ATL: Stories from the Retrofuture
All the cool kids are reading it... How about you?
In a future of robots and CRTs, Atlanta is the most powerful city in the world. And in that city, twentysomething slacker Morgan Harding dreams of being able to live a normal, peaceful life... until they're given cybernetic superpowers and forced to become a hero. Together with a mysterious sentient robot and an overworked college student, they 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 too.
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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!
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.
The title is sarcastic btw. There is without a doubt a very large amount of sarcasm in this story. The main character is pretty much built from the ground up just so that he could make remarks about everything in the world. Honestly, the guys spew so much of it that one would have to think that it was his only goal in life.
Going away from the most important trait of the entire story, I would give a nod over to the world-building of this story. While the style puts the plot as something more light, the detail on the background is amazing. Sure, it's about robots taking da jobs, but who really cares about that. It's awesome, it has great detail, and there is nothing obvious to be negative about. The grammar is great as well. It's better than what this website deserves. Definitely above average.
Overall, I would give this story a solid 9/10, but due to my inability to do that on this website, I'll just give it 5/5 instead.
A Young Adult Cyberpunk Mystery...
Read to chapter 33, end of first book / arc.
Morgan Harding isn't your normal bank teller. But he wants to be.
What is he then? He's a bio-enhanced human amateur private investigator and secret hero. Part of a team of three. With R8PR, who might be the very first sentient robot, and Katrina, his best friend and potential love interest, they tackle cases that the normal citizens of Atlanta would shudder to learn about. Even in the future, not everything in the city is safe.
This story is the first and only story I've read that would fit into a young adult cyberpunk mystery genre. Something that makes it new and different.
Style Score: Stylistically, the story is told in a first person POV, that of Morgan Harding. We learn very soon in the story that he isn't exactly what he seems, and that adds a bit of the unreliable narrator quality to the story that makes it that much more intriguing. Would prefer more scene setting, but that's a personal preference, and most YA stories generally are very thin in scene-setting.
Story Score: I found the story to be well plotted out with well constructed dialogue and action scenes. There were small things I came across and pointed out to the author in the comments where the pacing seemed off. Another gripe was the overuse of ellipsis.
Grammar score: There were a few typos found in text, but nothing overwhelming. Less likely than my own work. A proofreader could clean it up quickly.
Character Score: I wanted to like the MC, I really did. It just felt that I didn't get to know him well enough to do so. It's likely the downside of an unreliable narrator style, that it takes longer to feel an attachment to the character. Otherwise, there were no issues with voice (i.e. all the different characters talked like different characters).
Overall, I felt that the story is only one good edit away from submission to a publisher. (Or the hiring of a professional editer if going the self publishing route).
Would I recommend it? Absolutely: IF you think that the specialty genre is up your alley.
I have only had time to get through half of the first book, ‘The Social Media Killer,’ so this review is weighted towards the beginning of the work. The Social Media Killer is what would be considered cyberpunk but on the light end of things. The dystopian future that is prevalent in a lot of cyberpunk is only lightly laid out here in the book. Instead it is set in an almost normal higher tech version of Atlanta, there are some dystopian elements but about the same as what you find in modern-day America.
Story: The story follows the path of the main character, Morgan Harding, as she tries to figure out why she is pulled into the mystery of the Social Media Killer. The viewpoint told from a third-person perspective focused solely on Morgan, so we don’t get to see the world from other characters.
Style: The style is tight and concise, showing the world through the eyes of Morgan. Worldbuilding is on the light side, but maybe covered in more detail in other works of the author, there is enough there to make the story relatable, so you could say that it is just enough and no more.
Grammar: The grammar is very good to excellent. There were a few typos in the earlier chapters, but nothing major. I have seen worse in published books by well-known authors, so it does not distract from the rhythm of the prose. In fact, the grammar is so good that the typos just stand out more for how rare they are.
Characters: The main character is well fleshed out. She had a definite goal and motivation that leads her character through the plot. The MC also has many clearly defined goals that evolve and change chapter to chapter as her quest continues.
I read the whole thing in one sitting. If you're looking for a good story that will keep you on your toes, I definitely recommend this.
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!