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Vurt (Vurt #1)

4.06  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,673 Ratings  ·  406 Reviews
Vurt is a feather--a drug, a dimension, a dream state, a virtual reality. It comes in many colors: 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 beau
Hardcover, 342 pages
Published January 17th 1995 by Crown Pub (first published 1993)
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Andrew Here's the opening. You decide:

Mandy came out of the all-night Vurt-U-Want, clutching a bag of goodies.

Close by was a genuine dog, flesh and blood…more
Here's the opening. You decide:

Mandy came out of the all-night Vurt-U-Want, clutching a bag of goodies.

Close by was a genuine dog, flesh and blood mix; the kind you don't see much any more. A real collector's item. It was tethered to the post of a street sign. The sign read NO GO. Slumped under the sign was a robo-crusty. He had a thick headful of droidlocks and a dirty handwritten card -- "hungry n homeless, please help." Mandy, all twitching steps and head-jerks, scurried past him. The crusty raised his sad little message ever so slightly and the thin pet dog whined.

Through the van's window I saw Mandy mouth something at them; "Fuck off, crusties. Get a life." Something like that.

I was watching all this in the halo of the night lights. We stuck to the dark hours in those days. The Thing was on board and that was a major crime; possession of live drugs, a five year stretch guaranteed.

We were waiting in the van for the new girl. Beetle was up front, ladies' leather gloves pulled tight onto his fingers, smeared with Vaz. He likes to feel a little bit greased when he rides. I was in the back, perched on the left side wheel housing, Bridget on the other, sleeping. Some thin wisps of smoke were rising from her skin. The Thing-from-Outer-Space lay between us, writhing on the tartan rug. He was leaking oil and wax all over the place, lying in a pool of his own juices.

I caught a movement in the air above the parking space.

Oh shit!

Shadowcop! Broadcasting from the store wall, working his mechanisms; flickering lights in smoke. And then the flash of orange; an inpho beam shining out from the shadowcop's eyes. It caught Mandy in its flare-path, gathering knowledge. She ducked down from the beam, banging, hard-core, on the van doors.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dec 17, 2007 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I was given this book when it first came out in the early 90's and was completely blown away. I re-read the book last year and it still is as enjoyable as it was 15 years ago. Noon takes the reader through the drug riddled streets of future London. Everyone is addicted to feathers. You tickle your tongue with a feather and depending on the color of the feather you go on a certain trip. If you like to eat aliens, if you worship the game cat, if you think people should mate and have offspring with ...more
Danie Ware
Nov 28, 2014 Danie Ware rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Dear Gods.

This isn't a book. It's an A1, tip-top, clubbing, jam fair. It's sandwich of fun, on ecstasy bread, wrapped up in a big bag like disco fudge...

Seriously. It's a technicolour concept album, existing somewhere between Alice in Wonderland, Akira and Trainspotting. It's sex and drugs and incest and feathers and dog-fucking; it's a fractal reality that I really, really wish I'd written.

I guess you have to have been there. If you have the right past - and if you've come past it far enough -
Vit Babenco
Apr 05, 2016 Vit Babenco rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Birds of a feather flock together:
“A blue feather had landed on the stomach of the Thing-from-Outer-Space. One of his tentacles reached out for it His spiky fingers took a hold, and a hole opened up in his flesh, a greasy orifice. He turned the feather in his feelers and then stroked it in, direct, to the hole. He started to change. I wasn’t sure which feather he’d loaded, but from the way he was moving his feelers I guess he was swimming with the Thermo Fish.”
So to be knocked down with a feathe
ally  ¯\(ツ)/¯
I made it to the halfway point. It isn't that its terrible, there are elements I really like. But, overall, this just isn't my thing.

I've really made putting aside books I'm not loving a priority this year. As a result, this is one of (probably around) a dozen. It's not the books fault, I'm just not the target audience.
I don't leave books unfinished very often, but I just couldn't bring myself to keep reading Vurt.
Noon's cyberpunk drug-culture epic strives to describe a psychedelic future/alternate Manchester, but fails quite obviously - halfway through the book, his cast of characters have yet to spend more than a few moments in the eponymous cyber-drug-world. In addition, his characters are wooden and, despite their depressing hijinks-filled lifestyle, largely uninteresting. I didn't care about them, and th
So, 23 year old me gave this 4 stars. 37 year old me gives it 3. I remember not being able to put this down, but I must have been in a weird book phase at the time.

Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy it this time through - but I did have to put it down from time to time to wrap my brain around what I just read. Also, the disjointed nature of reality vs Vurt is sort of cool, but it caused me to start losing interest at a couple points because I was not sure what was going on.

