DUSK PETERSON: Historical speculative fiction

History-inspired mythic fantasy. Alternate history. Retrofuture science fiction. Love.

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TURN-OF-THE-CENTURY TOUGHS By Dusk Peterson

Tough (noun): a tough and violent person; a street ruffian; a trouble-maker.

Turn-of-the-Century Toughs is a cycle of alternate history series about adults and youths on the margins of society, and the people who love them. Set in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the novels and stories take place in an alternative version of America that was settled by inhabitants of the Old World in ancient times. As a result, the New World retains certain classical and medieval customs.

Updated December 2020.
 


CONTENTS 

THE ETERNAL DUNGEON. In a cool, dark cavern, guarded by men and by oaths, lies a dungeon in which prisoners fearfully await the inevitable. The inevitable will be replaced by the unexpected. The Eternal Dungeon is an award-winning alternate history series on romance, friendship and family, set in a nineteenth-century prison where the psychologists wield whips.


DUNGEON GUARDS
. In the Eternal Dungeon, there are only two types of guards: skilled guards or dead guards. But one guard has been both. Dungeon Guards is an alternate history series about nineteenth-century prison workers who seek love and companionship as they fight together against danger.


LIFE PRISON
. They are imprisoned until death, and their lives cannot get worse . . . or so they think. But when an unlikely alliance forms against their captors, the reformers risk losing what little comforts they possess. Life Prison is an alternate history series on friendship, romance, and rebellion in nineteenth-century prisons.

MICHAEL'S HOUSE. In a world where temples are dying and sacred theaters have been replaced by brothels, what will happen when a hard-headed businessman joins forces with an idealist? Michael's House is an alternate history series on love in a Progressive Era slum.

WATERMAN. How can a youth from a bay island boarding school survive when he is sent to a futuristic prison? Waterman is a speculative fiction series of love in an alternative version of the Chesapeake Bay region during the 1910s and during the future as it was envisioned in the 1960s.


Turn-of-the-Century Toughs resources. Maps, timeline, communications, computers, calendars, bibliographies, and research notes.

Progress reports. Status of upcoming stories.


THE ETERNAL DUNGEON: a Turn-of-the Century Toughs series By Dusk Peterson

In a cool, dark cavern, guarded by men and by oaths, lies a dungeon in which prisoners fearfully await the inevitable. The inevitable will be replaced by the unexpected.

The Eternal Dungeon is an award-winning alternate history series on romance, friendship, and family, set in a nineteenth-century prison where the psychologists wield whips.

Series page for The Eternal Dungeon at Archive of Our Own, with full blurbs and tags (which may spoiler earlier stories in the series).

Table of contents to the Eternal Dungeon titles below.




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The Eternal Dungeon: a Turn-of-the-Century Toughs omnibus

In the Queendom of Yclau lies an underground royal prison that embraces the worst of the past and the best of the future. The Eternal Dungeon is old-fashioned in its equipment and ahead of its time in its treatment of prisoners, seeking to put their best welfare above all else. Torture is part of the process of assisting the prisoners.

The High Seeker, Layle Smith, embodies this contradictory institution: a man of deadly impulses, the head torturer binds himself strictly by the dungeon's code of conduct. His efforts to maintain this delicate balance are altered, though, by the introduction into his life of Elsdon Taylor, a vulnerable prisoner who is coming to terms with his own darkness.

Honors: Three honors in the Rainbow Awards 2011: 2nd Place, Best Setting Development. Winner, Best Gay Fantasy. Honorable Mention, Best Gay Novel/Book.

The omnibus is currently unavailable. The individual volumes remain available; see below.

Goodreads



*

Rebirth (Volume 1 of The Eternal Dungeon)

Elsdon Taylor, a prisoner accused of committing a terrible murder. Layle Smith, a torturer with a terrible past. Their meeting in the Eternal Dungeon appears certain to bring out the worst in both men.

Yet neither man is quite what he appears. As the prisoner and his torturer begin to be drawn toward each other, the ripple effects of their meeting will have a powerful impact on other inhabitants of the Eternal Dungeon: Layle's faithful guard, struggling to contain his doubts. A younger guard determined to take any shortcuts necessary to ensure that his life follows the path he has already chosen. An old love from Layle's past, still sorrowing. And most of all, a prisoner who has not yet arrived at the Eternal Dungeon, but whose fate will depend on how Layle handles Elsdon Taylor . . . and on how Elsdon handles Layle Smith.

