ATL: Stories from the Retrofuture is a Web Serial Novel by Thedude3445. It's all about Morgan Harding, a twentysomething, superpowered slacker who secretly saves the city of Atlanta from technological disaster with the help of a robot ally and a clumsy best friend.
The story updates three times a week, and is divided into various novella or novel-sized stories, each of them covering a different subject in the wild world of retrofuture Atlanta.
This series provides examples of:
- Alternate History: In a world where robots have been around since the 70s... Let's just say things are different nowadays.
- Androids Are People, Too: Zig-zagged. You've got Robot Buddies like R8PR and AR73 — mere drones to most people, but in Morgan's eyes, definitely people. Then you have Mecha-Mooks, who Morgan will destroy without a second thought. Most robots are drone-like and designed for mundane work, but if a robot gets a name, it will at least straddle the line, intelligence-wise.
- Androids and Detectives
- Artificial Limbs: Yuri Motokawa, the "Mercenary Prince," got three after an explosion in the Battle of Houston
- Benevolent A.I.: R8PR could have been the realization of humanity's worst fears, but he seems to want nothing more than to keep Atlanta safe.He’s already a fugitive from essentially every single government agency and corporation you can name for his advanced intelligence; with the right motivation I imagine he could be the end of all of us. Luckily for us he seems content to play a smaller role in human history.
- Creative Sterility: AR73's paintings never turn out well, no matter how many art movements it studies.
- Deadpan Snarker: Morgan. Honestly, Karina gets this way sometimes, too. And R8PR's aloof, but he can most certainly crack a dry joke from time to time. Honestly, it might be harder to find a character that DOESN'T
- Different World, Different Movies: It's mentioned that James Cameron's famous movie of the 90s was Spider-Man, a So Bad, It's Good screenplay he wrote in real life based on the comic of the same name.
- Divided States of America: With a dash of Implied-Obliterated States of America. After the war, Atlanta became the captial of the Republic of Georgia.
- Everything Is An I Pod In The Future: Averted with great power. Practically all technology in Atlanta is clunky and unfashionable, as part of its Retro Universe aesthetic.
- First-Person Perspective: Yep, Morgan's this. A very special kind of first-person narrator.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Our very own Morgan.
- Lotus-Eater Machine: The so-called Dreamtech Helmet that appears in The Social Media Killer is deliberately designed to help its users lucid dream and achieve this. Of course, its main function was somewhat different in reality...
- Mecha-Mooks: With robots as commonplace as they are, it's pretty easy to reprogram them into mindless killing machines. They usually aren't too much trouble, but Morgan's been beaten up by a robot horde before.
- Oh, Crap!:
- Post-Cyberpunk: Thedude3445 has called this story's genre "cybernormal", or the everyday slice-of-life version of a cyberpunk world. It's very much a response to the Crapsack World themes of most cyberpunk stories.
- Private Detective: Marge Eisenhower. She's even got the trenchcoat and fedora.
- The Call Knows Where You Live: At the very start of the story, Morgan's thrown right into a new mystery by way of getting beaten up. Worst part? It's in Morgan's own apartment, right after a full workday. Talk about a drag.
- 30 Minutes, or It's Free!: Karina works for Packard's Pizzas, a company so dedicated to fast delivery they strap literal Rocket Boots to their employees. She mentions having to wall jump using her boots to get to an order in time once. It sounds very dangerous, but keeps the pizzas very warm.