I sometimes wonder whatever happened to good old-fashioned science fiction, the traditional type stuff of Arthur C. Clark and Isaac Asimov. Seems the old sci-fi has diversified into so many subgenres now I can't locate the good stuff. But you could hardly ask for a better sampling of traditional space adventure than this.
And overall, much like other famous space adventure novels, the vast scope and plot of "Schismatrix" serves at least somewhat as a metaphor for our own present day world. It's the story of a society divided, and a series of covert wars among the different schisms, and the life of one lone maverick who tries to stand clear of all of them and find prosperity and greatness separate and apart.
As an aside, I think the genre Bruce has been identified with, "cy6erpunk," is more ephemeral than most fashionable genres, and is often just a trendy buzzword. There is little or nothing in this novel to identify as cyberpunk but plenty to describe it as traditional science fiction much like Asimov or Roddenberry would write. If Bruce ever wrote cyberpunk this wasn't it IMO.
Bruce is a high-energy writer who is well-known for his short stories. In fact, a few of them took place in this same Schismatrix universe, and were later included I think in the "Schismatrix Plus" collection. One of my very favorite shorts of his is one of these and can be found also in the collection "Crystal Express."
I found this to be a pretty easy read, and like much traditional science fiction, is not extremely emotional stuff, but focuses much on science and technology. It is not without some emotional depth, but anyway is focused on the loner protagonist, who is in fact pretty alien in his ways compared to us. I think Bruce empathized with him to some extent though.
I'd say if you like sf and want a good intro to Bruce, this is a great way to go. But I'd suggest the "Schismatrix Plus" instead, because the shorts included there, while not essential to this plot, are great reading also, and help fill out this universe a tiny bit. And besides, if you are some science-fiction-readin' weirdo like me, you will finish this book in a heartbeat and be ready for more.