Randolph Lalonde is an independent science fiction and fantasy author who has been writing and publishing novels full time since 2008. When he isn't telling stories about adventurers in the distant future or writing adventures in fantasy, he spends time gaming online and in person with friends. He's been a heavy metal drummer for bands you've never heard of, a blackjack dealer with a travelling casino, worked many customer service jobs and once owned a print shop business. So far, writing and exploring the realms of imaginary adventure is his favourite career by far!

Psycho Electric by Randolph Lalonde

Rafe became a cyborg when his aunt sold everything but his head to pay her debt to a ruthless mercenary. Left only with his human head and a rough, industrial cyborg body, he is on the run from his master. We find Rafe in the megacity of New Udalpur, where he's been able to hide amongst a massive population that's more interested in social media, earning platinum, or trying to visit Earth to pay much attention to him.

Thanks to a daring caper, his curiosity, and a little heroism, Rafe is about to be in more trouble than he can handle. Strap in for an adventure that includes a bossy unofficial superintendent, shapeshifters, trips through full-dive virtual reality deathmatches, rude but colourful gangsters, social media influencers, spaceships, a wasteland, a ruthless Captain, irate pedestrians and so much more.


I've been a reader of the Randolph's Spinward Fringe series since it launched. Randolph's ability to tell a story that's still engagine 18 odd books later is a true testament to his skills as a storyteller. He knows what readers love and delivers, repeatedly. Psycho Electric is no different. - John Wilker



  • -"Great fun with so much going on and so many options in the real and virtual. Very entertaining highly recommended."

    – Reader review
  • -"Once I started I couldn't stop, love the flow of the book and it always kept my interest. Highly recommend the author to others."

    – Reader review
  • -"Engrossing, thought-provoking, well paced. A good book is one read every day until closure.. time permitting… Look forward to what may come next. Loved it."

    – Reader review



Chapter 1

Next to Earth

The sky was sick. Rain that reeked of sulphur and rot spattered against the glistening sidewalk. The grit covering the dark grey paving tile underfoot was being washed away, revealing dark swirls of things that were burned before they could cool and harden in the semi-transparent paving stones. There was a shape between Rafe's feet. From one angle it looked like a flower. From another, it was a face. Eyes closed, lips parted, it reminded him of someone who was looking forward to an unveiling.

The rare dawn light, golden through the cool drops, gave him pause as he considered what he was about to do, where he was about to send his mind. It was only the second time he'd seen the beautiful quality of that illumination. As for the crime, well, he'd broken into many places, there was nothing novel about that. A cart passed the alley opening to his right, the smell of dosa pancakes followed it, even though the cooktop and containers were covered. The memory of eating such exciting food was faint, but fresh enough to make him smile a little.

The owner of the cart and other pedestrians paid him no mind. When they did notice him, they turned away quickly, pretending that they didn't see him, which suited Rafe. He moved further down the alley, minding the defect in his mechanical knee, which gave him a limp when it got wet. Another thing I'll get fixed when I get paid, he thought to himself.

The dawn-shaded light took on its regular grey hue. It's almost time. Squatting in the alley against the wall, Rafe pulled the worn, half-millimetre thick warmer blanket from his pocket and wrapped it around himself. He felt like hiding. The void suit he wore covered his cybernetic limbs and his vital case torso well enough, but the right arm was left bare and there were holes in the material stretched over his left leg. He neglected to patch them, an airtight seal wasn't necessary. Only his head was vulnerable to the weather in the city. Rafe still wished he could afford a jacket and gloves to cover the bare metal limbs. His face still looked human, and he was one of the lucky cyborgs who could still grow hair, but the rest of him looked like it was put together in some robotic junk shop, made to have the shape of a human, but only so he could use the same equipment and wear most of the same protection as one.

