Summer Strawberries

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in The Voice of Dog, April 2020


The golden sunlight flowed outward like dripping honey, extruding itself into the glowing form of a snarling bear.” (Art by Lane Lowd)

Jenna slammed shut the refrigerator door and kicked it.  The strawberries were gone.  Mom knew Jenna was saving them but must have eaten them herself or fed them to the baby anyway.  Jenna was so mad she could scream.

She stomped into the computer room where Mom was working at the computer with Baby Riley asleep on her lap.  Mom shushed her and whispered, “You need to be quieter.  Riley’s sleeping.” Continue reading “Summer Strawberries”

A Sense of Clarity

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Chrysalis: A Fairy Tale Anthology, February 2020


“…the love story he told of an amphibioid and a photosynthetic floral alien was the stuff of fairy tales.”

He was the kind of guy who would give a fake name.  Clarity could tell by the way he tentatively tried sitting at three different tables before settling down on a seat at the bar; also, the way his bulgy, protuberant eyes kept glancing around nervously; and, finally, the way he glared piercingly at his mottled green, slumped reflection in the mirror behind the bar before answering her question.

“So, what’s your name?” she asked. Continue reading “A Sense of Clarity”

Treasure in the Sky

by Mary E. Lowd

A Deep Sky Anchor Original, December 2020

“Then he backed away from the yawning window, as if it were a portal that he could fall through and never land, floating forever, lost in the void of space.”

The short, stout, furry alien stared out the starship’s curving bridge window at the star-studded black sky.  His black fur blended into the sky like a shadow, but the blaze of white over his forehead stood out like a brand.  His rounded ears splayed, and he curled his heavy claws into fists.  “I don’t belong here,” he muttered, and the ship’s computer translated it.  “None of my people do.” Continue reading “Treasure in the Sky”

Somewhere Over the Ocean

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Boldly Going Forward, March 2020


“The hatchway of the spaceship opened, and three aliens emerged, each of them wearing a breathing mask over their face.”

A’loo’loo swam eagerly back and forth, impatient for the spaceship above her, floating on the ocean’s surface, to open its hatchway.  There had been so little warning — A’loo’loo had only discovered the burst of radio waves coming from her planet’s orbit three tides ago.  Everything had changed since then. Continue reading “Somewhere Over the Ocean”

The Night Janitor and Alien Oceans

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Typewriter Emergencies, June 2018


“Rerin’s rounded ears flattened, and she looked out the window at those oceans again. Was there someone down there?”

Rerin jostled the control panel while rubbing it down with a rag.  The racoon-like alien didn’t know how the day-crew got the bridge controls so sticky.  They were supposed to be searching the oceans on this world for signs of sentience — not snacking and boozing on Eridanii brandy.  Rerin had expected janitorial detail on a starship full of human and s’rellick scientists to be an easy job.  Instead, the naked-skinned primates partied all day, and the s’rellick shed scales everywhere — not to mention the extra work involved in tending to their live food.  Ugh.  Terrarium after terrarium filled with scuttling insects and rodents.  Rerin would not be signing on with this ship again. Continue reading “The Night Janitor and Alien Oceans”

Am I Furry? — Fandom vs. Genre

by Mary E. Lowd

“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.” — Groucho Marx

 “I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.” — Groucho Marx

“You shouldn’t need a membership card to write or enjoy furry fiction. All you need is a story about anthropomorphic animals, and there are more of those coming out all the time.”

There’s a question that floats around the furry writing community occasionally:  how do you define furry fiction?  At first glance, this question seems similar to the age-old, what’s the difference between sci-fi and fantasy?  A nit-picky question about the borders of a genre that can be endlessly debated.  Hours can be lost to arguing over whether Star Wars is sci-fi because of spaceships, or fantasy because of the Force.  I would expect arguments about furry fiction to fall along similar lines.  For instance, does Robert T. Bakker’s Raptor Red anthropomorphize the raptors enough to count as furry?  Or is it simply a piece of speculative naturalism? Continue reading “Am I Furry? — Fandom vs. Genre”

Catacomb’s Orchestra

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, April 2020

“Mice minds were so small. So easy for Catacomb to read.”

Catacomb laid her paw across the tiny heaving belly of the almost drowned mouse.  The poor thing was frightened out of its mind; she could feel its fright through her paw, prickly and tingly.  Mouse emotions were so funny.

“I saved you from the koi pond, Little One,” Catacomb purred.  “Now your life is mine.”  Never mind that the mouse would never have fallen in the koi pond if Catacomb hadn’t been chasing it.  She could see herself through the mouse’s eyes:  massive, terrifying, death-personified.  The asymmetrical orange and black splotches that had inspired her human to name her Peaches (after a bowl of peach cobbler) looked like a devastating Halloween mask to the mouse.  No sweetness.  All murder. Continue reading “Catacomb’s Orchestra”

The Fire In Her Claws

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, April 2020

“How could they ask someone to take her claws away? How can hate look so much like love?”

Apricot dozed in her cat-carrier, enjoying the warmth of the sunlight pouring through the car window and down through the grated metal top of her carrier.  She had an old, rough towel to sleep on, and she was extremely comfortable.  The occasional bump in the road roused her out of her semi-sleep, and she heard her humans in the front seat of the car talking.  Continue reading “The Fire In Her Claws”

Veins of Black, Dust of Gold

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, September 2018

“The green skin of her face split open revealing a smooth crystalline surface underneath.”

Am-lei had been growing stiffer by the day. Her long, green, tubular body was usually lithe and flexible. She could twist her way through the grav-bubble obstacle courses on the Crossroads Space Station playground better than any Heffen children in her class. Their canine bodies couldn’t bend in half, twist into a pretzel, or grab onto an extra jungle gym bar with a sixth pair of arms. Continue reading “Veins of Black, Dust of Gold”

Excerpt from Purride and Purrejudice

by Mary E. Lowd

A Deep Sky Anchor Original, September 2020

“Do not you want to know what is in the boxes?” cried the dog impatiently.

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a cat in sight of an empty box, must sit in it.

However little known the feelings or views of such a cat may be on their first encountering an empty box, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of all good cat owners, that all empty boxes are considered as the rightful property of some one or other of their cats.

“My dear Mx. Kitty,” said the dog to her one day, “have you heard that the Amazon truck has arrived at last?” Continue reading “Excerpt from Purride and Purrejudice”