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Aether Beyond the Binary: Final 48 Hours

The Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for our anthology Aether Beyond the Binary, featuring 17 stories of non-binary, genderqueer, genderfluid, agender, bigender, and other outside-the-binary characters living in modern aetherpunk settings, has entered our final two days of funding! And we’ve crossed our funding goal (after a scare with a fake pledge that has made things…uh…interesting)!!

It’s not too late to get your copy of this awesome collection made by our very queer press by our very queer contributors. We wrap on January 25th at 9:35 a.m. Eastern time.

Learn more about Aether Beyond the Binary now by visiting the Kickstarter campaign, or read on for more info…

A graphic entitled "Aether Beyond the Binary." It shows the cover of the anthology (two people of indeterminate gender doing science, one with a flower hovering over their hand, the other holding a tablet), the sky whale enamel pin (a green whale flying through a cloudy purple night sky, the non-binary symbol balancing from its mouth), the aether dux sticker (a duck with a blue mohawk, choker necklace and a harness securing crystal wings to their torso), the plant-watering robot holographic sticker (a cute flying robot watering a tropical potted plant), and the aether musician bookmark (a young white person playing the guitar, magical swirls in the non-binary pride colors dancing around them).

What would the Earth look like if the very atoms that compose the planet were suffused with magical aether? How would our lives in the modern world be different if this aether was discovered last year, or last decade, or last century, or last millennia? How might the people who inhabit this oh-so-different but still modern Earth explore their gender identities? These are the questions we posed to the 17 authors chosen to contribute to Duck Prints Press’s newest anthology Aether Beyond the Binary. Their diverse answers are bound together in this must-not-miss collection of stories about magical worlds, adventures and mysteries, new chances and well-earned endings, and characters as gender-diverse as the worlds they inhabit. 

Aether Beyond the Binary features 17 stories, each up to 7,500 words. We aim to publish it as an e-book (ePub and PDF), and to print it digest size, 5.5 in x 8.5 in (14 cm x 21.5 cm) in both trade paperback and hardcover formats. Aether Beyond the Binary also features a spectacular wrap-around cover by non-binary artist Mar Spragge; this will be printed as a lovely gloss dust jacket for the hardcover edition. 

Curious about the project? You can learn way more by visiting the campaign page or by checking out our other blog posts about it to learn more about our merch and contributors and read excerpts, creator interviews, and more:

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Meet Aether Beyond the Binary Contributors Flore Picard and Alec J. Marsh

We are 57% of the way to our funding goal for AETHER BEYOND THE BINARY, with 19 days to go!! This awesome anthology featuring non-binary and genderqueer characters in aetherpunk settings has been in the works for a year, and we’re optimistic that we’ll reach our funding target so that we can publish the book as an e-book, trade paperback, and hardcover. Slow and steady, race winning, you know the deal. 😀 Things have definitely slowed down, as is normal for this stage of the campaign, so just a note that we’d always appreciate your help with spread the word about this project so that more people will know it exists! You can find our “main” posts about the campaign on different platforms using these links:

Thanks in advance!!

You can learn all about the campaign, the book, the merch, and the authors, by visiting our Kickstarter campaign page!

And, today we’re introducing two more contributing authors: Flore Picard and Alec J. Marsh!

A banner showing part of the cover of Aether Beyond the Binary. It includes text with the title of the book, and the word "author" and the name Flore Picard.

The Light Organ by Flore Picard

About Flore Picard: 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.

Links: Instagram | Twitter

This is Flore’s first publication with Duck Prints Press.

Title: The Light Organ

Tags: angst with a happy ending, capitalism is the real villain, coming out, disabled character, emotional hurt/comfort, family, fraught family dynamics, illusion, in the closet, magic use, mechanic, musician, non-binary, parenthood, present tense, science fiction with magic, teenager, third person limited point of view, transphobia (mentions of) (past)

Excerpt:

“No, no, no—the organ, the light ring—it’s all about the imagination, not the mechanics,” Kas exclaims, gesturing widely to encompass the aether pool behind the glass.

