Sky River

“Over the last six decades, less than a lifetime, the Lottians had schemed and plotted to claim their birthright in the ice that had taunted their ancestors’ dreams.”

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Theme of Absence, July 2017


The blue sun of Lottie IV glinted off the watery world’s ice rings.  Rocky chunks of diamond gleamed with sapphire light, stretched in a crescent across the world’s pale sky.  Its inhabitants — a long-spined, thick-furred, water-breathing, lutrinae species — had stared at that crescent of glittering ice from Lottie’s oceans for generations.  Out of reach.  Unconquerable. Continue reading “Sky River”

Hidden Feelings

Blue and green lights twinkled on the medi-bot as it spoke: “Depression is a very serious issue on a spaceship.”

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, November 2015


The spines on S’lisha’s neck twitched, but she kept them from extending into a thorny display of her anger.  The spaceship captain wanted the boxes of robot arms on his cargo deck rearranged yet again.  If he’d explained himself clearly in the first place, it would have saved so much time.  S’lisha seethed silently and imagined crushing the spaceship captain with his own cargo. Continue reading “Hidden Feelings”

Heart of the Gas Giant

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, February 2018


“Would Doripauli’s fleet follow her into the gas giant or wait for her to emerge? Did they know why Arellnor was here?”

The heart of the gas giant was the key.  Arellnor had traveled from one star system to another; at every stop, she’d traded her vehicle — first her trusty shuttle for a star-hopper, then that for a space mecha-suit and finally back to another shuttle.  She’d altered her appearance, buying gene-therapy or cosmetic-sculpting every chance she got.  She barely remembered what she’d been originally — some sort of space frog?  Today, she was a burly antelope-like alien; her fingers were rough and hard, and antlers rose from her head like spires.  None of it had been enough.  They were still chasing her. Continue reading “Heart of the Gas Giant”

Sandbeard the Pirate Otter

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published by Furvana, June 2019


“Then paw to pedal, pedal to metal, her trawler screeched silently away through the vacuum of space, crenulated seashell sailing along behind it.”

Sandbeard the pirate otter, fiercest of the fierce, fuzziest of the fuzzy, and the best bewhiskered of all sea otters, steered her stolen space-trawler into the curving gravity well of a small oceanic moon.  The lunar ocean was beautiful beneath her trawler — purple and choppy, swelling with swirling water, but toxic as a scorpionfish.  Nice to look at; useless for swimming.  But Sandbeard wasn’t here for a vacation; she was a pirate, and she was ready to pillage and plunder. Continue reading “Sandbeard the Pirate Otter”

Of Cakes and Robots

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Theme of Absence, November 2016


“The robot was surprisingly indecisive for a creature with a computer for a brain — first it wanted red frosting, then blue, and finally settled on green.”

Chirri watched the robot lumber back and forth outside her bakery window for several minutes, seeming undecided, before it came in.  Once inside, the metal creature with its dome-shaped head and boxy limbs perused the displays of sugary confections, fancy layered cakes, and simple cookies.  Chirri’s tufted triangular ears splayed in confusion at the sight.  There were lots of robots on Crossroads Station, but none of them had ever frequented her bakery before.  Robots don’t have much need for cake. Continue reading “Of Cakes and Robots”

The Ugly Sapling

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Empyreome, January 2019


“If it couldn’t be a fruit tree like them, it didn’t want to be a fruit tree at all.”

Once upon a springtime in a magical garden, three saplings were planted in a row, along the bank of a sapphire lake.  They were barely more than sticks, standing awkwardly in the sandy ground with their branch-arms raised toward the sky.  All three looked alike, and they shivered together in their nakedness.

Continue reading “The Ugly Sapling”

Sparky

“The robotic dog had been sent to fetch a packet of nutri-candy burritos for the girl and energ-supp bars for himself and Rononia.”

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Galactic Goddesses, July 2019


Annie squeezed the mechanical hand of her robo-nanny.  The hand was cool and silvery like metal, but the smooth surface had a soft give to it like real flesh.  Annie felt safe when she held Rononia’s hand.

“I need to take you home,” Rononia said, her voice low and even, but not mechanical.  For all of the metallic gears visibly built into her elbows, shoulders, and anywhere else that hinged, Rononia had been given a deeply feeling, emotion-laden voice.  And she was programmed to love the child she cared for.  “We can’t go looking for Sparky.” Continue reading “Sparky”

For the Sake of the Mushrooms

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in All Worlds Wayfarer, Issue I: Summer Solstice 2019, June 2019


“A shipload of cargo. Mushrooms from two star-systems over that would spoil, if she didn’t deliver them to Crossroads Station on time.”

The red sun glowed like an evil eye on the forward viewscreen.  It stared into Irudy’s soul.  Once it had been the warmth on her fur and the shine in a smiling sky while she ran through fields, her paws bare against the wholesome dirt.  Now it was death’s mocking wink, as the cold, stale air of her cargo ship recycled endlessly through algae filters and mechanical pipes. Continue reading “For the Sake of the Mushrooms”

Welcome to Ob’glaung

“He submerged, and a moment later, the bubble-like helmet he always wore bobbed back up to the surface.”

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Midwest Furfest 2019 Conbook, December 2019


Water splashed into the Ob’glaung Station airlock, wetting three sets of feet — a pair of red-furred paws belonging to a Heffen, a pair of gray-tufted paws belonging to a Woaoo, and a pair of green-scaled S’rellick talons.  A long blue fin hovered, trailing over the water’s surface, as an icthyoid Lintar swam eager circles through the air. Continue reading “Welcome to Ob’glaung”

Ecto-Busters One

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Midwest Furfest 2019 Conbook, December 2019

“I’m sure the fire-spitting portal-thingy at the top of the Great Dane Building will hold for forty minutes or so while we eat some wontons.”

Sunny’s belly gurgled, and she adjusted the heavy weight of the techno-ecto-pack on her back.  The hardworking yellow Labrador hadn’t been able to grab a meal all day long.  Not even a snack.  Her ecto-busting team was too busy dissipating ghosts, exorcising possessed buildings, and laying ghouls back to rest.  It had been one haunt after another, non-stop, ever since the first phone call that Halloween morning.  But what were they supposed to do?  Who else were the good dog and cat citizens of Dogotham City gonna call? Continue reading “Ecto-Busters One”