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”

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”

We Can Remember It For You Retail

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Redstone Science Fiction #26, July 2012

“He’d tried to keep the blaring ads in his ears secret from her, but something about her look made him think she knew anyhow. Besides, those cats were so vivid it was hard to believe anyone in the coffee shop hadn’t seen them.”

Dylan reached into his pocket and pulled out his last tenner. He didn’t especially feel like drinking coffee, but he thought it’d look strange if he didn’t get something. Charlene ordered a double mocha frappacino and lemon cupcake with cream cheese icing. Dylan got the house coffee.

Would you like to hear an advertisement?” a voice said in Dylan’s ear as he and Charlene picked a table. He subvocalized, yes, and a catchy jingle for a laundromat down the street assaulted him. When the jingle finally ended, the voice in his head said, “Six cents have been deposited in your account.Continue reading “We Can Remember It For You Retail”

“Viewers Like You”

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in The Lorelei Signal, July 2012


“He liked the show, but he wished keeping his hand on the reader was less necessary. Sometimes, in his own room, Boston didn’t bother with the reader at all.”

“Put your hand back on the reader,” Boston’s mother chided. The boy squirmed but flattened his hand against the panel in the chair’s arm until his presence registered. He liked the show, but he wished keeping his hand on the reader was less necessary. Sometimes, in his own room, Boston didn’t bother with the reader at all. He felt guilty. He knew his mother would be mad if she knew. Continue reading ““Viewers Like You””

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”

Daisy Chaining

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Untied Shoelaces of the Mind, Issue #5, September 2011


“Frezzipods can take the vacuum for hours, and convertible controls are designed for their clackety claw-hands. Me, though? I found myself sitting in a spaceship that hardly deserves the name — more of a space skateboard with an over-clocked engine, if you ask me…”

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”

The Nebula Was Empty

by Mary E. Lowd

Originally published in Spaceports and Spidersilk, June 2011

“”Is anyone out there?” the radio wave asked. The beast froze herself, like unto holding her breath, focusing entirely on the radio waves.”

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”