Honors: As part of the omnibus The Eternal Dungeon, three honors in the Rainbow Awards 2011: Honorable Mention, Best Gay Novel/Book. Winner, Best Gay Fantasy. 2nd Place, Best Setting Development.

ScribdAmazonSmashwordsGoodreads 

 

=== VOLUME CONTENTS ===

The Breaking. The prisoner knew that the Eternal Dungeon was a place where suspected criminals were broken by torture, and he was prepared to hold out against any methods used against him – except the method he could not anticipate.

Archive of Our OwnStory bundleGoodreads

Annotated edition:

Patreon

Love and Betrayal. As a torturer learns the art of questioning prisoners, he discovers that the word "love" can have a darker meaning than he had supposed.

Archive of Our OwnStory bundleGoodreads

First Time. One man seeks to heal from abuse. The other man dreams of abusing. Now they're in love.

Archive of Our OwnStory bundleGoodreads

In Training. Unexpected danger reveals to a young torturer the dark mystery of his love-mate's past – as well as unpleasant revelations about himself.

Archive of Our OwnStory bundleGoodreads

As a Seeker. If the head torturer wants something, no power in life or death will hold him from taking it. What he wants now has brought danger to the Eternal Dungeon.

Archive of Our OwnStory bundleGoodreads

Tops and Sops. The torturer was young, inexperienced, and lacking in knowledge of the world. The prisoner was tough, worldlywise, and had an infallible plan that would give him escape from this place. So why did the prisoner feel as though the torturer had the edge?

Archive of Our OwnStory bundleGoodreads


=== SIDE STORIES TO REBIRTH === 

The Unanswered Question. No weapons, no allies, and no guarantees that he will survive the test.

Prelude novella to the Eternal Dungeon series.

Honors: As a former part of the omnibus The Eternal Dungeon, three honors in the Rainbow Awards 2011: Honorable Mention, Best Gay Novel/Book. Winner, Best Gay Fantasy. 2nd Place, Best Setting Development.

Additional honors: As part of the collection Risk, four honors in the Rainbow Awards 2016: Honorable Mention. Finalist. Winner, Best LGBT Alternative Universe/Reality. 3rd Place, Best LGBT Book.

Archive of Our OwnStory bundleGoodreads

Rain. Five boys. Five rainy days. Five opportunities for trouble.

Crossover story for the following series: The Eternal Dungeon / Life Prison / Michael's House / Waterman.

Archive of Our OwnStory bundle

Never. She was attending the ball at the palace to dance. That was all. Which made it annoying to face a proposal of marriage from a guard who was distinctly not the sort of man she would ever consider marrying. Certainly not.

Archive of Our OwnStory bundleGoodreads

New-Fashioned. The Eternal Dungeon's youngest torturer has a special talent. He's about to discover what it is, at the worst of moments.

Archive of Our OwnStory bundle

Shifts. Midwinter's god is as cold as cruelty and as warm as a loving heart.

Archive of Our Own

In Hot Water.  They are two of the most talented prison-workers in the world. It's a pity their skills don't extend to dishwashing.

Archive of Our OwnGoodreads 

Patience. There are patients, and then there are patients who require patience. The world's most famous dungeon-keeper has a cold.

Archive of Our Own



*

Transformation (Volume 2 of The Eternal Dungeon)

The Eternal Dungeon, a royal prison where criminals are transformed, has lost its leadership. The duty of returning the dungeon to normal falls on two Seekers (torturers) who are already burdened with their own problems. One Seeker is struggling to understand why an old love affair continues to gnaw at him. The other Seeker is faced with his greatest challenge: whether to risk the man who is most precious to him in order to save his own abuser.

Honors: As part of the omnibus The Eternal Dungeon, three honors in the Rainbow Awards 2011: Honorable Mention, Best Gay Novel/Book. Winner, Best Gay Fantasy. 2nd Place, Best Setting Development.

ScribdAmazonSmashwordsGoodreads
 
 

=== VOLUME CONTENTS ===

Deception. He thought she had come to change his workplace. He found she was there to change his life.

Archive of Our OwnStory bundleGoodreads

Twists and Turns. Only the loyal presence of one man has kept him alive. Now that man's loyalty is about to be tested.

