and delicious use of language, though I suspect readers of Noon's previous works will find this much more satisfying, as the book goes into detail about how the world of Vurt was first created, and also nails down the exact relationship of Automated Alice to the Vurt series. As such I would recommend the novice either read Noon's brilliant Vurt series in publication order (`Vurt', `Pollen', `Automated Alice', `Nymphomation') or chronological story order (`Automated Alice', `Nymphomation', `Vurt', `Pollen') but, fantastic as this is, it's probably not the best place for anybody to start.
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on 24 October 2006
This is the first Jeff Noon book that I have read and it will probably be my last. I am a fan of Sci Fi and am not afraid of a different style of writing. However, 'Nymformation' does not fall down due to its irregular use of the English language but because the story fails towards the end.

In 'Nymformation' we follow the exploits if a group of people in an alternative Manchester as they play to win the new domino based lottery game. Through the book we discover that the game may be less of a lottery and more of a mathematical fix. The characters decide to get together to see if they can rig the game for themselves. However, the powers behind the lottery are far stronger than they expected and the truth goes a lot deeper.

The first half of this book is enjoyable as Noon's style takes a little getting used to but only adds to the ambience of the book. It is the second half of the novel that ruins the book. Characters and situations become confused and within an already alien construct, it makes reading and understanding the story that little bit harder. I have to admit that by the final third I was ready for the book to end as I had had enough.

'Nymformation' is yet another book in a long line of Sci Fi novels that have great concepts but overcomplicate the matter with techno babble and alienation. If you want to read a dark and strangely written novel why not try Chuck Palahniuk of Robert Rankin - as for Noon, stay clear.
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on 20 March 2004
So, what's with Noon. For those of you in the dark (as I was not that long ago) Jeff Noon wrote "Vurt", a truely cyberpunk fantasy set in Manchester. The sequel "Pollen" followed soon after and then came "Nymphomation", which a prequel to the other two.
I read Nyphomation first - and loved it. It's not as dark as the other 2 as the fall of Manchester hasn't quite happened yet, so it's set about 10 years into the future tech wise.
Take home point is that it works. Purists will say read them in order of publication. I say it doesn't matter. Yeah, it's fun reading about what happened before what you've already read, but, as I read through Vurt and Pollen I found myself noticing the plot a lot more than I would have done had I not read Nymphomation first.
Technicality of reading order aside, it is a great book, worthy of a place on anyone's shelf. However, it is not Gibson... in fact, it's not Cyberpunk as anyone knows it. Noon isn't so much redefining the genre as looking at it through beer goggles.
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on 15 February 2001
A brilliant ride through the pre-Vurt world. Jeff Noon continues to regress through time, going back to the origins of items and themes seen commonplace in his previous novels, 'Vurt' and 'Pollen'. The technical details can sometimes drag a bit, bu the sheer imagination and verve in the novel wins out easily. Just the way each chapter starts, gradually corrupting the slogans and prose into a psychadelic whirlpool of viciousness, is enough to make me read it again and again. If you're not already a Noon fan then you'd be best off starting with Vurt as otherwise you may not 'get' a lot of the points, but for Noon afficionados this is as good as it gets!
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on 23 May 2008
See, here's the problem I have with Jeff Noon. Vurt and Falling Out of Cars are two of the best science fiction novels I've ever read. They changed my view of the contemporary novel and provided me ample fuel for critical study at university.

But Nymphomation somehow doesn't match up. The bursts of purple prose, whilst entertaining in places, lack the raw energy of his two masterpieces. There's much of Vurt's style and panache here, but it feels overdone, half-baked and inconsistent. Sometimes, after a writer has had particular success with a certain type of novel, he begins suffers from a lack of objectivity and, occasionally, a lack of originality. It's too easy to become safe and write the kind of fiction we're comfortable with. That's the real flaw with Nymphomation.

I feel that Noon should have pushed himself further. The promise of nymphomation (information which is reproductive, hybridising, sincretic and promiscuous) could go much wider. I almost expected the house at the end to be a place of constantly bifurcating realities. I anticipated a place where characters encountered multiple versions of themselves and wandered through different versions of the past. I expected books with constantly changing and mutating stories, and DNA strands spiralling into chaos.

Instead we got a poorly conceived maths lesson with yet *more* Lewis Carroll allusion. In Falling Out of Cars and Vurt, the allusions were fine. In this, I really felt Noon should read more. There are many things more appropriate at this juncture in his writing career. The Book of Sand is an obvious one. The Master & Margarita is another one. Even these would be better than another Alice allusion.

The idea, though, as always, was great. It was just the development which needed further guidance. I wanted him to push in newer, stranger directions. This almost wasn't strange enough.

I'm anxiously waiting for Noon's next novel, but after Falling Out of Cars, his prose writing seems to have taken second fiddle to scriptwriting. Let's hope we see more from him soon.
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on 30 August 1999
...I felt Nymphomation presented Jeff Noon's biggest concession yet to accessibility. It's not as fast and furious as Vurt, more grounded in reality than Pollen, and yet it still packs enough of Noon's characteristic punch to satisfy long-term fans like myself. In the end, I felt its only drawback was that the young heroes' maths teacher/mentor behaved as though he too were a hip Manc teenager. I mean, wasn't he supposed to be in his fifties? Even the wildest of us end up in carpet slippers and sensible jackets by the time we're fifty. That's just a small gripe, though. I'd still give Nymphomation a full five crowns - for a prequel, it raises more questions than it answers, but then isn't good fiction supposed to make you think for yourself? I could review Vurt and Pollen, but there's no point, the rating would be off the scale...
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on 26 September 2006
Written with a unique poetic verve that transports the reader to Noon's invented world, I found the story absolutely compelling, the characters engaging, and the language addictive. Published after Vurt, this is more of a prequel than a sequel. It also ties in with Automated Alice (but thats the only Noon novel I didn't really enjoy - in fact, I didn't even finish it) and Pollen. Noon's cyber-Manchester is convincing, each novel further reinforcing the mythical world. In this one we follow Daisy and Jaz as they delve into a domino game conspiracy that leads them deep into a virtual maze. Some of the cyber stuff is a bit beyond me really, but I don't think its necessary to be a geek to be drawn in to this, and thoroughly enjoy it.
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on 24 January 2000
if jeff noon is not one of Britains greatest authors somebody shoot me for being so stupid, this book is an incredibly written, hypnotic piece of work, closing the gaps left in the trilogy (Vurt, Pollen, Nymphomation) explaining the start of the 'vurt' concept. It is tolkienesque in the depth in which Noon is involved in his world, and written like no other book I've ever read. No other man can write pages consisting largely of made-up words and make it make complete sense, he hardwires directly into your brain. once again, read this book!
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