Department header
Bewildering Stories

Bewildering Stories’
First Quarterly Review, 2020

Year 18 of Bewildering Stories

The Editors’ Choices in issues 838-848


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 2020. 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 11 weeks, the Review Editors cast 859 votes on 85 titles, 31 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 memoirs as well as the Challenges.
The Order of the Hot Potato is quite warm, 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 849 on March 30, 2020.

Titles selected of titles eligible

1 of 1

Short Stories
Flash Fiction
11 of 29
7 of 9
Short Poetry
7 of 22
5 of 23
0 of 1

• 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 and the Departments are listed in chronological order.


Amber Ray, If Wishes Were Horses

Short Stories

Gary Clifton, Patrick Creek, Master Fairchild’s Garden
Nikki Everts, A Life of Crime
Jeffrey Greene, The Picker Boy
James Penha, Dan Reed, The Real Thing
James Rumpel, Addi and the Unicorn
DL Shirey, Magic Nation
Jie Wang, iGenesis

Flash Fiction

Gary Clifton, Charles C. Cole, Mickey J. Corrigan, Brave New Lit


Nancy D. Bonazzoli, Old-Growth Forest
Emerson Gilmore, The Boxing Match
Colleen Halupa, Daytrip
Jack D. Harvey, James R. Rudolph, Snowflake’s Mandala

Short Poetry

Edward Ahern, Day Time
Nancy D. Bonazzoli, Ache
Wendy Holborow, Stirred Words
Bill Kowaleski, Dumping in the Woods...
LindaAnn LoSchiavo, Cemetery Walk in Winter


Books and Other Reviews


Covering Tracks
Hard Riding
Poem-Packin’ Mama
Thinking Is Futile?
Down the Dark Side
Just a Cigar

Discussions and Challenge Responses

Reader Feedback
Right on Schedule
The Last Word
What Is a Ghost?
The Villanelle
Cygnians and Earthlings


Harrison Kim, In the Land of the Gauls

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. Four 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. Robin Helweg-Larsen, Windsor and Oakes, 1943
  2. Robin Helweg-Larsen, Post-Literacy
  3. Colleen Halupa, Daytrip
  4. Madi Giovina, Crying in Public
  5. James Penha, Leaves of Peace
  6. Nancy D. Bonazzoli, Precipice
  7. James R. Rudolph, Snowflake’s Mandala
  8. Paul Revis, Happy Farms
  9. Paula R. Donoso, The Girl From the Sea
  10. Nikki Everts, A Life of Crime
  11. Carl Perrin, Murdering Dorothy

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 Sagittarius Arm
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

Return to top
Go to issue 848
Go to the All Issues index
Go to the Schedule “In Times to Come”

Copyright © March 23, 2020 by Bewildering Stories

Home Page