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Bewildering Stories

Bewildering Stories’
Third Quarterly Review, 2018

Year 17 of Bewildering Stories

The Editors’ Choices in issues 766-778


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 — summer or winter, according to your hemisphere — with the Review Editors’ selection of favorites from the third quarter of 2018. 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 Review is not a contest, competition or poll; it’s an election. And there are no quotas: anything — from everything to nothing — may qualify in any genre. Rather, the “QR” answers a practical question: “If a friend asked you what your favorites are in the past quarter of Bewildering Stories, 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, Alison McBain, 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 Alison McBain; Flash Fiction and Drama Editor Charles C. Cole; 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 13 weeks, the Review Editors cast 875 votes on 87 titles, 33 of which have qualified as Editors’ Choices. We congratulate the authors and 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 qualifies as “extremely hot,” with 11 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.

We resume regular publication with issue 779 on October 1, 2018.

Titles selected of titles eligible

1 of 1
1 of 4
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
16 of 36
4 of 10
Short Poetry
Essays & Memoirs
6 of 16
2 of 17
3 of 3
  • Serialized works are eligible only in the quarter in which they conclude.
  • All selections are listed in alphabetical order by author unless noted otherwise.
  • Multiple titles are listed in chronological order.


Robert J. Howe, Pinocchio’s Diary


John M. Floyd, The Winslow Tunnel

Short Stories

Hillary G. Anderson, Life Through Glass
Liana V. Andreasen, Warner’s Caddy
Chris Bullard, Peace Time
Gary Clifton, Who Murdered Tulsa Rose?
EK Cutting, Let Frank Handle It
Walter Giersbach, The Queen at the End of the Bar
Shawn Jacobson, The Man Who Could Only Be Human
Ronald Linson, Sacrifice of the Honored
C. Q. March, Thicker Than Blood
Morris J. Marshall, Peter Ninnes, A Distant Drumming
Janet E. Sever, Dead Man Working
Arthur Whitaker, Happiness for Sale
G. Allen Wilbanks, Chasing Destiny
Donald Zagardo, Ramona X

Flash Fiction

Brad Ashmore, Merry Mint
Gary Clifton, Rachel Rodman, Comestibly Ever After


Mike Acker, Kaci Skiles Laws, His Name is Happiness
Ljubo Popovich, P. K. Vijayan, He Wrote Her a Love Poem

Short Poetry

Crystalwizard, Cat vs. Rain
Robin Helweg-Larsen, Coming to the Boil


Clem Griffith, Settlements
Fred Russell, Brief Meditation on Space and Time
J. Zhanna Malekos Smith,


Book Reviews  |  Music Reviews


The Peril of the Age of Entertainment
The Blurring Effect
Narrative Tenses


Return the Salute
What Done It?
Square That Root
The Grammar of Spacetime
Telling a Metastory
Those Projects, Hear Them Roar
Forewarned Is Four-Armed
Strings Cut and Tied
Coughing Hacks

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. Lance Dean, Brain Dead Peep Star Dreams
  2. Clem Griffith, Settlements
  3. Robin Helweg-Larsen, Coming to the Boil
  4. John Eric Ellison, Lethal Life
  5. J. Zhanna Malekos Smith,
    The Great Cyberspace Solarium Dialogue
  6. Arthur Whitaker, Happiness for Sale
  7. Ljubo Popovich, What They Found in the Forest
  8. Hillary G. Anderson, Life Through Glass
  9. Ljubo Popovich, Sounds of Winter
  10. Mike Acker, Of Rivers and Forests
  11. Joseph Cusumano, Roman Holiday

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.

Short Stories
Flash Fiction
Short Poetry

The Sagittarius Arm

Return to the Quarterly News
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Go to issue 778
Go to the All Issues index
Go to the Schedule “In Times to Come”

Copyright © September 24, 2018 by Bewildering Stories

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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