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Bewildering Stories

Bewildering Stories’
Fourth Quarterly Review, 2016

Year 15 of Bewildering Stories

The Editors’ Choices: issues 684-695


by Richard Ong

The Quarterly and Annual Reviews and Bewildering Stories itself
are like lighthouses on the chaotic sea of the Internet.
They signal not danger but “Good landfall” and “Safe harbor.”
Welcome ashore!

Everything in green is a link. A few links are standard (blue, underlined). The genres in the “Titles selected” table are anchor or alert links. Links to pages other than the QR open in a new window; you won‘t lose your place.

Bewildering Stories ends the season — spring or fall, depending on your hemisphere — with the Review Editors’ selection of favorites from the fourth quarter of 2016. New readers will have easy access to the recent best of Bewildering Stories, and veteran readers will have a chance to catch up on anything they may have missed.

The Quarterly Reviews are not a contest, competition or poll. And there are no quotas: anything — from everything to nothing — may qualify in any genre. Rather, they answer a practical question: “If a friend asked you to recommend something outstanding from the past quarter of Bewildering Stories, what are your favorites? What would you choose?”

As always, the Review Board’s discussions have been extensive and lively. A big Thank You to Edward Ahern, Bill Bowler, Gary Clifton, Charles C. Cole, Ada Fetters, Gary Inbinder, Bill Kowaleski, Marina J. Neary, John Stocks and Lewayne L. White.

At Bewildering Stories, no one is the proverbial tree falling unheard in a forest. All contributors know that real people have given their works a thoughtful reading, regardless whether we send regrets or they qualify for the Mariner Awards.

The Review Editors and Associate Editors — our review readers — have functions that are entirely different but equally important. The Review Editors determine how Bewildering Stories shall carry its flag. The Associate Editors determine what Bewildering Stories shall be. Their insightful and detailed critiques of submissions help us set what we like to think is an Internet standard for editorial practice and for service to our contributors and readers.

Our special editors also deserve a vote of thanks: Coordinating Editors Bill Bowler, Edward Ahern and Bill Kowaleski; Flash Fiction Editor Charles C. Cole; and Poetry Editor John Stocks. They provide the kind of personal touch Bewildering Stories takes pride in, and they make the administrative work not only easier but possible.

The Quarterly News

In the past 12 weeks, the Review Editors cast 884 votes on 88 titles, 35 of which have qualified as Editors’ Choices. We congratulate the authors represented here. We hope they will inspire all our contributors.

We think our Review Editors reflect the range of opinion to be found among our readers.
The Order of the Hot Potato is blazing hot, with 19 titles.
The Order of Merit is a special acknowledgment to our contributors. It’s a kind of “surprise package” that links to the most highly rated works in this Quarterly Review.

The Mariner Awards follow next week, in the 2016 Annual Review. We resume regular publication with issue 696 on January 2, 2017.

Titles selected of titles eligible

2 of 2
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
13 of 38
6 of 8
1 of 1
Short Poetry
Essays & Memoirs
4 of 10
9 of 29


Bill Prindle,

Short Stories

Edward Ahern, The Consubstantial Man
David Castlewitz, MAMA's Boy
Gary Clifton John Gatley, The Places Between
Gary Ives, Christmas Pies
Bill Kowaleski, Politics Unusual
Morris Marshall, That Burning Question
Roger Pitcher, The Splon Is a Lonely Hunter
Kitley Wellington, The Parochial Quest of Upper Pandle


Charles C. Cole, Bugs

Flash Fiction

Gary Clifton, A Mother's Blessing
Charles C. Cole, Betsy Isbell, Heave(n) for Don(e) Pedro
Boris Kokotov, Utterly Presidential


Gary Beck, Remembrance
Bertrand Cayzac, Second Martian Eclogue
Anna Ruiz, Inside the Quiet Room
Richard Stevenson, Batsquatch

Short Poetry

Shola Balogun Lana Bella B. Z. Niditch, A Boston Beat
Robert W. Shmigelsky, The Endless Sea


Selections are listed in chronological order.
Reviews and Interviews are indexed separately.


(Paren)thesis and Antithesis
Mistakes Were Made
Party Overboard
Where’s His Daddy?
Clean Up or Clear Out


Emergency Equipment
Cassandra’s Voices in 2016: Warnings to the Modern Age
The Del Rio Crossing
The Hayek Manifesto
Simultaneous Submissions: The Trust Factor


Remembering Ron Van Sweringen
Remembering Susan Hagedorn

The Order of the Hot Potato

Here are the most controversial works of the quarter, the ones on which the Review Editors’ opinions diverged significantly for one reason or another. The titles are listed in descending order with the most controversial first. All but two of the titles appear among the Editors’ Choices. Challenge to the readers: why might any of these titles be on the list? Discussions are welcome and may appear in a future regular issue.

  1. Bertrand Cayzac, Second Martian Eclogue
  2. Bill Prindle, Ghost Writers
  3. Shola Balogun, In Solitary
  4. Bill Prindle, A Demonic Dilemma
  5. Gary Clifton, A Mother's Blessing
  6. Shola Balogun, In Rwanda
  7. Richard Murray, Troubled Times
  8. Shola Balogun, Sparrows
  9. Gary Clifton, Where Nowhere Begins
  10. Roger Pitcher, The Splon Is a Lonely Hunter
  11. Betsy Isbell, Heave(n) for Don(e) Pedro
  12. Charles C. Cole, My Gypsy Mother
  13. Kitley Wellington, The Parochial Quest of Upper Pandle
  14. Anna Ruiz, Inside the Quiet Room
  15. Gary Clifton, The Del Rio Crossing
  16. Gary Beck, Remembrance
  17. Morris Marshall, That Burning Question
  18. Shola Balogun, Remember Kenule
  19. Lana Bella, Suburb Heartbeats

The Order of Merit

Here are links to the most highly rated works in each genre represented by more than one title in this Quarterly Review. The categories are listed according to their normal order in the Readers’ Guide.

In keeping with Bewildering Stories’ astronomical motif, the winners are indicated by the names of space telescopes. The most highly rated title in the quarter is indicated by the name of an arm of the Galaxy.

Short Stories
Flash Fiction
Short Poetry

The Perseus Arm

Return to Quarterly News

Available at Bewildering Press

Bewildering Press
Jack Alcott, Grim Legion
Sam Ivey, Gilboy’s Quest
Martin Kerharo, The Dohani War
Harry Lang, The Mountains of the Eldritch Sea
Danielle L. Parker, In a Pig’s Eye
Slawomir Rapala, Aezubah, the Crimson General
Bertrand Cayzac, Floozman in Space
Michael E. Lloyd, Donna’s Men
Michael E. Lloyd, Missing Emilie
Michael E. Lloyd, Observation One
Michael E. Lloyd, Observation Two
Michael E. Lloyd, Observation Three
Bewildering Press

Grim Legion   Gilboy's Quest   The Dohani War   Mountains of the Eldritch Sea

Donna's Men Missing Emilie   Observation One   Observation Two   Observation Three

In a Pig's Eye   The Crimson General   Floozman in Space   Floozman dans l'espace

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Copyright © September 19, 2016 by Bewildering Stories

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