This book is a psychedelic roller coaster of beautiful and hideous magic. Set in a gritty, mad and fucked-up imagining of Manchester, people (which is a complex term, given the presence of humanoid dogs, shadow folk, robots and various hybrids) embark upon shared virtual reality drug trips induced by tickling the back of the throat with colour-coded feathers. These are more than just trips though; people can get lost in the Vurt, and this is what has happened to Scribble’s sister/lover Desdemona. Now he wants to go back into a rare and dangerous Vurt to save her. There’s incest, bestiality, a bit of extremely wild driving under the influence, a couple who are fused to each other by their dreadlocks, a muttering and tentacled alien blob creature that is practically made out of hallucinogenic drugs… If offered one of the feathers, I’m not sure if I’d flush it immediately down the loo while wearing rubber gloves and a face mask, or if I’d put it directly into my mouth. I guess it would depend on the colour. I’d like to think I’m wise enough to avoid the yellow ones, and yet… I don’t want to know, but I do!
Verdict: Why are you not already reading this?