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Bewildering Stories

Bewildering Stories’
First Quarterly Review, 2019

Year 17 of Bewildering Stories

The Editors’ Choices in issues 791-801


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 — winter or summer, according to your hemisphere — with the Review Editors’ selection of favorites from the first quarter of 2019. 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 or competition; they are a special poll. And there are no quotas: anything — from everything to nothing — may qualify in any genre. 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, Heather J. Frederick, Gary Inbinder, Bill Kowaleski, Johanna Miklós, 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, Heather J. Frederick and Johanna Miklós; 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 11 weeks, the Review Editors cast 857 votes on 83 titles, 36 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 is quite warm, with 12 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 802 on April 1, 2019.

Titles selected of titles eligible
1 of 1
1 of 2
2 of 2
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
16 of 34
7 of 14
Short Poetry
Essays & Memoirs
3 of 13
5 of 15
1 of 2


Charles C. Cole, Murder in New Eden


J. C. G. Goelz, Responsibilities of Being a Man


Keith O’Neill, Badlands
Gordon Sun, Right to Live

Short Stories

Steve Bates, The Singularity of Louisa Lindsay
Paul Bluestein, One of a Kind
Max Christopher, Succorbus
Gary Clifton, The Dragon Slayer's Helper
Scott Coon, The Loneliest Advertisement Bot
Walter Giersbach, Rosamonde Calley
Paul Alex Gray, Crypto-Boss
Dave Henson, Steve, the Coruscating Ewe
Vanessa Kittle, The Shining World
J. G. P. MacAdam, Halleth and Me
Ljubo Popovich, Stars, Hide Your Fires
L. S. Popovich, Hey, You
Margaret Rumford, At the Tillicoultrie Inn
Mike Sharlow, The Rock Fight
Tom Sheehan, Techniques of the Blind
Howard Vogl, Chopping Mannequins

Flash Fiction

Charles C. Cole, Noel Denvir, Happyland
Jen Durbent, Your Walls Can Talk
Boris Kokotov, An Authentic Gnosis
Joyce Meggett, In and Out of the Knickknackatorium


Robin Helweg-Larsen, You Can't Handle Full Sun
Ljubo Popovich, The World Moves in Reverse
Ken Poyner, Gather

Short Poetry

Edward Ahern, Corporate Vision
Michael J. Collins, Madhouse Soundtrack
Crystalwizard, Oonah V. Joslin, Level Carbon

Essays & Memoirs

Boghos L. Artinian, Your Mass in Gold


Books and Other Reviews


Crossing the Anachron
The Laundry on the List
Word Has It That...
Easy As Pie
Bring Back the Dodo
Doubling Down
Action Seen

Discussions and Challenge Responses

Daedalus and Others, part 1; part 2
Wishful Thinking
Politics? What Politics?
Drawing Conclusions

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 or more reasons. The titles are listed in descending order with the most controversial first. Three 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. Peter Ninnes, Ice Cream and Wombat
  2. Gary Beck, Raw Realism: a Poetry Manifesto
  3. L. S. Popovich, Hey, You
  4. Scott Coon, The Loneliest Advertisement Bot
  5. Sergio Hartshorne, Sons and Mothers
  6. Gary Beck, Lunacy
  7. Robin Helweg-Larsen, First Contact
  8. Robin Helweg-Larsen, Earth Competition
  9. Jerine P. Watson, The Chicken Lady
  10. Dave Henson, Steve, the Coruscating Ewe
  11. Bethany Cardwell, Emma and the Mermaid
  12. Arthur Jackson, The Unexpected Friend

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 Sagittarius Arm

Return to Quarterly News

Featured 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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