Fiction Reviews

Pixel Juice

(1998) Jeff Noon, Doubleday, 15.99, hdbk, 306pp, ISBN 0-385-40859-5

I think it's fair to say that Noon is one of those writers you either love or hate, and no amount of critical praise or condemnation is likely to change your mind. With that in mind, I'm happy to declare that I really like Noon's work, but can understand why others might be left cold. From the point of view of this review, then, analysis is by-the-by. If you hate his stuff, then why are you even bothering to read this review? (though I would say, give the man another try, but loosen up your head first); if you loved everything from Vurt to Nymphomation (including the brilliant Automated Alice), then go out and buy this book now!

Pixel Juice is a collection of short stories, fragments, musings and throw-away ideas filled with Noon's love of language and wordplay, and driven by his perverse imagination and fractured constructions. Some of the pieces are set in the Vurt universe (though I'd also accept an argument that placed all of Noon's work in the same construct); very few can really be considered true short stories; all are gleefully twisted and fascinating; some border on page-filling crap, but so what? There's enough good ideas and writing here to fuel a thousand imaginations, and a peculiar self-consistency that points up Noon's individuality more than any mere reviewer ever can (including me).

Tony Chester

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