The core concept of Aether Beyond the Binary is simple and compelling: create intriguing main characters outside the gender binary and set them loose to explore the modern world twisted or barely changed, enhanced or destroyed by magical aether. This power source may replace technology, supplement it, or oppose it. These characters may be agender, genderfluid, bigender, or any other non-binary identity. The thread that these tales share is exploration: of the world around them and of the self. We propose no conclusions; instead, we demonstrate how far-reaching the questions are and how expansive the range of possible answers can be, thereby broadening the discussion about the nature of gender and the place of genderqueer characters in science-fantasy fiction. We hope you’ll join us to explore the endless possibilities of these magical worlds.
Patreon backers who support the crowdfunding campaign can also get an excellent extra: the adorable plant-watering backer as a key chain! So there’s no time like the present to back us on Patreon, too!
Duck Prints Press’s next anthology, slated for crowdfunding during the fall of 2023, is Aether Beyond the Binary. This innovative and unique collection includes 20 stories featuring characters outside the binary exploring modern-ish Earth aetherpunk settings where the technology is fueled by magical aether. Stories range from fluffy to dark (but we guarantee happy endings!), in settings where aether was just discovered and those where it’s been known about for centuries.
What is aetherpunk? Imagine a world where there’s technology not unlike what we have in the modern world, except that instead of that technology operating using the principals that we, now, would call “science,” that technology operates using magic! That’s aetherpunk—the awesome union of technology and complex magical systems in magic-suffused worlds to produce unique settings that resemble modern-day Earth but are also very, very different. With aetherpunk stories, the impossible becomes possible, and new solutions to the world’s problems become available!
We’ve been hard at work on this anthology since February, and currently the stories are being edited to polish them up.
For this collection, we recruited 20 authors – 9 who’ve written for Duck Prints Press before and 11 who haven’t. We’re thrilled to have some folks returning from our earliest anthology Add Magic to Taste, and we also have some work-with-the-Press-but-this-is-their-first-anthology contributors. It’s a really wonderful group of people, and getting to know them all has been a lovely part of working on this collection. And – the stories are g.r.e.a.t. You’re not gonna want to miss this one.
And now for the fun part…
MEET THE CONTRIBUTORS!
boneturtle (they/them) comes from the other side of the portal and is still looking for their home in this world. in the meantime they write softhearted villains and dangerous heroes making breakfast, saving the world, falling in love, and everything in between. boneturtle is not, contrary to previous assertions, an archelon.
Ellen has been a dreamer and designer of worlds all her life. She has been involved in many fandom environments over the years but most recently jumped with two feet into Supernatural, and never surfaced. She has shared many stories online (as Ellenofoz), but she’s grateful to be able to take the leap into published works with the Aether Beyond the Binary anthology.
Ellen lives in Brisbane, Australia, and spends her days writing code. By night, she reads and writes stories, watches shows, and plays games involving magic, science, historical adventures or romance—sometimes all at the same time. She co-hosts a podcast about Supernatural fanfiction, but can also be found enjoying Star Wars, Marvel, Doctor Who and other assorted fandoms.
Scarlett Gale is the author of His Secret Illuminations and His Sacred Incantations. Long ago, under another name, she was the co-author of Needles and Artifice (Cooperative Press; 2012), featuring a rollicking romantic steampunk adventure novella and associated knitting patterns, of which she also designed several. She writes and produces fringe theatre plays based on B-movies, such as Bodacious Barbarian Babes vs. The Indigo Empress and Showgirls of Beast Island. She is a co-producer of the Alison-Bechdel-approved Bechdel Test Burlesque, which in 2017 was included in the Women and Gender Studies curriculum at the University of Oregon. She lives in Seattle with her wife where she gardens, knits, reads, and drinks warm beverages. Unsurprisingly, she also has cats.
Rhosyn Goodfellow is an author of queer romance and speculative fiction living with her spouse and two dogs in the Pacific Northwest, where she is sad to report that she has not yet mysteriously disappeared or encountered any cryptids. Her hobbies include spoiling the aforementioned dogs, drinking inadvisable amounts of coffee, and running unreasonably long distances very slowly. She’s secretly just a collection of loosely-related stories dressed up in a meat suit.
Catherine E. Green (pronouns: xe/xem/xyr or they/them/their) is an agender person, one who’s had an on-again, off-again love affair with writing. Xe began writing when xe was a wee thing, when xyr other major pastimes were playing xyr mother’s NES and roughhousing with the boys next door. It’s only in the past few years that they have begun writing consistently and publishing their writing, fanfiction and original writing alike, leading to their first published short story titled “Of Loops and Weaves.”
Outside of writing, xe is a collector of books and sleep debt and an avid admirer of the cosmos. Playing video games, reading a variety of fiction genres (primarily fantasy, queer romance, and manga and graphic novels of all kinds), and working on wrangling their own personal data archiving projects occupy most of their free time. Xe has also started meeting up with a local fiber arts group and is excited to be crocheting xyr first scarf.
Elior has spent much of the past few years primarily writing for fanfic exchanges. Currently, he’s in the process of slowly working his way through university. When not writing or studying, he can be found binding books, drawing, ice skating, and—very occasionally—playing the violin. His story in Aether Beyond the Binary is his first published work.
Zel (they/she) is a writer and artist currently living in Los Angeles with their partner. When not writing, they spend their time painting, embroidering, analyzing literature and tv shows, and playing Dungeons & Dragons. They are the author of many a fanfiction, as well as the novel The Shadow of Ophelia Walker.