He pulled his blanket around himself so it formed a deep hood for his head to hide in then activated it. Warm, dry air stirred, and he sighed, enjoying the sensation of it on his ragged, drenched hair and skin. His throat was scratchy again, with a dull hurt where the flesh he was born with was joined with the synthetic system that connected it to the organs in the upper half of the vital case, his torso. The discomfort was another reminder that he wasn't put together by caring hands.

He tapped the back of his hand, bringing up a small, low-resolution hologram that showed him his location - New Udalpur, the time - 06:58 am, the regional alert level - Green, how much credit he had with the British Icon Bank - 9.50 Platinum Credits, and where the nearest high speed Maglon Enterprise Stellarnet wireless connection point was. It was three metres above him. The seconds passed, slowly rolling to seven in the morning local time. His teeth chattered. He pulled a Forma Nutrient Pellet from his chest pocket and popped it into his mouth. The little human flesh he had seemed to take forever to warm up sometimes, and chewing the rubbery, vanilla-flavoured cube made his teeth stop misbehaving while the blanket did its work.

He knew people passing by in the busy market street would see a figure in the dark, steam rising from a thin blanket, but no one would bother Rafe. His kind wasn't common in New Udalpur, and the heat blanket was a dead giveaway that there was a cyborg huddling there. He considered the city he was hiding in. New Udalpur was the first mega city founded by a human on a planet other than Earth. As the colonists began to build it billions were starving and dying on Earth. The colonists' plan to resettle light years away started as the ecosystem was collapsing, and they left just in time to avoid getting stuck in a full-on nuclear war. Nearly a millennium later, the state of New Udalpur demonstrated that humanity, for the most part, hadn't learned a thing.

The population clung to the great city for the money they could make there, the level of technology competing companies could sell anyone with the platinum or credit, and the promise of unparalleled luxury. There were parts of the planet that were still eden-like, surrounded by conditioning systems that kept them pristine and serene. Then there were the ones who came to wait for the Sol System to reopen. They clogged the Stellarnet with appeal after appeal for Humankind's home system to allow visitors and immigrants again. A year ago, they would be greeted with a bureaucratic wall that forced them to fill out numerous applications and take even more tests. That ended, and was replaced with a warning; All vessels approaching the Sol System will be destroyed. No entry is permitted.

Few people knew why, some tried anyway and were never heard from again, and Rafe didn't much care. He stayed in New Udalpur because there were twenty-eight million people there, and the Matrix access points allowed people like him to create as many fake accounts as he wanted. He could hide amongst the physical and digital mass of people, and remain perfectly anonymous.

Finally warm, Rafe set the blanket to maintain thirty-five percent humidity and twenty-one degrees celsius. It was seven o'clock. The Maglon Enterprises Servers were resetting their New Udalpur Cyberscape. They were one of many companies that hosted millions of employees who went to work and spent their leisure time in a simulated world. Every three months it reset, clearing all the junk from temporary memory so it could start up fresh, nearly bug-free.

The honking of a hover car at the end of the alley drew his attention for a moment. It nearly struck a pair of pedestrians who were crossing. They were laughing, sharing an umbrella. The young woman's expression drained of mirth as she noticed him. The pair walked on as he focused on the task at hand. For the last time, he considered the risks and rewards.

I will be using, probably burning, access codes and programs written specifically for this kind of hack. I won't have access to this facility after I use the ident I've stolen, and the chances of getting a new one that'll work in this plant will be next to zero. On the other hand, I'll be helping a crew get their people back from a place that uses humans as processing nodes. I'll have an opportunity to set the whole company back a couple years on my way out, too. I could get caught. They could hook me up and use my brain as processing power until my personality and memories are overwritten and I'm gone forever. He remembered finding his father in just such a state after he'd been jacked in for two years, three months and two days. His body was alive, but there was nothing left of Mark Loden. Here I come, he thought with determination.

With a few gestures he set the sensors seamlessly integrated into his shoulders, hands and feet to watch for anyone who intended to interfere with him. Rafe would be disconnected from the Matrix if they picked anything up. He shrugged deeper into the blanket and closed his eyes.