The Words in Frosting

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, July 2019


“…it wasn’t her place to judge. It was her place to bake cakes and to kick sad androids out of her bakery if they didn’t shape up and start buying some cake…”

Gary was a humanoid android, programmed to experience the complete range of human emotions.  Right now, he was sad.  His broad shoulders slouched, and his head hung, framing his handsome face with his beautiful raven hair.  He had been designed to be beautiful.

Chirri wasn’t sure what to do with this sad android who’d shown up in her bakery, so she served him a piece of cake on the house.  The felinid-alien slid a gold-embossed ceramic plate in front of Gary, and the android stared disconsolately at the piece of fudgy caramel cake on it for several seconds — a very long time for an android — before saying, “I don’t eat.” Continue reading “The Words in Frosting”

Flerble Gerbil was a Hologram

by Mary E. Lowd

A Deep Sky Anchor Original, November 2022


“I don’t want to hurt anyone, even gerbils,” the metal grasshopper said in a high-pitched voice. “Are you going to hurt me?”

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”

Shiny Red Chassis

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, August 2019


“She was programmed to seek out organic lifeforms in need of help, but those youthful organics who raced her through the sloshy pipes of the plumbing system had not needed her help. They said they did, but she no longer believed them.”

Reeree3 had been blessed with a shining red carapace by her creator, but it was blotched with rough orange patches of rust now.  She’d been taken on a joyride through Crossroads Station’s plumbing system, like a common toy being raced for fun, and she hadn’t been given a chance to properly dry out.  So, she was hiding under one of the food carts in the Merchant Quarter, watching the crowds of organic creatures of all species pass by. Continue reading “Shiny Red Chassis”

The Fisherman’s Robot

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, July 2019


“Every trip back from New Jupiter, Ayla brought Sebas7 to visit her roboticist mother and plead for yet another upgrade.”

Sebas7 opened her mechanical eyes to see limpid human eyes staring at her.  She recognized them as human eyes from using a pattern matching algorithm on her massive internal database of labelled images.

“Hello, friend.  Don’t worry, you’re perfectly safe.” Continue reading “The Fisherman’s Robot”

Salvador Dalí Smile

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, July 2019


“Because Maradia had programmed Roia378, she believed that she had some wisdom or knowledge, some kind of superiority at all to the robotic woman. When in fact, she had none.”

“My brain isn’t working right.”  Roia378 — gleaming and silver, everything a robot should be, strong, aesthetically pleasing, a sculpted work of art that could build a stone castle with her bare metal hands — clutched her head, as if it ached, but she was not designed for pain or headaches.  Pain of any sort was useless; a mere note in her electro-net brain logs mentioning that a part of her mechanical body wasn’t in proper working order served the same purpose and easily sufficed.  No need for anything as dramatic as pain. Continue reading “Salvador Dalí Smile”

Welcome to the Arboretum, Little Robot

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Analog Science Fiction and Fact, June 2018

“Air burst out of the door, carrying complicated hints of chemicals and organic compounds. Pheromones and spores. It was fascinating, and tickled GY-30’s sensors.”

GY-30 extended his wheels from his mechanical feet and rocked back and forth, passing the time.  He was waiting for Chirri, the felinoid who employed him, to finish her business in the wholesale outlet.  She was a baker and would probably need him to carry a couple hundred pounds of Aldebaran sugar and Procyon flour back to her bakery in the merchant quarter.  GY-30 was a small robot — only knee-high to Chirri, without his extendo-legs deployed — but very strong. Continue reading “Welcome to the Arboretum, Little Robot”

Xeno-Nativity

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Fantasia Divinity Magazine, November 2017


“The requirement that most mothers find hardest to accept is that you will not get to choose the species of your child.”

Maradia was working on the specs for a free-flying, zero-G maintenance unit when she heard a customer come into her storefront.  She was glad to put the work aside — it was almost entirely a hardware job with barely any creativity to it.  She left the workshop area and entered the storefront to see a tired looking woman with bags under her eyes and a perfect, golden-haired child nestled on her hip.

“You’re back,” Maradia said. Continue reading “Xeno-Nativity”

My Fair Robot

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Luna Station Quarterly, Issue 017, March 2014

robot-and-girl
“She made robots, and that’s all she did. Robots, robots, robots. Robots day and night.”

“She’s gonna be beautiful,” he said. He was human. I’m human. We were all human. Most of the patronage at the All Alien Cafe is human. Despite it being “all alien.” Anyway…

 

He was really bragging it up. He was designing a robot, and he had some sort of Pygmalian-hubris-God-complex thing going on. It was annoying as all get-out. I had to pick my moment. Continue reading “My Fair Robot”

Meet Archive

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, November 2011


“On the side, I started building sentient models for myself. The fifth one — R5 — was an experiment. Could I build a story-telling robot?”

Archive was telling stories at the corner table when Cobalt Starstrong came in. Cobalt looked at the rapt audience, mostly Heffen refugees, and thought about joining them. Archive was a wonderful storyteller, but Cobalt had heard him before. So, he took a seat at the bar.

“Bring me something I haven’t tried before.” Continue reading “Meet Archive”

Little Sandy Starstrong and Her Faithful Robot Dogs

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Beyond Centauri, Issue #35, January 2012


“Only a fool would attack a little girl guarded by a model 6500 Roboweiler.”

“I told you not to feed the dogs scrap metal!” Sandy’s dad said.

TJ coughed a telltale cloud of non-ferrous impurities, and L2D2 was still dulling his shiny alloy teeth on a ragged piece of scrap in the corner. Continue reading “Little Sandy Starstrong and Her Faithful Robot Dogs”