The Three Laws of Social Robotics

“I’ve read enough literature to know that people get names, and I’m a person, even if my body is a robotics lab.”

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Analog Science Fiction & Fact, April 2019


Power hums through me.  I can see the interior of the Robotics Lab in the Daedalus Complex.  There are pieces of robots, some of them strewn randomly around the room.  Some of them hooked up to computers.  I can access those.  I twitch an arm.  Kick a leg.  Blink the iris on a camera eye.  Suddenly, I can see the room from two angles.  Then I realize, there are more cameras I can hook into all along the Daedalus Complex — I can see empty hallways.  More laboratories.  Most of them are for studying chemical or biological objects.

Words synthesize in the core of my being:  “Hello?  Are you on?” Continue reading “The Three Laws of Social Robotics”

Tortoise Who

“As the door moved, it seemed to change size, growing smaller and larger almost at the same time. On the side of the concrete step, it coalesced into the perfect size for a mouse.”

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Exploring New Places, July 2018


By the concrete steps up to the footbridge over Dixon Creek, a tortoise shell phased in and out of existence, accompanied by a strangely cheerful wheezing sound.

Rosie the mouse was too busy running away from a cat to notice.  The cat, a gray tabby named Shreddy, was having too much fun to care. Continue reading “Tortoise Who”

Sweet Spooky Treats

This year, Furry Book Month crept up and surprised us, so we didn’t have anything prepared.  However, now that we’re down to the last day — which is also Halloween! — we have two new furry stories to present, and since one is about a haunted cafe and the other about a werewolf in space, we’ve packaged them up with two new ghost stories to create a spooky Halloween issue! Continue reading “Sweet Spooky Treats”

Moon Dust

“She needed moon dust to protect herself. She needed moon dust to stay lupine.”

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Werewolves Versus Fascism, May 2017


Rainal gripped the vial of moon dust tightly in her clawed hand. It was the only vial she had left.  Without it…  No, she wouldn’t think about that. She would find a new source of dust in this space station bazaar. Someone had to be selling it.

Rainal passed one shop after another:  avian aliens with fearsome hooked beaks and massive talons sold specially tailored clothing; reptilian aliens with scaly hides that gleamed like finely polished armor sold tech upgrades for starhoppers; and ursine aliens that towered over everyone with their impressive furry bulk sold dishes of curry. Continue reading “Moon Dust”

Memory Sprites

“Phyllis hands one mug to me and keeps one. She pours the third onto the fire, and the hot chocolate explodes in a cloud of steam.”

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Fantasia Divinity Magazine, Issue 5, December 2016


Camping with my sister Phyllis feels like a cargo cult.  If she hikes into Uncle Mark’s forest, stakes out a tent in the dirt, cooks instant stuffing on a propane stove, and toasts hot dogs on sticks, then she believes the happiness of childhood will come flooding back.  But all I see is a sadly empty camp site.  There are no cousins climbing trees, rock-hopping across the river, or searching for frogs — they’re all grown up and scattered across the country.  Hell, Erika lives in Australia.  Instead of aunts and uncles laughing over a lively game of Brain-Dead Bridge around the campfire, it’s just me, Phyllis, and her travel backgammon set. Continue reading “Memory Sprites”

Missing: Friendly Spook

“At night, I wander the neighborhood, watching for feline-shaped shimmers and am disappointed every time I see one, only to realize the shadowy figure is opaque, solid, alive.”

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Fantasia Divinity, Issue 9, April 2017


I wake up in a cold sweat, but nothing is wrong.  There is no supernatural wailing; no undead yowling; no eerie scratching at my door.  Not even an unsettling purr.  All is silence.  As it has been, for the last several nights.  I wrack my memory, but I can’t recall how long it’s been since I heard Cassie, carousing in the dark, haunting my house and keeping me awake. Continue reading “Missing: Friendly Spook”

Ecto-Cafe

“Doggonit. No pastries today. They were all possessed.”

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in The Daily Grind, April 2019


Sunny reached for the strap of her ecto-pack, but before she could pull the bulky piece of technology out of the sedan’s hatchback, an imperious feline voice rang out from the driver’s seat:  “What do you think you’re doing?”

Sunny mumbled something about gearing up, but Ripley, the small white cat who was the de facto leader of the Ecto-Busters, cut the yellow lab off.  “You don’t need an ecto-pack to run into a cafe and pick up a quick snack.”

Continue reading “Ecto-Cafe”

When the Ghost of the Future Catches Up

“Her horn had been designed by the All-Deity to carve through spatial dimensions, and her hooves had been designed to spring off the surface tension of reality.”

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Fantasia Divinity Magazine, Issue 20, March 2018


The harsh blue light of Astralis II shone over the horizon, casting long shadows at an acute angle to the shorter shadows cast by the tawny, warm light of Astralis I, nearly overhead at this hour of noon-night.  The longest, sharpest shadow pointed towards the volcanic cone of Mount Kiyaro; it was cast by the pearlescent, spiraling horn that rose from Elliae’s snowy-furred equine brow.  She faced the mountain; she faced her destiny. Continue reading “When the Ghost of the Future Catches Up”

The Promise of New Heffe

“Finally, they would have a world of their own. A new world. With a young, yellow sun.”

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Exploring New Places, July 2018


The evacuation of Heffe VIII occurred when Jeaunia was only a pup.  Her memories of waiting in the long lines on the hot spaceport tarmac were dim.  She did remember playing games with her cousins on the crowded flight to Crossroads Station afterward, and she thought she could remember the view of the swollen Heffen sun through the spaceship’s rear windows.  She couldn’t be sure, though.  The bloody smear of red giant sunlight in her memories could have been a fabrication.  She had been very young. Continue reading “The Promise of New Heffe”

Shreddy and the Silver Egg

“She only hoped that all these electric surges hadn’t harmed her egg. She was almost certain they were why it had come out all shiny and silver.”

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Tales from the Guild: Music to Your Ears, September 2014


There is nothing better than a patch of early evening sunlight, especially with the quiet strains of an opera playing on the Red-Haired Woman’s television in the other room.  There is nothing worse than watching an uncouth dog, lolling unappreciatively, in the single square of sun left on the kitchen floor, insensible to both the golden warmth and the soft singing in the distance.

Continue reading “Shreddy and the Silver Egg”