The Most Complicated Avatar

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, July 2012


“When Ken and I told her we were getting divorced… That’s when she added the tortoise shell. A big green shield covering her avatar’s little back.”

It feels strange to me, deep in my stomach, that I can’t find my ten-year-old girl in real life — but that, maybe, I can find her here.

My hand shakes on the computer mouse as I log in to Second World, using one of the default avatars — a woman with straight blonde hair like a plastic shell and the expressionless face of a crash-test-dummy. I try messaging my daughter through the in-game chat window right away, but my message bounces back. I check for her name, “fluttercat,” on the online user list, but it’s not where it should be between “flutter14” and “flutterkid.” My throat constricts with a swallowed sob, but I refuse to believe this tenuous connection to my missing daughter won’t pan out. Maybe she’s set her status to hidden. Continue reading “The Most Complicated Avatar”

Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year from Deep Sky Anchor!

The start of a new year is often a time for reflecting on the past, thinking over everything that happened in the previous year.

The first story in our next anthology — The Opposite of Memory — asks whether it’s really necessary to reflect on the past.  Why not simply forge ahead?  Leave the past behind.  Maybe even forget it entirely…  Forget Me Not was Mary E. Lowd’s first published story, and we’re proud to be able to present it for you here. Continue reading “Happy New Year!”

The Screen Savior

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Bards & Sages Quarterly, Vol. 2, Issue 3, July 2010

“I speak,” scrolled over the trembling body in simple red. “I speak that I am,” and after a pause, “I am the Screen Savior.”

Twenty-four bit, RGB color swirled, paisley-like on the sleeping monitor. The psychedelic mass of colors did not sleep like the electronic cradle holding them. The colors bulged. They ballooned out from the center of the monitor. The screensaver pattern pulled away from the physical surface forming a new surface, visible but ethereal. Continue reading “The Screen Savior”

Forget Me Not

“She looked sad. But it was a cheerful sad… The kind that hides its tears.”

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Northwest Passages: A Cascadian Anthology, September 2005


His confidence drew her to him. The gleam in his eye said “I can take on the world,” and she believed it. Here was a man who could not fail. She was fascinated, and her fascination endeared her to him.

Michael introduced them, but neither Joan nor Leland bestowed a second glance on Michael all night. Their eyes and conversation were reserved for each other. Continue reading “Forget Me Not”

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”