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5.0 out of 5 stars A Feather Full of Dreams
"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...
Published on April 13 2003 by rhaeve

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting stuff, but nothing brilliant
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...
Published on March 8 2001 by Dan Seitz


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting stuff, but nothing brilliant, March 8 2001
By 
Dan Seitz "cinnatusc" (Somerville, MA, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Vurt (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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5.0 out of 5 stars A Feather Full of Dreams, April 13 2003
By 
"rhaeve" (Berea, KY USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Vurt (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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5.0 out of 5 stars The most vision-inducing novel I have ever encountered, Feb. 25 2003
By 
Brooke Pennington "Renaissance girl" (Pocatello, ID USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Vurt (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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3.0 out of 5 stars A great story with some cyberpunk apsects..., Dec 1 2002
This review is from: Vurt (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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5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Brain Candy, July 12 2002
By 
This review is from: Vurt (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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5.0 out of 5 stars Edgy, but brilliant first novel in a series, June 10 2002
By 
C. Howe (Southampton, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Vurt (Paperback)
Vurt is the first book in a series by Jeff Noon, and, perhaps sadly, the best. Why sadly? To answer that you need to look at Vurt's big strengths.
The first book sets up a dark, gritty, drug-soaked world of crime, socially-acceptable human-canine interbreeding, and virtual-reality feather-trips (the titular "Vurt" feathers) for which the user pays an unusually heavy (but always fair) price. It's a world he explores in the horrific detail of someone who has regularly walked the grimy backstreets of a large city (Noon lived in Manchester) of a friday night, with its music booming out of the windows of passing cars, kebab wrappers on the breeze, and streetlights that never quite penetrate the darkness. He also sets up a compelling mythology, as strange terminology is thrown at you in the middle of a furiously paced scene and explained chapters later when the action's calmed down, if at all. It raises questions, and provides some, but not all, of the answers.
The entire book is written in a uniquely lyrical style, where words are thrown into the mix for their texture, collided together for aesthetic reasons, but then made real by the nature of the world he weaves.
True sci-fi afficionados will point out the book borrows (as many do) from Gibson, and others: its a fact that Noon is not shy of admitting. Overall, though, Vurt is a brilliantly written book that pays its sci-fi dues where it has to, and succeeds on its own merits.
What a shame, then, that the grittiness never quite returns in the other books, that the drug-fuelled pace of Vurt is never quite matched. (Maybe it happened when Jeff Noon moved to Brighton? Maybe he felt the Gibson influence was just too strong.) In later books, the clever wordplay trips itself up, as Noon becomes obsessed with the process rather than the result. Shock tactics employed to great effect in Vurt become gratuitous somehow.
Whatever. This is supposed to be a review of Vurt, not the whole series! Pick up a copy of this book and savour the storytelling, because it's unique. Read the others, or don't... but at least you have found a writer who was, for this story at least, brilliantly on form.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Titillating Cyberthriller, July 1 2001
This review is from: Vurt (Paperback)
Jeff Noon's Vurt is a semi-formulaic futuristic thriller in the now extant genre termed cyberpunk. Those of you over 40 may recognize this as a psychedelic,chartreuse and flame orange colored, dreadlocked, street talkin' version of what we used to call science fiction.
Which is not to say that it is all bad. In fact, the stuff has got hold of me like crack cocaine. I started with William Gibson and now I can't put the stuff down. I went to the bookstore the other day fully intending to buy Anne Tyler's new novel, and I walked out with Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon instead.
OK, it's genre, still anyone who misspent their youth in the idle pursuit of sensation will instantly recognize the kernel of truth in Noon's characters. They're twenty something adolescent-adults obsessed with what is entirely appropriate to that age: sex, drugs, and idealistic rebellion.
This book isn't for the squeamish; Noon crosses boundaries in the imagination that most writers won't even draw near, at the same time luring the reader deeper and deeper into a strange mutation of the present while slowly peeling away the layers of disbelief until you find yourself completely suspended in this incredible but suddenly plausible world.
