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Vurt (Vurt #1)

4.06  ·  Rating Details ·  6,998 Ratings  ·  431 Reviews
In futuristic Manchester, England, Scribble has lost his sister to the Vurt--an altered state reached by drugs in different colored feathers.
Paperback, 340 pages
Published 2004 by Návrat (first published 1993)
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Tiger The book is a trip both literally and symbolically, and tells a story where reality and surreal hallucinations are often indistinguishable to one…moreThe book is a trip both literally and symbolically, and tells a story where reality and surreal hallucinations are often indistinguishable to one another. But it's also a linguistic trip in which the author utilizes an extensive range of grammatical tools, and plays around with language to intoxicate the reader into a amused, confused and seduced state of mind.

It's more like a novelized poem, and the writing sure takes some getting used to. At times vivid and overwhelming, while others bland and paranoid, the style is somewhat reminiscent of Philip K. Dick or William S. Burroughs at their best and worst.

Maybe it's better to start with Noon's collection of short stories, titled Pixel Juice, to understand just how much fun he can have with breaking the rules of written language. It surely broadened my understanding of what magic can be created with mere words, and those who dare look inside the Vurt, will drunkenly stumble out on the other side, to find themselves augmented.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jim
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
Jun 01, 2013 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 -
...more
Vit Babenco
Jan 11, 2014 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
...more
claire
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
...more
graycastle
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 escape...it'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
Matthew
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
...more
Jason
Feb 22, 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
...more
Ren the Unclean
Oct 23, 2007 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
...more
Kandice
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 Vurt is about a bizarre, sometimes macabre, often trag
...more
Andy Carrington
Apr 13, 2016 Andy Carrington rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: trippy
Can't stop thinking about those yellow feathers...
Nathan
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.
...more
Josen
Aug 29, 2015 Josen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Isabelle
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
...more
Byron  'Giggsy' Paul
Dec 20, 2009 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
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.
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
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
...more
Philipp
May 30, 2013 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 m
...more
Kat
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
...more
Jon
Sep 28, 2014 Jon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
Mon
Aug 24, 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
RandomAnthony
Apr 12, 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
Ruby  Tombstone [With A Vengeance]
Page 121 - Not sure I can be arsed finishing this. I'm not enthused about picking it back up.

I find the idea of a drug experience being administered via sticking a feather down your throat to be a bit unlikely. Certainly it seems impractical. The feather would surely get all soggy? It just doesn't sound like something that would happen.
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...
Alan
Nov 07, 2008 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)
Penny Reeve
Jul 14, 2016 Penny Reeve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredible. Like reading a dream. A very weird, very uncomfortable dream.
Marta
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
P.A. Baines
May 28, 2013 P.A. Baines rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I started this book with high hopes, especially considering the rave reviews. I like writing that pushes boundaries and isn't scared to express itself in new ways. Cyberpunk often does this. Vurt, however, did nothing for me. By the time the end arrived I just wanted it to be over.

Try to imagine a mix of Inception, Existenz, and The Matrix, written by Cheech and Chong and directed by Tarantino, wrapped in soft porn, and you should have an idea what to expect.

At some point the author breaks the f
...more
Duncan
Jul 10, 2013 Duncan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Much as this book has some very vivid world descriptions I didn't warm either to the environment or the characters and overall, nothing much happens. Central to the story and world of Vurt are the feathers. In William Gibson's cyberpunk, we have real people interfacing with virtual reality, in William Burroughs we have real people taking perception altering drugs, and in Hannu Rajaniem's world of the Quantum Thief we have (I eventually figured out) virtual human entities interacting in entirely ...more
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9233
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
More about Jeff Noon...

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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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