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Mortality Bridge Hardcover – July 31, 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 422 pages
  • Publisher: Subterranean; Signed Limited edition (July 31, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596063750
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596063754
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,721,992 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Luminously tragic, darkly funny, and deeply moving, all in turns and sometimes all at once. Boyett is one of the few writers who will make you eager to go into Hell, and not worry about whether you return. I wasn't expecting how much this book affected me. Good stuff, folks. Don't miss out." --John Scalzi (Old Man's War, Whatever)

"Through unusual turns of phrase, heart-rending introspection, and mythic tone, Boyett explores themes of betrayal, redemption, and personal sacrifice in a tortured landscape of bedlam and pandemonium." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Niko's race through Hell is one of the greatest supernatural adventure stories of recent memory. It is not a mere allegory about sin and redeption, cowardice and nobility: it's also a damned good story, which sets it apart from almost all existential allegories."  --Cory Doctorow

"Brilliant. An unforgettable tale of one man's journey to Hell. The writing is filled with vivid sensory detail. I was pushed to my limits by this one. Immeasurably sad. Moments of transcendent joy and beauty and compassion. A very well-written book that made me feel intense emotion. I recommend it." --Fantasy Literature

"Mortality Bridge has something for everyone: great characterization, vivid description, pulse pounding action. It's a story of human weakness and redemption that's even older than the myths the novel draws upon, a story we can all relate to. An incredible, touching, exhilarating work that I wholeheartedly recommend." --SF Revu

More About the Author

Steven R. Boyett wrote his first novel, ARIEL, when he was nineteen. Soon after ARIEL was published he moved from Florida to California, where he continued to write fiction and screenplays as well as teach college writing courses, seminars, and workshops. He has published stories in literary, science fiction, fantasy, and horror anthologies and magazines, as well as publishing articles and comic books.

His most recently published novel, MORTALITY BRIDGE, earned acclaim from Publisher's Weekly and popular authors John Scalzi and Cory Doctorow.

Steven is known for his dynamic readings and lectures. He has also been a martial arts instructor, professional paper marbler, advertising copywriter, proofreader, tyepsetter, writing teacher, and Website designer and editor.

As a DJ he produces three of the world's most popular music podcasts: Podrunner, Podrunner: Intervals, and Groovelectric. Steven has played clubs, conventions, parties, Burning Man, and sporting events.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Terry in NC on July 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Mortality Bridge is the Steven R. Boyett book I'd been waiting for. I thought that book was coming last year when I heard a long-awaited sequel to Boyett's wonderful fantasy novel, Ariel, was coming out. That sequel, Elegy Beach, was good but less intense than the original, like Boyett was trying to rekindle energy for a world that had enthralled him almost 30 years earlier. Like Nietzsche, I love only what a man has written with his blood, which Ariel was but Elegy Beach came a bit short of.
But Mortality Bridge is the best Boyett so far. It has all the wonderful imagination in its plot as Ariel had, but it is far better written, simply beautiful prose. Boyett fuses two powerful myths, Faust and Orpheus, and sets them in modern times. Like Faust, the rock musician main character Niko has made a deal with the devil that costs him his beloved girlfriend's life, and like Orpheus he descends into hell to retrieve her. The hell he describes is ghastly and spellbinding, and his journey through it has you turning pages faster than anything Stephen King ever wrote. The passage through hell, which constitutes most of the novel, is so vividly described, so mesmerizing, that I could visualize it as clearly as if it were a movie, and a great movie it would be.
The best thing about the book, which raises it above even Ariel, is that it is the product of not only an intelligent but now a fully matured mind able to grasp the metaphysical implications of its profound subject matter. It takes on questions of immortality, the nature of the psyche, the forces that may or may not govern the universe and treats each with the astute wisdom it deserves. It seldom insists on any answers to these questions; rather, like all our best teachers, Boyett leads us to deeper questions. The finest book I've read in a long time.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Kelly (Fantasy Literature) VINE VOICE on August 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Depressing. Disgusting. Brilliant.

