Welcome to the blog, Gary! Could you tell us a little bit about Under the Amoral Bridge?
Under is the first novel in a series starring the amoral fixer of future Los Angeles, Artemis Bridge. There are three novels published in the series, with a fourth in the outline stages at the moment, and a series of loosely connected short stories that are currently published on my web site. Bridge is the go-to guy. If you need something, no matter how weird, immoral, or illegal, he knows a guy that can get it for you. He doesn’t touch the merchandise, he doesn’t ask questions. When an associate dies in his arms, he gets caught up in a scandal involving the city’s most important election in history. It’s got elements of science-fiction, cyberpunk, political thrillers and noir crime fiction.
How would you define cyberpunk? What sets it apart from straight-up sci-fi?
Typical cyberpunk have a near-future setting, a world that is instantly familiar to most readers but with subtle differences. The characters live in a media-saturated world, controlled by vast, unfeeling multinational corporations; a dark mirror of the information economy that exists today turned up to 11. Corporate influence has intruded into all aspects of everyday life, the underlying collective subconscious soaked with branded messages from the cradle to the grave. Often the protagonists are anti-heroes, deeply flawed characters with more interest in survival than in righting wrongs. There is the constant feeling that the governments of the world have been weakened or entirely co-opted by the financial power of multinationals, that life is a brutal joke subject to the whim of some well-heeled executive with more interest in balance sheets than the balance of life. A pervasive nihilism grips the world of cyberpunk novels, a sense that the best of history is behind and the future is unending servitude to the glossy masters of consumerism. The only solace lies in the freedom of information, the global network of computers, artificial intelligence and the hackers who populate the network.
Which other genres tend to intersect with cyberpunk?
Cyberpunk often contains elements of noir and crime fiction. Some, like mine, have crossovers with urban fantasy.
Do you have any favorite authors we should be reading? Who are your influences?
For cyberpunk, you can’t go wrong with the big 3: William Gibson, Bruce Sterling or Neal Stephenson. I’m personally influenced by all sorts of things, from beat writers like Kerouac and Burroughs, to comic writers like Frank Miller and Alan Moore, and even more esoteric, philosophical stuff like Sartre and Camus.
What is your best advice on writing?
Keep at it. Read vociferously, anything you can get your hands on. Don’t limit yourself to reading one genre. If you want to actually publish your books, if you want people to pay money for them, learn how to market. Embrace the eBook. Edit, edit and edit again. And most importantly, get a thick skin, because people will say some terrible stuff about your writing no matter how good it is.
Thanks so much for stopping by, Gary!
Gary Ballard has written three well-reviewed cyberpunk novels: Under the Amoral Bridge, The Know Circuit and if [tribe] =. A graduate of Belhaven College with a BA of Fine Art, he has been writing all sorts of things since the age of 11. From video game commentary to political critique, Ballard’s scathing wit is reflected in his most recognizable character, the fast-talking fixer Artemis Bridge. He currently lives in Mississippi with his wife and three dogs, working as a web site designer for a regional advertising firm.
Gary Ballard can be found on Twitter and Google+.
Under the Amoral Bridge is available at Gary Ballard’s website.
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