“I’m just here for the tubes,” the tech—Gilbert—says flatly.

His face betrays no emotions, not even annoyance. Kas almost wishes he would yell or be rude, if only for the sake of feeling like they’re having an actual conversation, but Gilbert has always been polite. He just never seems to care.

“Fine,” Kas gives up. “We’ve got glitches. They started about a week ago. It could be a leaking tube, I’m not sure.”

“What kind of glitches?”

“It’s as if… as if the story stops responding to me. I know how that sounds, but I swear that’s what happens. It doesn’t last more than a few seconds, but it’s getting worse. Earlier, I powered everything up to tune it and it kept flickering.”

“Flickering,” Gilbert repeats, mumbling into his neatly trimmed beard.

Kas grabs a cane in each hand and makes their way to the organ’s seat. “I can show you.”

A banner showing part of the cover of Aether Beyond the Binary. It includes text with the title of the book, and the word "author" and the name Alec J. Marsh.

You’re Gonna Get Older by Alec J. Marsh

About Alec J. Marsh: Alec lives in the Pacific Northwest, where they write romantic adult fantasy and self-indulgent fanfiction. They make candles inspired by their favorite characters.

Links: Etsy | Instagram | Twitter

Alec is one of the editors for Aether Beyond the Binary and has also published multiple titles with Duck Prints Press. His novella To Drive the Hundred Miles (modern, f/m, trans male lead) was recently successfully crowdfunded and orders fulfilled. His two erotica stories Heart’s Scaffold (sci-fi, m/m) and Study Hall (modern academia, m/m) are part of the Contributor Short Story Bundle add-on.

Title: You’re Gonna Get Older

Tags: arranged marriage, christian, coming of age, coming out, cults, fraught family dynamics, friends, in the closet, lesbian, midwest, misgendering, non-binary, north dakota, past tense, post-apocalyptic, relationship of convenience, religion, song fic, teenager, third person limited pov, trans man, trans woman, transphobia

Excerpt:

There was a radio in the room, an old two-way they had found on their last visit and hidden in an empty supply closet. It was still there. They slid open the battery pack and snapped in a fresh battery from their aether lantern. Chips of the meteor had been encased in metal tubing to mimic the lithium batteries of the Before, but they were precious and had to be used sparingly. Stardancer knew better than to use precious energy on something this frivolous.

They popped the battery cover in place and pressed the power button. It crackled to life. They cradled it like it was made from glass. The dials made a tak-tak-tak noise as Stardancer scrolled through channels. Music came through softly. It faded in and out, cut through with static, but it was music, and not the kind made on an acoustic guitar. They adjusted the antenna and turned up the volume.

It was like nothing they had heard before, fast paced with a heavy beat. Even over the fuzzy AM connection, it was invigorating. They wanted to dance. They wanted to sing along with words they had never heard before. The singer screamed their triumph, and Stardancer felt invincible.

There’s no time like right now to become a backer and help us reach 100% funded! Check it out!

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Back the Aether Beyond the Binary Kickstarter Campaign!

The cover for the anthology "Aether Beyond the Binary, A Duck Prints Press Anthology." The image shows two people of indeterminate gender standing side by side. One has light skin (white, Asian, or Latine are the most likely races), short white hair, brown eyes, and wears multiple earrings, a brown shirt, and white overalls. They have one hand raised and in that hand they wear a green glove, and above the glove, a blooming bluebell plant hovers in the air. Beside them is a Black person with long dreads and glasses. They have a single piercing, and they were a blue shirt and also wear the same white overalls. Their hands are gloved in green, and they carry a glowing tablet. Plants in the foreground block the view of these people from the waist up. Behind them, light swirls in shades of green and teal, with occasional sparkling stars interspersed.

