ATL: Stories from the Retrofuture

by Thedude3445

Original ONGOING Action Comedy Sci-fi Cyberpunk Slice of Life Strong Lead Super Heroes

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, the first two of which, The Social Media Killer and Trials of the Cybermancer!, are fully online on Royal Road. Read those and you know you'll get into the story.

And if you're itching for more, always know you can read the story at its official website where it updates Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays.

 

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Table of Contents
Chapter Name Release Date
THE SOCIAL MEDIA KILLER - Chapter 1: The Killer Strikes ago
The Social Media Killer - Chapter 2: Back at Peach Towers ago
The Social Media Killer - Chapter 3: Our Ally ago
The Social Media Killer - Chapter 4: Dinner and a Movie, Technically ago
The Social Media Killer - Chapter 5: Hoodie ago
The Social Media Killer - Chapter 6: An Assignment ago
The Social Media Killer - Chapter 7: Omae ni Tetsudatte Yarouka? ago
The Social Media Killer - Chapter 8: The Old Tour-Around ago
The Social Media Killer - Chapter 9: Making a Marcucci ago
The Social Media Killer - Chapter 10: Deductions ago
The Social Media Killer - Chapter 11: Bein' Friends ago
The Social Media Killer - Chapter 12: Eureka! ago
The Social Media Killer - Chapter 13: He's Done a Lot of Research on His Own ago
The Social Media Killer - Chapter 14: Killing Time ago
The Social Media Killer - Chapter 15: The Burrows ago
The Social Media Killer - Chapter 16: Nice Meeting You ago
The Social Media Killer - Chapter 17-1: Piecing Me Together ago
The Social Media Killer - Chapter 17-2: Back Again ago
The Social Media Killer - Chapter 18: Middlebridge Abridged ago
The Social Media Killer - Chapter 19: Lies & Trudeau ago
The Social Media Killer - Chapter 20: The Shoot ago
The Social Media Killer - Chapter 21: A Quiet Conversation ago
The Social Media Killer - Chapter 22: Quite a Conversation ago
The Social Media Killer - Chapter 23: I Can't Believe I'm Doing This ago
The Social Media Killer - Chapter 24: Meeting's On ago
The Social Media Killer - Chapter 25: Take Me Home, Atlanta Roads ago
The Social Media Killer - Chapter 26: A Truce ago
The Social Media Killer - Chapter 27: The Truth Behind Everything ago
The Social Media Killer - Chapter 28: The Killer and the Robot ago
The Social Media Killer - Chapter 29: Sunny-Side Up ago
The Social Media Killer - Chapter 30: Showdown in Downtown ago
The Social Media Killer - Chapter 31: Welp ago
The Social Media Killer - Chapter 32: Judgment Call ago
The Social Media Killer - Chapter 33: The Aftermath of All of It ago
TRIALS OF THE CYBERMANCER! - Chapter 1: Trials and Trivialities ago
Trials of the Cybermancer - Chapter 2: An Afternoon Dust-Up ago
Trials of the Cybermancer - Chapter 3: May the Fourth Be with Us ago
Trials of the Cybermancer - Chapter 4: K-Store Shenanigans ago
Trials of the Cybermancer - Chapter 5: Genesis Crushed ago
Trials of the Cybermancer - Chapter 6: The Morning After ago
Trials of the Cybermancer - Chapter 7: Enter Chuck ago
Trials of the Cybermancer - Chapter 8: My Life with Rocket Boots ago
Trials of the Cybermancer - Chapter 9: Moonslash ago
Trials of the Cybermancer - Chapter 10: Enter Chuck... Again ago
Trials of the Cybermancer - Chapter 11: Enduring the Trials ago
Trials of the Cybermancer - Chapter 12: The Long Stay ago
Trials of the Cybermancer - Chapter 13: Sneak ago
Trials of the Cybermancer - Chapter 14: Let's Go Down to the Data Farm ago
Trials of the Cybermancer - Chapter 15: Challenge of the Cybermancer! ago
Trials of the Cybermancer - Chapter 16: What a View! ago
Trials of the Cybermancer - Chapter 17: The Longer Stay ago
Trials of the Cybermancer - Chapter 18: Enroute ago
Trials of the Cybermancer - Chapter 19: Good Exercise Time ago
Trials of the Cybermancer - Chapter 20: Uhhhhhh..... ago
Trials of the Cybermancer - Chapter 21: The Hoard and the Horde ago
Trials of the Cybermancer - Chapter 22: Retrofuture Team-Up ago
Trials of the Cybermancer - Chapter 23-1: Chief Chat ago
Trials of the Cybermancer - Chapter 23-2: Robot Chat ago
Trials of the Cybermancer - Chapter 24: All's Well That... ago
Trials of the Cybermancer - Chapter 25: Epilogue: Genesis Crush: The Unlimited Brawl ago
TABLE MANNERS - 01 ago
Table Manners - 02 ago
Table Manners - 03 ago
Table Manners - 04 ago
Table Manners - 06 ago
Table Manners - 07 ago
Table Manners - 08 ago
Table Manners - 09 ago
Table Manners - Epilogue ago
03 - EMBED - Chapter 1: Morning Hike ago
Embed - Chapter 2: Operating at the Hospital ago
Embed - Chapter 3: Subway ago
Embed - Chapter 4: Meeting Kobi Gibson ago
Embed - Chapter 5: Yuuuuuuum Mart! ago
Embed - Chapter 6-1: A Couple Cold Ones ago
Embed - Chapter 6-2: Morgan's Hungover, What a Surprise ago
Embed - Chapter 7: The Manhunt ago
Embed - Chapter 8: The War Against Giygas ago
Embed - Chapter 9: Maybe This Time ago
Embed - Chapter 10: Return of the Queen ago
04 - CROSSWORD CONUNDRUM - Chapter 1: Goodbye, Kobi ago
04 - CROSSWORD CONUNDRUM - Chapter 1: Goodbye, Kobi ago
Crossword Conundrum - Chapter 2: The Magazine Aisle ago
Crossword Conundrum - Chapter 3: Some May Love It ago
Crossword Conundrum - Chapter 4: O'Conner's ago
ATL's One-Year Anniversary ago
Crossword Conundrum - Chapter 5: The Robot, Finally ago
Crossword Conundrum - Chapter 6: The Robot & I ago
Crossword Conundrum - Chapter 7: The Walk to the Art Store ago
Crossword Conundrum - Chapter 8: It Couldn't Have Been Anyone Else ago
Crossword Conundrum - Chapter 9: Shenanigans ago
Crossword Conundrum - Chapter 10-1: AR73's Reckoning ago
Crossword Conundrum - Chapter 10-2: And R8PR Solves It ago
Crossword Conundrum - Chapter 11: The Mystery Prize ago
05 - THE WORST MYSTERY - Chapter 1: Running ago
The Worst Mystery - Chapter 2: Some Soda ago
Reviews