Full-time fandom cryptid, Furby enthusiast, and the human embodiment of that one gif of Elmo on fire, ilgaksu was born and raised in an undisclosed location, living in several others, and now currently residing in [REDACTED]. Their interests include collecting haunted toys, using their artistic practice as an excuse to forget to do their laundry, and playing with fictional men like Bratz dolls. They have not unclenched their jaw yet today, but they do remember to drink lots of water.
Originally from Germany, Bettina has (so far) spent time in the US, the UK, and Canada. She is particularly interested in exploring questions of music and language in imaginary worlds, aided by degrees in linguistics and literature. When not writing, she loses herself in hobbies such as archery, cross-stitch, attempting to learn yet another language, and complaining about the amount of space her book and notebook collection takes up. Her first published work appeared in the Upon a Twice Time anthology published by Air and Nothingness Press, and she is working on a second original novel – despite the first one not having seen the light of day yet.
Nicola Kapron has previously been published by Neo-opsis Science Fiction Magazine, Rebel Mountain Press, Soteira Press, All Worlds Wayfarer, Mannison Press, and more. Nicola lives in British Columbia with a hoard of books—mostly fantasy and horror—and an extremely fluffy cat.
Kelas is a disabled, trans, bi author and artist currently (unfortunately) living in Texas. They graduated from the University of Central Florida with an English degree and love cats, tea, and all things speculative fiction. A lot of their writing features magic or disability or both, and they’re often found in Star Trek, Mass Effect, Babylon 5, and Untamed spaces. You can also find them in a lot of bead and resin spaces, because they love making sparkly jewelry of all sorts.
Previously published pieces include an article on disability in The Last Of Us, short stories in two publications by Shacklebound Books, a pair of poems about being trans, an essay on disabled life, and a whole bunch of pieces about San Diego Comic-con. They’re single, an Ernie looking for their Bert, but they have a found family that stretches around the globe and some of their birth family accepts them for who they are.
Lifelong maladaptive daydreamer, finally working up the courage to write those daydreams down. Spends time cosplaying as a Responsible Adult With A Job.
Mikki Madison has been writing stories since she was seven years old. While she is most prolific in fanfiction and has works scattered among more than a dozen fandoms, she has been making strides into original fiction. Her favorite genres to read are romance, fantasy, and cozy mysteries.
When she isn’t reading, writing, or falling headfirst into a new fandom, she can be found baking, doing puzzles, walking her foster dog, doting on her niblings, or playing Pokemon Go. She has also written under the name M.K. Mads.
Sebastian Marie (he/him) is an engineering student with a lot of opinions about dragons, pirates, and sword fighting. Track him down on Ao3 or Tumblr and he’ll share these opinions gladly, just be prepared for music and some excited shouting. His original works often combine fantasy and dystopia into what he calls “queer fantasy hopepunk,” something that will be explored in his future novels. He loves to write conflicting traditional and non-traditional family dynamics, especially where they intersect with queer relationships. And if he can throw werewolves and brujas into the mix? So much the better. When not writing, frantically studying, or reading, he can be found singing loudly, sewing impractical coats, and going on long rambling walks while plotting stories (and occasionally falling into rivers).
Also, he’s also the guitarist and one of the lyricists of folk punk band Here Be Dragons, who hope to have their debut EP out near the end of Fall, 2023.
This is his third time writing for Duck Prints Press, having previously contributed to Aim For the Heart and She Wears the Midnight Crown. This brings his grand total of published works up to three! He’s looking forward to more, as soon as he gets some sleep.
I’m a linguist and translator who lives in France and I have been itching to write since I learned how to. I started writing (fan)fiction more regularly when I was procrastinating on my PhD dissertation, and I haven’t looked back since. I’m also an artist who loves drawing both fanart and original art, and I have a passion for patterns and systems, for the beauty at the edge of chaos and the complexity of being human. I tend to write about queer and disabled characters finding themselves and each other and learning to take up space in the world.
S. J. grew up in a distinctly weird, distinctly southern hometown, then hied out West for grad school before landing in Texas, where they currently work as a planetary scientist. They’ve been writing original works and fanfiction since they could hold a pencil semi-correctly, and continue to write both whenever possible (as well as still holding a pencil only semi-correctly). In their clearly copious spare time, S. J. enjoys hiking, tabletop RPGs, jigsaw puzzles, and enthusiastically crappy sci-fi.
Em Rowntree’s first foray into the world of writing was with a story called The Magic Land that featured a unicorn and a flying carpet the size of a country, and they’ve been chasing that high ever since. They’ve been sharing their writing online for almost seven years, and have had poems and short stories published in anthologies. They live in the UK.
Terra is a scientist by day who lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family. She has been writing fiction as long as she can remember, and has always told her partner of 17 years that if she wasn’t a scientist, she would be an author. During grad school, she discovered fanfiction and immediately began writing her own. After many years and several fandoms (including Teen Wolf, Hawaii Five-0, and Stranger Things), she returned to writing original fiction. To date, she has self-published two novellas in a 90s-nostalgia polyamory comedy series and has drafted two YA/NA sci-fi novels. When not doing science or writing, you can find Terra indulging her yarn addiction and knitting.
Tea enjoyer, knitter, dead language enthusiast, self-warming cat bed and future eccentric lit professor Cecil Wilde has also written and published, in various forms and guises, nearly 3 million words to date. They do not plan to stop until Death intervenes, should it dare.