Skip to main content
PBS logo

Book Review of Virtual Light (Bridge, Bk 1)

Virtual Light (Bridge, Bk 1)
Kibi avatar reviewed on + 582 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5

A virtual marvel, March 26, 2005
Reviewer: Michael K. Smith (Baton Rouge, Louisiana)

Gibson is possibly the most consistently original of any sf author of his generation. In this world of our near future (2005, according to the flap copy, but I don't think he's that explicit in the text), almost everything has been privatized, the U.S. has devolved into independent region-nations, and wealth and power enforce the divisions in society. Berry Rydell, a young ex-cop from Knoxville, is working for a private "armed response" outfit in Los Angeles until he screws up and is sent off to San Francisco as a driver for a skiptracer. Mr. Yamazaki, a Japanese student of social psychology and anthropology, is fascinated by the squatter community that took over the Oakland Bay Bridge, which was abandoned after the big quake. One of the bridge's residents is Chevette Washington, a bike messenger in the city, who looks after one of the aging pioneers of the bridge community -- but she also screws up, lifting what she thinks is just an expensive pair of shades from an annoying guy at a party. The glasses embody a secret that would destroy a lot of careers and Rydell's employer wants them back. Chevette is a marvelous character, as is Yamazaki, who enables the reader to see things from a truly foreign perspective. Gibson, a master of metaphor, never wastes a word. A terrific read.