Hypercrystal Wish

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, September 2018

“In her mind, she wasn’t playing alone — she was voyaging through space, meeting alien races even weirder than herself, and making all kinds of friends.”

Jeko coiled her long nose around one of the glittering hypercrystals.  They weren’t really hypercrystals.  Just shiny bits of polished, angular glass.  Spiky, colorful shapes.  But Jeko liked to pretend.  She liked to pretend that they were hypercrystals and could grant wishes.  She picked up a green star-shaped one and rolled it carefully across her desk with a gentle toss from her prehensile nose. Continue reading “Hypercrystal Wish”

Wing Day

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, October 2018

“She had no reason not to be excited — she’d known all along that the wings she’d grow were vestigial and would need to be removed.”

Lee-a-lei had never been to a Wing Day party, much less thrown one herself.  The butterfly-like alien crossed her uppermost pair of fuzzy exoskeletal arms and watched her clone-daughter scurry around their quarters, excited, sugar-crazed, and impatient for the guests to arrive.

Am-lei flapped her new wings, throwing herself into the air — she bounced off the ceiling and landed awkwardly on newly-long, spindly legs.  A month ago, Am-lei had been a pudgy green caterpillar-babe.  At least, Lee-a-lei had thought of her as a babe, even though she was nearly ten years old. Continue reading “Wing Day”

One Alien’s Wings

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Empyreome, September 2017

“They’re vestigial,” Lee-a-lei intoned, holding out a knife with one of her six claw-like hands. “Cut them off.”

Lee-a-lei’s wide wings fluttered, casting pools of colored light that chased each other across the walls of the robotics laboratory.  The harsh fluorescents from the ceiling softened to warm reds, golds, and chips of blue or green as they passed through her translucent wings. Continue reading “One Alien’s Wings”

Treasure Moon

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Fantasia Divinity Magazine, December 2017

“A mechanical turret rising out of the middle of the mountaintop base swung around and cast invisible laser beams, searching for the intruder, but Rikkita threw herself to the ground and spread her wide, bushy tail over her back.”

Alarm bells rang out and lights flashed red from the corners of the buildings on either side of the street.  A mechanical turret rising out of the middle of the mountaintop base swung around and cast invisible laser beams, searching for the intruder, but Rikkita threw herself to the ground and spread her wide, bushy tail over her back.  The fur on her tail was ultra-dark black; it would confuse the algorithms processing the data from the lasers.  As long as she held still, she was safe. Continue reading “Treasure Moon”

Heart of the Gas Giant

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, February 2018


“The shuttle was too deep now for sunlight to reach it through the thick soupy layers of atmosphere. Soon she would know if she was finally safe or ultimately caught.”

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”

Go High

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, January 2018


“The flashes of lightning came faster and brighter, each one pulling her deeper into a story unfolding in the fish alien’s eye.”

Evban flapped her mechanical wings joyously, dipping and swooping through New Jupiter’s soupy pink-and-gold clouds.  Her whiskers tickled against the glassy bubble of her breathing-helmet, and her long tail streamed out behind her.  She’d drifted away from the flock of avian aliens.  Their organic wings were broader and stronger than her little mechanical ones, but she knew her friends would come back for her before the space shuttle returned for them all. Continue reading “Go High”

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 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”

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”