Archive of Our OwnStory bundleGoodreads

A Prisoner Has Need. A mysterious prisoner. A chance to begin again.

Archive of Our OwnStory bundleGoodreads

The Consultation. He has come from the Eternal Dungeon to offer his services to another prison's head torturer. The only trouble is that the head torturer likes him too much.

Archive of Our OwnStory bundleGoodreads 


=== SIDE STORY TO TRANSFORMATION ===

Prison Food and Fondness. "All she needed to gather were the ingredients for the meal. This she tried to explain on one summer morning, standing by the outer dungeon's exit while confronting two guards who had their daggers pointed at her."

Archive of Our OwnGoodreads

 


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The Balance (Volume 3 of The Eternal Dungeon)

The Seekers (torturers) in the Eternal Dungeon have always expressed contempt toward the Hidden Dungeon in the neighboring kingdom of Vovim, whose torturers abuse prisoners without restraint. But the balance between mercy and hell is not so clear as might be thought in either dungeon, and now that balance is about to tip. Only the strength of love and integrity will determine the paths of two Seekers whose fortunes are bound together.

Honors: As part of the omnibus The Eternal Dungeon, three honors in the Rainbow Awards 2011: Honorable Mention, Best Gay Novel/Book. Winner, Best Gay Fantasy. 2nd Place, Best Setting Development.

ScribdAmazonSmashwordsGoodreads
 

=== VOLUME CONTENTS ===

Truth and Lies.When you're a prisoner, having a torturer who's mad can be an advantage. Or maybe not.

Archive of Our OwnStory bundleGoodreads

Barbarians. Vovim was renowned for its strong monarchy, for its love of the theater, and for its skill in the art of torture. In other words, it had all the qualities needed to become a civilized nation. But would anyone be willing to defy Vovim's tyrannical king? And if they did, would they survive?

Archive of Our OwnStory bundleGoodreads

Hidden. He had been given the kindest, gentlest torturer in the dungeon. The prisoner was left with only one hope: that he could teach his torturer how to be cruel.

Archive of Our OwnStory bundleGoodreads

Death Watch. Death lurks everywhere in the Eternal Dungeon . . . even in a torturer's bedroom.

Archive of Our OwnStory bundleGoodreads

Balladeer. Sometimes it takes an outsider to point out the obvious.

Archive of Our OwnStory bundleGoodreads


=== SIDE STORIES TO THE BALANCE === 

Hunger. Some hungers can only be satisfied by reaching out. As a prisoner struggles to find the right path, a foul-mouthed guard and an uncommon torturer will open a door . . . but stepping through a doorway with blackness beyond requires courage.

Archive of Our OwnStory bundleGoodreads

Commoners' Festival. The Eternal Dungeon is celebrating the Commoners' Festival, and all the elite are feasting. Including a man who is secretly a commoner.

Archive of Our OwnGoodreads

Green Ruin. Three guards and a mysterious substance provide a temptation too great to be missed . . . especially when two torturers add their skills to the mix.

Archive of Our OwnStory bundleGoodreads 

Tax the Dungeon. Nothing in life is certain but love, death, and taxes. But what if all three should converge?

Archive of Our Own

 


*

On Guard (Volume 4 of The Eternal Dungeon)

A bloody knife from a crime scene becomes a mystery to be solved and a foreshadow of trouble to come.

The ties forged between the noble-minded Eternal Dungeon and an abusive foreign dungeon have set off an unpredictable chain of horrific events, in which the love between two of the Eternal Dungeon's Seekers (torturers) will be tested to the straining point. Caught in the middle of the struggle are Barrett Boyd and Seward Sobel, loyal guards who will find themselves questioning their most fundamental beliefs about the royal prison's ideals.

Barrett must help his Seeker determine whether their mild-mannered prisoner is an attempted murderer. His friend Seward has pledged to guard his own Seeker against an assassin . . . or should Seward be protecting the dungeon inhabitants against his Seeker? But when the guards' two Seekers fall into a lovers' quarrel, that is when the real danger begins.

Honors: As part of the omnibus The Eternal Dungeon, three honors in the Rainbow Awards 2011: Honorable Mention, Best Gay Novel/Book. Winner, Best Gay Fantasy. 2nd Place, Best Setting Development.

