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by Jeff Noon

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Vurt (3)

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577835,657 (3.66)18
Set both in a real and imaginary Manchester, Jeff Noon's story concerns a sinister corporate takeover of the City of Manchester in the form of a revolutionary lottery game that is engulfing the people in a tide of gambling fever.

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English (7)  Finnish (1)  All languages (8)
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
Jeff Noon is one of those authors that you either love or just don't understand. His first two books (Virt, Pollen) were incredible. This book is not the level of Virt or Pollen but still a decent read for fans of the genre. ( )
  DaveCapp | Oct 22, 2014 |
Trying to describe this one is going to be difficult but I suppose I should try and give it a go. This book is a prequel to Vurt and Pollen a cyberpunk series set in and around Manchester. The economy is in ruins and only large corporations thrive. So much so that even the cops are sponsored by the biggest burger chain and have to wear bright yellow fluorescent W's on their uniforms (they make a lovely target). But Manchester is also home to the trial run of a new lottery style game based around dominoes and run by the AnnoDomino company. Every Friday night at nine o'clock the city comes to a standstill when the draw is made, everybody clutching their bones hoping to win big or even become the next Mr Million (the anonymous ruler of the game) if chance permits. But there are some winners ending up dead, jealousy murders committed by others that have not been so lucky. Max Hackle, professor of mathematics at the University of Manchester, thought there might be more to it all than just a game. He has recruited some of his best students and set them the task of breaking into the game and finding out what the score really is.

This is more of an ensemble piece than either of the other books and I think the characterisation suffers for it. You spend time with each of the group's members but not enough for them to grow on you and they hardly develop throughout the story. There are still plenty of ideas and imagination thrown into the mix though so all is not lost. Take for instance blurbflies, bio-mechanical flying bugs which stream out advertisements, even by their name you could probably tell what they were. There is a little bit of Greek mythology mixed in with elements of chaos theory but thankfully you don't have to understand to let the story carry you along. Even though this book does provide the basis of some of the events in Vurt I still think that if you're planning on reading the series then start with that one and not this prequel. The story and characters are more engaging and you will hopefully become immersed in the world enough not to even think about what you don't know about it. ( )
  AHS-Wolfy | Feb 14, 2013 |
A novel with an ensemble cast where almost all members belong to at least one underrepresented group, written by one of the well-respected voices in British literary speculative fiction. What could possibly go wrong? Alas, there is plenty – from Indians whose entire universe centers around food to a monstrous antagonist described as a giant “mass of black flesh”, Nymphomation hops from one stereotype to another, and ultimately falls flat.

http://expandedhorizons.net/magazine/?page_id=1497 ( )
  prezzey | May 31, 2010 |
Nymphomation is frenetic prequel to 'Vurt' and 'Pollen' (but chronologically occurring after 'Automated Alice'). As with Noon's other works, many interesting ideas are conveyed in the story; but this particular novel takes place before the birth of the Vurt (indeed the book provides information as to how the birth of the Vurt came about).

In Nymphomation, Noon extends himself further in terms of literary prose when compared to his earlier works of 'Vurt' and 'Pollen'. The jump between first and third person perspectives, shifts in character emphasis along with his prose ranging from stream-of-consciousness to academic exposition in some sense challenges the reader to keep up with the ideas going on in the book. Personally, I found this spectrum of literary style fun and interesting to read; but it will put others off to the story.

That being said, the characters in Nymphomation were not as strong as those in Pollen or Vurt. While the characters I believed to be realistic in their personalities, they are extremely static and their roles shift in the story in an artificial way. Basically, Daisy is developed as a main character who is supplanted in this role at the end of the story by Jazir who moves in from a supporting role. Unfortunately, Jazir wasn't developed enough to justify this transition. As for Daisy, Noon developed her plot line but Noon failed to reflect this development in her personality, making her character seem static despite the story surrounding her.

In addition to the problems with characters, the plot was also not as inventive as some of Noon's other works. The plot follows a standard archetype of a group of characters trying to take down a larger corporate construct. Toward the end of the story, the plot line gets more and more abstract falling into essentially something straight out of the mind of Borges. While I like the abstract personally, it may not be everyone's cup of tea.

On of the particular points that I really thought interesting in this book is how Noon refers to mathematics throughout the novel. As a student of mathematics, I have a tendency to judge its uses in a fictional setting rather harshly; but I love what the path that Noon has taken in Nymphomation. Instead of conveying mathematics as something that is tantamount to a novel construction and manipulation of symbols on paper (which is prolific in much of fiction) he takes a simulation approach to his mathematical references. That is, instead of referring to equations by symbols he refers to them through the physical things they model. For example, getting people to dance in a rave he would refer to as the DJ manipulating the equation of the crowd. Noon uses this mechanism consistently in the book; and it works very well if you buy into the ideas of Simulacra and Simulation (a book by Baudrillard). While this has problems when it comes to purely theoretical mathematics, I love this approach as it enables mathematics to be portrayed in a more artistic light and not some technically brutal manipulation of symbols.

One a smaller note, the typesetting (at least in the Black Swan Edition) is awesome for this book. The blurbfly inserts and typographical artistry in the layout I found immensely appealing. This is one of the very few novels you will find that is typeset in a sans-serif font.

Overall, I think Nymphomation presents a lot of interesting ideas and literary prose; but is lacking in plot/character interest when compared to Noon's earlier works 'Vurt' and 'Pollen'. While I personally really enjoyed reading this book, it may not be everyone's thing. If unfamiliar with Noon's work, I would suggest first reading 'Vurt' or perhaps 'Pollen' before jumping into this story. ( )
1 vote PDExperiment626 | Feb 11, 2008 |
A very slow read. Interesting story line but the sentences don't flow nicely. I Would need two or three days to dedicate to this book and I don't fell my efforts would be rewarded. DNF ( )
  woosang | Dec 22, 2007 |
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jeff Noonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Fieldstead, TimCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Murray, IanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Vurt (3)
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GAME 40. It was Domino Day in lucky old Manchester, and the natives were making love to the television, all glazen-eyed and drunken as the opening credits came into view.
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Set both in a real and imaginary Manchester, Jeff Noon's story concerns a sinister corporate takeover of the City of Manchester in the form of a revolutionary lottery game that is engulfing the people in a tide of gambling fever.

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Average: (3.66)
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