Top positive review
4 people found this helpful
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.