Warning This fiction contains:
  • Sexual Content
  • Traumatising content

To be a synth is the greatest privilege an individual could be born into. What greater purpose or grander sense of fulfillment could one hope for than to be a tool of King Decon, the ruler of the Galaxy?

09T07 doesn’t know what more they want, but they know they’re missing something. Friendship? Intimacy? This seems to be the answer when they find others who are also not as King Decon intended them to be. However, how long can such things last among tools to be used and discarded? And how  far are they willing to go to protect their loved ones in the face of duty?

Thanks to Julia Peitzer for consultation regarding gender-expansive and non-binary identities

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Author
TheWitchOfTheRock

TheWitchOfTheRock

Galactic Gothic Empress

Achievements
1st Anniversary
Word Count (14)
350 Comments
75,000 Views
200 Followers
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15 Reviews
Top List #500
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Table of Contents
Chapter Name Release Date
Episode 0: King Decon ago
Episode 1: Strange ago
Episode 2: Flight ago
Episode 3: Worry ago
Episode 4: Dialect ago
Episode 5: Others ago
Episode 6: Move ago
Episode 7: Alone ago
Episode 8: sorrow ago
Episode 9: Pod ago
Episode 10: Insecure ago
Episode 11: Maintenance ago
Episode 12: Bath ago
Episode 13 : Run ago
Episode 14: Research ago
Episode 15: Information ago
Episode 16: Incubation ago
Episode 17: Embryo ago
Episode 18: insignificant ago
Episode 19: Challenge ago
Episode 20: Simulation ago
Episode 21: Mediocre ago
Episode 22: Tool ago
Episode 23: More ago
Episode 24:Creation ago
Episode 25: Migraine ago
Episode 26: Medical ago
Episode 27: Variety ago
Episode 28: Costs ago
Episode 29: Shattered ago
Episode 30: Nightmare ago
Episode 31: Late ago
Episode 32: Snout ago
Episode 33: Sick Day ago
Episode 34: Pills ago
Episode 35: Overseer ago
Episode 36: Reports ago
Episode 37: Miscommunication ago
Episode 38: Gaze ago
Episode 39: Distraction ago
Episode 40: Banishment ago
Episode 41: Pain ago
Episode 42: Overheard ago
Episode 43: Curiousity ago
Episode 44: Shows ago
Episode 45: Investigate ago
Episode 46: Bump ago
Chapter 47: Dive ago
Episode 48: Questioning ago
Episode 49: Overreaction ago
Episode 50: Nothing ago
Episode 51: Flit ago
Episode 52: News ago
Episode 53: Critical Thinking ago
Episode 54: Plead ago
Episode 55: Gamble ago
Episode 56: Worth ago
Episode 57: Fault ago
Episode 58: Agitation ago
Chapter 59: Precious ago
Episode 60: Choices ago
Episode 61: Combat ago
Episode 62: Deceit ago
Episode 63: Orders ago
Episode 64: Loopy ago
Episode 65: Secret ago
Episode 66: Shipping ago
Episode 67: Pain ago
Episode 68: Chance ago
Episode 69: Hesitation ago
Episode 70: Blame ago
Episode 71: Anxieties ago
Episode 72: Alethophobia ago
Episode 73: Fall ago
Episode 74: Outside ago
Episode 75: Edacaeli ago
Episode 76: Graze ago
Episode 77: Shot ago
Episode 78: Companion ago
Episode 79: Mate ago
Episode 80: Plan ago
Episode 81: Vision ago
Episode 82: Cold ago
Episode 83: Wings ago
Episode 84: Wingless ago
Episode 85: Dinner and a Show ago
Episode 86: Spicy ago
Episode 87: Sweet ago
Episode 88: Flit's Story I ago
Episode 89: Flit’s Story II ago
Episode 90: Soft ago
Episode 91: Change ago
Episode 92: Theory ago
Episode 93:Efficiency ago
Episode 94: Purpose ago
Episode 95: Uncomfortable ago
Episode 96: Obey ago
Episode 97: Broken ago
Episode 98: Anxious ago
Episode 99: Deserve ago
Episode 100: Interrogation ago
Episode 101: Choice ago
Episode 102: Euthanasia ago
Episode 103: Understand ago
Episode 104: Reality? ago
Episode 105: Anger ago
Episode 106: Hope ago
Episode 107: Examination ago
Episode 108: A.I ago
Episode 109: Determined ago
Episode 110: Defective ago
Episode 111: Goodbye ago
Episode 112: For The Best ago
Episode 113: Anguish ago
Episode 114: Mind ago
Episode 115: Numb ago
Episode 116: Direct ago
Episode 117: Promise + epilogue Volume 1 ago
Synth: Volume 2, Episode 118: King Decon II ago
Episode 119: Assignment ago
Episode 120: Blunt ago
Episode 121: Ignorance ago
Episode 122: Lasts ago
Episode 123: Ark ago
Episode 124: Awkward ago
Episode 125: Dense ago
Episode 126: Departure ago
Episode 127: space ago
Episode 128: Chores ago
Episode 129: Programming ago
Episode 130: Midnight ago
Episode 131: Adjustment ago
Episode 132: Stalling ago
Episode 133: Alive ago
Episode 134: Gem ago
Episode 135: Flirt Log #1 ago
Episode 136: Flirt Log #2 ago
Episode 137: Final Flirt Log ago
Episode 138: Ears ago
Episode 139: Idiots ago
Episode 140: Practice ago
Episode 141: Wrong ago
Episode 142: Filter ago
Episode 143: Perversion ago
Episode 144: Confusion ago
Episode 145:Messages ago
Episode 146: Civilians ago
Episode 147: Power Down ago
Episode 148: Singularity ago

