I Am Mazillion

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in All Worlds Wayfarer, March 2020


“I didn’t want the mammals to know about me, so I kept my bodies huddled close, balled up together, wings held still, no buzzing.”

One of my scouts flies through the space station’s ductwork.  Another flies out among the aliens who are crowding through the dock and maneuvers above them, looking down, seeing where I am, what this space station is like.  Most of me clusters in a high corner out of sight, near the airlock I’ve painstakingly flown through, one body at a time, unnoticed, tiny, unimportant.  The spaceship I arrived on doesn’t know it had a stowaway, let alone a thousand, bound together telepathically.  A thousand tiny bodies, each many-legged with shimmering pairs of wings.  One mind.  I am Mazillion, and I am the first of my species in space. Continue reading “I Am Mazillion”

A Sense of Clarity

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Chrysalis: A Fairy Tale Anthology, February 2020


“…the love story he told of an amphibioid and a photosynthetic floral alien was the stuff of fairy tales.”

He was the kind of guy who would give a fake name.  Clarity could tell by the way he tentatively tried sitting at three different tables before settling down on a seat at the bar; also, the way his bulgy, protuberant eyes kept glancing around nervously; and, finally, the way he glared piercingly at his mottled green, slumped reflection in the mirror behind the bar before answering her question.

“So, what’s your name?” she asked. Continue reading “A Sense of Clarity”

Treasure in the Sky

by Mary E. Lowd

A Deep Sky Anchor Original, December 2020


“Then he backed away from the yawning window, as if it were a portal that he could fall through and never land, floating forever, lost in the void of space.”

The short, stout, furry alien stared out the starship’s curving bridge window at the star-studded black sky.  His black fur blended into the sky like a shadow, but the blaze of white over his forehead stood out like a brand.  His rounded ears splayed, and he curled his heavy claws into fists.  “I don’t belong here,” he muttered, and the ship’s computer translated it.  “None of my people do.” Continue reading “Treasure in the Sky”

Somewhere Over the Ocean

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Boldly Going Forward, March 2020


“The hatchway of the spaceship opened, and three aliens emerged, each of them wearing a breathing mask over their face.”

A’loo’loo swam eagerly back and forth, impatient for the spaceship above her, floating on the ocean’s surface, to open its hatchway.  There had been so little warning — A’loo’loo had only discovered the burst of radio waves coming from her planet’s orbit three tides ago.  Everything had changed since then. Continue reading “Somewhere Over the Ocean”

The Night Janitor and Alien Oceans

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Typewriter Emergencies, June 2018


“Rerin’s rounded ears flattened, and she looked out the window at those oceans again. Was there someone down there?”

Rerin jostled the control panel while rubbing it down with a rag.  The racoon-like alien didn’t know how the day-crew got the bridge controls so sticky.  They were supposed to be searching the oceans on this world for signs of sentience — not snacking and boozing on Eridanii brandy.  Rerin had expected janitorial detail on a starship full of human and s’rellick scientists to be an easy job.  Instead, the naked-skinned primates partied all day, and the s’rellick shed scales everywhere — not to mention the extra work involved in tending to their live food.  Ugh.  Terrarium after terrarium filled with scuttling insects and rodents.  Rerin would not be signing on with this ship again. Continue reading “The Night Janitor and Alien Oceans”

Am I Furry? — Fandom vs. Genre

by Mary E. Lowd

“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.” — Groucho Marx

 “I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.” — Groucho Marx

“You shouldn’t need a membership card to write or enjoy furry fiction. All you need is a story about anthropomorphic animals, and there are more of those coming out all the time.”

There’s a question that floats around the furry writing community occasionally:  how do you define furry fiction?  At first glance, this question seems similar to the age-old, what’s the difference between sci-fi and fantasy?  A nit-picky question about the borders of a genre that can be endlessly debated.  Hours can be lost to arguing over whether Star Wars is sci-fi because of spaceships, or fantasy because of the Force.  I would expect arguments about furry fiction to fall along similar lines.  For instance, does Robert T. Bakker’s Raptor Red anthropomorphize the raptors enough to count as furry?  Or is it simply a piece of speculative naturalism? Continue reading “Am I Furry? — Fandom vs. Genre”

On the Eve of the Apocalypse

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Theme of Absence, March 2017

Dear Patriarchal Genetic Progenitor,

In spite of my requests that you leave me alone, I find notifications and messages from you, little traces of your electronic existence, in every aspect of the virtual world whenever I dare to tread in it.  Generally, I ignore your unwanted advances toward a relationship that I gave up long ago.  But tonight, knowing that the Elasporians will descend to Earth tomorrow, I find that the idea of reaching out to you and your myriad tiny abuses is less painful and frightening than the reality that all flesh-bodied humans will face tomorrow. Continue reading “On the Eve of the Apocalypse”

Pegacornus Rex

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, September 2014

“Mom! I made myself a birthday present!”

Marla realized that she’d left the 3-D printer running.  She’d been up late synthesizing a chef-bot she’d found the pattern for online.  Sure, she could have just baked the damn cake for Leia’s tenth birthday party herself, but the chef-bot would do a better job.  And it was programmed with the recipe for homemade hard candy — she could put that in the piñata she’d printed up. Continue reading “Pegacornus Rex”

Catacomb’s Orchestra

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, April 2020

“Mice minds were so small. So easy for Catacomb to read.”

Catacomb laid her paw across the tiny heaving belly of the almost drowned mouse.  The poor thing was frightened out of its mind; she could feel its fright through her paw, prickly and tingly.  Mouse emotions were so funny.

“I saved you from the koi pond, Little One,” Catacomb purred.  “Now your life is mine.”  Never mind that the mouse would never have fallen in the koi pond if Catacomb hadn’t been chasing it.  She could see herself through the mouse’s eyes:  massive, terrifying, death-personified.  The asymmetrical orange and black splotches that had inspired her human to name her Peaches (after a bowl of peach cobbler) looked like a devastating Halloween mask to the mouse.  No sweetness.  All murder. Continue reading “Catacomb’s Orchestra”

The Unicorn Keeper

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Them of Absence, January 2020

“If I try to lay down limits, she stops eating and her ethereal glow — silver like moonlight — fades to a sickly, flickering shade — gray like a staticky television screen.”

Amalioona prances into the stables, her tufted hooves gleaming. They are the same sparkling shade of white as a hillside of snow in the sun. They are dainty, perfect unicorn hooves. How is it, then, that she always seems to clumsily knock over the slop bucket — no matter where I put it — and kick up the fresh hay into a veritable dust storm? Continue reading “The Unicorn Keeper”