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Epigraph, Introduction, and Guide to This Series

This is a page within Linked Fantasies, Linked Futures. Updated February 2024.

Linked Fantasies, Linked Futures: Early Fiction & Journals



Yea, faileth now even dream
The dreamer, and the lute the lutanist;
Even the linked fantasies, in whose blossomy twist
I swung the earth a trinket at my wrist,
Are yielding; cords of all too weak account
For earth with heavy griefs so overplussed.

—"The Hound of Heaven," Francis Thompson.

The above poetry passage, copied out in my hand when I was fourteen, was intended by me to serve as the epigraph for a series cycle, consisting of some stories I gradually created when I was young: Linked Fantasies. The earliest stories in the series cycle originated when I was five years old. The last story in the series cycle would end up being written when I was twenty-six.

Those stories will be collected within this series, along with my journal entries and many other early writings by me.


The question most asked to authors is, "How did you get the idea for the book?" The second most-asked question is, "Why did you write the book?" Most authors will smile and answer, "I needed the money." Others will say, "For pleasure." Still others will say, "I didn't have anything else to do." I have a different reason. I didn't want to forget.

—Foreword to a book I never wrote, about age eleven.

My latest idea on journal publication: Take a few choice items from my journals (i.e., the only readable parts) and mix them with early writings. What I'm aiming at here is a collage of my teen years, an impression of what I'm like. Something like a mixture of I Seem to be a Verb and Up the Down Staircase. Only crazier.

Unless my journals are too awful ten years from now to publish.

—Excerpts from my journal, 1–2 April 1979, when I was about to turn sixteen.

I'm blessed with pack-rat genes.

Between my mother and me, I think we managed to save nearly every single piece of writing and important memorabilia from my childhood. I'm still digging them out of storage and organizing them (this will be a task of years, not months), which is why I will sometimes add a document out of order as I compile this collection.

I've kept this series focussed primarily on my life as a reader and writer, with only occasional glimpses into other aspects of my life. To be honest, reading and writing stories is where my thoughts have usually centered, throughout my life.

I began writing stories when I was quite young, and by about age nine I had decided I wanted to be a professional writer. This was not an odd goal, given who my parents were. My father was a literary historian, my mother wrote poetry for fun, and the two of them had worked together on their college newspaper.

They were also book lovers. I was surrounded by books from the moment I was brought home from the hospital.

Both my parents were supportive of my desire to become a novelist (though judiciously cautioning me to get a day job too), and they provided me with much practical help. They were also understanding of my desire to read as many books as possible. (My younger brother, occasionally glimpsed in my journals, turned out to be a book lover too. All four of us explored bookstores together.)

I stuck with my writerly ambition. Throughout my childhood and adulthood, I wrote story after story, as well as poems, plays, and many different types of nonfiction. I kept my working notes and (for my early writings) illustrations. Just as importantly, I told in my journals and correspondence about my reading interests and my creative labors. In all, I completed 26 journals by the time I was twenty-eight years old, as well as writing many letters. Then I switched to electronic journals, e-mail, and social media posts.

It sometimes seems like I kept every piece of paper memorabilia that ever passed through my hands. What I didn't keep, my mother usually kept; it is largely thanks to her that I possess some of my earliest childhood stories.

When my mother died in 2008, I inherited all her papers, adding them to my own considerable pile. Now, thanks in part to my mother's diligent collecting, I can share a small portion of my life as a reader and writer: literary frustrations and joys which have taken place over the space of more than half a century of my lifetime.

Dusk Peterson
February 2024


How this project is being released

I'm gradually releasing the writings in this series via my blog and newsletter. You're welcome to post comments at my blog. If you'd like to receive the writings as they're released, just subscribe to my blog or newsletter.

Although the writings are listed at this website in chronological order, I will not be releasing all of the upcoming writings in chronological order. I'll occasionally be going back and filling in gaps with older writings, as I locate them.

Content warning

Here is my current-day content warning for my fiction:

Most of my stories are speculative fiction set in worlds inspired by historical settings. Many forms of bigotry and oppression are fought against by characters in my stories. Other societal evils await reform at a future date and may be countenanced by sympathetic characters. In addition, bigotry that occurs in our world may not be present in these worlds.

Although my past writings are similar in many ways to what I write today, I did occasionally showcase common prejudices of the past . . . though not as many as I might have, thanks to my parents' training. Any views I expressed in the past may or may not match my views today.

Links and images

Links to authors or books lead to my Baby Boomer Bookshelf at this website, where you can read summaries of the books I read as a child. Other media links lead to websites that aren't run by me.

I have linked to images and other documents from me, rather than include them within the posts. All such links are to caches at the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine, so that such material will remain available in the future, knock wood. I recommend downloading and saving any material you're interested in, including the posts and these website pages.


I have cut many of the original documents freely, without ellipses, in order to focus in on the main topics of this series. Word changes or additions to the original text are indicated through curly brackets – {} – since I occasionally used straight brackets in the original documents.

My fiction is uncut, except when I provide only a sample or wish to protect private information. For privacy's sake, I've made occasional changes to names in my stories and journal entries.

I congratulate my elementary school teachers, because I didn't make many errors in spelling, punctuation, or grammar in my early writings. I've silently corrected any blatant spelling and punctuation errors I noticed, since I would have caught many of them myself when revising while I was young. I've let a few grammar errors remain, since they reveal my growth as a writer.

Titles and story codes

My working titles for stories at that time were preceded by a character of my own invention: a check mark crossed by an equal sign. In this volume, I've used a section marker to indicate working titles: §

Following a suggestion offered by L. Sprague de Camp and Catherine C. de Camp in their Science Fiction Handbook, Revised – which they in turn had learned from Robert A. Heinlein – I originally assigned many of my handwritten and typewritten stories identifying codes. Unlike my predecessors' simple "opus" numbers, my codes provide abbreviated information about the stories. The story codes look like this:


For the sake of readers using screen readers, or who are simply uninterested in deciphering codes, I've spelled out the information contained in each code, when I cite it – all except the initial part of the code, which tells the order of the story in my notebooks or files.

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Creative Commons License: Some Rights Reserved This text, or a variation on it, was originally published at duskpeterson.com. Copyright (c) 1963–2024 Dusk Peterson. Some rights reserved. The text is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License (creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0). You may freely print, post, e-mail, share, or otherwise distribute the text for noncommercial purposes, provided that you include this paragraph. The author's policies on derivative works and fan works are available online (duskpeterson.com/copyright.htm).