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Vurt Hardcover – Jan 17 1995


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Amazon.ca First Novel Award - 6 Canadian Novels Make the Shortlist



Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Crown (Jan. 17 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517599910
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517599914
  • Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 16.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 771 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,664,225 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

If you like challenging 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.

But no review can do Noon's writing justice: it's a phantasmagoric combination of the more imaginative science fiction masters, such as Phillip K. Dick, genres such as cyberpunk and pulp fiction, and drug culture.

If this tickles your fancy, you should definitely consider the sequel to Vurt, Pollen, or Noon's lighter and more accessible Automated Alice, a modern recasting of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland.

From Publishers Weekly

Noon's highly stylized, virtual-reality inspired first novel has won raves and the Arthur C. Clarke Award in Britain, eliciting comparisons to William Gibson, Anthony Burgess and Lewis Carroll, among others. But though it is original, vivid and powerful, it's not as revolutionary as the fanfare suggests. Noon gives us a future (or perhaps just other) Manchester, England, where nearly everyone is hooked on "Vurts"-hallucinogenic designer drugs, administered with feathers, that send users into virtual worlds. Vurt isn't any old future drug, though; these worlds have a reality of their own. Users can meet up in them and share the experience, and they can even "exchange" objects or people and bring Vurt items back to the "real" world. Scribble, a member of a small gang of "young hip malcontents," the Stash Riders, has lost his beloved sister, Desdemona (don't ask how beloved if you're shy about incest), to a black-market Vurt, getting in return a shapeless alien he dubs "The Thing-from-Outer Space." Determined to find another copy of the "English Voodoo" Vurt in order to return and trade the Thing back for his sister, Scribble and his pals score illegal Vurts, run from the cops, fight among themselves, trip out on feathers, kill a cop, go to ground, become estranged and regroup. Some die, and all suffer, before Scribble gets his chance. Noon keeps a brisk pace, with the many Vurt-trip sequences, awash in Alice in Wonderland-like images, never so long or involved as to bog the story down. His bizarre, psychedelic future feels like no other, and the startling alloy of pseudoheroic genrespeak and neo-Beat freewheeling rhythms proves a unique and perfect medium for such a hallucinatory tale. There's little of Gibson or Burgess here, though. The story has neither the shock value of A Clockwork Orange nor the cyberpunk nihilism of Neuromancer. Noon takes his material (though not his characters) less seriously than Burgess, Gibson and most other SF writers. His future world isn't meant to be believable, or even cautionary, but merely colorful and engaging (which it is)-and that takes some of the bite out of the book. Nevertheless, this is an audacious fantasia, exhibiting a narrative daring and command few new writers can boast, sweeping the reader along as though it were a Vurt feather-trip itself. 75,000 first printing; major ad/promo; author tour.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Mandy- came out of the all-night Vurt-U-Want, clutching a bag of goodies. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dan Seitz on March 8 2001
Format: Paperback
This is pretty familiar ground for cyberpunk enthusiasts, seen through a different character, with a little mixed-up Orpheus myth tossed in and with the science not quite so well explained. As near as I can figure out, the "Vurt" is a nanotechnological drug. Read the book, what I say will make more sense.
It's interesting, certainly, but there's really not much of a point to it other than having fun, being a good ride. I plowed through 220 pages of this waiting for an on a train, that's how fast it can go.
It is a fun read, but it doesn't really tell us anything, nothing like Gibson's future near-noir or Stephenson's hysterical glancing at humanity. A book for the beach, I enjoyed it.
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Format: Paperback
"A young boy puts a feather into his mouth..."
From the first sentence of the book, I was drawn in. I forced myself to read only one chapter at a time, to actually consider what I'd read and let it sink in, and that made this book that much richer. To me, it heralded back to Clockwork Orange. The Stash Riders (made up of Scribble, Beetle, Mandy, and Bridget) have their own vocabulary grown from the world they inhabit - where feathers can hold their fondest dreams or worst nightmares, where the worst poison comes from dreamsnakes, where pure is poor, and where shadowcops lurk above every all-night Vurt-U-Want.
Scribble is a young man, not so out of the ordinary, who wants nothing more than to have his sister back again. That want drives him to a destiny he'd not even considered, gaining and losing almost everything in the process.