I think a special type o
Jun 06, 2007 graycastle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: hybridity scholars, scifi fans, video game fans, people who like good books
Shelves: scifi
This is such a smart book, but for some reason doesn't have the recognition that it deserves, at least not in literary circles. It speaks intelligently on hybridity, drug culture, game culture, created communities, fantasy spaces, writing as's just crazy good. I had a prof who called this a "game narrative," one of the first novels to use the conventions of video games as part of its narrative strucure, which is, trust me, extremely cool. I have a big love for this novel, and recomme ...more
Feb 24, 2014 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, read-2014
4 Stars

Vurt is one crazy weird and wild ride. A perfect setting for a David Cronenberg movie…Heck maybe even a little strange for him. This book is even more out there then John Dies at the End. The book is a blend of science fiction, the New Weird, and Cyberpunk.

This is not an easy read as I found it difficult to keep tabs at times and by the nature of the story itself things are not always clear. I applaud this novel and its vision, I just had problems with the characters themselves. I never b
Ren the Unclean
Oct 08, 2008 Ren the Unclean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Cyberpunk fans.
Shelves: cyberpunk
This is a very strange book that stands somewhere between cyberpunk and an altered reality novel. It is written from the perspective of Scribble, a member of a gang that spends their time doing Vurt feathers, which are a means of entering a virtual reality experience that is presented as a drug induced shared hallucination.

Vurt is written in a very disjointed way, which gives you the impression that it is actually being written by Scribble. It is the story of his quest to find his sister who got
This book begins with this stunning sentence: “A young boy puts a feather into his mouth”... This boy took a “Vurt” feather (a drug) that gives him access to an alternative reality.
Then the reader is immediately immersed in a futuristic Manchester. He discovers Scribble, his gang of feathers addicts (the Stash riders) and a bunch of weird creatures (dog people, mechanicals, shadow girls…).
Jeff Noon’s fiction is a “vurt” dream with flashes images, distorted realities. It is also a dark dream wit
Review to follow.
Sam Reader
Sep 07, 2014 Sam Reader rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

"A young boy puts a feather in his mouth..."

I found this book at random, which, for some reason, makes sense. It just feels right that my first introduction to Jeff Noon would be at completely random, a completely accidental collision with the insane genius behind...well, Jeff Noon books, as Noon lacks a genre he can be pigeonholed into other than maybe, say, science fiction. And since at its core Vurtis about a bizarre, sometimes macabre, often tragic series of accidents,
Oct 10, 2015 Josen rated it liked it
First of all let me just say this isn't my usual type of book so it was definitely a different experience for me. Because of this I felt like there wasn't enough world development in the beginning for me to really understand what was going on. Basically the book is about the protagonist, Scribble, trying to find his sister, who was lost in the Vurt. There's incest, bestiality (but is it really bestiality if they're half human?) and as I just said, half humans/half animals. Also an alien that you ...more
Byron  'Giggsy' Paul
Jul 07, 2015 Byron 'Giggsy' Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Philip K Dick fans, cyberpunk fans, Neuromancer fans
Recommended to Byron 'Giggsy' by: Mike Philbin
Reminds me of William Gibson meets Philip K Dick. I really don't know what to say about this one, but I just read it a second time, and suspect I'll read it once more someday. If it sounds interesting to you, just go for it, I'm sure you'll enjoy it

first read 2009-DEC, second read 2011-DEC, third read 2014-SEP
Andy Carrington
May 09, 2016 Andy Carrington rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: trippy
Can't stop thinking about those yellow feathers...
Jul 05, 2016 Philipp rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, sf

Man, that was good Bliss Wind. I took another gulp, full lungful this time, head was spinning and I loved everybody in the crush all of a sudden. Caressed my way to the bar and ordered a glass of Fetish. The dark spicy afternotes hit my palette, causing sparks, and I was floating, hot. Slithy Tove system was playing The Ace of Bones. Original pressing by Dingo Tush, but this was the hard (hard!) remix, cooked up by Acid Lassie, and it was dancing the crush to a frenzy. I turned around, leaning
Vurt started with a cool premise. A future Manchester UK filled with an assortment of new species of human, a new social structure, and, the central feature of the book, a new drug/game/escape from reality called vurt.

One of the problems with the book is that vurt is vurt. Through the entire plot, we're left kind of fuzzy as to what it actually is. People take feathers, and ... well we're not exactly sure what happens. They see things differently, but sometimes act parts out in the real world.
fugue state
Nov 26, 2013 fugue state rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of sci-fi, post cyberpunk
Blew my mind!

The first time I read it, a million years ago, proly around 1993 'ish when it was first published, I was so struck by its novelty that I kept buying more and more copies and I gave them to fellow partiers at raves.

Books, on the surface, they seem unlikely presents to hand out at parties of the rave variety. But when you connect with someone while E addled, magic ensues; magic, or perhaps more accurately you become consumed in a spiritual event.

