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Literature / Closed System

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Closed System is a 2016 Cyberpunk Romance novella written by Ryan Christian and published by Xlibris.

The plot revolves around a jaded call center agent named Eric who has had enough of his hedonistic society and has become numb to just about everything. Told from the first person perspective, the story progresses through Eric's daily life transitioning from quiet, all-work days to city-wide raves at night (which he tries desperately to avoid).

While leaving a party Eric happens upon Badass girl Claire, who lives in the Under City where nobody ever goes. Becoming involved with Claire leads Eric to her Retired Badass "Grandpa" and an underground culture outside of the city's Big Brother computer systems. Everything goes great until La Résistance decides to attack the establishment and bring down martial law, putting Eric and Claire smack in the middle of the conflict.

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Eric and Claire have to deal with brutal police, insane drug dealers, resistance recruitment efforts, and annoying siblings while all of this is going on.


Closed System contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: Claire spends her time riding around on her homemade motorcycle, messing with the cops (or the drones that patrol the city) for fun, and delivers beatdowns on anyone who messes with her.
  • After the End: The story takes place after a massive war that several characters took part in. It is implied that cities like the one the characters live in are all that is left of society.
  • Amazon Chaser: Eric is in love with Claire, who happens to be one of the more badass characters in the story.
  • Asshole Victim: Matrix is a dick to his little brother every time he appears on the page. Naturally nobody but Eric really cares when we find out he was killed by overzealous cops.
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  • Break the Cutie: Happens to Claire after she watches her grandfather-figure get tased to death.
  • Casual Car Giveaway: Sage has Eric and Claire take his car knowing full well he wouldn't be getting it back.
  • Challenge Seeker: Claire likes to antagonize police drones for the express purpose of running from them.
  • Character Development: Eric learns to give a shit. Claire learns to stop being passive. Reverb becomes a little less of an ass.
  • City with No Name: The city is never actually named in the story. It is implied that it was formed after society itself broke down.
  • Cool Car: Sage's illegal gas powered car.
  • Corpse Land: People die in the under city, and since there's no government cleanup crew . . .
  • Friend in the Black Market: Connor, the under city shopkeeper, sells weapons of all kinds and is one of Sage's old war buddies. Eric gets a knife from him.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Sage makes one to give Claire and Eric a chance to run away, staying snarky the whole time.
  • High Times Future: Drugs have become so common in this future that they are marketed like candy, and Reverb has become rich by selling them. Eric's brother, Matrix, works for a company that creates new variants.
  • Living Legend: Sage is often presented this way. His reputation within the under city carries a lot of weight, and even the upper city police refer to him by his title of Captain.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: The leader of the resistance, Gabriel, wears nice suits and presents himself in a very businesslike way, made all the more unnerving with how he tries to recruit Claire (who is terrified of him).
  • Papa Wolf: Gabriel casually threatens Claire, and is nearly shot by Sage on the spot. Eric also receives a warning that if he brings harm to her Sage will kill him without a second thought.
  • Polluted Wasteland: The world is implied to be this outside of the city. Mention is made of pollution scrubbers failing in the poorer districts, and a smog cloud hangs in the sky.
  • Red Light District: Despite being a business district, D9 comes across as this by today's standards.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Claire goes on an impressive one after Sage is killed by police, killing them all in the space of a few seconds.
  • Romantic Runner-Up: Poor Kiki really likes Eric, but he is totally in love with Claire, not her.
  • Skyscraper City: The city is made up of buildings so tall that the lowest level has become a city all its own.
  • Undercity: The lowest level of the city has become a city full of the poor or unwilling to conform.
  • Useless Protagonist: Eric is unable to do practically anything on his own, taking a back seat to Claire most of the time and nearly everyone else when she's not around. By the end of the book he gets better, but is still not as competent as the rest of the characters.
  • The Unfavorite: Eric is this in his family due to being an accidental pregnancy with unclear parentage. He is thought of as a failure compared to his brother, Matrix.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: After the attack on the network Eric runs to the under city, making himself a fugitive and destroying his life in the upper city for good.
  • White Collar Worker: Eric is a call center agent for a reputable company that works with the network. His job consists mainly of troubleshooting problems with connected devices.
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