The Bridge trilogy, like the Sprawl trilogy, takes place in a dystopian future. It is not clear whether the two trilogies are set at different times in the same universe or in separate universes, although the world in the Bridge trilogy appears less advanced. The books deal with the race to control the beginnings of cyberspace technology and are set on the United States' West coast in a post-earthquake California (divided into the separate states of NoCal and SoCal), as well as a post-earthquake Tokyo, Japan, that had been rebuilt using nanotechnology.
The trilogy derives its name from the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, which was abandoned in an earthquake and has become a massive shantytown and a site of improvised shelter. The bridge becomes a pivotal location in Virtual Light and All Tomorrow's Parties.