Archive of Our OwnScribdAmazonSmashwordsGoodreads
 

=== SIDE STORY TO ON GUARD ===

Wax. The Record-keeper of the Eternal Dungeon has always prided himself on his skills in procuring any object needed by his employers. But when the head torturer makes a seemingly innocent request for wax, the Record-keeper goes in search of a very special supply.

Archive of Our OwnStory bundleGoodreads


*

Sweet Blood (Volume 5 of The Eternal Dungeon)

The Eternal Dungeon has been split by a civil war, with the division clearly marked by a quarrel between two Seekers (torturers) whose faithfulness to each other has already become legendary. Into this explosive situation arrives a new Seeker, one who is determined to see that past evils do not continue in the dungeon. But can he keep control of himself when assigned a prisoner who falls in love with him?

Honor: Honorable Mention in the Rainbow Awards 2017.

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=== VOLUME CONTENTS ===

Bonds. A prisoner meeting his fate. A torturer meeting his demons. And between them, a man whose bonds are on the point of shattering.

Archive of Our OwnStory bundleGoodreads

Searching. Walking into a trap may be the only way to create one.

Archive of Our OwnStory bundleGoodreads

Split. It was his duty to transform the prisoner's soul. But which one?

Archive of Our OwnStory bundleGoodreads

Checkmate. The Eternal Dungeon is no longer a prison. It's a battlefield.

Archive of Our OwnStory bundleGoodreads

Truth and Trust. He has ten days to prepare for his performance in the Eternal Dungeon's first play. He may have fewer days than that to fight for his career and to save his prisoner's life.

Archive of Our OwnStory bundle


=== SIDE STORIES TO SWEET BLOOD === 

The Whipping Post. Ten minutes left to contemplate what lies ahead, before the end begins.

Archive of Our OwnStory bundle

Open-Soul Surgery. He expected death. What arrived was worse.

Archive of Our Own

Ma'am. The guards who serve under her are mocking her. In other words, it's an ordinary workday.

Archive of Our Own


Set in alternate-history versions of the series:

Torture. When the High Seeker of the Eternal Dungeon visits a foreign prison, he discovers that his dark reputation has preceded him. 

Crossover story for the following series: The Eternal Dungeon / Life Prison.

Archive of Our OwnStory bundleGoodreads

Broken. What would happen if a technophobic torturer was plunged into the twenty-first century?

Archive of Our OwnStory bundleGoodreads


Forge (Volume 6 of The Eternal Dungeon)


The capital city of the Queendom of Yclau has a restless population of oppressed commoners, a queen determined to keep control of the rabble, and a hidden killer stalking the streets.

It's an explosive combination. Into this world will come a man nobody expects, least of all himself.

Upcoming. To receive notice of new fiction, subscribe to Dusk Peterson's e-mail list, blog, or Patreon account. See below for a progress report on upcoming fiction in this series. 


DUNGEON GUARDS: a Turn-of-the Century Toughs series By Dusk Peterson

In the Eternal Dungeon, there are only two types of guards: skilled guards or dead guards. But one guard has been both.

Dungeon Guards is an alternate history series about nineteenth-century prison workers who seek love and companionship as they fight together against danger.

Series page for Dungeon Guards at Archive of Our Own, with full blurbs and tags (which may spoiler earlier stories in the series).

Table of contents to the Dungeon Guards titles below.


*

The Awakening (Volume 1 of Dungeon Guards)

Barrett Boyd has awakened from death to a new and baffling life. He knows that he is a guard in the queendom's royal prison, the Eternal Dungeon. But why do the prisoners matter so much to him? Who are these other guards who appear to have claims over him? And how will he survive while he finds his new place in this world?

As Barrett seeks to make sense of his surroundings, he must contend with a would-be love-mate, a grumbling rebel, deadly enemies, and the challenge of how to wield his expanded skills.

ScribdAmazonSmashwordsGoodreads

=== VOLUME CONTENTS ===

The Shining Ones. The Eternal Dungeon is filled with prisoners who shine like the sun.

Archive of Our OwnGoodreads

Shot. Usually, the prisoners of the Eternal Dungeon are at risk of dying. On this night, their guards face death.

Archive of Our Own

Before. He grew up under the care of a loving mother and father. Now he's about to meet them for the first time.

Archive of Our Own

Tempest. He isn't prepared be swept off his feet.

