The Future That Never Was — The Rings Will Rise Again!

The Future That Never Was — The Rings Will Rise Again!

by Space Pickle

Warning This fiction contains:
  • Gore
  • Profanity
  • Sexual Content
  • Traumatising content

WELCOME TO THE RETROFUTURE!

The Future That Never Was features an alternate space age where the Soviets colonized the belt before David Bowie sang Life on Mars; where rogue AIs took over the web; where pizza came in cans. Humankind couldn’t dream of a more exciting future. Yet, as foolishness eventually turned Earth into a nuclear wasteland, shadows began to conspire from the heart of the Moon to beyond the mysterious Planet Nine…


The book series is an extended universe which includes numerous R-rated titles. All of them will be uploaded on Royal Road. Check the Index or the list below for the main stories.


🐈  KITTY KITTY - Completed - READ

Join sassy space cat Lee and his Desert Eagle-toting, soda-swigging human partner, Ali, in a future stuck in the late 80s/early 90s. Board the dynamic duo’s ship, the mythical Kitty, as they bounty-hunt their way through a dystopian solar system—so lock and load, and shout Cowabunga! because it’s crime-fightin’ time! 


🪐  PACHINKO BLUES - Live! -  START READING

Amid the chaos of the Rings Civil War, a disgraced pilot finds himself tangled in a vast vendetta involving a megacorporation, android mercenaries and data-cartels. From Saturn’s Plastic Fields to the fringes of Kuiper, his violent redemption is an 80s-esthetic space western filled with tears, blood and... ducks?

[participant in the Royal Road Writathon challenge]


Other stories related to the first arc of The Future That Never Was:

RADIO FREAK - Standalone biopunk short story featuring Ali Koviràn, the Data Maiden and Bill Murray

STELLAR PATRIOTS - Special episodes with Braun Kamirov, linking KITTY KITTY to the upcoming DATA dilogy and CYBER MACHO

• DATA ONE & DATA ZERO - 2023

• CYBER MACHO - TBA


Do you want to support our work or simply read in better condition? Visit our amazon shop and Patreon!

