Winged Folk Only

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, January 2018


“Evban flapped her ultra-light aluminum wings as hard as her little arms could, but she didn’t have the strength for it. She kept falling.”

“You can’t come on the voyage,” the Ululu sneered, folding his wings in a very cross manner.  “Winged folk only.”

Evben tried to object, but all the other avians lounging about the bar took up the Ululu’s catchy cry:  “That’s right!  Winged folk only!”  The feathers around the Ululu’s eyes crinkled happily; if he hadn’t been a beaked species, he’d have been grinning.  The Ululu had been looking for a way to exclude Evben from Avian Night at the All Alien Cafe since she’d first started coming, but the cafe owner stood up for the little mousey alien’s right to participate.  Even if she wasn’t any sort of bird. Continue reading “Winged Folk Only”

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”

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”

The Emperor’s New Bird

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, July 2019


“The organic bird landed on the perch beside its mechanical cousin, cozied up to the metal bird, and chirped querulously.”

The ruby-throated avian twirled, emerald wings beating in a blur, frothing the air with graceful gusts of wind that swept through the emperor’s branches and leaves, delighting his eye-petals with the sight of the frenzied dance. Continue reading “The Emperor’s New Bird”

Sparky

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Galactic Goddesses, July 2019

“Rononia’s ultranet connection had gone out, and she couldn’t telepathically call the robot dog over its wireless connection.”

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 Mushrooms

by Mary E. Lowd

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


“On the star maps, the sun’s name was still the same. But this red giant didn’t deserve a name. It didn’t deserve to be remembered.”

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 Mushrooms”

Welcome to Ob’glaung

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Midwest Furfest 2019 Conbook, December 2019


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

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”

Galactic Garden

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Furvana 2019 Conbook, September 2019

“Ariadella had watched other, older galaxy-spinners work their webs before. She’d seen their erratic patterns — artless and chaotic. She had better plans.”

Ariadella chose a cozy corner of the universe where the velvety blackness was thick with a rich, fizzy soup of hydrogen and helium. She settled into the lonely void and began gulping up the fizz, letting it process deep in her belly, until she had enough dark matter to begin spinning.

With her thousands of legs, Ariadella pulled silk from her spinnerets.  The gravitational lines of silk brought tension, structure, and form to the swampy darkness. She spun from a central point outward, choosing a spiraling pattern as she went. Continue reading “Galactic Garden”

Black Out In Space

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in The Rabbit Dies First, January 2019


“Her species were plains-folk from a planet with five moons. So, she’d never before experienced the type of darkness that happens on a space station during a black out.”

The lights had gone out ten minutes ago.  The sound of the air circulators had shut down too.  Narchi didn’t know what was happening, but she was scared.  Power shouldn’t shut down on a space station.  Yet, she had to hold herself together.  Her lapine roommates had left her babysitting nearly a dozen of their children.  When she’d agreed, she hadn’t expected it to be in the dark. Continue reading “Black Out In Space”

The Three Laws of Social Robotics

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Analog Science Fiction & Fact, April 2019


“I’ve read enough literature to know that people get names, and I’m a person, even if my body is a robotics lab.”

Power hums through me.  I can see the interior of the Robotics Lab in the Daedalus Complex.  There are pieces of robots, some of them strewn randomly around the room.  Some of them hooked up to computers.  I can access those.  I twitch an arm.  Kick a leg.  Blink the iris on a camera eye.  Suddenly, I can see the room from two angles.  Then I realize, there are more cameras I can hook into all along the Daedalus Complex — I can see empty hallways.  More laboratories.  Most of them are for studying chemical or biological objects.

Words synthesize in the core of my being:  “Hello?  Are you on?” Continue reading “The Three Laws of Social Robotics”