Archive of Our Own 
 


The Lighted World (Volume 2 of Dungeon Guards)

Upcoming. To receive notice of new fiction, subscribe to Dusk Peterson's e-mail list, blog, or Patreon account. See below for a progress report on upcoming fiction in this series.


LIFE PRISON: a Turn-of-the Century Toughs series By Dusk Peterson

They are imprisoned until death, and their lives cannot get worse . . . or so they think. But when an unlikely alliance forms against their captors, the reformers risk losing what little comforts they possess.

Life Prison is an alternate history series on friendship, romance, and rebellion in nineteenth-century prisons.

Series page for Life Prison at Archive of Our Own, with full blurbs and tags (which may spoiler earlier stories in the series).

Table of contents to the Life Prison titles below.


*

Mercy's Prisoner (Volume 1 of Life Prison)

A cold-hearted murderer. A vicious abuser. A young man hiding a shameful secret. A bewildered immigrant. A pure-minded spy.

All of these men have found their appointed places at Mercy Life Prison, where it is easy to tell who your enemies are. But a new visitor to Mercy is about to challenge decades-old customs. Now these men's worst enemies may be hiding behind masks . . . and so may their closest allies.

Honors: Three honors in the Rainbow Awards 2014: Honorable Mention. Finalist. Runner-up, Gay Fantasy.

Archive of Our OwnScribdAmazonSmashwordsGoodreads
 

=== VOLUME CONTENTS ===

Life Prison. In the unmerciful world of Mercy Prison, there is no rule but unending pain. For Merrick, the arrival of his new guard provides hope that he may break beyond the boundaries of his life prison. But appearances can be deceptive, and Merrick does not yet recognize the danger this guard poses to his future.

The Archive of Our Own version linked below is the original, shorter version of the novella that inspired the series.

Archive of Our OwnStory bundleGoodreads

Men and Lads. Two guards. Two prisoners. A multitude of problems.

Story bundleGoodreads

Milord. He was the model prisoner, respectful to his guards and loyal to his fellow prisoners. What no one knew was that he held the key to destruction.

Story bundleGoodreads

Isolation. Being locked in a prison cell can cause a man to re-examine his priorities. Especially when the door never opens.

Story bundleGoodreads

Curious. His job is to guard the prisoners. But against what?

Story bundleGoodreads

=== SIDE STORIES TO MERCY'S PRISONER === 

Emancipation.  Civil war is tearing apart the land. Again. . . . "Emancipation" is loosely inspired by events at a border-state manor during and after the American Civil War.

Honors: As part of the collection Danger, two honors in the Rainbow Awards 2017-2019: Honorable Mention. 3rd Place, Best LGBTA Anthology / Collection.

Archive of Our OwnStory bundle

Rain. Five boys. Five rainy days. Five opportunities for trouble.

Crossover story for the following series: The Eternal Dungeon / Life Prison / Michael's House / Waterman.

Archive of Our OwnStory bundle

Torture. When the High Seeker of the Eternal Dungeon visits a foreign prison, he discovers that his dark reputation has preceded him.

Crossover story for the following series: The Eternal Dungeon / Life Prison.

Archive of Our OwnStory bundleGoodreads

In the Silence. He can't speak. He can barely see. He experiences only fear and the faint whispers of something he had once known.

Archive of Our OwnStory bundleGoodreads

Coded Messages. One of them rapes prisoners. The other wants to help prisoners. So why are they talking to each other?

Archive of Our OwnStory bundleGoodreads

Cell-mates. His future seemed brighter when he was paired with a cell-mate he'd been eyeing for a long time with affection and lust. If only he could keep from becoming his cell-mate's latest murder victim . . .

Archive of Our OwnStory bundleGoodreads

 Lockdown. Having other folks flaunt their winter festival celebrations is bad enough, when you're a prisoner locked down for the rest of your life. The only thing worse is having a cell-mate who is determined to join the celebrations.

Archive of Our Own

Lord and Servant. When you're a long way from home, you find companions where you can.

Archive of Our OwnStory bundleGoodreads


*

Hell's Messenger (Volume 2 of Life Prison)

In Mip's most notorious life prison, Death appears in a strange disguise.

It had seemed for a while that the plan would work: a bold conspiracy by a group of idealistic prisoners and sympathetic guards to stop abuse at Mercy Prison. Then betrayal occurs, and Tyrrell finds himself in a new life prison, with new rules to be learned. No longer is he in a position of leadership; now he is surrounded by men who question his most fundamental values.

