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Under the Amoral Bridge: A Cyberpunk Novel [Paperback]

Gary A. Ballard
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Jan. 31 2008 The Bridge Chronicles
Artemis Bridge is the know-who, go-to guy, the amoral fixer in 2028 Los Angeles with the connection for any illicit desire no matter how depraved. You need it, he can get it without questions or judgment. He prides himself on staying detached from the depravity, untouched by the filth, untouchable by the law. When a young hacker is assassinated before his eyes, he is burdened with a scandalous video of the mayor on the eve of the city's most important election of the century. With digital assassins and murderous thugs dogging his every step, he has only days before the corrupt mayor is re-elected, handing the Chronosoft Corporation complete control of the city. Unable to sell the video, he is forced further into a complex conspiracy. This taut futuristic thriller is the debut novel by Gary A. Ballard, a rising new talent in the cyberpunk genre. The trade paperback edition includes the previously unpublished short story "Feeding Autonomy." "...well written and a joy to read, Ballard paints imaginative scenarios and environments" "Ballard does a complete and thorough job of world building."

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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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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Into The Land Of Cyber-Punk Sept. 6 2010
Format:Paperback
Cyber-punk, near-future sci-fi, urban sci-fi, any one of those terms could describe Under the Amoral Bridge by Gary A. Ballard. It could also be described as a good yarn featuring an ambiguous, yet relatable, main character.

The plot centers around Artemis Bridge, a slightly shady go-between who can get you what you want, be it illegal or immoral. It is business as usual until one of his deals goes sour and he finds himself with killers on his tail and in possession of information he doesn't want.

The book is a fairly standard cyber-punk sci-fi novel, but it does have a nice touch of nihilistic cynicism set in a scruffy, corrupt future. The characters are well-rounded, with the focal character neither heroic nor completely indifferent; he is just a guy trying to get himself out of a bad situation in one piece. Also, the author does do a splendid job of painting his future world, a gritty, dark place full of people turned jaded, corrupt or apathetic.

Under the Amoral Bridge started life on the blogs as serial fiction, but it translates well to book form and it is a satisfying, entertaining read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  48 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4 3/4 Stars from "Red Adept Reviews" Sept. 22 2010
By Lynn McNamee - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Plot/Storyline: 4 3/4 Stars

I found the plot to be surprisingly unique, along with its interesting setting of our future earth. The future in the novel is scarily realistic. I could actually see the U.S. turning into this world.

From the first paragraph, I was pulled into the story. The depiction of the very different futuristic society was seamlessly interwoven into the story. The cover states that this is a "Cyberpunk Novel." To be perfectly honest, I'm not really into all that new genre classification. I preferred to think of it as a science fiction novel, and a very good one at that.

Yes, there are a lot of references to computers and new technology. However, there was really only one scene that required any computer knowledge. Although, I didn't think that scene was done as well as the rest of the book. It was a bit convoluted with all of the "rules" not explained very well. The rest of the book is set outside of any "cyberspace" areas.

While I am not into political type books, this one had an entirely different take on politics and government. It was not an especially new concept, but it was introduced in an awesome way that kept me guessing until the very end.

Character Development: 4 1/2 Stars

Artemis, the main character, was really fun to read about. I loved his style. While I couldn't agree with his politics, or lack thereof, or his moral reasonings, he still remained sympathetic in my eyes. He wasn't particularly likable, yet I still found myself cheering him on.

Artemis' lady love was far less developed. She could have used qutie a bit more "page time."

The bodyguard was just a side character, yet he was my favorite by far.

Writing Style: 5 Stars

I really enjoyed the writing style of Mr. Ballard. The smooth sentence structure gave the story a good flow. The descriptions were excellent, with just enough detail. The dialogue was very realistic.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent first book Oct. 7 2009
By Corey Crawford - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Set in a future Los Angeles after the government has abandoned it's role in governing the city, a major corporation is in charge. With it's own agenda to attain, it leaves a dirty, less-than-secure, population to fend for themselves. Ballard takes us on a ride through the corruption and societal decay, as the main character fights to stay alive after unfortunate circumstances place him in the dangerous crosshairs of unknown assailants. With a foray into a whole body 'Net experience, digging into corrupt political agendas, and dodging would-be-assassins, you may not be able to put down the book until it's finished.

Not only is this novel well written and a joy to read, Ballard paints imaginative scenarios and environments that I can only hope are expounded on in future novels.

