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feathers – the new scooby snack August 7, 2008

Posted by taryn in urban fantasy.
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Jeff Noon, Vurt. Published 1994

Noon has created a fascinating world ruled by feathers – a heady drug that takes users into another dimension. Most of the people in this crazy new Manchester are searching for their next vurt feather like it’s heroin, they’re always on the run for their next, bigger, headier hit.

Scribble frenetically pushes the plot along constantly searching for his lost lover. She was lost in a yellow vurt and in exchange they got an alien, who strangely they could eat or sell if they wanted to. The thing communicates only in coos and wants only feathers. Scribble and his beatnik, scooby gang race around Manchester seeking the elusive vurt and a lot of bad shit happens along the way. Like they’re on a really nasty acid trip. Disturbingly we realise that Scribble’s lover is also his sister, and it ain’t gonna be that easy to find that vurt or get her back out.

Vurt creates a world, where for starters his own name is synonymous with the drug of choice. Humans have transcended, they have melded with dogs and shadows to create all sorts of weird new creatures. But the desire to be immersed in the vurt is everywhere.

It’s lyrical, mad and surreal. This was a fantastic random discovery of mine and I was surprised to see it was written in 1994. (It also won the 1994 Arthur C. Clarke, so take their word for it).

There are some classic scenes and quotes, the cheshire-like Game Cat is awesome.

“My mind was alike a stranger, a cold-hearted stranger with a gun in his hands”

“A glass of Fetish. Clean drugs. Good Friends. A hot partner”

“Sometimes it feels like the whole world is smeared with Vaz”

This is a book with a slap of mystery, a dollop of violence, sex, drugs and dj-ing and a dash of urban poverty. Highly recommended.

Thanks to northern green pixie for the cover image.