I'm enamoured with this book. It stays on my nightstand so I can hear Scribble tell his story whenever I want. Let Jeff Noon take you into his tangibly ethereal world.
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Format: Paperback
The colors on the cover of Jeff Noon's "Vurt" are something of a clue to what lies inside: a technicolor dreamworld where the pace of life approaches that of a video game. But we're not in Kansas anymore from the opening pages: the world Noon spins is one of robo-crusties, shadowgoths, fleshcops, and, of course, the feathers.
The basic plot is a little convoluted, but it basically involves an underground culture similar to the drug culture today (I have heard that Noon drew on the Manchester drug/rave scene to create his hollow lanscapes of urban decay and drugged-out escapism). In this culture there is a group of "stash riders", our heroes, who lounge around tripping on feathers which send you into a virtual reality when they are placed in the mouth. Scribble, the protagonist, is trying to go far enough into the "vurt" to find answers about the disappearance of his sister.
More than any other book out there, "Vurt" deserves to be made into a movie. Its insanely intense visuals would just now be able to be translated onscreen, thanks to computer technology. But at the same time it is fun to imagine your own versions of pivotal scenes, such as someone dying by melting into luminous fractals. The pacing of the story is so breakneck that it almost leaves you breathless to close the book at the end. And after Noon's hilarious descriptions of some of the people and things in the book, I have very detailed images of them in my mind. I recommend this book to anyone interested in cyberpunk, the drug culture,, or movies like "Strange Days" and "The Thirteenth Floor".
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Format: Paperback
I have to admit I was really turned off by the whole feathers thing at first. But Jeff Noon has a way of bringing you into the story even if you do agree with some core issues. Anyway as the story goes we have a group of British stash riders who are living day by day life on the edge. Feathers are used to take you to another world, another plane of existence, sometimes good, but always with consequences. The main character scribble is on a mission of love. Unfortunately, yes this love is physical and when you find out how it may disgust you. This book centers around the lost of a loved one due to a yellow feather (don't worry you will find out more about yellow feathers and other feathers as you read the book.) We have a thing, a van, shadowcops, and a lot of feathers. Not to mention numerous instances which will remind you of the Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland?
Honestly this book was a much better read then I first thought it would be. I did see how it could be classified cyberpunk, but it seemed to lack the technology aspect, or at least did not have as much. It has a very well done story line with some incredible plot twists. The feathers bugged me a little and at times reminded me of what I thought an LSD trip would be like. All and all it has been an enjoyable book. If you haven't read it before, read it. If you are like me and have read it at least once, then maybe once is enough. It all depends on your tastes.
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Format: Paperback
I devoured Vurt in just under three hours. What does that mean? Hmph. Okay, it's not particularly long. What ELSE does it mean? It means that it was riveting. Entertaining. Amusing. Full of what-happens-next moments. Interesting enough that I come here a day later and add any and all Jeff Noon books I can find to my Wishlist.
So what do I have to say about it, and why do I call it brain candy? Well, in comparison to some of the best sci-fi writers (Ellison and Bradbury come to mind, but of course that's my opinion), it's long on style and short on meaning. I don't look at the world in a significantly different way after reading this book; I don't feel as if it shed light on the nature of "reality" in any sense. But what style! This is a world, full of Vurt-U-Wants, robotic mutts, and sultry mind-reading Shadowgirls, that I ultimately want to learn more about. It's told by a character that I want to succeed; even though his quest is to bring back a sister with whom he is incestuous and I abhor that kind of behavior, I still root for him. (I think that makes me impressed with Noon's skill. It might also make me worried.)
That's why I call it brain candy. The main pull of this story is the style with which Noon crafts his world and the people who populate it. It makes for a book that is entertaining, easy to read (although it may be confusing at the start and definitely warrants a second reading), and satisfying on the level of spectacle.
If you've gotten this far, you may be wondering exactly what I'm trying to say. Simply, that I recommend Vurt ever-so-highly to those who enjoy flash and excitement in their sci-fi. If you're looking for a more thought-provoking read, you might be better off looking elsewhere.
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