With a style that reminds me of one of my favorite books, Neuromancer, I can't wait to read the next installment.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fast, enjoyable read March 9 2010
By Frankie D. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
I liked this, it was fast and fun. Ballard's writing style was relatively smooth, he did a good job building his world without drowning the reader in heavy-handed exposition, and the story was entertaining.

Artie Bridge operates in a grey zone, not necessarily breaking any laws as he connects the needy with their needs, but he certainly walks a fine line between living not-quite-like a criminal and dying like one. He gets embroiled in a connection which does not turn out as expected, needing to pull upon all his contacts and skills to make it out alive.

The story line was somewhat predictable, and some of the characters were sketchy, but overall this self-published work was well presented with few hitches. I would have liked to see it be a bit longer, fleshing out more of the interesting almost post-apocalyptic world the author builds, but at 99 cents it is not a disappointment.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply awesome Jan. 5 2010
By Travis Parker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Others have explained the plot, so I'll keep this review short and sweet. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Under the Amoral Bridge. My only gripe with the book was that at it was too short. I was left wanting to know more about the adventures of Amoral Bridge, and the world he lives in. I especially liked the authors use of words, for lack of a better way to put it. It made reading the book all the more interesting for me.

In short, if you're in any way a fan of scifi, or cyberpunk in particular, buy this book. Buy it twice, and give a copy to someone else, and make their life a little better.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Read Dec 20 2009
By The Pampered Lamb - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Review of Story Line:

This is my first book within the genre of cyberpunk. I wasn't really sure what that was about so I entered into it lightly. Well it's great. Cyberpunk novels deal with hackers: a programmer who breaks into computer systems in order to steal or change or destroy information as a form of cyber-terrorism. That has the potential of becoming a disaster. However Gary Ballard really manages to give us enough of the tech stuff and enough of every day happenings to keep us intrigued. The story really flows easily and is written in a way that would make anyone want to become a cyberpunk. You can't help but involve yourself with Bridge and feel happy, sad and pain along with him.

While this story deals with a world in 2028, it parallels what we live through nowadays. Corrupt players, do-gooders, the high and mighty. The difference? The way punishment and information is exchanged. How would like to the instead of passing business cards with your name and occupation on it, pass a business card that has your entire life coded in it?

How would you feel if someone can enter a chamber and hurt you physically while using holograms? It's no longer a world where people post things about you online, but where they can enter a 3-D world, find out anything and everything about you, and then hurt your physical image with it. It's insane.

Review of Characters:

I liked Bridge. I know he was the character that did good things but for bad reasons, but he sounded the most true to me. We all have that quality in us and so can quite easily relate to what he does and why he does it.

There were some issues where the bad guys had the expected sidekicks and they behaved the expected way. But really, how much do you want authors to rock the boat? If they rock everything there is no anchor.

Review of Writing:

A worry of mine when picking up this book, was how the tech information was going to be handled. Were we going to be thrown a bunch of tech words and phrases? While I am pretty knowledgeable with computers, most people when they hear about computer hacking get glossed over eyes. So this book had the potential to really cut down on its readership group.

But yet again, Gary has managed to really make the book complex enough to satisfy the techies and neutral enough to satisfy the non-techies. This is difficult, but I feel he managed to do it nicely.

Review of Editing:

I read the paperback version of this book and found about 3-4 misspellings (which is admirable) and one page was left justified instead of full justified. Does it mess up the reading or story at all? Not in the least. They are just minor issues that can be corrected in less than a minute.

Review of Cover:

The cover was nice. A little too much white space for me. But that is completely subjective.

Overall Review:

If I were to be asked if you should read this book, I would say yes. It's a great story, great characters (whether you like or dislike them personally, you still get involved with them) and has a great reading rhythm. I look forward to the second book in the series.

About the book:

Artemis Bridge is the know-who, go-to guy, the amoral fixer in 2028 Los Angeles with the connection for any illicit desire no matter how depraved. You need it, he can get it without questions or judgment. He prides himself on staying detached from the depravity, untouched by the filth, untouchable by the law. When a young hacker is assassinated before his eyes, he is burdened with a scandalous video of the mayor on the eve of the city's most important election of the century. With digital assassins and murderous thugs dogging his every step, he has only days before the corrupt mayor is re-elected, handing the Chronosoft Corporation complete control of the city. Unable to sell the video, he is forced further into a complex conspiracy. This taut futuristic thriller is the debut novel by Gary A. Ballard, a rising new talent in the cyberpunk genre. The trade paperback edition includes the previously unpublished short story "Feeding Autonomy." "...well written and a joy to read, Ballard paints imaginative scenarios and environments" "Ballard does a complete and thorough job of world building."

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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