Vurt: 20th Anniversary Edition by Jeff Noon (book review).

Want to change your reality? Or maybe you already have and your life as you know it is very different. How would you know? What if you could tailor your perception of reality to suit your needs? Would you want to come back from that or is reality just another drug to be ingested?


Set in a dystopian Manchester that is completely unrecognisable with characters such as dog-men and dreadlock-conjoined lovers, ‘Vurt’ tells the tale of altered reality states.

Vurt are feathers of varying strengths with blue being the weakest and yellow the most powerful. When they are imbibed, they create a new reality that can be tailored or even get lost in. Our hero or perhaps anti-hero, Scribble spends his time in search of Vurt while looking for his lost love, his sister Desdemona, who has disappeared inside the reality of a yellow feather.

When this book first came out, it won the Arthur C. Clark Award. Not too shabby for a debut author from a young publishing house. However 20 years later, it still remains as fresh and as relevant as in 1993.

This 20th anniversary edition contains some extra materials including an extended foreword by novelist Lauren Beukes which highlights how much Jeff Noon’s opus has influenced her. As well as Beukes, other top writers including Grant Morrison and Paul Cornell speak about the impact Noon has had on their lives and career.

The short, clipped sentences create a rapid yet disjointed pace, not unlike a conversation with someone on amphetamines and the book operates on various levels. Your enjoyment of ‘Vurt’ will probably depend on your own experiences with recreational drugs. It will speak loudly to some, probably less to others. For those that it doesn’t resonate with, I urge you to stick with it and sample this world of ‘Vurt’. Just stick to the blue feathers though eh?

Aidan Fortune

June 2013

(pub: TOR-UK/Pan Macmillan. 376 page small enlarged hardback. Price: £16.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-230-76880-2)

check out websites: www.panmacmillan.com and www.metamorphiction.com


Once called a "fountain of useless pop culture knowledge", Aidan is an unashamed geek, grateful that he is allowed share his opinions on a global scale. A journalist by trade, Aidan is a massive fan of comics and recently set up a comics group in Brighton in order to engage more with like-minded people. His home is subject to a constant battle of vintage paraphernalia and science fiction & fantasy toys.

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