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Author
Space Pickle

Space Pickle

I am a living, thinking entity who was created in the sour sea of information

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Table of Contents
141 Chapters
Chapter Name Release Date
WARNING ago
INTRODUCTION ago
CURRENT STATE & TIMELINE OF THE BOOK SERIES ago
KITTY KITTY (3 episodic novels - completed) ago
PACHINKO BLUES (regular webnovel - LIVE!) ago
SHORT STORIES, SPIN-OFFS, EXTRAS & WEB EXCLUSIVES ago
ORBITAL TROUBLEMAKERS (Videogame - Christmas 2023) ago
To our beloved friend ago
KITTY KITTY Season 1 ago
KK1 - #01 RETRO COSMOS (1/2) ago
KK1 - #01 RETRO COSMOS (2/2) ago
KK1 - #02 THE TWISTED HEIST (1/3) ago
KK1 - #02 THE TWISTED HEIST (2/3) ago
KK1 - #02 THE TWISTED HEIST (3/3) ago
KK1 - #03 INELUCTABLE DUEL (1/4) ago
KK1 - #03 INELUCTABLE DUEL (2/4) ago
KK1 - #03 INELUCTABLE DUEL (3/4) ago
KK1 - #03 INELUCTABLE DUEL (4/4) ago
KK1 - #04 THE MELLIFLUOUS CAVERNS (1/4) ago
KK1 - #04 THE MELLIFLUOUS CAVERNS (2/4) ago
KK1 - #04 THE MELLIFLUOUS CAVERNS (3/4) ago
KK1 - #04 THE MELLIFLUOUS CAVERNS (4/4) ago
KK1 - #05 LORD OF THE TANKS (1/3) ago
KK1 - #05 LORD OF THE TANKS (2/3) ago
KK1 - #05 LORD OF THE TANKS (3/3) ago
KK1 - #06 HONOR AMONG THIEVES (1/3) ago
KK1 - #06 HONOR AMONG THIEVES (2/3) ago
KK1 - #06 HONOR AMONG THIEVES (3/3) ago
KK1 - #07 LITTLE MUTANT ON THE PRAIRIE (1/3) ago
KK1 - #07 LITTLE MUTANT ON THE PRAIRIE (2/3) ago
KK1 - #07 LITTLE MUTANT ON THE PRAIRIE (3/3) ago
KK1 - #08 THE RED FORTRESS (1/4) ago
KK1 - #08 THE RED FORTRESS (2/4) ago
KK1 - #08 THE RED FORTRESS (3/4) ago
KK1 - #08 THE RED FORTRESS (4/4) ago
KK1 - #08.5 BEFORE THE STORM ago
KK1 - Shout-outs and infos ago
BONUS #1 - The Radical Language of the Alternate Space Age ago
RADIO FREAK ago
RF - #01 TALES FROM THE WATER TANK ago
RF - #02 LITTLE ARCADE OF HORRORS ago
RF - #03 ALI & ZEPHYR’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE ago
RF - #04 THE NEVERENDING TROUBLES ago
RF - #05 M.H.U.D (MUTAGENIC HUMANOID UNDERGROUND DWELLERS) ago
RF - #06 STRANGE SCIENCE ago
RF - #07 CARNAGE MUTANT NINJA FREAKS ago
RF - #08 A MOUSE CALLED JUNE ago
RF - Shout-outs and infos ago
KITTY KITTY Season 2 ago
KK2 - SEASON 1 RECAP ago
KK2 - #09 DANCE WITH THE ROBOTS (1/3) ago
KK2 - #09 DANCE WITH THE ROBOTS (2/3) ago
KK2 - #09 DANCE WITH THE ROBOTS (3/3) ago
KK2 - #10 THE LEGEND OF PURPLE HEART (1/3) ago
KK2 - #10 THE LEGEND OF PURPLE HEART (2/3) ago
KK2 - #10 THE LEGEND OF PURPLE HEART (3/3) ago
KK2 - #11 NOAH’S ARK (1/3) ago
KK2 - #11 NOAH’S ARK (2/3) ago
KK2 - #11 NOAH’S ARK (3/3) ago
KK2 - #12 THE HANGED MEN CARNIVAL (1/4) ago
KK2 - #12 THE HANGED MEN CARNIVAL (2/4) ago
KK2 - #12 THE HANGED MEN CARNIVAL (3/4) ago
KK2 - #12 THE HANGED MEN CARNIVAL (4/4) ago
KK2 - #13 APOCALYPSE RINGS (1/3) ago
KK2 - #13 APOCALYPSE RINGS (2/3) ago
KK2 - #13 APOCALYPSE RINGS (3/3) ago
KK2 - #14 THE GHOSTS OF BABYLON (1/4) ago
KK2 - #14 THE GHOSTS OF BABYLON (2/4) ago
KK2 - #14 THE GHOSTS OF BABYLON (3/4) ago
KK2 - #14 THE GHOSTS OF BABYLON (4/4) ago
KK2 - #15 CHILD’S PLAY (1/3) ago
KK2 - #15 CHILD’S PLAY (2/3) ago
KK2 - #15 CHILD’S PLAY (3/3) ago
KK2 - #16 OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN (1/4) ago
KK2 - #16 OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN (2/4) ago
KK2 - #16 OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN (3/4) ago
KK2 - #16 OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN (4/4) ago
KK2 - #16.5 ROARING LEGACY ago
KK2 - Shout-outs and infos ago
STELLAR PATRIOTS ago
SP - #01 OPERATION CONDOR ago
SP - #02 THE MADMAN’S TRUTH ago
SP - #03 TECHNO DECADENCE ago
SP - #04 PARIAHS OF CALLISTO ago
SP - #05 THE DEATH OF YOSSEF BRAUN KAMIROV ago
SP - Shout-outs and infos ago
KITTY KITTY Season 3 ago
KK3 - SEASON 2 RECAP ago
KK3 - #17 SAFARI ON JUPITER (1/4) ago
KK3 - #17 SAFARI ON JUPITER (2/4) ago
KK3 - #17 SAFARI ON JUPITER (3/4) ago
KK3 - #17 SAFARI ON JUPITER (4/4) ago
KK3 - #18 THE BLAZING FIRMAMENT (1/3) ago
KK3 - #18 THE BLAZING FIRMAMENT (2/3) ago
KK3 - #18 THE BLAZING FIRMAMENT (3/3) ago
KK3 - #19 ISOLA64 (1/3) ago
KK3 - #19 ISOLA64 (2/3) ago
KK3 - #19 ISOLA64 (3/3) ago
KK3 - #20 FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS (1/4) ago
KK3 - #20 FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS (2/4) ago
KK3 - #20 FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS (3/4) ago
KK3 - #20 FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS (4/4) ago
KK3 - #21 THE GREAT MASQUERADE (1/3) ago
KK3 - #21 THE GREAT MASQUERADE (2/3) ago
KK3 - #21 THE GREAT MASQUERADE (3/3) ago
KK3 - #22 WRATH OF THE CLOUD RAIDER (1/3) ago
KK3 - #22 WRATH OF THE CLOUD RAIDER (2/3) ago
KK3 - #22 WRATH OF THE CLOUD RAIDER (3/3) ago
KK3 - #23 PLASTIC LOVE II (1/3) ago
KK3 - #23 PLASTIC LOVE II (2/3) ago
KK3 - #23 PLASTIC LOVE II (3/3) ago
KK3 - #24 THE TEARS OF THE SWALLOW (1/4) ago
KK3 - #24 THE TEARS OF THE SWALLOW (2/4) ago
KK3 - #24 THE TEARS OF THE SWALLOW (3/4) ago
KK3 - #24 THE TEARS OF THE SWALLOW (4/4) ago
KK3 - #24.5 LAST ACTION LEGEND ago
KK3 - Shout-outs and infos ago
PACHINKO BLUES ago
ADDITIONAL WARNING ago
PB - Prelude: Once Upon a Time in the Rings ago
PB - #01 The Man with a Beef Jerky ago
PB - #02 Duck’s Wings ago
PB - #03 Don't Touch the Weird Woman! ago
PB - #04 The Forlorn Social Club ago
PB - #05 Trusting is Good… Not Dying is Better ago
PB - #06 The Drifting Elders ago
PB - #07 On the First Day Arrived the Drone ago
PB - #08 Gunfight at the O. D. Corral ago
PB - #09 Hostile Katana ago
PB - #10 A Space Walker in Town ago
PB - #11 Gone With the Rings ago
PB - First Interlude: Hot Water ago
PB - #12 Dances with the Past ago
PB - #13 Tough Rabbit of the Prairie ago
PB - #14 The Legend of the Red Swan ago
PB - #15 Urban Cowgirl ago
PB - #16 They Call Me the Data Maiden ago
PB - #17 Blood Drops Keep Fallin’ on my Head ago
PB - #18 Good Morning for a Hanging ago
PB - #19 The Dead Bunch ago
PB - Second Interlude: Gandahar Gals ago