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VMJaskiernia
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Wonderful scifi *flicks her ears*

Reviewed at: Episode 6: Move

This is a wonderful science fiction story, the kind I have not yet read before. It has tropes we're somewhat familiar with, but it does it so well and subtly that it might be the best version of those tropes.

The synth are.. the synth. And they do what they do. They don't wonder, or think, or dream. At least most don't.

Our main character has feelings and thoughts and wonders, when a creature of its kind tends not to. And we feel along with them, and want them to know that it's ok to feel things, and we watch as they struggle in their life. And then we find that there is more than one that feels.

Wonderful storytelling and style. Simple, but expressive, and goes out of its way to make us know about the synth (especially their expressive ears). There are also lovely little sketches by the author that gives us a glimpse of exactly how the synth look.

Greimour
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OK, in light of what I named this review, I will actually start by literally answering the question (even though it was rhetorical).

So: Start at Episode 0!

Technically, the story starts at Episode 1, but Episode 0 sets the tone and mood of the story right from the start. It's like the opening scene of a movie where you see the 'Dark Evil Antagonist' before shifting to the MC/Hero. It just gets you in the mood!

As for the story... I admit that when I heard "Sci-Fi" I was like: "Hmm, not sure I am up for this." Just the combination of Sci and Fi causes an involuntary reflex of turning away.

Fortunately! I know the author studied literature and actually has some skill, so I took the time and gave it a chance. 

So worth it!!

Sci-Fi isnt that bad. Just like films: A.I. - Bicentennial Man - I Am Mother - Wall-E - Terminator [et al] . . . Sci Fi has it's place among us and the stories are not worse than the films. I guess I just get the idea of Star Trek and Star Wars and just turn away. Watching is one thing but reading is another.

Synth is great. There are a few things that are a little difficult in the beginning, such as character names, but once you get used to them, it stops being an issue.

 

World has a solid foundation and a subtle background that is always there but never shoved in your face.

Characters have a very human relateability that makes the reader invest in the MC and 'Their' friends. [MC can be considered to be genderless, as all Synths are, so no Gender pronouns can take the reader by surprise in the beginning]

Grammar is excellent, as we could probably expect from someone who studied the written language. Almost all mistakes in the story so far seem to be Typo's or very minor. The author also takes notes very well and is quick to correct any and all "mistakes"/"errors" pointed out. 

Characters are great and often very loveable. The Synth's, as a race, are incredible. (my opinion)

As I said, Sci-Fi really isn't my genre of choice, so I struggled with rating it. Eventually I gave a 4.5 which I think is fair.

 

I am definitely going to continue following and reading this story. I strongly recommend you at least give it a try. It might surprise you. Also; start at Episode 0!!

 

Negatives: 

1) Possibly character names and ID numbers. I got used to it but not sure everyone will.
2) ... I know I had a second one. >.< 

parkertallan
Overall
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Science Fiction with an Emotional Bite

Reviewed at: Episode 11: Maintenance

The Synth exist for one purpose; to follow King Decon's every command. In Episode 0 we see what happens to Synth who fail to obey. Silence and duty represent the life of a Synth. However, some Synth want something more; conversation and even friendship. This is the world the author vividly portrays in this story. 