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uiytt
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A first book is not needed ^^

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)

Arthicern
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A good series that's missing the first book

Atl stories is a series of 'episodes' or short books set in a PG/ PG-13 Cyberpunk world, while following the protagonist Morgan as he's dragged into a number of mysteries.

(At the time of this review only the Social Media killer is on Royal Roads, but for those who like the story, there are a few more 'episodes' on the story's main site.)

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Now while I do like this story, I feel I should point out what I consider to be the biggest issue of the story, something I think can be tied to roughly half my issues with this otherwise good story.

The first 'episode' feels like the second or third story in a series, which can make it a bit difficult for new readers to get into.

What I mean by this is that there are a number of points in this episode that make refrence to past events in the stories context, that seem to come out from nowhere. And whenever one of these moments pops up it feels like you skipped some important chapter that was supposed to tell what's going on. Such as why everyone keeps connecting Morgan to strange events, or why everyone expects him to get involved. 

(Note: Through story notes and Author comments, Morgan has been involved in the odd side of things for roughly a year, and has built something of a reputation.) 

Now on the note of the protagonist, in the beginning Morgan comes off as a bit apathetic with the way he complains about things and acts like things take too much effort, these things together made my first impression of him fairly negative.

That said his interactions with the other members of the main cast such as Karina and R8PR, do somewhat save him on this front. In all honesty I prefered the scenes that had them interacting with Morgan, to the ones where he was on his own or doing his own investigation, just because him came off a lot more sympathetic with them around. The only thing really missing in those interactions was the iconic refrence of R8PR refering to humans as meatbags. (Not Karina though, she doesn't deserve that. Morgan however is free game.)

As far as the story itself goes, it's good to a point, but occasionally it feels like it's trying too hard to fit the harder rating of some cyberpunk stories into the PG setting. For younger or high school level readers, this is an alright thing for introducing them to the genre without dumping them into the gritty deep-end, but it can cause a bit of dissonance for those used to rougher stuff, when a scene feels like it's is trying to be grittier than it actually is.

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Taking all of these things into account, I think atl stories from the retrofuture, is a good story for young adult readers, looking for a lighter cyberpunk story. And while the story itself isn't very newcomer friendly at times, it is at least worth giving a chance.

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Final score: 3.75 / 5

Mejiro
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Well written, cyberpunk action-thiller

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!

