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Bewildering Stories

Bewildering Stories’
Fourth Quarterly Review, 2017

Year 16 of Bewildering Stories

The Editors’ Choices in issues 731-742


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 — fall or spring, depending on your hemisphere — with the Review Editors’ selection of favorites from the fourth quarter of 2017. 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, nothing 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 Edward Ahern, Ada Fetters, and Bill Kowaleski; Flash Fiction and Drama Editor Charles C. Cole; Poetry Editor John Stocks; and Reviews Editor Alison McBain. 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 804 votes on 84 titles, 41 of which have qualified as Editors’ Choices. We congratulate the authors for a very strong fourth quarter. 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 quite warm, with 13 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 2017 Annual Review will appear on December 25.
We resume regular publication with issue 743 on January 1, 2018.

Titles selected of titles eligible
1 of 1
1 of 1
0 of 2
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
13 of 35
9 of 10
2 of 2
Short Poetry
Essays & Memoirs
10 of 15
5 of 17
0 of 1


Gary Clifton, The Dead Bin


Morris J. Marshall, Volatility Cycles

Short Stories

Edward Ahern, The Purloined Oil
Matthew F. Amati, Defender of the Flesh
Bob Beach, Terms and Conditions
Mar Na Carter, Fly, Bird, Fly
Gary Clifton, Measure Twice, Cut Once
David Henson, Jonah Kruvant, Imagine His Thoughts
Sameer Kulkarni, A Spy in McLeod Ganj
Ronald Linson, Tapping the Line
Anna O’Brien, The Data Eaters
Ljubo Popovich, The Heart of Cygnus
Kevin Stadt, Beneath the Cloud
Marian L. Thorpe, The Spider's Spinning


Charles C. Cole

Flash Fiction

Edward Ahern Gary Clifton, Just Another Mark
Charles C. Cole Emma Grave, Stop, Thief!
L. L. Richardson, A Reason to Worry


Edward Ahern, At the Cottage
Crystalwizard, Autumn's Art
Channie Greenberg, Soft Words and Whispers
Michael Lee Johnson, Alexandra David-Neal
Oonah V. Joslin Isabelle Kenyon, Scheherezade
Michael Murry Chiamaka Okonkwo, Lost Dogs and City Lights

Short Poetry

Mike Acker, Late Evening Walk
Edward Ahern, Digger
Channie Greenberg, No More Box-Spring Wibbles
Oonah V. Joslin


Book Reviews  |  Music Reviews

Classic Reissue

Cyrano de Bergerac,


Blue Eggs
Biting the Egg
We Interrupt This Program...
You Are What You Reat


The Priceless Barking Dog
Biting Down
Saint Cabbage and Issue 734
Comma Collisions
The Dead Bin and Real Life
What Is a Story or Poem?
Conflict and Resolution
Colonizing: Past and Future
Defining “Conflict”
Bastards, Dastards and Matrimony
The Knave of Hearts Retried

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. Seven 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. Dennis Wayne Smith, My Friend Bill
  2. Oonah V. Joslin, Kin
  3. Sultana Raza, Keats’s Quantic Entanglement
  4. David Henson, The Greatest Artist of the 22nd Century
  5. James Krehbiel, Pure in Their Own Eyes
  6. Ásgrímur Hartmannsson, Green Meadows
  7. Nicholas MacDonnell, The Eraser
  8. Kevin Stadt, Beneath the Cloud
  9. Michael Murry, Thank You for Your Servility
  10. Oonah V. Joslin, Before the Birds and the Bees
  11. Denny Marshall, Stowaway
  12. Charles C. Cole, Collision Course
  13. Edward Ahern, The Purloined Oil

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 Index and 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. Multiple listings are ties, which are listed in chronological order.

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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Go to issue 742
Go to the All Issues index
Go to the Schedule “In Times to Come”

Copyright © December 18, 2017 by Bewildering Stories

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