09T07 is one such Synth. They yearn to speak with other Synth, yet is either ignored or treated with distain. The author does a wonderful job of showing the hurt and confusion 09T07 experiences. However, it's when 09T07 finally meets another Synth like themselves that the ability of the author to develop emotional depth in the characters really shines. Even the movements of the batlike Synths' ears are used to portray emotions. That's what really makes this story stand out. 

One thing about the Synth; they're the ultimate conformists. Those like 09T07 who are different are considered "strange" and are often treated as an embarrassment, physically assaulted, or could end up being "corrected." The author handles this tension very well. 

Grammar overall is quite good with a few minor issues here and there. The story is well written. One aspect the reader needs to adjust to is the use of gender-expansive pronouns (they for example) when referring to the Synth. However, within a chapter I didn't have any issues.

So if you want some sci-fi with an emotional bite, then "Synth" is the story for you

Gabalter
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Robots that stand out are Broken!

Reviewed at: Episode 2: Worry

TL/DR This is basically about a robot that was able to feel, surrounded by robots that don't. At first I wasn't sure what to expect, but it was easy to read (as long as you don't get confused by the main character refering to themselves as 'they') and the world building is given in an incredibly organic way. 10/10 worldbuilding. Characters who's personality's are mostly robotic... forgivable considering the setting.

 

So this whole thing is about a 'cloning' facility that creates bat like humans that is run by a king that has them mentally and physically programmed to obey him. It quickly becomes apparent that the process isn't completely perfect (despite what the prologue seems to claim.) Once a clone is 'birthed' they are then trained and gotten ready for combat. Most of the 'clones' are basically hyper goal oriented and don't like anyone who stands out (They are supposed to be pretty much clones). However as this story is progressing it is showing that not all the clones are as identical as they seem.

Briizy
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This is.... Fantastic

Reviewed at: Episode 10: Insecure

This author knows how to characterize something so foreign. 

I am not typically the type to go for a science fiction read, but this author drew me in with their creative artwork covers and fantastically written blurb. The writing style proves to be superior in every way when comparing other sci-fi's published on this site, and this is because the author puts love into their craft. With each word, I feel it is intentional. Edited. Polished. Perfect!

The author takes such washed-out ideas, such as a robot who loves when they shouldn't, twists it in their hands, and starts forming and molding it into a story that isn't quite like any other. I am blown away.

I loved this, I will love it, and I will always love it as I keep reading.
Great job <3

Traitorman
Overall
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A Human Experience in an Alien World

Reviewed at: Episode 3: Others

It's early days yet, but Synth is very promising.

What would happen if someone with feeling and freewill were thrown into a world where only duty mattered?

Would they thrive? Fail? Would life's hard experiences ground their hope and innocence down to nothing? Or would their heart change what lies around them?

Synth asks these questions and though we haven't gotten answers yet, I am eager to find out what they are.

Story

Synth has taken a thoughtful pace, deliberately building its characters and world.

Already, the setting is growing and we have had delightful moments shared between the two main characters. We also have dread. The hints are subtle, but there's a promise of dark times ahead. 

Style

Witch's writing is clear and smooth, with little flourishes to add imagery and make things pop.

However, she truly shines with her dialogue. She uses diction, cadence and even the variance of contractions to differentiate one character from the next.

That's good writing, and it lets one hear these characters as people.

Grammar

There are minor issues with some of the paragraph sizes and a few little spelling mistakes and grammatical errors, but they did not detract from clarity. A quick proofread is all that's needed.


Characters

Undoubtedly, this novel's strength lies in its characters. Our main leads are endearing; a great mix of innocence and curiosity, like children exploring the world for the very first time. They also have little pops of somberness that grant them gravity. 


Conclusion

As of Chapter 3, Synth is shaping up to be a contemplative and heartwarming story. It also has a touch of dread. While slow boiling for now, there is a lot of potential ahead.

5/5, I am looking forward to what Witch has in store for her characters and us.

- Traitorman

Liz Viscount
Overall

A sci-fi story on being different in a world of uniformity, and trying to survive.

Also, space bats.

The story is coherent, the setting immersive and with a touch of unfamiliarity, but very engaging.

The emotions are real and relative and raw.

I look forward to the journey of T0 and their companions.