He has new allies as well: fellow prisoners who like what they see in him, a healer who refuses to accept current conditions, and guards who may or may not provide the help that the prisoners desperately need. But Hell's messenger, Death, visits Compassion Prison, keeping his face hidden until it is almost too late for Tyrrell to recognize his touch.

Archive of Our OwnScribdAmazonSmashwordsGoodreads
 

=== VOLUME CONTENTS ===

Trial. The prisoner has suffered endless pain and has raised a rebellion. Now he faces his greatest trial.

Story bundleGoodreads

Tour. He has taken his first step to being accepted by the other prisoners. But what is the secret of the missing prisoners?

Story bundleGoodreads

Initiation. At Compassion Life Prison, companionship comes with a price.

Story bundle


Justice's Hammer (Volume 3 of Life Prison)

The fate of thousands depends now on the temperament of a group of murderous prisoners.

For decades, abuse by guards has been rife in the life prisons of the Magisterial Republic of Mip. Now the prisoners and their allies have reached the limits of their patience. But whether they will succeed in their battle depends on whether they can win over reluctant fighters.

At Mercy Life Prison, Harrow, still suffering from the heartbreaking loss of an old love, is determined to never again involve himself in controversies. At Compassion Life Prison, Tyrrell wishes to fit in to his new prison home, which means making no trouble. Both men will need keen incentive to risk themselves in a fight where the losers seem foreordained.

But secretive acts by guards at their prisons may leave these two prisoners with little choice. . . .

Upcoming. To receive notice of new fiction, subscribe to Dusk Peterson's e-mail list, blog, or Patreon account. See below for a progress report on upcoming fiction in this series. 

=== SIDE STORY SET DURING A LATER PERIOD === 

Spy Hill. On a hot summer's day, on a high hill surrounded by the enemy, the best battle-companion can turn out to be the truth.

Honors: As part of the collection Risk, four honors in the Rainbow Awards 2016: Honorable Mention. Finalist. Winner, Best LGBT Alternative Universe/Reality. 3rd Place, Best LGBT Book.

Publication note: Spy Hill was originally published as a side novelette in the Commando series.

Archive of Our OwnStory bundleGoodreads


MICHAEL'S HOUSE: a Turn-of-the Century Toughs series By Dusk Peterson


In a world where temples are dying and sacred theaters have been replaced by brothels, what will happen when a hard-headed businessman joins forces with an idealist?

Michael's House is an alternate history series on love in a Progressive Era slum.

Series page for Michael's House at Archive of Our Own, with full blurbs and tags (which may spoiler earlier stories in the series).

Table of contents to the Michael's House titles below.


*

Whipster (Volume 1 of Michael's House)

Michael is an ex-prostitute, which means that nobody in polite society wants anything to do with him. He believes that the only way to help other male prostitutes is to make their working conditions bearable. His friend Janus is an upper-class gentleman who believes that his duty to the gods requires him to fight against sexual immorality. Now Michael wants Janus to help him run a house of prostitution.

AmazonSmashwordsGoodreads
 
 

=== VOLUME CONTENTS ===

The New Boy. Running a business seemed a simple enough matter: you learned what the patron wanted, and you forced an employee to satisfy his needs. Then along came the new boy.

Archive of Our OwnStory bundleGoodreads

Offstage. Michael's House is facing ruin – unless one of the partners falls back on old ways.

Archive of Our OwnStory bundleGoodreads

Blurred Lines. Michael has survived poverty, prostitution, and the loss of love, but not even his partner may be able to help him overcome the latest challenge.

Archive of Our OwnStory bundleGoodreads
 

=== SIDE STORIES TO WHIPSTER ===

Rain. Five boys. Five rainy days. Five opportunities for trouble.

Crossover story for the following series: The Eternal Dungeon / Life Prison / Michael's House / Waterman.

Archive of Our OwnStory bundle


Honor and Hope (Volume 2 of Michael's House)

For two years, Michael's House has managed to survive in its competition against richer, less scrupulous pleasure houses. Now matters are reaching a climax at this unorthodox house of male prostitution: money is running out, social reformers are arming themselves for battle, legislation threatens to shut down the business, and worst of all, signs are growing that Michael will be betrayed by his closest companions. Will he have any allies left by the time he reaches the end of his fight?

