Lunar Cavity

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in The Furry Future, January 2015


“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.

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

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in The Lorelei Signal, January 2011


“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.”

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”

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”

The Ambi-Cognitive Man

Other people stared for the larger, more obvious, cruder reason: “Hey, look, there’s a man with two heads!” Jordy could never think of them that way; more like two men sharing one body.

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in M-Brane SF, #18, July 2010


The starhopper had been parked on the edge of town for several hours. After the seven star jump to get all the way to Neggemmon, Jordy figured his friends would want to get right out and meet the natives, so to speak. He understood when Tom recommended fixing lunch first. (Seriously, you can never trust the food in out-of-touch Expansionist colonies. Forget a colony for long enough, and they’ll start harvesting vacuum-slugs to eat.) But he started to get suspicious when Henry suggested relaxing with a quick hand of cards. Continue reading “The Ambi-Cognitive Man”

Emmanuel and the Cannibals

“Emmanuel stared, dumbfounded.  How long had these people been stranded here?”

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Shelter of Daylight #4, October 2010


The second ship crash landed too.

Emmanuel knew the Clemency was a junker, and he was well experienced at safely crashing her. Better still, he carried plenty of spare parts, and he knew how to use them. Emmanuel was one of the best crash-pilots and jerry-rigging mechanics this end of the spiral arm. Seriously, you could not do better. Unless you didn’t crash. But, that would involve owning a ship that didn’t constantly blow her fuses, fuse her wiring, and otherwise complain about having to haul her titanium alloy hull through space. Continue reading “Emmanuel and the Cannibals”

Apples in Aruba

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Spaceports and Spidersilk, Vol. 5 No. 1, March 2012


“I’ll have the tuna fish.” Lawrence closed his menu.

“Are you kidding?” Jeggy said. “Don’t order that. It’s like eating apples in Aruba.”

“What are you supposed to eat in Aruba?” Lawrence eyed the other patrons of The All Alien Cafe suspiciously. Continue reading “Apples in Aruba”

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”

Rekindle the Sun

“The little, yellow sun blazed, almost mockingly, as Kerri and Alan stepped, holding hands, onto the world that was to be their new home.”

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Belong: Interstellar Immigration Stories, April 2010


The yellow sun of Heffe VIII beamed onto Kerri’s face through the freighter ship’s window. She’d been watching intently through the window ever since the ship entered the Heffen solar system. “It’s hard to believe that’s a dying sun,” Kerri said. It was still so bright and dazzling, hanging in the black, velvet sky. It looked young and promising, not old and fading. Kerri turned to her husband, Alan, who was sitting beside her, and smiled. “It’ll be good to finally see Heffe,” she said. Continue reading “Rekindle the Sun”