Life with the Tumblers

“No other human alive — except for Kyan — could have found a face in the shrubby center of a tumbler, but Arlene found expressions there.”

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Jim Baen’s Universe, Issue #22 (Vol. 4 Num 4), December 2009


The boy didn’t know how long six months would be. He was only five, and it sounded like forever. His mother, however, knew exactly how long six months would be. She could measure it out against the milestones of her life. It was the time between a kiss and the promise that bound her and Derrick together. It was the time between deciding pregnancy was unbearable and finally bearing Kyan. She knew six months. It was too long, and not nearly long enough. Continue reading “Life with the Tumblers”

Rekindle the Sun

“The little, yellow sun blazed, almost mockingly, as Kerri and Alan stepped, holding hands, onto the world that was to be their new home.”

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Belong: Interstellar Immigration Stories, April 2010


The yellow sun of Heffe VIII beamed onto Kerri’s face through the freighter ship’s window. She’d been watching intently through the window ever since the ship entered the Heffen solar system. “It’s hard to believe that’s a dying sun,” Kerri said. It was still so bright and dazzling, hanging in the black, velvet sky. It looked young and promising, not old and fading. Kerri turned to her husband, Alan, who was sitting beside her, and smiled. “It’ll be good to finally see Heffe,” she said. Continue reading “Rekindle the Sun”

The Genetic Menagerie

“Brent Schweitzer first turned his eyes to Wespirtech, and away from Da Vinci’s leading art colleges, when he learned that his favorite flower, a variant of the terran ghost orchid, had been genetically engineered on his homeworld’s very own moon, at Wespirtech.”

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Sorcerous Signals, November 2012


Brent Schweitzer was born on planet Da Vinci, the foremost center of knowledge and learning in the Human Expansion from Earth. The planet was lush and green, with deep blue rivers cut into its surface like veins of gem cut into stone. Warm in the summer, brilliant with fire work colors in both spring and fall, and temperate in the winter, Da Vinci was as idyllic as any of the worlds the Human Expansion had found. As such, Da Vinci was deemed the appropriate setting for the host of art schools and other centers of academia that began to grow there as naturally as the native flowers. For, without scenery, without inspiration, how can there be art and learning? Continue reading “The Genetic Menagerie”

The Faithless, the Tentacled, and the Light

The Faithless, the Tentacled, and the Light-art-iso
“Our diplomat was returned unceremoniously to his ship and sent away… but they kept our scientist.”

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Cosmic Crime Stories, Issue 4, July 2012


The space-cruiser Hypercube glided into the Crossroads’ station docking clamps with all the showy elegance that a ship of its price should have. Nicole Merison, the pilot, owner, and sole occupant of the Hypercube, shut the ship’s engines down and put the rest of its operations on standby. With the ship safely locked down, Nicole grabbed a space-compression bag and headed off to enjoy Crossroads’ atmosphere and markets. She’d been in deep space a long time, and, though she enjoyed the solitude, she was looking forward to the station’s hustle and bustle. Continue reading “The Faithless, the Tentacled, and the Light”

Daisy Chaining

“I only had a few minutes to warm up before I found myself pushing full throttle on an alien spacecraft, racing like my life depended on it for Altu 5.”

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Untied Shoelaces of the Mind, Issue #5, September 2011


Daisy chains are kind of tricky, so I didn’t believe the frezzipod when he said he could daisy chain his way from Altu 7 to Altu 5 in fifteen minutes flat. First of all, that’s a forty minute flight, if you pull up above the belt and fly without all those rocks in your way. Secondly, frezzipods look like a cross between a crab and a pineapple — the perfect tropical hors d’oeuvre. Who’s going to believe anything a walking hors d’oeuvre says anyway? Continue reading “Daisy Chaining”

Of Behemoths and Bureaucrats

“The starwhals fed, filtering the microbes like whales filter plankton through their baleen.”

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Golden Visions Magazine, No. 15, July 2011 (print issue)


News spread like wildfire of the first successful sun garden. The sun was Hegula, hearth of a destitute system. Normally, I don’t waste my time on mining colonies. There are plenty of systems with two, three, or more populated planets. Those systems can supply me with crowds for months. Mining systems are a different matter. I’ve been to systems where the miners close the mines, gather up their families, and take the day off to see a good show. That’s it. They have a great time, believe me. They enjoy my starwhals more than anyone in a cosmopolitan system. From my perspective, though, it’s hardly worth weeks in the dead space between stars. Continue reading “Of Behemoths and Bureaucrats”

The Nebula Was Empty

“Is anyone out there?” the radio wave asked.

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Spaceports and Spidersilk, June 2011


The nebula was empty. Cold. Proto-star matter, so many dust motes, drifted, dully refracting the light of nearby constellations. The dust motes didn’t even swirl. There was nothing to disturb them into motion, except for the nebula beast herself. In earlier times, during her youth, she frolicked — expanding space here; squeezing tight there; watching the space debris splash about. She chased the dust motes between her many dimensions, but now she was too sad to make her own fun. Continue reading “The Nebula Was Empty”

My Words Like Silent Raindrops

“Might these telechips be the next step in human evolution? In twenty years, will we all be, essentially, telepathic?”

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in The Lorelei Signal, January 2012


Nicole and Ivan were among the newest, promising young scientists at the Western Spiral Arm Planetary Institute of Technology. For the time being, they were working on a project together. He did the chemistry, and she did the physics. The partnership worked well. Almost too well. Continue reading “My Words Like Silent Raindrops”

Einray and the Biologist

Einray and the Biologist-art-iso
“He was bumping shoulders with plant-laden practitioners of the squishy-sciences all day.”

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in FlagShip, Volume 2 Issue 6, September 2012


The elasti-tron was covered with dried and wilting plants again. Einray grumbled as he started peeling the putrid produce off of the glass sample plate. He hated the squishiness of biology.

“What are you guys doing in here?” Einray asked. Continue reading “Einray and the Biologist”

Slug Time

“The bio-department didn’t have any brain-scanners designed for animals.”

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in COSMOS, August 2011


“Hey, Deenah, want to come down to the grav-lab with me? I hear the physics department is putting on a wild party tonight. Free-fall twister, skate around the edge of the black hole… That sort of thing.”

Deenah put down the annulator she was using to fine-tune the wires in her hackishly made brain-wave generator. Wespirtech was legendary for its parties, and the physics department hadn’t thrown one since Deenah arrived. She was sorely tempted to put her work aside and accompany Rayston… Continue reading “Slug Time”