Kirkus Reviews QR Code
VURT by Jeff Noon


by Jeff Noon

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-517-59991-0
Publisher: Crown

Noon's hardcover debut transforms the world of virtual reality into ``vurt,'' a playland of psychedelic fantasies anyone can explore without cumbersome helmets or control gloves. Scribble and the Stash Riders are a gang of British punks who regularly steal ``feathers,'' which, when applied to the back of the throat, deliver the user into seedy virtual adventures. But this brave new world of entertainment isn't user-friendly, and when Scribble and his sister Desdemona share a dangerous yellow feather to enjoy incestuous sex, the fantasy ends with the young girl disappearing into a virtual no-man's land while Scribble is left to confront reality alone. The plot, which follows his attempts to rescue his sister from this wonderland of forbidden pleasures, seems as aimless as the Stash Riders' lives: an endless cycle of theft, violence, sex, and vurt. But Scribble's destiny transcends the frequent, bloody clashes between the Stash Riders and the police, because he possesses the ability to enter vurts at will. He switches from one fantasy to another, until the reader is no longer sure what reality is. Desdemona remains unattainable, but Scribble's final confrontation with the creator and supervisors of vurt leads to his own virtual ascension among the future masters of the universe. Like Scribble's feathers, Vurt leads to a wild and kaleidoscopic ride, but fails to entirely satisfy. (Author tour)