Duck Prints Press is thrilled to announce that the crowdfunding campaign for science-fantasy gender-diverse sixth anthology Aether Beyond the Binary is now live on Kickstarter!

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.

This anthology includes 17 stories, each up to 7,500 words, by our diverse fancreators-turned-original-fiction-authors, gorgeous artwork by Mar Spragge, Pippin Peacock, Alessa Riel, and Atomic Pixies, amazing merchandise, and awesome add-on extras.

A graphic entitled "Aether Beyond the Binary." It shows the cover of the anthology, the sky whale enamel pin, the aether dux sticker, the plant-watering robot holographic sticker, and the aether musician bookmark.

Looking for the perfect post-holiday purchase? Look no further! Get awesome, gorgeous stuff, a fantastic, erudite book, and support queer indie publishing – become a backer of the Aether Beyond the Binary crowdfunding campaign TODAY!

Campaign ends January 25th, 2024.

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!

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Get to Know AETHER BEYOND THE BINARY

A graphic entitled "Get to know AETHER BEYOND THE BINARY." In the center, it features the cover of the anthology "Aether Beyond the Binary, A Duck Prints Press Anthology." The image shows two people of indeterminate gender standing side by side. One has light skin (white, Asian, or Latine are the most likely races), short white hair, brown eyes, and wears multiple earrings, a brown shirt, and white overalls. They have one hand raised and in that hand they wear a green glove, and above the glove, a blooming bluebell plant hovers in the air. Beside them is a Black person with long dreads and glasses. They have a single piercing, and they were a blue shirt and also wear the same white overalls. Their hands are gloved in green, and they carry a glowing tablet. Plants in the foreground block the view of these people from the waist up. Behind them, light swirls in shades of green and teal, with occasional sparkling stars interspersed.

Seven arrows point away from this central graphic, aimed at text that reads: 17 stories; queer creators; small press; non-binary and genderqueer main characters; aetherpunk!; modern settings (but magical!), queer relationships.

Text at the bottom reads: Kickstarter Launches DECEMBER 26th! Follow our Pre-Launch Page TODAY!

We are only ONE WEEK away from the launch of the Kickstarter campaign for Duck Prints Press’s sixth anthology, AETHER BEYOND THE BINARY.

What would the Earth look like if the very atoms that compose the planet were suffused with magical aether? How would our lives in the modern world be different if this aether was discovered last year, or last decade, or last century, or last millennia? How might the people who inhabit this very different but still modern Earth explore their gender identities? These are the questions we posed to the 17 authors chosen to contribute to Duck Prints Press’s newest anthology Aether Beyond the Binary. Their diverse answers are bound together in this must-not-miss collection of stories about magical worlds, adventures and mysteries, new chances and well-earned endings, and characters as gender-diverse as the worlds they inhabit. 

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 principles 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-filled 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! You can learn more about the history of aetherpunk and what aetherpunk is in this blog post!

What is a character outside the gender binary? The gender binary consists of the two most common genders: male and female. Most people, whether they are cisgender or transgender, fall within this binary. Nonetheless, gender is a spectrum, and there are many gender identities that are outside, between, among, or combinations of cis and trans, male and female. One umbrella term for these identities is non-binary, and specific identities include agender (like our lead editor!), genderfluid, bigender, demigender, pangender, and x gender. Every story in Aether Beyond the Binary features at least one non-binary main character, and many stories utilize neopronouns.

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 unchanged, enhanced or destroyed by magical aether.

We have been working on this project for over a year, and are so excited to finally be bringing it to y’all. We launch on December 26th, with a funding goal of $14,250.

Follow our Kickstarter pre-launch page TODAY and make sure you’re among the first to get notified when this super-cool, innovative anthology becomes available!

Love what we do? Want to get an awesome, exclusive bonus merch item when you back this campaign? Become a backer on our Patreon, support Duck Prints Press year-round, and get awesome stuff!