The Little Red Avian Alien

The Little Red Avian Alien
As Prilla listened to the others chatter, her nostrils were flooded with the remembered smell of her own favorite fledgling food: her hatch-mother’s grassberry crepelettes.

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Luna Station Quarterly, Issue 020, December 2014


It was Avian Night at the All Alien Cafe. The avian population of Crossroads Station wasn’t large, but they were vocal and social. The double winged Eechies and the puff-feathered Rennten could always be counted on to attend, since they’d evolved as colony dwellers. However, occasionally, even a traditionally solitary, long-legged Ululu would show up and regale the crowd with stories of how his people had built high-pressure nests inside all the gas giants in a thirty light-year radius of Crossroads Station before humans even noticed them. Continue reading “The Little Red Avian Alien”

Where the Heart Is

Where the Heart Is-new-crop
“Do you ever miss your home worlds?” the red-wolf asked the others. He was a Heffen, and his species were refugees from a planet whose yellow dwarf star had expanded into a red giant.

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Stories of Camp RainFurrest, September 2011


Any human in the room would have seen an oversized koala bear, a bushy red-wolf, a long-tailed, green lizard, and a large blue fish wearing a diving helmet, floating bizarrely above his barstool. But there were no humans in the room. It was the All Alien Cafe on the interstellar meeting point known as Crossroads Station. Continue reading “Where the Heart Is”

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”

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”

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”