Panda-Mensional

Panda-Mensional
Jace offers Meijing another handful of bamboo to munch, but the panda only raises a hind paw to itch at her control collar.

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Neo-Opsis, May 2015


I point at the star map again, angrily saying, “Come on, Meijing! We only have a few hours of air left!” But the black-masked eyes blink at me impassively, profoundly uninterested in the yellow spot on the view screen under my fingertip. Continue reading “Panda-Mensional”

Lunar Cavity

Lunar Cavity
“Earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes… massive geological instability.” The words were hard to say. He felt that each time he named one of these horrible side-effects that he might be conjuring one to crush loved ones, light years away, back on Wrombarra.

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in The Furry Future, January 2015


The air was too cold and the gravity too strong. But, Druthel liked the cave-like architecture. He was on the moon-world of Kong-Fuzi, a naked rock without even an atmosphere — only a few small atmo-domes, a scattering of boxy, airtight buildings, and a subterranean tunnel complex connecting them all. It circled the planet Da Vinci, capital of the Human Expansion, and it hosted the renowned and arrogantly named Wespirtech, the Western Spiral Arm Institute of Technology. Continue reading “Lunar Cavity”

Harvesting Wishes

“But, the Harvester altered the dandelion DNA long ago, and the flowers will only grow in a soil laced with her secret mix of protein supplements.”

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in The Lorelei Signal, January 2011


Most genies offer three. Where do they get them? The Harvester is an old woman, who wears a four-leafed clover in her locket and a garland of dandelions on her hair. The locket was a gift from a suitor, many years before, bought at the Crossroads Station bazaar. The dandelions have to be supplied fresh, daily. So, she keeps a greenhouse in the aft of her ship. The Harvester tells her genie customers that the wishes she harvests come from the overripe gold flowers gone to fluffy white seed. This, of course, is not true, but the genies love it. Continue reading “Harvesting Wishes”

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”

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”

The Nebula Was Empty

“Is anyone out there?” the radio wave asked.

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Spaceports and Spidersilk, June 2011


The nebula was empty. Cold. Proto-star matter, so many dust motes, drifted, dully refracting the light of nearby constellations. The dust motes didn’t even swirl. There was nothing to disturb them into motion, except for the nebula beast herself. In earlier times, during her youth, she frolicked — expanding space here; squeezing tight there; watching the space debris splash about. She chased the dust motes between her many dimensions, but now she was too sad to make her own fun. Continue reading “The Nebula Was Empty”