E disintegrates your ego and it refo
Pawl Schwartz
Totally a quick beach book, but a really fucking cool beach book with interesting ideas, settings, and concepts throughout. Most of the book was narrated to quickly and simply for the dense interesting world it created. I was left wanting a lot more. I didn’t just want to hear the names of the cool things, I wanted to see them, to figure out what was going on and not have the story told and then filled out much much later. There simply was not enough information to go on for a lot of the book (a ...more
I appreciate the vivid visuals and fast paced action, but could have used some of the drugs the author must have been tripping on to enjoy this book a little more.
Female characters in this book are less than people and more like objects. Well actually everyone is pretty much like a game avatar with a minor blip of a back story before you go tripping down the rabbit hole.
It's a book where you need to just enjoy the visuals and the journey and not worry about anything else like, why and who and m
Oct 05, 2014 Jon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While it's not for everyone, I absolutely loved this book. With a dash of cyberpunk and a hefty dose of Phillip K. Dick's drug fueled, reality bending fever dreams, "Vurt" is a manic and violent trip to near future England where "pure" humans mingle with human/dog hybrids and robos (humans who have replaced most of their organic flesh with metal and plastic). A world where the the drug of choice is vurt: a drug, a virtual reality, and a dimension all in one. A world where the protagonist, Scribb ...more
Sep 17, 2010 Mon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Maybe I'm just not a steampunk/ cyberpunk reader. Noon's novel is so consistently confusing and random it's more like a piece of abstract art with no context. Since it is extremely dialogue driven, I found it hard to reflect on the visual and conceptual setting, a large part of what makes up a good sci-fi. Imagine being constantly told what is happening and not where, when or why it is happening. The characters are constantly stoned and as a result hard to differentiate, there simply isn't enoug ...more
May 05, 2008 RandomAnthony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to RandomAnthony by: Gary!
I picked this up on Gary's recommendation when looking for some lighter fantasty/science fiction material between tough books. Thanks, Gary...I was not disappointed. The last 200 pages crackle in "don't want to put it down" fashion. I was reminded a bit of Lethem's "Gun With Occasional Music" in that a drug-addled protagonist had to work his way through a cast of underworld characters to find what he wants. If you were into that book, or like Gaiman, Gibson, or Stephenson, you'd probably enjoy " ...more
John Levon
Pretty out there, and fairly well-paced, but ultimately a conventional structure, with unsympathetic characters, wrapped in a very unfamiliar future world. Hard to get along with the writing style - too gonzo for me.
Dec 01, 2015 Alan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
strange sticky half sci-fi, part Alice, drugs, half man half dog, fucking, fathers and razors, dream or is it some game as suggested by the game cat? Wasn't entirely convinced. (2002 notebook)
Addison Course
Sep 12, 2007 Addison Course rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this is amazing, it decribes human existence in this modern hyper real world so well.
i'm currently back on the feather...
Jeff Noon napisał „Wurta” dokładnie 20 lat temu, ale czytając tę powieść, trudno się domyślić, że od czasu jej premiery upłynęły aż dwie dekady. Utwór nie zestarzał się bowiem ani trochę — zarówno jeśli chodzi o treść, wizję, jak i język. Z okazji okrągłej rocznicy Wydawnictwo MAG postanowiło więc wznowić debiutancką książkę angielskiego pisarza, dodatkowo uzupełnioną o trzy premierowe w Polsce opowiadania. Całość ukazała się pod szyldem serii Uczta Wyobraźni, przygotujcie się więc na nietypowe ...more
Mar 02, 2014 Andrew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: and-again
This is an amazing and unique novel, exactly what I needed at the time! Judging by the other reviews on this book, it's either one you will love, or one that you just can't get to grips with. I personally believe if you have ever been involved with any sort of drug culture, you will likely be one of those who love it.
Vurt is just one of those books, whenever I had to put it down my mind just remained in that story, it is so addictive - like the feathers in the story that everyone is addicted to
Sep 13, 2012 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had originally listened to this book on tape in the late 90's and remember really enjoying it, so I thought I'd see how it held up now. This is more cyber-acid than cyberpunk but you can definitely see the influence of Gibson and Stephenson here. I really enjoy the visual nature of the writing. This book is very much a series of alternate realities via acid trip-like descriptions. I didn't like the way he relied on the normalcy of a few sexual taboos to take you to a different world, I don't e ...more
Michael Alexander
Jan 11, 2010 Michael Alexander rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Totally my kind of brain candy. Wish there were more stuff like this out there, and if I'd found this kind of thing when I was 13, my teen years might have been a fair bit different.

Cyberpunk-influenced psychedelic '90s technoheterotopia galore! People drugged out on mind-altering feathers! Old-school video game narrative structure. Giant dreadlocks with computer chips, and a countercultural incest-stained Orpheus retelling on top. The kind of thing you read in between Tank Girl and Grant Morris
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Jeff Noon is a novelist, short story writer and playwright whose works make extensive use of wordplay and fantasy.

He studied fine art and drama at Manchester University and was subsequently appointed writer in residence at the city's Royal Exchange theatre. But Noon did not stay too long in the theatrical world, possibly because the realism associated with the theatre was not conducive to the fant

More about Jeff Noon...

Other Books in the Series

Vurt (4 books)
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“Expect to feel pleasure. Knowledge is sexy. Expect to feel pain. Knowledge is torture. ” 41 likes
“In Bottletown, even our tears flicker like jewels.” 8 likes
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