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Bewildering Stories

Bewildering Stories’
Third Quarterly Review, 2019

Year 18 of Bewildering Stories

The Editors’ Choices in issues 814-825


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 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

We think our Review Editors reflect the range of opinion to be found among our readers. In the past 12 weeks, the Review Editors cast 792 votes on 77 titles, 32 of which have qualified as Editors’ Choices. We congratulate the authors and hope they will inspire all our contributors.

The Departments are very active, with discussions, memoirs and interviews.
The Order of the Hot Potato is very hot, with 14 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 826 on September 30, 2019.

Titles selected of titles eligible

1 of 1
1 of 3
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
11 of 36
5 of 12
Short Poetry
6 of 9
7 of 13
1 of 3


Jeffrey Greene, To the Berginlight Bridge


Scott Hughes, Songcaster and Little Dune

Short Stories

Ed Blundell, The Myth of the Mermaid
Liliana Bodoc, Yellow
Gary Clifton, Freddy's Diner
Edna C. Horning, A Spirit of Fun
Kayvan Litke-Farzaneh, Tyler Marable, Upload and Reboot
Matthew G. Rees, Tetsuya Sato, King Anisika
Ernst Schoen-Rene, Memory Broker
Nick Sweeney, A Blossom From Bosnia
Tom Vaine, The Lizardmen of Karackas

Flash Fiction

Edward Ahern, Late Night Snowfall
Gary Clifton, The Way to Sanctuary Town
Charles C. Cole,


Jackson Arthur, My Child Who Never Lived
Oonah V. Joslin, Robin Helweg-Larsen, All Aboard!
Michael Murry, A Prologue to Between the Ads

Short Poetry

Edward Ahern, Low Tide
Channie Greenberg, Wild Mama
Robin Helweg-Larsen, I Started Out Alone
Oonah V. Joslin, Sea of Tranquility
Meg Smith, Dennis Trujillo, Field of Onions


James Dupree, The Five Stages of Writing


Books and Other Reviews


House Security
Hold That Nose
What Time Isn’t It?
Rain in the Odors
Be Careful What You Pull On
Lights On and Out
Beating the Ambushes
Dress the Part

Letters and Challenge Responses

Issue 816 discussion
Public Trust


Charles C. Cole, Discovered in a Library
Thomas Wm. Hamilton, Preparing the Apollo Missions
Martha von der Gathen, Purple Roses
Ellen Weisberg, From Both Sides


John Thiel interviews Don Webb about Bewildering Stories.
Bewildering Stories interviews John Thiel
Don Webb and Charlie Cole (photo)

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. Eight 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. Meg Smith, Coffin Birth
  2. Robin Ray, The Eye of Balance
  3. Tom Vaine, The Lizardmen of Karackas
  4. Ken Poyner, Interstellar Sport
  5. Hayley Reese Chow, Wild Demand
  6. Franco Amati, No "I" on a First Date
  7. James Dupree, The Five Stages of Writing
  8. Oonah V. Joslin, I Know a Secret
  9. Jerry Guarino, The Great Zucchini
  10. Meg Smith, The Shallows
  11. Lynne Conrad, Road Rage
  12. Nick Sweeney, A Blossom From Bosnia
  13. Jeffrey Greene, To the Berginlight Bridge
  14. Tyler Marable, Upload and Reboot

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.

Short Stories
Flash Fiction
Short Poetry

The Perseus 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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