Dusk Peterson

Historical speculative fiction on friendship, romance, and danger

Captivity. War. Disasters. Love.

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TURN-OF-THE-CENTURY TOUGHS ¶ By Dusk Peterson

Honored six times in the Rainbow Awards for LGBTA literature, Turn-of-the-Century Toughs presents an epic tale of adventure, friendship, romance, and class struggles.

Turn-of-the-Century Toughs is a cycle of alternate history series about disreputable men on the margins of society, and the men and women who love them. Set in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, as well as in a future that never existed, the novels and stories take place in an alternative version of America that was settled by inhabitants of the Old World in ancient times.

Now the Midcoast nations of this world have reached a turning point: the old order is about to be overthrown. Brought together in friendship and romance by the danger of rising events, the people of the Midcoast nations must learn to adjust to a new world.

Updated July 2021.
 


Contents

 Free series cycle starter: The Breaking.

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 In a world where temples are dying and sacred theaters have been replaced by brothels, what will happen when a hard-headed businessman joins forces with an idealist?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

DARK LIGHT. Only in the dark can one truly see the light. ¶ Dark Light collects together short fiction from various Turn-of-the-Century Toughs alternate history series.

1 | Lockup.
2 | Risk.
3 | Danger
.

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

Progress reports. Status of upcoming stories.



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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.

Arrested on the charge of committing a particularly horrendous murder, Elsdon Taylor arrives at the Eternal Dungeon in fear of the harsh methods used by the torturers, called Seekers, to draw confessions from their prisoners.

But the dungeon's methods are for more devious than Elsdon had expected. Elsdon finds himself in a bewildering prison where his guard seems reluctant to punish him, the healer appears to have a vendetta against his employers, and Elsdon's Seeker is a mystery whom no one can penetrate.

Now Elsdon is faced with a choice that will shape his future . . . as well as the future of his Seeker.

This Rainbow Awards winner is a starter story for the Turn-of-the-Century Toughs cycle. Free at all bookstores except at Amazon, where it is 99c.

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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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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.

Volume contents

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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.

Annotated edition of The Breaking.

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.

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

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.

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.

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?


Side stories to Rebirth

Archive of Our OwnStory bundle

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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



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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.

Volume contents

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

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

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

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.

Side story to Transformation

Archive of Our Own

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."



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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.

Volume contents

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

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?

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.

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

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

Side stories to The Balance

Story bundle

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.

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

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.

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



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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.

Volume contents

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Promotion. "'Has it occurred to you to wonder what would happen to this dungeon if their stubbornness came into conflict?'"

Protection. "'Do you recall the orders that you were given when you were first assigned to guard him?'"

Searching. "The prisoner was meek and gentle and very, very afraid."

Appointment. "He was thinking to himself that diligence ought to be rewarded."

Mediation. "'Shall we allow criminals to roam the streets at will because we're afraid to take the chance of harming an innocent prisoner?'"

Advice. "A great man and his faithful guard – that was the tale of which ballads were sung."

Judgment. "He knew at once that something was wrong."

Testing. "'Nervous?'"

Decision. "His mind was focussed, his goal clear."

Consequences. "'He's your friend, isn't he?'


Side stories to On Guard

Story bundle

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.



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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.

Volume contents

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

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

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

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

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.

Side stories to Sweet Blood

Story bundle

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

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

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

Escape. When a youth escapes his captivity, he starts a dangerous journey on a long road that leads to the future. But will his future self remember what brought him to that day?

This novelette is currently serializing at AO3. The full e-book is available at Patreon.

PatreonArchive of Our Own

Set in alternate-history versions of the series

Story 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.

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



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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.

This volume is currently serializing. Chapters are posted first at Patreon.

Volume contents

PatreonArchive of Our Own

Stalk. You can hide from the world, but you can't hide from yourself.

Broadside. His past is his future.

Guild. The entranceway to service can be narrow.

Protest. It is the anniversary of a protest that ended in dozens of deaths and hundreds of arrests. Not the best day on which to hold a protest.

Trap. The hunt is drawing to an end. The outcome remains uncertain.

Historical Annotations.



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.



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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.

Volume contents

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

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

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

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



The Lighted World (Volume 2 of Dungeon Guards)

Upcoming. To receive notice of new fiction, subscribe to my 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.



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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.

Volume contents

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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.

Alternative version of Life Prison. The original, shorter version of the novella that inspired the series.

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

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.

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

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

Side stories to Mercy's Prisoner

Story bundle

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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 . . .

