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Under the Amoral Bridge: A Cyberpunk Novel (The Bridge Chronicles) Paperback – January 31, 2008
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[Under the Amoral Bridge] was well thought out, with fun characters and solid dialogue. Artemis Bridge was the classic anti-hero... Ballard writing style is engaging and easy to follow. --The Drunken Scholar
About the Author
Gary A. Ballard was born, raised and still resides in the state of Mississippi. Graduating from Belhaven College with a degree in Fine Arts, he has painted, photographed, drawn, and written the world as he sees it. Working as a web designer since the early days of the World Wide Web, Gary is well-versed in social media, graphic design and Internet marketing.
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But it's not bad, and in parts is pretty good, particularly the character of the amoral fixer (though of course with a heart of gold). It's not groundbreaking stuff, but it's a solid, readable crime caper set in the near future. A few points let Ballard down though -- a couple of minor formatting errors (paragraph breaks mid sentence) were jarring -- and he had a tendency to tell a bit too much and not show enough, to my liking. If it had been me, I'd have ditched the third person narrative and done everything through Bridge's eyes, forcing Ballard to drop a lot of the exposition and be more inventive in slipping in the necessary non-narrative bits.
But hey, it's not bad and better than that, it shows promise. Worth a read. You dig?
Ballard shows us some of this dystopian world that he has built but i think pulls away a little too quickly. We don't get that eye popping exterior shot from Blade Runner, or the port side visual from Gibson's Neuromancer with the oft quoted line about the color of the sky. It's your world Gary but please stop teasing me!!!! With that we do get Netrunning, we get cool cyberlimbs, including the omni-present cybershades modifications (I know you played R. Talsorian's Cyberpunk, Gary i know it!!!!) and big meaty bad guys with a penchant for violence. I would like to see more from the mega-corps, and give me a few more cool guns and i'm a happy 'punk. I already bought his volume of short stories/novellas based in this world, Tales from the Bridge Chronicles, Volume 1 and cannot wait to dive into it. Excellent job Gary, well done.
Apparently, some time in the early to mid 21st Century, America finally defaulted on its loans. The solution to this problem was to put local government out to bid, with corporations getting local regions to run and indicia of sovereignity, including the righ to mint money and operate police forces. The wealthy are doing alright, as always, and the poor are biding their time for a payback and technology, the internet, virtual reality is just making the ties of society fray just a little bit more.
But Artemis Bridge has to make some money. He's given up his life of smashing and grabbing on a souped-up version of the internet where people park their bodies in faux-coffins that maintain life support while their minds wander freely in a much more vivid world. Instead, he's trying to make a go of it in a drab and dreary world where people can beat him up and put the bite on him as "the guy who knows a guy." Bridge doesn't want to get his hands personally dirty with the sick, disgusting, dangerous or illegal things that other people need, but he knows how to make some ka-ching off putting together people who want to traffic in the sick, disgusting, dangerous or illegal.
It all seems to be going pretty well, until he falls afoul of a local minor gangster and gets handed some digital information that is so hot he can't peddle it. After that, it's a matter of bouncing around until he can put the pieces together and use his gift of "knowing people" to see a little justice flower in his amoral world.
The character is fun. He reminded me of Ralph Fienne's character Lenny Nero in Strange Days. Bridge claims to be amoral, but, like Lenny Nero, there is something decent about him.
Ballard is obviously setting the Amoral Bridge up for return engagements. This story basically begins the process of introducing Bridge's world and his team, including his bodyguard, girlfriend and police contact, who all have far more loyalty for someone who claims to be amoral than is reasonable.
Good plotting. Snappy dialogue. Engaging mystery. Give it a shot.
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I am going to give this book 3.5 to 4 stars.Read more
Author: Gary A. Ballard
Type of Book: Audiobook – Unabridged
Narrator: Joe Hempel
Length: 4 hours
Genre: Contemporary...Read more