ATL: Stories from the Retrofuture
All the cool kids are reading it... How about you?
In the future of decades past, a world of robots and CRTs, Atlanta is the most powerful city in the world. And in that city, one twentysomething slacker named Morgan Harding dreams of being able to live a normal, peaceful life, but . . . that’s not happening. Together with a mysterious sentient robot and an overworked college student, Morgan must keep Atlanta safe from the technological threats that arise . . . pretty much constantly . . . Sigh . . .
ATL is divided into several novel or novella-sized stories, and the entire first season is online on Royal Road for you to gobble up like a robot filling up at a power socket.
And if you're itching for more, always know you can read the story at its official website where it updates sooner than here. Don't be late!
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From the first chapter you could see that the author put a lot of work into this novel. (I am talking about the commissioned artwork) And you know that you will be getting the best of the best, not some half-assed work just written on the weekends.
This web novel is really for anyone who loves futuristic stories, it has a funny and witty main lead, great political intrigue which makes you want to learn more and a setting that is well fleshed out.
Unraveling conspiracies that threaten to incite riots, discovering villain hidouts, and tracking down corporate espionage. Check.
Set in Atlanta. Also Check.
Stories from the Retrofuture takes the cultural astetic of the 90s and puts robots into it. Mad Science, not run amock, but instead bent to the whims of corporate overlords.
Not that it's all earthshattering plots constantly. No, instead the story follows Morgan, a bank teller with unspecified cybernetic augementations, good enough for him to fight an army of robots but not good enough to win. Definitely good enough to get the living crap beat out of him though. He doesn't get paid for this, he doesn't even want to do it really, but robots keep punching him in the face so he has to track down the hacker who hates him or whatever.
Day to day, Morgan makes excuses to call out from work, attempts to keep friendships intact under a barrage of Atlanta going haywire, and does entirely too much walking for someone who gets lost the moment he looks away from a map.
Mayors with guns, a villain who doesn't do anything but publish what people are actually doing on social media, a child robot that is terrible at painting, ATL has a varied cast of characters who all have their own quirks. With a glaring lack of errors, caused by the author being attentive to comments drawing said errors to his attention, it's a fun, easy read.
Just a little recommendation to anyone that want a really good cyberpunk story.
At the end of the first arc, I must say that I don't find anything bad, the plot is very good and is progressing rapidely. I didn't feel bored at all and was always looking for the next chapter (and there is only one or two cliffhanger). Peoples and company are each working for they one goal. But making a conspiracy is never easy in this world ^^ Our character is traped between the company and the peoples that threaten them.
And for the character, we're well served, each one is unique and intersting, even for the side-side-character :D And furthermore we see a real growth in the MC.
And in opposite of @ARTHICERN, I really liked the idea of a character that already exist before. He had lived amazing thing and when we discover some bits, we start to imagine what could have happened before, and each time, the author puts an additional info we start to get a more precise picture of what happened. We discover their relation and the event that happened before; the story dosn't star at the first chapter, but way before.
The world itself is well builded and the story talk about really important topics like the online privacy, and how each human has some little secret and what is the result when you show it to evryone, the effect on your life. And with that come a real interogation about the ethics as for each character have his own view about the privacy.
Anyway, I really push anyone to start reading this story, really glad i've read it.
(Since i'm not english, I can't really tell for the grammar)
So I quite enjoyed this, with some caveats.
The story is great, with the villain/hero being a righteous vigilante that cancels people (The Social Media Killer).
The world building is all implied with almost no exposition and is done quite well. We're in the near future, but things are different. There's strong AI, but it's rare. Tech has stagnated as Moore's Law has failed. Interesting stuff.
It basically boils down to a noir-ish but light hearted futuristic detective novel with some twists. Like I said, I liked it.
My only real issues were with the main character, specifically his powers.
We're indirectly told throughout the book that our MC has powers, that he's physically enhanced, but not exactly what those enhancements are. We see a lot of extra strength with him doing super jumps and big punches while he fights enhanced mercs. Extra speed and regeneration.
From what we've learned of this society that sort of augmentation is unusual if not unheard of. At one point he wakes up in a hospital and the doctor is shocked to see his wounds visibly closing.
We're also told he has spent a lot of time in the recent past fighting for his life and saving Atlanta as part of his little group "The Sages" (yes I'm going to use that name).
This is all spoiled later in the book when he fights a villain, who is a high school senior girl with no enhancements, and she completely kicks his ass. Multiple times. That broke my suspension of disbelief right there.
So, worth a read and I'll probably continue on.
This is a well-written, fairly solid teen cyberpunk story, set in a near-future Seattle. It’s less gritty and full-on noir than the genre can get, but still has the street finding its own use for things, the social upheaval caused by technology and the divisions between the haves and have-nots. While the main character may not be a chain-smoking private eye that gets in trouble thanks to a dame, he does have his own mysterious background, backstory and contacts, as well as getting in a lot of trouble even if he could walk away!
There are a few minor errors typing and grammar errors, but it’s pretty well written and easy to read, and delivers the story well, working through itself without falling apart, becoming overly vague or drifting into pointless side-stories.
The politics of the setting are interestingly fleshed out, although the importation of the English education system seems a bit strange (complete with the distinction between school sixth form and college).
In summary, if you’re looking for well-written, YA-ish cyberpunk with a decent hook and a fun main character, then this is probably worth your time!
