Jeff Noon’s “Vurt”: Acid heads remember cyberpunk

I had meant to sign up to Goodreads earlier, but completely forgot. Well, thanks to Twitter, I remembered. Here’s a quick review I slapped together 3 minutes ago. I finished this novel (well, almost finished…) about a month ago, and felt pretty bitterly disappointed. It was OK. But there was this hope that it would hit me like those old William Gibson and Bruce Sterling novels did in the BBS era. Back then, those books had a kind of gleaming freshness that captured this weird underground zeitgeist. Unfortunately, I think I’m now too old to get caught up in many new underground zeitgeists, and I think the whole internet boom that surrounded the cyberpunk movement has created a situation where those movements themselves will be harder to germinate. With the internet long ago gone “0-second”, I’m sure there’s ton of mini-bursts of heat to capture the attention, but when will something as large as the initial personal computer boom hit again?



Vurt by Jeff Noon

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
Starts out with an interesting premise straight from the bowels of early 90s cyberpunk: People eat LSDesque feathers to get high, get hurt and generally escape reality. The landscape is a dystopia. The protagonists are mutants, shadow people, aliens and cyborgs. Techno music is rampant, though there’s a surprising lack of computer lingo and presence. It’s more rave-culture than mirrorshades.

And as novel as it all starts, it sort of ends up churning it’s wheels. For me, there was too much emphasis on dream-state Vurtcursion flashbacks, and not enough actual plot. The “experimental” writing gets tired as the storyline peters out. What starts out as an interesting premises actually devolved into a somewhat rambling snooze, and I ended up donating my copy about 4/5ths of the way through.

Maybe decent reading for someone just searching for an interesting novel and concept. However, I was hoping for what would have been, to me, a rare unearthed Cyberpunk era gems.

View all my reviews.


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