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Reviews
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Elijah Menchaca
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Alternatively, The 1980s Called; They've Decided They Look Cooler in Space.

The Future that Never Was is a sci-fi comedy set in, realistically, the late 1980s in spaaaace, and its a glorious satirical adventure, featuring guns, tits, and a talking cat.

Style (5/5): The utterly irreverent sense of style and humor with which TFTNW carries itself with is an utter treat, constantly evoking smiles and chuckles. It's also packed with 80s references, with everything from New Coke to Take on Me making appearances.

Actually the amount of 80s needledrops in the first episode alone is almost Guardians of the Galaxy-esque, and I mean that in the best way.

Story (5/5): The story of the first book, Kitty Kitty, follows a pair of Cowboy Beebop-escent space faring bounty hunters: Lee, the space cat, and Ali, his human. The twoof them roam the stars, perpetually broke and hunting down criminals with surprising competence and efficiency, which makes you wonder how they stay constantly broke until you see Ali go on just one shopping spree.

Grammar (4.5/5): Basically everything's where it's supposed to be. The words "this" and "that" get used in place of each other in weird spots sometimes, but honestly my brain probably auto-corrected most of the instances of that without me noticing it, and that was really the only thing I even noticed.

Character (5/5): Lee is that perfect blend of insufferably smug and adorable that has led to humans keeping cats around all this time, and makes for an excellent POV character. Ali is exactly the kind of philandering, gun toting badass you'd expect in a story like this. The two of them have a great dynamic, with each of them clearly thinking that they're the main character and the other is the sidekick.

The Swallow (for the spaceship is always its own character in these stories) is perfectly summed up by the phrase "a next generation engine from sixteen generations ago," and is exactly the sort of ship you'd expect these two to travel in.

Also, the cat is the pilot.

I say again. The cat is the pilot. And he's addicted to nicotine.

So anyway, welcome to your new favorite sci-fi comedy.

Consistent Milk
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

A new advanced review. Truly a celebratory matter.

Reviewed at: KK1 - #07 LITTLE MUTANT ON THE PRAIRIE (1/3)

This fiction has so many positives! It's really hard to compress it into a short review. It is so good in fact, that I can think of no specific bad thing to point out to readers who want to read it, except for one thing that might just be a subjective critique. Highly recommend to Sci-fi fans and Cowboy bebop fans. 