When trying to think of words to describe Mortality Bridge, I keep coming back to variations on those three. Steven R. Boyett has written an unforgettable tale of one man's journey to Hell, and I wish I liked it better than I did. Ordinarily I enjoy descents to the underworld, but we all have our limits, and with Mortality Bridge, I think I've found some of mine.

The story centers on Niko, a rock musician. He was a strung-out, washed-up failure when an agent of the Devil approached him with a deal. Niko accepted -- and got famous, got sober, and got his girlfriend Jemma back. But now Jemma is dying of a mysterious illness, which Niko didn't bargain for. He bones up on mythology and the occult, learning everything he can about "hadeography" (the geography of Hell), and then follows Jemma into the underworld to bring her back. The publisher's blurb mentions Dante, Faust, Orpheus, the blues legend of the Crossroads, and Hieronymus Bosch as influences, and indeed that's all there, blended by Boyett into a cohesive whole.

The writing is filled with vivid sensory detail; the reader sees and hears and smells everything right along with Niko. Clipped sentence fragments, lengthy sentences strung together with "ands" or commas, and impromptu compound words help create a stream-of-consciousness effect in places. Here's a passage that exemplifies the style and the subject matter:

"On the other side of the rock outcropping the lake of blood cannot be seen again. Only the evercrawling line, the names called from the bottomless list, the neverending plain.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Rick on February 14, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a tough book for me to review. I mostly love Boyett's writing---his Ariel is one of my favorite books ever. And this novel is no exception. The characters are incredibly deep and real and the descriptions are wonderful craftmanship. The book is incredibly written in every detail.
But I HATED most of the book. It isn't the idea of Hell, or the incessant torture, it's the fact that the POV character and the author don't spend enough time reflecting on the unfairness of the place and what sort of God would allow it to be that way. Even children are being tortured for all eternity in this version of Hell. And with all this horror, Niko is so wrapped up in his own little world that all he can think of is saving his girlfriend's soul.
While this is supposed to be an improvement over his previous narcissism, it's not MUCH of an improvement and I could never really feel any sympathy for our "hero." Or anyone else in the book, for that matter.
Can you like a book while hating everyone in it? I don't know.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 5, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Made me feel self conscious about finishing, and I have a strong stomach. Puts a capital "G" in "grotesque" and "gratuitous violence," although it does take place in Hell, after all.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By The Florida Phoenix on December 28, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am in awe of Mortality Bridge.

All the other reviews found here and elsewhere of the work are accurate -- violent, gory, rich with disturbing imagery (what do you expect on a journey to the center of Hell and back, rainbows and butterflies?), a rock'n'roll riff of one of the oldest myths/legends of humanity -- so there's no need in repeating it here. Suffice to say, fans of Steve's earlier work will not be disappointed. Mortality Bridge is further evidence of Steve's deft storytelling ability and his wicked sense of whimsy (Dante being employed as a receptionist in the corporate office of Hell translating Dan Brown into terza rima, for example).

Mortality Bridge has the opportunity for being an important work. It dovetails neatly into the literary tradition of The Divine Comedy, Paradise Lost, Faust, et al -- you can see Steve's fluency in this ancient and perpetual myth on every page -- but other works have done that with varying degrees of success. What sets Mortality Bridge apart is that it serves as a momento mori for the reader willing to see themselves in Nico. We all screw up, but what so many of us fail to realize is the collateral damage that our screw ups do to those who love us in spite of the screw ups. Steve gives literary vision to the pointless claim that we'd go to hell and back to rescue the one we love ... if we had only known or had the chance.

I bought Mortality Bridge -- I was lucky enough to get No. 666 of the 750 limited edition signed by Steve -- to reward myself for getting through the fall semester. I didn't anticipate that it would be such an ideal piece to read at Christmas and before the New Year, a time of the year normally given to introspection and making resolutions.
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