Cover of Vurt

Jeff Noon
371 pages
published in 1993

Vurt is a late entry cyberpunk novel, with all the usual trimmings: -Set in the dark (near) future with a repressive but mostly off stage goverment, check.
-Broken down yet oddly poetic urban landscapes as the setting (in this case, Manchester), check.
-Characters on the edge of society, only trying to survive, check.
-Lots of designer drugs, check.
-Virtual reality which has repercussions in the real world, check.

So you should give it a miss then, right?


Vurt may have all the cyberpunk cliches, but they're a bit different from the usual. Take the designer drugs, for instance. They're called vurt, come in five different sorts and are the keys to that virtual reality I mentioned. And oh yes, they're feathers

That's right, feathers. Feathers you put in your mouth and you're transported to a realm of fantasy, a realm of nightmare or something else, depending on which flavour you've used. There are the legal, safe blue fantasies. Also legal, pink porn vurts. Then there are the illegal black vurts, for stronger kick. Silver vurts, which are meta vurts, enginering vurts and finally the highest class of vurts, yellow, which you can only leave if you complete them... or die.

And the Vurt reality has an existence of its own. Things get exchanged sometimes between vurt reality and our reality. And not only things, also people. Which is were our hero, Scribbles, comes in. His sister, Desdemona got exchanged in a vurt called "Curious Yellow" for the Thing from Outer Space and he's on a quest to get her back and re-exchange the two.

I was very much impressed by this book and finished it in less then a day, furiously reading. Very lyrical at times, never too pompous and witty.

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Webpage created 26-12-2001, last updated 10-01-2002
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