The Ambi-Cognitive Man

Other people stared for the larger, more obvious, cruder reason: “Hey, look, there’s a man with two heads!” Jordy could never think of them that way; more like two men sharing one body.

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in M-Brane SF, #18, July 2010


The starhopper had been parked on the edge of town for several hours. After the seven star jump to get all the way to Neggemmon, Jordy figured his friends would want to get right out and meet the natives, so to speak. He understood when Tom recommended fixing lunch first. (Seriously, you can never trust the food in out-of-touch Expansionist colonies. Forget a colony for long enough, and they’ll start harvesting vacuum-slugs to eat.) But he started to get suspicious when Henry suggested relaxing with a quick hand of cards. Continue reading “The Ambi-Cognitive Man”

Emmanuel and the Cannibals

“Emmanuel stared, dumbfounded.  How long had these people been stranded here?”

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Shelter of Daylight #4, October 2010


The second ship crash landed too.

Emmanuel knew the Clemency was a junker, and he was well experienced at safely crashing her. Better still, he carried plenty of spare parts, and he knew how to use them. Emmanuel was one of the best crash-pilots and jerry-rigging mechanics this end of the spiral arm. Seriously, you could not do better. Unless you didn’t crash. But, that would involve owning a ship that didn’t constantly blow her fuses, fuse her wiring, and otherwise complain about having to haul her titanium alloy hull through space. Continue reading “Emmanuel and the Cannibals”

Apples in Aruba

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Spaceports and Spidersilk, Vol. 5 No. 1, March 2012


“I’ll have the tuna fish.” Lawrence closed his menu.

“Are you kidding?” Jeggy said. “Don’t order that. It’s like eating apples in Aruba.”

“What are you supposed to eat in Aruba?” Lawrence eyed the other patrons of The All Alien Cafe suspiciously. Continue reading “Apples in Aruba”

The Parable of Two Queens

“It wasn’t only the Zi’rai’s attitude that bespoke aggression: her entire body was built larger, sharper, more dangerously.”

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Beyond Centauri, Issue #23, January 2009


The guards backed away, cautious, ready to intervene. The diplomat raised his eyebrows, hopeful. Unfortunately, the aliens didn’t stay still for long. The Zi’rai representative launched herself at the Zee’nee, and their fight broke out again. N-jointed arms flailed and mandibles snapped. The four human guards flew into the fray and laboriously re-separated the aliens. Continue reading “The Parable of Two Queens”

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”

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”