Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Vurt (Vurt, #1)” as Want to Read:
Vurt (Vurt, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


(Vurt #1)

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  8,826 ratings  ·  572 reviews
A brilliantly innovative and highly entertaining novel from a literary pioneer.

Take a trip in a stranger’s head. Travel rain-shot streets with a gang of hip malcontents, hooked on the most powerful drug you can imagine. Yet Vurt feathers are not for the weak. As the mysterious Game Cat says, ‘Be careful, be very careful’. But Scribble isn’t listening. He has to find his lo
Hardcover, Anniversary Edition, 368 pages
Published April 2013 by Tor (first published 1993)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Vurt, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
arity Pretty much. That's why I couldn't finish it. It's pure manifestation of clip thinking of modern society.…morePretty much. That's why I couldn't finish it. It's pure manifestation of clip thinking of modern society.(less)
Damon Yes, it was the first in the book this setting and although there are links back this one stands on it's own and is probably the strongest.…moreYes, it was the first in the book this setting and although there are links back this one stands on it's own and is probably the strongest.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.06  · 
Rating details
 ·  8,826 ratings  ·  572 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Vurt (Vurt, #1)
Danie Ware
Jun 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 11, 2014 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 feather
Dec 17, 2007 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
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
I honestly don't what to think about this book.

On the one hand, it's like a jazz festival that mixes Naked Lunch with Trainspotting.

Add an alien feast, nanobot robot cooks, robodogs, The New Weird, and a vast dreamscape that goes from heaven to hell, from arty cafes to cop busts, to licking feathers to get high, to an outright possible reference to Tammuz and Geshtinana with an incestuous bent, and I STILL don't know what to think about this book.

It has a clear jazzy style that jumps all over t
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.
Chris Dunbar
Jun 16, 2015 rated it it was ok
First let me say I REALLY wanted to like this book. Hell, there are several reasons why I didn't want to NOT like this book, not the least of which are:

- It was recommended by a friend whose opinion I respect
- I feel like I've hated on all the books I've read so far this year
- It is highly rated among fellow Goodreaders (like all of the other books I've hated on lately)

Seriously, that last one really gets me. I've never had such a bad streak of books. Wool, Southern Reach, Casual Vacancy, and no
Chris Berko
Feb 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Insane unapologetic fiction.
Where in the shit do ideas like this come from?
I had an absolute blast reading this and was time after time amazed at how different this is than most everything else out there. I had read the description and had a pretty good idea it was going to be something I would like but I was in no way prepared for just how original and entertaining it turned out to be. Prevalent drugs and weird sex stuff and out there content throughout made this a winner for me from page one
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
It's inevitable. If a reader (me in this case) has read 41 books by the end of October, invariably one will count as the dumbest. And so with two months of reading left in this year, I have my nomination for that illustrious designation. [It was in the house ; I was tempted ; don't shame me] ...more
Jun 06, 2007 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
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
3.5 stars

Well, if most cyberpunk were more like this, I would be more enthusiastic about it. This was fun. And it reminded me of so many other books that I have read during my Science Fiction & Fantasy project. Like A Clockwork Orange, oh my brothers! I also kept thinking about Gravity's Rainbow, just because of the way things flowed and characters entered and exited, only to return at odd moments. But mostly, it was like going Through the Looking Glass with Alice, where Alice is actually Philip
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was amazing!! No idea how to explain it but in simple terms, society or some of society taste these different coloured feathers for different dream responses. The Vurt is this dreamworld, but separating the real world from this fantasy dream world becomes the difficult part, not only for the characters but also for the reader. Funny, smart, transgressive, literary, bold, complex and weird. The writing was exquisite for me, and I was lost in my own Vurt whilst reading this. Loved the charact ...more
Nov 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Bizarre and bracing.

Shared virtual realities induced by partially ingesting colored feathers?! So strange, and strangely compelling (and in parts repulsive). This has got some of the feel of A Clockwork Orange, with some Gibson-esqe cyberpunk vibes where, if you're not careful, you may lose yourself like Alice down the rabbit hole.

Fun, yet jarring and exhausting, with a disjointed narrative lucid one moment and untethered the next.
Andy Carrington
Apr 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Can't stop thinking about those yellow feathers... ...more
Nov 22, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
Rachel (Kalanadi)
Nov 06, 2017 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: winners-clarke
I hit the incest part and went NOPE. Plus the whole book is one loooong drug trip or the gang looking for more drugs. And the point is to save some guy's sister (that he's having sex with...) from a virtual drug world. And... no. I'm just so not into it. ...more
Sam Reader
Sep 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing


"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
Feb 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2014, e-books
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
John Levon
Jul 11, 2013 rated it it was ok
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, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Take Trainspotting, Neuromancer, and maybe a bit of A Clockwork Orange and boil them in a pot with a heavy dose of surreal insanity and you will have an idea of what Vurt is like. Certainly not the best cyberpunk (drugpunk?) book I have ever read, but certainly one of the most unique.
Jason Young
Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: re-read, 2018, audio
It's been 15 years since I read Vurt the first time and it somehow holds up. The perfect blend of Gibson's cyberpunk and Irvine Welsh's drug fueled grime remixed on Noon's Mancunian turntables. Not for everyone. ...more
Ren the Unclean
Oct 23, 2007 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
Aug 24, 2010 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
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
May 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf, sci-fi

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
Aug 29, 2015 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
Byron  'Giggsy' Paul
Dec 20, 2009 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
Ruby  Tombstone Lives!
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.
P.A. Baines
May 28, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Spares
  • Only Forward
  • The Complete Clive Barker's The Great And Secret Show
  • The Napoleon of Notting Hill
  • Canal Dreams
  • Burning Chrome (Sprawl, #0)
  • The Etched City
  • Сахарный Кремль
  • Empire V (Ампир В)
  • The Life of Insects
  • War of the Maps
  • The War against Cliché: Essays and Reviews 1971-2000
  • The Real-Town Murders
  • Schismatrix
  • Kiss Me, Judas
  • Mirrorshades: The Cyberpunk Anthology
  • Moscow 2042
  • Boxy an Star
See similar books…
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


Other books in the series

Vurt (4 books)
  • Pollen (Vurt, #2)
  • Automated Alice (Vurt, #3)
  • Nymphomation (Vurt, #4)

Related Articles

  Author C.L. Clark is no newcomer to the sci-fi and fantasy scene. Though she just published her first novel, The Unbroken, earlier this year,...
127 likes · 12 comments
“Expect to feel pleasure. Knowledge is sexy. Expect to feel pain. Knowledge is torture. ” 80 likes
“In Bottletown, even our tears flicker like jewels.” 66 likes
More quotes…