The Review

The Premise - A story about a space bounty hunter is not something new. Yet this feels like something very new and refreshing. A major portion of the story, upto what I have read, is narrated by Lee the space cat . This cat is something else. At first, I was very skeptical about this seemingly preposterous concept, and thought that it might not end up as something I would like. What a cognitive dissonance that was.

The Moment:

“What an injustice! What a misery! What a suffering!” - Space cat Lee

Story: This is actually a collection of some awesome short stories or as the authors call them, 'episodes'. All the stories though are told in the same world, and are centered around the main protagonists, the Space cat Lee and his Human Ali. Each of the episodes I have read has a distinct, well crafted story and memorable characters. The reason why I am not giving that half star is that there is no overarching plot up to where I have read. This would have been a major dealbreaker for me personally, if the episodes and characters weren't so well written.

STYLE - This is where this fiction truly shines. The writing style is one of the best I have come across. This title oozes atmosphere. I forgot the last time I came across a fiction which had managed to engulf me with an atmosphere of its own. I don't know much about the writers, but this is quite extraordniary. The references to various old school stuff makes it even more awesome. I have read quite a lot of stories on this site recently. Some go too fast, some too slow, some barely manage to hold it together. This on the other hand nails it perfectly in each of its episodes. The episodes up until now has progressed smoothly in a natural way and in nowhere did it feel forced or unnecessarily lengthy. 

Grammar: Couldn't find anything wrong with grammar that broke my immersion or disturbed my reading experience.

Character: Another strong point of this story. I can safely say is that anyone who gets a reading flow will absolutely love Lee and Ali. Even the side characters that are introduced in each of the episodes are well written. 

In conclusion, except for the lack of an overarching plot up to where I have read, this is one phenomenal work that deserves more popularity. 

AwakenedMuse
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Overall

This quirky and charming story has a LOT of character. This is a mature story about a spacefaring cat and his human as they travel the universe as bountyhunters. It's reminiscent of Guardians of the Galaxy in the best ways. I fell in love with our two main characters in the pilot episode, and will continue following along to see what misadventures they get up to next! 

Style

This author has a consistant writing style with lots of flair and jokes. Very unique and by turns offensive and hilarious. This story does not take itself too seriously while dealing with very serious interactions and issues. Each chapter is written as a seperate episode, but I recommend reading together and in order as this is building toward a larger plot. 

Grammar

This is the weakest part of the story. It's very readable, but there are errors throughout. It's my understanding this story was translated from French, and I'm impressed by how well the humor carries through. Don't let some grammar errors stop you from enjoying!

Story

The story is wholly unique. It carries common space-adventure themes, but delivers them in new ways, with unexpected twists and characterizations. I'm excited to see what this tale brings us in season 2.

Character

First off, I love that the main perspective character is a cat. Lee is so cute. His affection for his sapiens is heartfelt. Ali and Lee go through a lot together throughout season 1, and clearly have been through even more before the season began. They are well developed characters with stories and personalities gradually explored each episode, building up to a very intense season finale. The side characters they meet each episode are well developed as well, with several recurring characters. The author explores these side characters well enough that you feel their loss when some inevitably die in the hard world Lee and Ali live in. 

Jeanean
Overall

Back to the future 2 + Wild west + Spaceships

Reviewed at: #2 - THE TWISTED HEIST

The title already says all about this story that needs to be said. This story is a lovable mess that combines all the best parts of your childhood.

Told from the perspective of Lee, spaceship pilot and Cat extraordinaire, KITTY KITTY is a collection of shortstories. But what would a cat do without its own personal human? So, meet Ali the bounty hunter who does what everyone else only dreams about. Shooting the ass thats trying to steal her pizza.

I mean, who doesn't love sassy cats and girls with spunk?

Elecham
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Cat Bounty Hunter IN SPAAAAAAACE

Reviewed at: #4 - THE MELLIFLUOUS CAVERNS

If you read the synopsis, you know exactly what you're in for. Quentin delivers. This morsel is so good, so tasteful, and yet so itself that I'm still amazed at the sheer character of the prose, the setting.

Style: 
Best part about the series. The author knows the aesthetics he's going for, and he knows how to achieve them. Each sentence drips with humor and character, space desperados and asteroid world-trees. The amazing thing isn't even how well it all meshes together, but how fun it is. 