Upcoming. To receive notice of new fiction, subscribe to Dusk Peterson's e-mail list, blog, or Patreon account. See below for a progress report on upcoming fiction in this series.



WATERMAN: a Turn-of-the Century Toughs series By Dusk Peterson

How can a youth from a bay island boarding school survive when he is sent to a futuristic prison?

Waterman is a speculative fiction series of love in an alternative version of the Chesapeake Bay region during the 1910s and during the future as it was envisioned in the 1960s.

Series page for Waterman at Archive of Our Own, with full blurbs and tags (which may spoiler earlier stories in the series).

Table of contents to the Waterman titles below.


*

Master and Servant (Volume 1 of Waterman)

Born into a society with a strictly ranked system of masters and servants, Carr has sought to tread his way delicately between the clashing values of the parents who raised him and the uncle whose household Carr will one day live in. Yet when he and other students at his boarding school become the latest participants in an ongoing battle between the oystermen of their Bay, Carr finds that his position of power may bring danger, not only to himself, but also to a schoolfellow he is drawn toward.

 

=== VOLUME CONTENTS ===

The Abolitionist. When a foul-mouthed, seditious foreigner turns up at your door, what are the benefits of letting him in?

Honor: Finalist, Gay Fantasy category, in the Rainbow Awards 2013.

Archive of Our OwnGoodreads

The True Master. In a society where the rank of master or slave defines every aspect of a person's being, what do you do when you're a master and you envy your slaves?

Archive of Our OwnGoodreads

Unmarked. "Fair play" is the motto of the Third House at Narrows School, but that motto takes on a different meaning when a lonely member of the Third House is secretly wooed by a young man from a rival House.

Archive of Our OwnGoodreads
 

=== SIDE STORIES TO MASTER AND SERVANT ===

Master's Piece. He was his master's piece: the model for his master's sculptures. But his master was different.

 Honors: As part of the collection Risk, four honors in the Rainbow Awards 2016: Honorable Mention. Finalist. Winner, Best LGBT Alternative Universe/Reality. 3rd Place, Best LGBT Book.

Archive of Our OwnStory bundle

The Lure. His entire life has been a secret. Now he must rip open the secret.

 Honors: As part of the collection Risk, four honors in the Rainbow Awards 2016: Honorable Mention. Finalist. Winner, Best LGBT Alternative Universe/Reality. 3rd Place, Best LGBT Book.

Archive of Our OwnStory bundleGoodreads

Far Enough Away. He knew he wasn't normal. Now he must save others who have been left behind.

Honors: As part of the collection Danger, two honors in the Rainbow Awards 2017-2019: Honorable Mention. 3rd Place, Best LGBTA Anthology / Collection.

Archive of Our OwnStory bundleGoodreads

Rain. Five boys. Five rainy days. Five opportunities for trouble.

Crossover story for the following series: The Eternal Dungeon / Life Prison / Michael's House / Waterman.

Archive of Our OwnStory bundle

New Day. Kit has reached her apprenticeship birthday and is on a path to inherit power. But what sort of power will she wield?

Honors: As part of the collection Danger, two honors in the Rainbow Awards 2017-2019: Honorable Mention. 3rd Place, Best LGBTA Anthology / Collection.

Archive of Our OwnStory bundle

Survival School. Arrested for a crime he doesn't regret, Bat ends up handcuffed to a group of fellow city boys and sent on a long journey into the countryside. He know that he is being transported to a prison for delinquent servant boys, but what form will his imprisonment take?

Honors: As part of the collection Danger, two honors in the Rainbow Awards 2017-2019: Honorable Mention. 3rd Place, Best LGBTA Anthology / Collection.

Archive of Our OwnStory bundleGoodreads

AI. Tripp has two friends in high school: a rebel without a cause, and a girl fighting the social restraints upon her. But only one human being has any real hope of understanding Tripp, and he isn't human at all.

Honors: As part of the collection Danger, two honors in the Rainbow Awards 2017-2019: Honorable Mention. 3rd Place, Best LGBTA Anthology / Collection.

Archive of Our OwnStory bundle

Sweeping Day. "When she was hired as a maid, no one told her that she'd hold the future of the Dozen Landsteads in her bosom."

Honors: As part of the collection Danger, two honors in the Rainbow Awards 2017-2019: Honorable Mention. 3rd Place, Best LGBTA Anthology / Collection.

