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Vurt

By: Jeff Noon
Narrated by: Dean Williamson
Series: Vurt, Book 1
Length: 9 hrs and 21 mins
4 out of 5 stars (84 ratings)

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Summary

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

Critic reviews

"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)

What listeners say about Vurt

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The love child of Gibson and Burroughs

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.

5 people found this helpful

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A very twisty story

Drug fueled alternate realities aplenty in this weird and wonderful fantasy future world.

Loved the great character portrayals with a talented and easy to listen to voice actor.

A great read for anyone liking mind bending and weird stories

Loved it myself

1 person found this helpful

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Brilliant

amazing listen with so many interesting ideas but beware of lots of old kinds of sex

1 person found this helpful

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Ok story great narrator

Cool idea, might be easier read I got lost in the multi time layers and would lose track

3 people found this helpful

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Good Yarns

Good gripping storytelling from a decent author. it takes me back years to when it first came out reading it on holiday. would defo recommend the others in the series like Pollen.

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  • T
  • 23-05-13

dont bother

Awful - story and performance didn't finish it was so bad. Dont waste your money.

2 people found this helpful

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  • F
  • 24-08-13

You have been warned

What disappointed you about Vurt?

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.

Would you ever listen to anything by Jeff Noon again?

Unlikely, specially considering I know now the 5 stars I've seen are meaningless.

What about Dean Williamson’s performance did you like?

Reflected well the spirit of the story. The reader is good and faithful to the story intention.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

The pain of struglling through the book.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Nicholas W. Carter
  • 21-01-20

more nostalgia than great work, but still...

I'm a fan of anything evoking Lewis Caroll, and these books do that in spades. I'm assuming the inclusion of investor
incestual relations was either a metaphor I'm failing to grasp (still), an attention-getting device for Noon which seems to have worked, or perhaps it really is as simple as Scribble and Desdemona truly needing love because their father is so freaking horrific any escape is better.

in any event, throw in lots of Wonderland analogs, Alternative Reality before it was called such, and the notion that things can be "traded" between the Real and the Vurt and you have some interesting mechanics in the mix. that's leaving aside Fecundity 10, which is discussed in further detail within the sequel, Pollen. there's clearly a "fuck the man/society" bent here, which I'm quite all right with.

in the end, love - and not just some incestual mockery of love, but the real deal, is what sees the redemption in so much of the horrors that befall the main character and his compatriots. whether that makes any of them good people is up to you to work out. but I enjoyed the read as a 15 year old, and I've enjoyed it again recently.

I'm nearly done with Pollen, and have similar things to say about it. it more or less further investigates whatever "human" means, Desiree that term being quite blurred in the timeline of these stories. I'm a big enough fan I dropped coin on the Cypher tabletop RPG making use of mostly the same setting, so I'm likely quite biased.

But if weird, somewhat-but-not-really-at-all hard SF is your bag, if you like the idea of humanity interbreeding with dogs, robos, vurt-beings (that is, creatures we would've thought at one point as having originated in our dreams, despite the reality/dream barrier blurring ever more) in order to escape likely extinction due to falling fertility rates, and quasi-tech-magic as hallucinogenic drug appeals to you, give these two books a read.

While Noon's first two novels are not available for Kindle in the US right now, you should be able to score the audiobooks, excellently narrated, via Audible.

Thank me later via Twitter @thynctank

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  • Rob
  • 22-06-19

Wow!!

This novel is why audio books should exist. Strange, weird, real and totally immersive. The use of language is superb. Highly recommended (knowledge of a.. er.. peripheral lifestyle maybe an advantage) Coming, originally, from near Manchester, the accents made this.. Almost like listening to a one actor monologue on stage.

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  • Khaoskribble3030
  • 27-02-19

... a boy pulls a feather out of his mouth...

This is one of the best stories I've ever heard! I have read this book several times, and to have it read to me made me enjoy it 10,000 times more!! Can't wait to start "Pollen"!!!

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  • David
  • 10-11-18

Not the writing style I am used to

It took me a bit to figure out what was going on. I am accustomed to American horror story writing styles, so after changing my mode of thought, I was able to pick up the story easier. Really good book. A bit thought provoking as far as social norms.

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  • Kyle Tolva
  • 03-11-18

absolute pleasure of strange metamophic alienism

This book is very great and strange. Think drug fueled inception on a cyberpunk dystopian landscape. I think this may be one of my favorite stories. I definitely recommend it.

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  • John Cooper
  • 19-09-18

Different. Interesting. Disturbing. Beautiful.

Surprised I only just encountered Vurt when it's been around for years. The story is different. Beautifully written and read. Adult themes. Gritty. Very 90s scifi. Delicious if it's your thing.

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  • William Fletcher
  • 25-03-18

deep. very deep. very emotional.

definitely a story with depth and characters. I'd recommend at least one go through of this book on everyone's lifetime.

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  • R. Stockton
  • 25-11-17

Innovative and very weird

The book itself is very dark and weird, with a serious Philip K Dick vibe. The performance was good, with solid narration. Some characters are less distinct than others, but his characterization of Game Cat is perfect.

I got it because of a new RPG based on the novel, and I wanted to see if I liked the world.

I'm glad I got it.

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  • Bleaubyou
  • 09-09-16

Curiouser and curiouser

What happens when Philip K. Dick and Chuck Palahniuk have a British love child? Vurt!