Kagan M Fallfield
Overall
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Good Sci-Fi Tale of a Unique Relationship

Reviewed at: Episode 5: Others

This story is easy to read and a joy to see unfold. The 2 main characters, TO and DH (who were created to be mindless servants to the evil King Decon) begin a heart-warming friendship in spite of the strict, militaristic environment they're forced to live in. A few typos and grammatical mistakes were spotted, but nothing too major. Overall a great start to a promising story. I highly recommend this to any sci-fi fan who loves alien protaganists and heartfelt friendships!

Thedude3445
Overall
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First things first: This story is wonderful!

This review was supposed to be for my Weekly Review series, which reviews the first 50 pages of various stories on this site. But I was so enthralled by Synth that I read much further than that (and ended up reviewing it a bit late lol).

The story starts off with one of the darkest opening chapters of a story I’ve ever read on Royal Road, setting the tone for what’s to come. A galactic empire runs on fear and terror and we get to see that first hand. But it turns out that this dark opening was actually used in a much more clever way. For you see, the story is actually about trainee Synths, the plucky young soldiers-to-be who are mere grunts in this world of fear.

In that way, the opening chapter provides an amazing source of tension. These optimistic young beings are completely ignorant of the reality of the empire they serve and just want to be successful and happy in their own lives. But even as they discover themselves and each other, the undercurrent that everything is not going so well persists, giving the story an edge that keeps you reading (and ready to cover your eyes when things get real dark again).

Synth’s story is also a thinly veiled queer coming out narrative, and it’s much better for it. The story follows a young Synth who feels like they are different than their peers and separate from the herd mentality most have. They try to find others like them so that they can live happily together even amidst the scorn of everyone else, and the vague threat of violence against them if all goes wrong. It’s well done so far and I’m glad a story like this can succeed even when Royal Road tends to be hostile towards this kind of thing.

The writing style is decent, though sometimes lacks the emotional punch I am looking for. It’s about in the realm of any given paperback sci-fi novel you might pick up, albeit with actually good character interactions instead of bland technical descriptions. It’s probably the weakest part of the story so far, but it’s also still good, so that just tells you how good the story is.

Read Synth. That’s all I gotta say.

 

ItsSeaJay
Overall

Full disclosure: at time of writing, I am online friends with the author. I didn't properly know them until after I started reading Synth, but my review may be positively biased based on that fact.

I had no idea what to expect going into Synth. I had never seriously read any serialised online fiction before. I had know idea what a She-Ra was, but on the particular site I had found myself on, Synth seemed like the only truly original science fiction I would enjoy reading, so I loaded it onto my e-reader and set to work.

I've been reading one episode a night for months now, and I can say in full confidence that Synth is seriously brilliant. From the opening paragraph I knew that this was going to be something special.

The setup is immediately intreuging. An enigmatic malefactor known as King Decon has conquered the galaxy and has created a race of half-human, half-bat people to help manage it. Every member genetically programmed with a singular purpose: to serve King Decon. But cloning isn't an exact science, and very quickly you realise that maybe individuality is harder to control than just shuffling genes around.

We follow one of these synths - trainee 09TO7 - from their unusual "birth" to just... kinda... bumming around a big training facility asking questions, to be honest. But to say that Synth is a sleepy slice-of-life sci-fi would be selling it short. There's plenty of action scenes, tense character interactions and head-scratching philosophy to keep the average reader invested, and that's before you get into the intricate space beuarocracy so keenly built up through careful exposition.

Speaking of which, let's get serious for a second: I have Asperger's Syndrome. I have struggled with it my entire life, and will continue to struggle until the day I am dead.

Never in my time have I came across a work that so thoroughly described my experience without any explicit references to cognative ability or neurotype, whilst still being an entertaining story in its own right. That's impressive.

Indeed, if you want to get really pretentious, I think that Synth could speak to all aspects of queerness. Fighting to fit into a tough world where your default state is never "good enough", and exploring to find a tribe of people like you is an experience I think a lot of people can relate to.

That's not to say it's perfect... Synth is written by a single author with a sensitivity reader and no editor, and sometimes it shows. I did find a fair few spelling mistakes, a couple of wrong words used here or there, and sometimes when reading the epub version the formatting takes a weird turn where all the paragraphs are unusually spaced.

It's a little unusual in its delivery too, which might put some people off. All the synths are non-binary, using they/them pronouns, and everyone is referred to by an inpronouncable code name. This is justified in the narrative, but takes some getting used to. Eventually you start seeing nicknames, which at first are different spellings of codenames and then just straight up English words.

But putting all that aside, I like these characters, I want to find out what happens to them, and if this work ever goes to print, I'll be first in line at the book signing.

TL/DR: Go read Synth it's good, innit?