Under the Amoral Bridge

Under the Amoral Bridge - Gary Ballard This is a solid, but not groundbreaking cyberpunk adventure. Gary doesn't tread too far off the genre's beaten path, and for most of the book the action and dialogue (though not the vocabulary; sed -e "s/cyberpunk/SomeGenre/g") could be set in any noir story from Renaissance Europe to the far distant future. It's a quick read, and it's full of likable characters.

It doesn't suffer from the drawbacks typical of episodically published stories. Each installment flows well into the next, with no unnecessary recaps or useless cliffhangers: thankfully, this book reads nothing like Charles Dickens. The denouement feels like it's tacked on; almost like Gary lit a neon sign on a drizzly evening that says, "Second Novel: Here!" with a huge flashing arrow to the only plot point he left unresolved.

I like slimy, narcissistic antiheroes and Amoral Bridge delivers. He's not a total douchebag, he operates by his own moral compass that's tuned to a darwinian inspired nihilism I found myself relating to:
Everybody wants to do something nasty and vile to somebody else. Everybody! They're all fucking shitheels with disgusting, immoral, vicious desires buried in their tiny, miserable souls just waiting for an excuse to get out. The sooner it gets out and they all burn themselves up in a fiery orgy of self-destructive gluttony, the happier I'll be. Humanity as a whole is a miserable gaggle of self-pleasuring apes ready to crack you over the head and steal your fucking bananas.


This book is a great introduction to cyberpunk for people who might not usually read scifi, and for diehard cyberpunk fans it's a great way to spend a couple of nontaxing hours.

I read the smashwords edition, and it suffered from the usual deficiencies that all their epubs have, but was generally well rendered on my reader.