Vurt by Jeff Noon
Why I read: A cyberpunk novel with sci-fi and dystopian elements. It comes up on weirdest book ever lists and I just love weird fiction.
Select Quote. “Game Cat: Awake, you know that dreams exist. Inside a dream you think that dream is reality. Inside a dream you have no knowledge of the waking world. It is the same with Vurt.”
Book blurb: “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 beautiful young Desdemona is trapped in Curious Yellow, the ultimate Metavurt, a feather few have ever seen and fewer still have dared ingest. Her brother Scribble will risk everything to rescue his beloved sister. Helped by his gang, the Stash Riders, hindered by shadowcops, robos, rock and roll dogmen, and his own dread, Scribble searches along the edges of civilization for a feather that, if it exists at all, must be bought with the one thing no sane person would willingly give.”
This book lived up to its reputation for weirdness. The characters spend a lot of their time doing Vurt feathers, to enter a virtual reality experience in a sort of drug induced shared hallucination.
It was like reading a severely messed up dream of futuristic rainy dystopian Manchester. Or more appropriately a nightmare filled with a dashing of incest, bestiality, and copious amounts of drug use. I found the characters hard to relate to and the plot was mainly a search for a girl trapped within the Other and the crazy screwed-up adventures that Scribble and his gang have on that journey. But there were many novel elements that intrigued me. The Game Cat that seemed to be anything and everything giving drug reviews, human-animal-robo hybrids, the Thing-from-Outer-Space, Shadow-cops rumoured to read your thoughts. It goes on and on. The book its filled with great language and imagery and made up words that make your brain work to try and interpret what you are reading so its not an easy/light read. It’s a wild ride.
I can’t say I loved it. But it certainly wasn’t a bad book. So gets mid-range rating from me.