Originally published in Commander Annie and Other Adventures, November 2023
QuestCrusher20 zipped through the zone, zooming from one quest to the next without reading the text. She didn’t need to. Just follow the dots on the game map, and like breadcrumbs they led her from a cluster of satyrcorns to kill for their horns to an area strewn with mecha gears that the friendly robots of Robotica needed her to gather. Quest after quest, she could figure them out on the fly, and it only slowed her down to read the flavor text or listen to the NPCs tell their backstories. Continue reading “Speed Questing”
The city stretches as far as I know in every direction. Some kids at school say it covers the entire world, wrapping the globe of our planet in concrete snakes and strangling tentacles, dimpling its surface with metal and glass towers. I don’t know if they’re right. The websites that would tell me for sure — the good, scientific, trustworthy ones — are behind paywalls, and my parents say we can’t trust what we read on the free sites.
First published in Nature Futures, December 2021, by Springer Nature
The concrete floor of the basement was freezing cold right through Becca’s socks, and the air smelled moldy. She hadn’t properly aired the basement out since it had flooded most of a year ago, last spring. Becca yanked on the corner of the old, beat-up cardboard box with the robotic Christmas tree in it, and the box scraped across the floor as it pulled out from under the tool shelves. Continue reading “The Christmas Tree Barn”
A tiny metal object jumped through Lea’s open window, drawing her attention away from the Animorphs book she’d been reading. She put down the borrowed e-reader from her mom on the bed and went over to investigate.
Lea hadn’t seen the object very well — it had been moving too fast. Just a blur really. But it had reflected the sunlight, shining like a quarter thrown into a fountain, outshining all the pennies around it. So, she wondered if it might be valuable. Continue reading “Flerble Gerbil was a Hologram”
Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, February 2015
Chloe lay on the table in the doctor’s office, wearing a paper sheet over her legs and one of those weird gowns that opened in the back. She didn’t want to be pregnant, but she didn’t want to need an abortion. She couldn’t help thinking about David — it had to be David — and what amazing genes he must have. He’d talked like a character out of a fast-paced TV show, everything clever, insightful, and… much too articulate. Continue reading “FemCloud Inc.”
by Mary E. Lowd Originally published in AE: The Canadian Science Fiction Review, Issue No. 15, May 2014
The hospital lights flash in my eyes, and a man wearing blue scrubs injects me with a needle. I can’t feel my body anymore, and all I can see is his blue-clothed back and the nervous faces of my owners, Geoff and Bree, looking down at me. I can see them holding my paws, reaching to pat my ears, but all the sensations are distant. Continue reading “The Best Puppy Ever”
Originally published in Redstone Science Fiction #26, July 2012
Dylan reached into his pocket and pulled out his last tenner. He didn’t especially feel like drinking coffee, but he thought it’d look strange if he didn’t get something. Charlene ordered a double mocha frappacino and lemon cupcake with cream cheese icing. Dylan got the house coffee.
“Would you like to hear an advertisement?” a voice said in Dylan’s ear as he and Charlene picked a table. He subvocalized, yes, and a catchy jingle for a laundromat down the street assaulted him. When the jingle finally ended, the voice in his head said, “Six cents have been deposited in your account.” Continue reading “We Can Remember It For You Retail”
Originally published in The Lorelei Signal, July 2012
“Put your hand back on the reader,” Boston’s mother chided. The boy squirmed but flattened his hand against the panel in the chair’s arm until his presence registered. He liked the show, but he wished keeping his hand on the reader was less necessary. Sometimes, in his own room, Boston didn’t bother with the reader at all. He felt guilty. He knew his mother would be mad if she knew. Continue reading ““Viewers Like You””