What is Tronick?
“Ghost in the Shell meets the Millennium series in this quintessentially American cyberpunk thriller.”
“Visually expletive and quietly raw. A thoroughly satisfying read!”
“This is one of the best dystopian novels I’ve read—a great balance of suspenseful action and compelling reflection on how much we are all controlled by our circumstances.”
This gritty cyberpunk novel introduces readers to a world devastated by systemic corruption, religious extremism, and two opposing forces vying for control of California-Annex. Come dive into the dystopia of tomorrow and follow this anti-hero’s journey to a cliff’s edge.
Too tall to see beyond and impossible to breach, the iconic wall encompassing California-Annex is nothing more than a forgettable reality for generation PW1.6. But while the general populace is addicted to Shine and manipulated by the incessant n-sub messaging, Fiona Tronick is different. She’s seen as a grungy dealer, but she’s really a street operative for The Agency- and she’s always been loyal to her employer. But as civil unrest simmers throughout the Annex, Tronick is confronted with information that makes her question The Agency’s agenda and loyalty. She starts to see the lies go deeper and wider than she could have ever imagined. From Topside Stacks to the underbelly of the Trenches, everything is connected. Connected to her.
Follow Tronick as she rubs shoulders with political leaders in coastal mansions, confronts religious zealots in flooded San Diego, reconnects with her outlaw brother, and taps into the Annex’s gritty underworld in this dystopian-cyberpunk adventure.
TRONICK by Rosie Record is a cyberpunk novel that attracted me by its cover. They say you can’t judge a book by its cover but I feel like the Claire Redfield-esque biker girl picture is full of personality that drips out of the image. You can tell a lot about who Fiona Tronick is by this image and it inspired me to pick up the book. Was it worth it? Oh yes, definitely, though I would love to have a sequel in order to answer some of its mysteries.
The premise is that California is isolated from the rest of the world by the massive wall that covers the entirety of the country. It apparently covers much of the ocean around it as well, calling into question whether or not this is a Matrix-like simulation or perhaps Dark City experiment. The people inside, generation PW 1.6 don’t know and don’t really care as they’re too wrapped up in their own problems.
Fiona exists in the border between the street as well as the rich and powerful. While she pretends to be a low-level drug dealer, she’s actually an agent for the Agency. The Agency is a secret police that manages not only law enforcement in the California Annex but virtually everything else as well. Fiona thinks of herself as a rebel and one of the people but she’s involved in numerous projects to keep the crooked system functioning.
Ultimately, Tronick’s fence-sitting is unsustainable. As much as she likes to think she can walk the line and just hang out with the underworld as her friends, the simple fact is she is part of the system. A system that considers her friends to be enemies of the state and is using Tronick to get to them. The fact Tronick is blind to this fact is a bit unbelievable but the book shows she suffers from serious self-denial.
I really like the world-building of this book as we see the kind of hard scrabble existence that the California Annex’s citizens suffer through. Many of them are seeking something higher, whether religious or philosophical, but this just leads them to become vulnerable to scammers. The fact the Agency actively puts out bad faith operators to avoid losing even the slightest bit of control is a neat little detail.
Rosie Record’s prose is raw, dark, and full of intense emotions that are often absent from modern day cyberpunk stories as well as supposedly harder edged sci-fi. You get to taste the environment and what sort of world that our protagonists inhabit. The Annex’s inhabitants are surrounded by drugs, celebrity worship, crime, and an oppressive government. So, you know, nothing at all like modern day Los Angeles.
I think if you like dystopian science fiction but have aged out of The Hunger Games and Divergent readership, then you will like this. It’s definitely adult and mature but has a very likable protagonist even if she’s got some serious issues. I also think this is something that would appeal to fans of classic and more recent cyberpunk fair too.