People definitely like Jeff Noon, and I’m sure there’s something good there, but I couldn’t get into the book despite really wanting to.
Here’s the opening page, which is a lot:
Mandy came out of the all-night Vurt-U-Want, clutching a bag of goodies.
Close by was a genuine dog, flesh and blood mix; the kind you don’t see much any more. A real collector’s item. It was tethered to the post of a street sign. The sign read NO GO. Slumped under the sign was a robo-crusty. He had a thick headful of droidlocks and a dirty handwritten card – “hungry n homeless, please help.” Mandy, all twitching steps and head-jerks, scurried past him. The crusty raised his sad little message ever so slightly and the thin pet dog whined.
Through the van’s window I saw Mandy mouth something at them; “Fuck off, crusties. Get a life.” Something like that.
I was watching all this in the halo of the night lights. We stuck to the dark hours in those days. The Thing was on board and that was a major crime; possession of live drugs, a five year stretch guaranteed.
We were waiting in the van for the new girl. Beetle was up front, ladies’ leather gloves pulled tight onto his fingers, smeared with Vaz. He likes to feel a little bit greased when he rides. I was in the back, perched on the left side wheel housing, Bridget on the other, sleeping. Some thin wisps of smoke were rising from her skin. The Thing-from-Outer-Space lay between us, writhing on the tartan rug. He was leaking oil and wax all over the place, lying in a pool of his own juices.
I caught a movement in the air above the parking space.
Shadowcop! Broadcasting from the store wall, working his mechanisms; flickering lights in smoke. And then the flash of orange; an inpho beam shining out from the shadowcop’s eyes. It caught Mandy in its flare-path, gathering knowledge. She ducked down from the beam, banging, hard-core, on the van doors.