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Literature / Vurt

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Sometimes it feels that the whole world is smeared with Vaz.

Vurt, written by Jeff Noon, is the first novel in a series of books set in an alternate version of Manchester, Singland (England), in which society has been shaped by Vurt, a hallucinogenic drug/shared alternate reality, which one accesses by sucking on colour-coded feathers.

Vurt tells the story of Scribble and his "gang", the Stash Riders, as they search for his missing sister/lover Desdemona.


Now also a roleplaying game based on Monte Cook's Cypher System.

This book provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents The father of Scribble and Desdemona. He of all things is the worst nightmare that haunts both of them in the Curious House and attacks them with a razor blade.
  • All Women Are Lustful Especially, towards Scribble. His sister seduces him. Suze flirts with him and uses her Vurt abilities to feel him from inside. The biggest Vurt pornstar Cinders O’Juniper invites him to have sex almost instantly.
  • Ambiguous Robots: It is a shock for Scribble to find out that Barney wasn't completely a human.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Scribble brings Desdemona back into the real world, but must stay with Game Cat and become his apprentice and (as is hinted) his successor.
  • Dirty Cop: The she-cop Murdoch is TOO keen on catching the Stash Riders. Even her partner notes that she doesn't follow "the standard procedure".
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  • Drugs Are Good: Moreover, they are the most popular form of entertainment.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Thing. Complete with unintelligible speech.
  • Equivalent Exchange: When anything is taken from the Vurt, something of equal worth must be left behind. It's not entirely clear how this worth is determined, but sentimental value does count.
  • Meaningful Name: Scribble lives up to his name as he is the story teller.
  • Mental Fusion: One time, Scribble can feel Suze inside his body, touching all his body parts.
  • Police Brutality: The novel opens with the cop burning a homeless man’s dog alive. Tristan gets severely beaten by cops during and after his detention, then dies in custody.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Octave Mirbeau's The Torture Garden.
    • Also, the name Curious Yellow is a reference to the film I Am Curious (Yellow), a foreign and soft erotic film.
  • Tarot Motifs: Suze gives Scribble the symbolic The Fool card.
  • Telepathy: Bridget and other shadowgirls are capable of mind reading and writing.


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