Archive of Our OwnStory bundle

Runaway. Bat is in trouble. Again. The only way out of the trap this time is to take a leap into the future, into a world of wonders that his mind can scarcely grasp.

Archive of Our Own

Duties of a Second-Ranked Master. Studying at boarding school is hard enough. Balancing the needs of your liege-master and liegeman is impossible.

Archive of Our Own

Queue. What should a young servant do when his employer may fire him at any moment, his employer's beautiful daughter is absorbed with her high school textbook ("How to be Firm with Servants"), and he's blocked from carrying out a simple task by a snooty cyborg?

Honors: As part of the collection Danger, two honors in the Rainbow Awards 2017-2019: Honorable Mention. 3rd Place, Best LGBTA Anthology / Collection.

Archive of Our OwnStory bundleGoodreads

Journey to Manhood. "Perhaps, when they spoke next, the other young man could tell Simmons of any masters here who were in need of an apprentice who was perilously close to the age of journeymanship."

 Honors: As part of the collection Risk, four honors in the Rainbow Awards 2016: Honorable Mention. Finalist. Winner, Best LGBT Alternative Universe/Reality. 3rd Place, Best LGBT Book.

Archive of Our OwnStory bundleGoodreads


Sacrifice (Volume 2 of Waterman)

The deepest sacrifices arise from love.


=== VOLUME CONTENTS ===

The Playing Field.

Lost Haven. Amidst a servant's nightmare, can a haven of hope be found?

 Honors: As part of the collection Risk, four honors in the Rainbow Awards 2016: Honorable Mention. Finalist. Winner, Best LGBT Alternative Universe/Reality. 3rd Place, Best LGBT Book.

Archive of Our OwnStory bundleGoodreads

Harbor of Grace.

Protection.

Upcoming. To receive notice of new fiction, subscribe to Dusk Peterson's e-mail list, blog, or Patreon account. See below for a progress report on upcoming fiction in this series. 

=== SIDE STORIES TO SACRIFICE ===

Liegeman's Service. With his bed now cold, Pembroke must decide how far his loyalty extends to his liege-master. The answer may lie in long-remembered tales from Pembroke's boyhood.

Archive of Our Own


Resources for Turn-of-the-Century Toughs

Maps. The geography of the "Midcoast nations" of Turn-of-the-Century Toughs is based upon the geography of the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States.

Timeline. A chronology of events, with links to all the stories in the cycle. It includes spoilers for political events but not for events in the lives of individual characters.

Landstead Ternary Symbols and Their Meanings. The ternary (base 3) system is used in the Dozen Landsteads (and was used in the early history of Yclau) for the alphabet, numbers, telelecommunications, calendars, and much else. The ternary system would also eventually be used in computers throughout the Midcoast nations.

Bibliographies.


Research. Blog entries made by the author on research for the cycle. In some cases, check for the subheadings within the entries.


Shared Universes: Works set in the Toughs world by other authors and artists.


Progress report: status of upcoming stories

Updated December 2020. All titles and ordering are tentative at this point.

The Lighted World (Dungeon Guards, Volume 2).


Dungeon Guards side stories.


Justice's Hammer (Life Prison, Volume 3).

  1. In progress.
  2. In progress.
  3. In progress.
  4. In progress.
  5. In progress.
  6. In progress.
  7. Completed. Being edited.
  8. Epilogue. In progress.


Life Prison side stories.


Honor and Hope (Michael's House, Volume 2).


Sacrifice (Waterman, Volume 2).
  1. The Playing Field. In progress.
  2. Lost Haven. Published.
  3. Harbor of Grace. In progress.
  4. Protection. Completed. On hold for final stages of editing.


Cycle (Waterman, Volume 3).

  1. Prologue. Completed.
  2. Cycle. In progress.
  3. Epilogue. Completed.


Warden (Waterman, Volume 4).

  1. Trapped. In progress.
  2. Not yet started.
  3. Data Modification. In progress.
  4. Head of the House. In progress.
  5. Not yet started.
  6. Not yet started.
  7. Eve of Destruction. In progress.


Blackout (Waterman, Volume 5).

  1. Valet. In progress.
  2. Mistress. In progress.
  3. Liegeman. In progress.
  4. Liege-master. In progress.
  5. The True Servant. In progress.


Waterman side stories.



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