If you like literary science fiction, then Jeff Noon is the author for you. Vurt, winner of the 1994 Arthur C. Clarke award, is a cyberpunk novel with a difference, a rollicking, dark, yet humorous examination of a future in which the boundaries between reality and virtual reality are as tenuous as the brush of a feather.
Vurt is a feather - a drug, a dimension, a dream state, a virtual reality. It comes in many colours: legal Blues for lullaby dreams. Blacks, filled with tenderness and pain, just beyond the law. Pink Pornovurts, doorways to bliss. Silver feathers for techies who know how to remix colors and open new dimensions. And Yellows - the feathers from which there is no escape. The beautiful young Desdemona is trapped in Curious Yellow, the ultimate Metavurt, a feather few have ever seen and fewer still have dared ingest. Her brother Scribble will risk everything to rescue his beloved sister. Helped by his gang, the Stash Riders, hindered by shadowcops, robos, rock and roll dogmen, and his own dread, Scribble searches along the edges of civilization for a feather that, if it exists at all, must be bought with the one thing no sane person would willingly give.
Jeff Noon has been a pop musician (guitarist with Manicured Noise), a painter (exhibited as part of the Northern Young Contemporaries) and a playwright. His first play, Woundings, won The Mobil Playwriting Competition, and he was subsequently playwright in residence at The Royal Exchange Theatre Manchester. He was also winner of the John W. Campbell Memorial Award 1995.
©2013 Jeff Noon (P)2013 Audible Ltd
"As hip and breathless as William Gibson, but spiced with dark humor and the horrible realisation that Noon knows of what he writes....Vurt is passionate, distinctive, demanding and enthralling--first-time novelist Noon has started with a bang." (The London Times)
"Too beautiful for bikers,too harsh for hippies." (New Statesman and Society)
"To say that Jeff Noon is a talented author is like saying that Neil Armstrong has travelled a bit." (Starburst)
I dance around and sing a song and know that I can do no wrong.
I thoroughly enjoyed this futuristic tale of communal drug use. I found it thought provoking, cool and utterly enjoyable. It is fast paced with great characters and interesting concepts. However, it is written in that William Gibson style of introducing you, fleetingly, to strange new ideas and creatures with minimal explanation of the how and why. This sometimes leaves me feeling like a tourist in a breath-taking city being dragged around, opened mouthed, by a local to whom this is all commonplace. While I stand staring at the robo-dog or the smoke cop, the narrative has moved on and I'm rushing to keep up.
I find this style of story telling exciting and enjoyable, but I can also feel for those who find it too distracting not understanding what is happening immediately.
I found the narrator to add greatly to the story, giving the stash riders a perfect Mancunian swagger and pacing the narrative to add the requisite urgency.
The story is very lacking and the author tries to play on strong emotions/wording to bring substance without success. Also plays on complexity of parts of the story, the ambiguous shifts between normal state and drugged state without really adding substance.
Sci-fi-wise brings very little. Same society as nowadays, more potent drugs, that create an alternative reality, still illegal, stronger cops, more derranged people, and different types of beings. But all feels little and it was a real struggle to get through.
In brief, a brother is looking for a lost sister which happens to be is lover (trying to shock the reader and pretend substance). The sister is lost in the alternative world of the vurt drugs. Hardly any detective story. Hardly any thriller.
Unlikely, specially considering I know now the 5 stars I've seen are meaningless.
Reflected well the spirit of the story. The reader is good and faithful to the story intention.
The pain of struglling through the book.
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