Elliott Staude
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Hilarious and Wonderful

The thing which shall be called ATL from here on in (and sadly the meaning of that acronym presently cannot be brought to mind) is a wonderful alternate history story set in Atlanta. It bounces all over the place, from the ambiguously-sexed protagonist Morgan’s residence during a shakedown straight from a Coen brothers movie to an old church which is the lair of a robot hiding out like a celebrity in rehab. It’s apt in its adoption of the descriptive setting of the “retrofuture” - some advances which are surprising, some regressions (or perhaps “failures to innovate” is more accurate”) that depict a strange world. For one, that world’s modern de-facto cultural Zion is Atlanta. However, these stories are very much worth your investigation, and have a lighthanded touch that’s also suggestive of the Coen brothers. It’s a tad difficult to adequately pigeonhole the genre of the franchise, but an enterprising mind might place it as action-intrigue - something that’s not entirely without flaws, and which has many elements that the reader may recognize from other works, but that buoys the audience along with its direction and care of crafting. It’s funny, it’s grounded, it knows exactly what it wants, and it’s got the knife skills to handle a fugu fish of a plot without poisoning its customer. The subject matter could have been a terrible slog, and the presentation of its actors and what it is makes it a joy instead.

Thus far, following the adventures of the Social Media Killer, ATL’s is a kind of bleak society, where the planet’s axial spin seems to have slowed down to a slumped everyday continuity and change is remarkable for its rarity. It’s the sort of place where, if not for the characters, it’d probably be a real downer to try and get through any of the described tales. However, Morgan and Morgan’s friend Karina are absolutely wonderful tugboats leading the beholder from meal to deed to ideology to crime scene. Morgan is wonderful, being a person who really tries to keep a hoodie or a suitable substitute between head and rest of the world and who genuinely just wants to be done with it... the it in this case being just about anything to do with Atlanta or secretarial work for a less-than-formidable financial entity. Like all good adventures, the chiefest puppets get dragged in by their strings with a minimum of consent or desire. Morgan say “no” and universe say “OH YES.” Karina, a girl whose agenda for a single day is more populated than that of a normal person’s week, forms a perfect counterpoint to Morgan’s not-quite-apathetic disdain for navigating the behemoth of ATL’s deliciously gray scenery. The rest of the cast is just as colorful, weird, perhaps a few teacups short of a full china set, and the sort of people who’ll probably get plushies sold of their likenesses if this is ever adapted to cinema. A few too many people of high school age, perhaps, but high school is of course the source of more drama per capita than virtually anything else in the world.

When you embark on the journey of ATL, you’re jumping into something of quality with a faint whiff of self-parody about it. At the risk of being repetitive and even more pretentious than usual, the cast and artistry of the story’s telling truly make the experience something a cut above the expected, and there’s something about even the grimness of a corporate-run universe in this case that brings a smile to the face which not even profusions of teenage angst can ruin. You don’t need to enjoy sci-fi to get a kick out of this.

J P Koenig
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Fascinating Techno-Detective Tales

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.

Rustle Roots
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Fun, Witty and Entertaining Tales

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! 

Rachel-Ruth
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A Comedic-Futuristic Story At Its Best!

This story is something one can look for a lighthearted, action-paced and enjoyable read!

But one can also appreciate how well-thought out the story can be.

The Author has written a fitting story for our times, with a story that delves into a futuristic world that may be not too far off from us. The worldbuilding done in this is quite developed enough to have a picture of what our world can be like when filled with AIs, robots, and other technological advancements. It's interesting to see that it's not completely farfetched and that it even tackled the struggles of reaching an impasse in terms of technological development.

The protagonist in Social Media Killer has a rather interesting point of view, a bit snarky and with troubles that rings true for the society that he lives in. The other characters, also make for good and developed characters but certainly helps focus the attention to the protagonist.

There's certainly more to this, as one would delve in and think more about it, and it clearly has gotten me thinking about it... but whether or not you do, it's clearly written for a good and fun collection of stories to read!

Have an enjoyable read!

MrAzE
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Worth the invested time

Disclaimer: Finished first arc only.

This is great! It's a really good story with a slight noir feel to it and to be honest, I'm loving it! It has some really witty humour that makes up for the slow start.

8/10 social media influencers would recommend it if they read it!

sleeplessbanter
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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.

 

Zachary Dugas
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So, I am a big cyberpunk fan, I mean I have like all the classics from do androids dream of electric sheep to altered carbon and snow crash and many many more.  hell my favorite manga is Appleseed and I wear a blade runner shirt almost once a week so this is right up my alley, my dark gritty alley filled with stun cigs and the corpses of electronics, sacrificed to the god known as progress,  I sigh and light up, breathing in the neon smoke and holding it in my lungs until the burn inside my chest mirrors the one in my hea-

Sorry, got carried away lol, what we have here is a really well wtritten cyberpunk book(s?) that is broke up into chapter that sort of seem like episodes of a tv show, each one is self contained and this feels like a compilation, almost like how the first Witcher book was just a bunch of short stories tied together by the mc.  It makes me wonder if the author will eventually make a story in this world that is a full novel.  

As it stands it is a really well written cyberpunk work, and on the lighter side of the spectrum, I would say these are just somewhere between a pg movie and a pg-13 movie, we never get to the truly grissly scenes most cyberpunk stories show, though I think that is because this one is less bleak and more focused on humor and fun, and scenes like that wouldn’t have fit, seeing as those movies and books all have characters so used to violence that they are hardly fazed by it.

 

Well worth a read.