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Bewildering Stories

Bewildering Stories’
Second Quarterly Review, 2020

Year 18 of Bewildering Stories

The Editors’ Choices in issues 849-860


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 — spring or fall, according to your hemisphere — with the Review Editors’ selection of favorites from the second 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 12 weeks, the Review Editors cast 716 votes on 73 titles, 37 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 861 on June 28, 2020.

Titles selected of titles eligible

1 of 1
3 of 4
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
10 of 28
10 of 13
Short Poetry
6 of 12
6 of 14
1 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.


Mickey J. Corrigan, Trigger Warnings


Daniel W. Galef, Ex Libris
Rick Kennett, The Gods in Their Galleries
Daniel Stride, A Breath Through Silver

Short Stories

Edward Ahern, Pest Hag
R. C. Capasso, The Shield of Jamos
Scott Coon, Enduring Winter
Tom Hooker, A Case of Petit Mal
Edna C. Horning, MoJo the Mighty
Maurice Humphrey, A Week at the Beach
Harrison Kim, Just Inside the Frame
Ed Kratz, Edna Goes to the Frogs
James Rumpel, A Quest for Heaven
Craig M. Workman, The Rusty Door

Flash Fiction

Gary Clifton, Charles C. Cole, James Penha, Charming
Cheryl Wood Ruggiero, Knock-Knock


Edward Ahern, The Limits of Writing
Farideh Hassanzadeh, Pen Pals
Robin Helweg-Larsen, Hilltops
Wendy Holborow, Sponged Out
Oonah V. Joslin, Apollo 13
Oscar V. de Lubicz-Milosz,

Short Poetry

Richard Fleming, Red Umbrella
Oonah V. Joslin, New and Modern Poet
Edgar R. Luna, Treeless Patio
LindaAnn LoSchiavo, James R. Rudolph,


Edward Ahern,


Books and Other Reviews


On Whom the Joke’s Told
Into the Mix
Hamster Wheels
Picking Up the Pieces
Megalos’ Mania
Yours Truly
Trigger Warnings, chapters 7-10

Discussions and Challenge Responses

For Whom the Joke’s Told
A Comma Quiz
Line Breaks
Near Zero
The Other in Creative Destruction
Sucks, Blueberryport
Albert Camus and The Plague
Near Zero
Near Zero, chapter 22


Gary Clifton, Lost Souls
Charles C. Cole, Owning My Mistake
Richard LeBlond, Make Way for the King
Cheryl Wood Ruggiero, Words to Bless the Day in Moshi

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. 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. Oonah V. Joslin, New and Modern Poet
  2. Bob Welbaum, When Your Number Comes Up
  3. Michael Wooff, A Dizain for Palissy
  4. Martin Lochman, What Used To Be Mom
  5. Mickey J. Corrigan, Trigger Warnings
  6. James Rumpel, A Quest for Heaven
  7. Morris J. Marshall, Back to the Barber Shop
  8. Charles C. Cole, Collector’s Items
  9. Daniel W. Galef, Ex Libris
  10. Harrison Kim, Just Inside the Frame
  11. Cheryl Wood Ruggiero, Knock-Knock

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

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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