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.

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



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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.

Volume contents

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

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

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



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 my e-mail list, blog, or Patreon account. See the progress report on upcoming fiction in this series.

Side story set during a later period

Story bundle

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.



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.



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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.

Volume contents

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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.

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

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.

Side story to Whipster

Story 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.



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 my 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.

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?

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.

Side stories to Master and Servant

Story bundle

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.



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.

Harbor of Grace.

Protection.

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

Side story 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.



DARK LIGHT: a Turn-of-the Century Toughs series ¶ By Dusk Peterson

Only in the dark can one truly see the light. ¶ Dark Light collects together short fiction from various Turn-of-the-Century Toughs alternate history series.

Table of contents to the Dark Light titles below.



*

Lockup (Volume 1 of Dark Light)

Deep underground lies a prison filled with idealistic men who have committed themselves to putting the best interest of their prisoners first . . . through torture. Soaring high in an adjoining nation are two "reformed" prisons where life prisoners (and a few sympathetic guards) must band together for survival.

Friendships between prisoners and guards, romance between two torturers, a young woman's appalled discovery that a dungeon-worker is courting her, desire and companionship in prison cells, a teenage guard's struggle to survive when his train is attacked by soldiers intent on slaughter . . . The two nations are broiling with events centered upon their prisons.

This historical speculative fiction volume explores with drama and dry humor the complexities of prison life in the nineteenth century, while taking a peek at the surrounding societies in the nations' alternate universe. Characters who appear in one story reappear in other stories, seen from a different perspective and at a different age.

Volume contents

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

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

Hunger (The Eternal Dungeon). 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.

Wax (The Eternal Dungeon). 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.

Never (The Eternal Dungeon). 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.

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

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

Broken (The Eternal Dungeon). What would happen if a technophobic torturer was plunged into the twenty-first century?

Torture (The Eternal Dungeon / Life Prison). When the High Seeker of the Eternal Dungeon visits a foreign prison, he discovers that his dark reputation has preceded him.

Cell-mates (Life Prison). 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 . . .

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

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

Rain (The Eternal Dungeon / Life Prison / Michael's House / Waterman). Five boys. Five rainy days. Five opportunities for trouble.



*

Risk (Volume 2 of Dark Light)

Until risk arrives, you never know how important the things are that you're required to risk.

A soldier must decide how high a price he is willing to pay for an unspoken bond. A journeyman must choose between an assured future and an untroubled conscience. A boy learns that his life is a lie and must decide which truth he desires. A servant and his beloved master face stark truths as their lives are endangered. A young torturer, satisfied with his lot, gambles everything he has ever valued to learn a new way of treating prisoners. A master must risk the future of his slave, or else risk his own future. . . . Risk looks at the dangers and rewards of taking risks.

Honors: Four honors in the Rainbow Awards 2016: Honorable Mention. Finalist. Winner, Best LGBT Alternative Universe/Reality. 3rd Place, Best LGBT Book.

Volume contents

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

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

Lost Haven: a master, his servant, and a disappearing island (Waterman). Amidst a servant's nightmare, can a haven of hope be found?

Journey to Manhood (Waterman). "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."

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

Spy Hill (Life Prison). 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.



*

Danger (Volume 3 of Dark Light)

Soon after they were born, they were tattooed with the signs of their ranks: master or servant. Now, in the time between past and future, the youths of the Midcoast nations find themselves in predicaments and even high danger. Unable to flee their troubles, they face a thick, unyielding barrier . . . until the power of friendship breaks through.

Honors: Two honors in the Rainbow Awards 2017-2019: Honorable Mention. 3rd Place, Best LGBTA Anthology / Collection.

Volume contents

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Survival School (Waterman). 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?

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

Emancipation (Life Prison). 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.

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

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

Queue (Waterman). 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?

AI  (Waterman). 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. 



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.

Map of the Eternal Dungeon.

Patreon

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.

Out of print:

The Eternal Dungeon: a Turn-of-the-Century Toughs omnibus of historical speculative fiction novels. The 2011 edition of this out-of-print omnibus collected the following stories: Rebirth, Transformation, The Balance, On Guard, The Unanswered Question. Honors: Three honors in the Rainbow Awards 2011: 2nd Place, Best Setting Development. Winner, Best Gay Fantasy. Honorable Mention, Best Gay Novel/Book.



Progress report: status of upcoming stories


Updated July 2021. 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. Writing 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. Writing 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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