Story:
Episodic. The plot is aimed somewhere, but that is (I think) a distant prospect that I never felt particularly concerned with. What I want is more. More Lee, more Ali, more space, more 80s, and I'm sure there's a lot of that yet to come.

Characters:
Also great, and so intertwined with the universe they're in that they do feel like another of its moving parts. There's a whole solar system where shit is constantly going down, and this is the slice of it we have access to, with all the blood and neon and credits being won and spent. Ali kicks ass.

Grammar:
My one hang up with the story is that it needed a good round of language edits. I know the author isn't a native speaker, and the story definitely flows well its current state, but those grammar tweaks would still make a world of difference.

Conclusion:
KITTY KITTY is a mess of a fun romp through space that I can't wait to get back to. It reads like a good episodic show and it sticks to your brain like a good vibe you don't want to shake. Worth it is saying little.

Almaranth
Overall

I love this first chapter. It's nice to have the story from the view of Lee, a pretty haughty cat, partner to a badass bounty hunter, Ali. The universe is original, between references to the '80s, cyberpunk and western vibes. I'm eager to read and discover the next adventures of Lee and Ali!

DanielC
Overall

It's a fun sci fi bounty hunting story. The MC is a mutant cat with an attitude, and along with his human companion, they hunt down the Universe's worst criminals.

From the get go, the story comes off as highly imaginative and original. The setting is excellently describes, and you truly feel immersed in the corner of the Galaxy the MC is visiting. 

The bigger plot remains to be seen, but it's clear the story is well thought out and has great potential. Can't wait to read more!

AWebster
Overall

Just a quick review to say I'm enjoying your story so far. 

And that I want you to keep posting. 

I was pulled into reading your story by seeing your cover art in one of the forums. Hence I wanted to give you props for that. 

 

Just a quick review to say I'm enjoying your story so far. 

And that I want you to keep posting. 

I was pulled into reading your story by seeing your cover art in one of the forums. Hence I wanted to give you props for that. 

 

TEZofAllTrades
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Style - Very good use of first-person perspective, which I don't enjoy unless it's done well, like this is. MC has strong POV. Varied vocabulary. Consistent and clean formatting.

Story - The realistic details about space travel and the many references to Earth's past show that the story had been well-researched. Has a real Guardians of the Galaxy feel to it IMO. World building/Lore is gradual with good pacing. Clear to see how much effort the author has put into what is essentially a franchise given all the content! It's deserving of praise and I could see it getting picked up by a publisher etc! Might need to make the mature content PG, though? The first chapter could use more of a hook e.g. maybe consider tacking the first chunk of chapter 2 on to the end on chapter 1, so it ends with “Fucker wanted to pinch my slice”. That would be more of a cliffhanger as well as a comedic moment, which would propel readers to continue on.

SPaG - No real issues with spelling, punctuation or grammar. Author knows how to punctuate dialogue tags correctly, so I consider it top-tier for RR lol. Sentences can be a little wordy at times, but I like to think that this is a reflection of Lee's tone of voice.

Character - MC's character is a real strength of the story. Lee sees himself equal if not superior to humans, while still retaining the qualities and mannerisms one might expect of a talking cat. His and Ali's personalities really shine through, and their relationship brings a lot of humour to the story.

Bubblepunk
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

A masterpiece straight from 1989!

Reviewed at: See you in the next episode!

Here we are in front of a UFO that is rather difficult to identify. Is it a comedy? A tragedy? A cartoon? An action novel or a documentary about the 80s? The answer is quite simple: The Future That Never Was is all of them!

Space Pickle mixes genres and eras in this adventure involving dozens of secondary characters who give voice to the corrosive and hilarious main characters. It's a festival of punchlines, sometimes inspired by the best lines from movies or TV shows from the 80s! 

The story follows a red thread which is defined little by little through standalone adventures. It's a real pleasure to read, and to follow! Lee and Ali's adventures can be binge-read as well as a weekly read. A bit like on Netflix in the end!

The full 80s atmosphere is supercharged. But what corresponded to me the most is the ease with which the two authors manage to insert references absolutely everywhere! Every single detail has an origin in an ad, a book, a TV episode, a movie or a music. The brands of cereals, soda are real! This book series is a real distorted showcase of a future already past!  And the best part is that these references are not pushy! Everything is perfectly balanced so as not to interfere with the understanding and the frantic rhythm of the action scenes. 

The cocktail is perfect!