Worth the read, though you'll never feel quite the same way about your dog again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This book is only for some (Glorious for some), Feb. 24 2001
This review is from: Vurt (Paperback)
Please don't read Vurt if you are a sub-culture literature snob. And don't read it if you are a Sci-Fi elitist. And if you like to intellectualize the merit of a work against the established canon (even if that canon is considered cultish or underground or whatever) or critique it within a particular lineage, please stay clear of this book.
I can see why this book is not for all. I can even relate with the negative reviews it has been receiving on this web site. If I were to remove myself from the emotional and the more intuitive responses this novel evokes in me, I too might label it drug-obsessed and not the most original; or the writing style somewhat pretentious and over-the-top.
But, whether because I stem from a culture of electronic music, psychedelic drugs, and crusty fashion or because I tend to romanticize everything in life to death, this book has captured and moved me deeply.
So please, read this book if you too are a dreamer, like me. And read it if you've ever found yourself looking over that field of shattered glass, like an illusion gleaming, hiding the scum and the stench of Anytown-Bottletown, hoping for something better. Searching for a reality more satisfying than this, because you've always known this world is not your own. Linking the hunger with sexual love then discovering (in letting it go) that the insatiability goes far beyond.
It's about escape. This book is a momentary escape.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A meditation on influences, Jan. 31 2001
By 
Mac Tonnies (Kansas City, MO USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Vurt (Paperback)
Noon's debut (?) is a colorful and becomingly psychedelic near-future adventure story. "Vurt," we soon find out, is an abbreviation for "virtual," and a great deal of the novel is spent in this state, accessed by masticating chemically processed "feathers" that come in all variety of color schemes: some harmless escapism, others quite deadly.
"Vurt" has all the nuances of a fairy tale: "Neuromancer" as written by the Grimm brothers. And while it's difficult to take much more than a passing interest in Noon's cast of junkie heroes, "Vurt" can be appreciated as a meditation on influences. William Burroughs is most definitely here, making "Vurt" one of the very few novels possibly derserving the overused title "The 'Naked Lunch' of the 90s" (a praise also lavished on David Foster Wallace's "Infinite Jest").
"Vurt" lacks Burroughs' virulent wit and--perhaps needless to say--the prose pales in comparison with Gibson's cyberspace novels. But it achieves a measure of newness, and the tropes it messes with are granted a surreal bent that doesn't take itself overly seriously; while "Vurt" could have steeped itself in style for the sake of style, it instead opts for a certain playfulness.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read, Dec 4 2000
By 
This review is from: Vurt (Paperback)
Vurt is an excellent book and a must read!! When you start reading it you cannot put it down. Jeff Noon has the ability to keep your attention throughout the entire book. There is never a dull moment. I have recently begun reading science fiction and I believe that this is one of the best cyberpunk books available. Vurt are feathers that are drugs; people stick them down their throats and are immediately taken to another world. The drug takes the user into a world of excitement and terror, a world in which the user plays a "game."
The story involves a group of illegal vurt riders called the "Stash Riders." The Stash Riders spend most their time either buying vurt feathers while running from the shadow cops or drugged up in the vurt world. Scribble, one of the Stash Riders, is on mission to find his sister, Desdemona. She is lost somewhere in the English Voodoo vurt world, an illegal vurt that can be very dangerous. Scribble is willing to do anything to be with his sister again before she dies in the vurt. He is willing to go back into the English Voodoo to find her. The problem is finding the English Voodoo vurt feather.
This book is a book for everyone. You do not have to enjoy science fiction to enjoy this book. It has a unique way of grabbing the reader for the first moment you begin to read it. Noon writes in such a way it seems as if you are just watching a movie while you read: he has a style of writing that is unique and exciting. The way the book jumps in and out of reality with the vurt feathers keeps readers on their toes.
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Vurt
Vurt by Jeff Noon (Hardcover - Jan. 17 1995)
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