Cyberpunk Challenge: Nightfish Part 1

Cyberpunk Challenge:

They Call Him Nightfish

(A Work In Progress)

By Raymond Towers


Welcome, writers and readers,

This is my current writing project. In keeping with the spirit of the Cyberpunk Challenge, I am presenting the details of my personal writing process, including inspirations, motivations and, of course, the initial draft of this story. I am planning for this story to be a full novel, or more than one perhaps, because certainly I have amassed a large trove of ideas from the many random story generators I’ve researched already. I’ve collected them into two PDF books. Here are their titles.

Write This! Cyberpunk Challenge

Cyberpunk Challenge Story Archive

(Both are available as free PDF books at

Another resource I will be using:

Augmented Reality by Paul Gallagher

(Available as a Pay What You Want title on Drive Thru RPG.)

This is a completely new project, set apart from the Detective Varriano series and written with a leaning toward the Young Adult reader in particular. Entries to this writing project will be posted first on my writer’s blog (, and will be compiled later into a new PDF e-book available for download on the Freebies page mentioned above.

Details are not set in stone, not yet, and this first draft may contain minor errors or passages that have to be re-worked later, but for the most part, the story itself should stay as is. The title has already gone through three incarnations: Sohl’s Story, and He Became Nightfish, on to the one I’m using now, They Call Him Nightfish.

New entries should appear on the blog regularly, as often as every 2 or 3 days. Updates should be made, I don’t know, perhaps every 5 days or weekly, depending on what else I have going on at the time. I will add reminders on the blog posts, mentioning when the PDF article has been updated.

The entire point of this, of the Cyberpunk Challenge, is to stir up the imaginations of readers and writers. If anything in this story brings about the impetus to create a story, artwork, poetry, or whatever else, I encourage you to submit it for posting on the blog. The full details of the Challenge are found on the first volume, Write This!, mentioned earlier.

Going into this project, I only had two strong pieces I wanted to include. One, the story had to be Young Adult, because I hardly write YA, and two, the story had to feature a ‘fish out of water.’ In some way, the young protagonist had to be displaced from home and alien to the cyberpunk landscape he ends up in. Most everything else was still up in the air, but I did want to include as many ideas from the Write This and Augmented Reality e-books as I could.

As the story moves along, I am also including controversial subjects found in today’s news, such as the Cancel Culture and Reverse Racism found in Critical Race Theory taught in U.S. learning institutions today, that is effectively dividing my great nation in half. Other thorny subjects might make their way into the story as it progresses. The finished story will likely have a rating of MEDIUM to HIGH controversy, as compared with the lighter Sci-Fi mood found in the Detective Varriano series.

So… young guy, out of place, political tensions, cyberpunk adventures. Those were my starting points, and I set off from there. I hope you enjoy the results.

R. Towers


Gerrold’s Favorites

Before beginning the Nightfish project, I read a book on writing. This book is titled Worlds Of Wonder And Fantasy, by David Gerrold.

David Gerrold was born on January 24, 1944 in Chicago, Illinois, USA as Jerrold Friedman. He is a writer and actor, known for Star Trek New Voyages: Phase II (2004), Star Trek: The Original Series (1966) and Babylon 5 (1993). – imdb, Gerrold wrote the most popular episode from The Original Series, titled The Trouble With Tribbles.

I did not find the book very instructional for writers, as it was mostly a review of Gerrold telling us how he got famous. A much better book for writers is Writing Young Adult Novels, by Hadley Irwin and Jeannette Eyerly, which I read later. Gerrold’s book only included a few exercises for writers, and since I was trying to come up with ideas for Sohl’s Story, I went ahead and worked on them.

In the chapter The Literature Of Imagination, Gerrold asks readers to write down their favorite science fiction movies and books. I added my favorite TV shows to that list. This exercise was described as a way to recognize the sense of wonder the viewer / reader felt when watching / reading, and to try to instill that same sense of wonder into writing a story.

Below are my fantasy and science fiction favorites. Feel free to include your favorites as a comment.

Favorite Movies Of All Time

1. The Shining (1980)

2. Blade Runner (1982)

3. Aliens (1986)

4. The Matrix (1999)

5. Starship Troopers (1997)

6. The Warriors (1979)

7. Logan’s Run (1976)

Honorable Mention: Alien (1979), Priest (2011), Solomon Kane (2009), Matrix Series (1999-2003), Outland (1981), Underworld Series (2003-2012)

Old Favorites: Flash Gordon (1980), Star Trek: The Original Series (1979-1991), Star Wars (1977-1983)

Favorite TV Shows of All Time

1. Game Of Thrones (2011-2019)

2. The Expanse (2015-2020)

3. Firefly (2002), including Serenity (2005)

Old Favorites: Kolchak: The Night Stalker (1974-1975), Mr. Robot (2015-2019), Space 1999 (1975-1977), The Incredible Hulk (1977-1982)

Favorite Books of All Time

1. The Shining – Stephen King (1977)

2. Hyperion – Dan Simmons (1989)

3. Dune – Frank Herbert (1965)

Honorable Mention: Many by Stephen King, Several by Arthur C. Clarke, Several by Isaac Asimov, Riverworld Series by Philip Jose Farmer, Stainless Steel Rat Series by Harry Harrelson

After writing my lists, I meditated. What did I learn about myself? I’m hardcore when it comes to fantasy and sci-fi. You don’t see any creampuff entries, no chick flix, no pandering and no fucking apologies. Out of all that, the wimpiest entry I have is Firefly, which to me is a re-imagining of The A-Team shows that I used to watch in the 80s. Firefly, Kolchak and the Hulk are formulaic, but everything else, especially in the books, goes off in its own direction. That’s where I want to take my Nightfish project; in a new direction, hopefully, that very few writers have gone to before.

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