by Jeff Noon

What fascinates me about science-fiction novels is in how many different forms the authors may produce a solemnly unique story (i.e. the good SF-stories). Some are in a way realistic, not today, but in a few years they might be less of science fiction. Other are more like dreams, they're too absurd for me to think them ever come true, but I still enjoy them. Just because I love dreaming.
    Vurt is the world of dreams, now being an accessible and replayable medium. In Pollen by Jeff Noon the future people don't use phones, walkie-talkies, or cellular phones to communicate. Wit the Vurt feathers one can access someone else's psyche direct, through the dreams. Isn't this some of what Virtual Reality is about? The sharing of dreams. Gibson's phrase I've heard being altered so many times — the sharing of a consensual hallucination.

In a future Manchester a cloud of pollen is the murderer. It seems with each grain a person dies and with each death a flower gains birth. While the pollen count is high and rising people are sneezing themselves to death.

Sibyl Jones is a shadowcop and partly the storyteller (which is a part of the character of the novel; the story isn't told from the eyes of Officer Jones only). She is a dodo, a non-dreamer, a hard handicap in an information society where the information flows almost solemnly through dreams. And where dreams in general are as important as they are in this England.
    As a substitute for her impotence Sibyl has her shadow, allowing her taccess other people's minds and thoughts, though never dream.

Boda is an X-Cab driver with the Manchester tattooed on her body. Coyote is a Black-cab driver and also a mix of human and dog. When the three of them get together, to save the world(?), or just themselves, strange things happen. Body comes closer to Sibyl then she ever wished for and Coyote is seduced by a flower...

I'm both excited and humored by Noon's novel. The absurd humor and the adjective compiling, creating non-exciting words, still having a clear meaning is something I amongst all appreciate. Besides that it's a mind-taking and... aaaaahhhcchhhoooosssshhhh(!!!)... contagious story. I'm still dreaming about it.


back main forward