Do you enjoy cool settings? What about corporate espionage? Maybe you are just looking for great characters looking for trouble? If so than story is definitely a story for you!
This review is made after having read the first book.
The style is perfectly competent, with smooth prose, good dialogue and banter, and exciting action scenes! The humor is well written and adds a lot to the story, while the more serious parts still get across as important.
The story itself is well structured and it's readily apparent that the whole thing was well planned out from the beginning. Starting in-media-res (in the middle of the action) was a fun addition and added some nice mystery as you slowly uncover Morgan and friends history along with the novel and interesting setting. All the while the media killer is on the loose and everyone is on the hunt.
The grammar is pretty dang solid, while there are a couple of little errors here and there it's not distracting enough to pull you out of the story. And the formatting is spot on. As far as sheer readability this story is absolutely on the high end for this site :p
Characters are where I think this story really shines! Morgan out over worked and under paid mc is painfully relatable while still being positive, smart, and funny. Their humble disregard of their super cool past is a running joke as you coffee to learn just how action packed it is. Karina is the best friend anyone could ask for while being a 3d character in her own right. Perpetually busy with a daily schedule that gives me a stomach ulcer just thinking about it she still makes time for some thrilling adventure in her life supporting her best friend that just can't stay out of trouble. R8PR is a kick but sapient robot who escaped from captivity and is now hiding in the outskirts of the city trying to keep it all from tumbling around their heads.
This is an absolute romp and well worth your time!
This story is a rare gem on RR, with interesting characters, a fully fleshed out techno-punk world, unique style and great story. This review was written after finishing "The Social Media Killer". I haven't finished "Trials of the Cybermancer" yet.
So the cyberpunk world of ATL reminds me of BioShock:Infinite, a place that was polished and posh, with the grit and dirt starting to wear off the shine. The worldbuilding is well done, and the background characters consistent and colorful.
In addition, the grammar and writing style spot on. I didn't notice any glaring errors in spelling or grammar, and the writing is descriptive without getting too wordy, and the style is practiced and engaging.
The real shining point, for me, is the characters. The MC, Morgan, is an unreliable narrator. This was a neat surprise a few chapters in, and has made for a fascinating dynamic as the story goes along. He mostly lies about himself, which leaves you wondering what, and why, he is lying even when it has little to do with the current story arc. His two friends, Karinna and R8PR, are also fully fleshed out and multi-dimensional, and have their own strengths and weaknesses that add depth and flavor to the story as it progresses.
Finally, with the story itself - the episode that I have finished so far was well plotted, perfectly paced and engaging. It is a mystery that runs at the pace of an action/thriller, and the author did a great job of keeping the tension going even when the MC, who is very much an antihero (his motivation is to watch tv and eventually leave town), has to be forced into doing something by circumstances. Despite the MC's initial apathy, the story never lost focus and never stumbled, keeping the reader going along while the MC got his feet under him and started moving.
All told, I think this is the highest I've rated any story I've reviewed to date, because I couldn't think of a single thing to critique in the negative category. The author hit all the right notes and has been consistent throughout. I'm looking forward to finishing the next episode, and following along with what comes after!
Overall, 5 out of 5, would read again.
ATL: Stories from the Retrofuture is quite a wonderful work of the Author that I definitely urge you to read!
I consider myself as a fantasy-reader and tend to graviate away from sci-fi stories but this story has got me hooked with its captivating world and characters.
The vivid storytelling and the fun perspective of the characters certainly gives the narrative its own charm that flows smoothly. Each character from major to minor has their own desires, goals and needs that is portrayed in the chapters and intrincally weaved together. In Social Media Killer, the story starts with a rather normal protagonist but we soon see that there's more to them than meets the eye.
Perhaps some would like to see how our protagonist became not-so-normal but there is certainly enjoyment as we learn more of the protagonist's history. There's this air of mystery around it that we get to discover as we continue to read. It definitely seems that we've started in media res but it's also the start of an inciting event so I leave the others to decide for themselves what to think of it. It's a fresh take for me to have a character that's already been through one adventure and is onto another chapter of their life.
I've only read Social Media Killer so far, but I only have the highest expectations that the other stories are as good, or even better than this one.
I'm looking forward to reading more of ATL: Stories from the Retrofuture!
This is the first time I've given 5 stars in everything. The tone grabs me immediatly and sets the stage for the story we're about to read. Stars off kinda like the setup for an episode of Black Mirror, which is DEFINATLY a good thing in my books. It also feel like the kind of world we could possibly live in within our lifetime!
Style: Excellent. At no point did I disengage from the story, and the tone had me pulled in and interested. There were some literary techniques here and there that I noted and appreciated
Story: As I said, has a Black Mirror kinda vibe to it, which I like. Starting off with this Social Media Killer also really draws on the whole call-out culture stuff we see today. Could be a real thing in another 20 years (maybe less)
Grammar: At no point did the grammar draw me out of the story, so 5 stars.
Character: Character Is ALWAYS the most important factor for me. I like this Morgan Harding. He's super relatable and realistic. The way he feels about his life in general hits hard to home, and I want to see good things happen for him, becuase it'll give me hope!
Will keep reading. Thanks for writing.
I have seen the author chatting a lot in Discord so I decide to check out his story and man was it a surprise. it's witty, funny and well written. I not really into cyberpunk type story, but this story got me hooked. If you are on the fence about this one, go and head and jump it, it's worth the read.