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Bewildering Stories

Bewildering Stories’
Third Quarterly Review, 2020

Year 19 of Bewildering Stories

The Editors’ Choices in issues 861-872


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 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, Andrew L. Hodges, Gary Inbinder, Bill Kowaleski, Johanna Miklós, 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, whether we send regrets or they qualify for the Mariner Awards at year’s end.

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, Bill Kowaleski 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 603 votes on 68 titles, 27 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 pleasantly warm, with 9 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 873 on September 28, 2020.

Titles selected of titles eligible

1 of 2
0 of 4
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
12 of 31
7 of 9
Short Poetry
3 of 13
4 of 8
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.


J. H. Malone, Roundup

Short Stories

Théodore de Banville, Fire Stealer
Gary Clifton, Rune Froseth, The Decision Button
Jeffrey Greene, C. J. Heckman, The Stranger from Syllamar
Evelyn M. Lewis, A Solipsist's Country
Ana Teresa Pereira, The Dark Pond
Dan Sexton-Riley, The Skein of a Life
Charles David Taylor, Delphi, Voice from the Cloud
Howard Zaharoff, Escher Dines Alone

Flash Fiction

Coleman Bomar, The New Fatherhood
Gary Clifton, Charles C. Cole, Robert Walton, Llorona


Stephen Ellams, Lizzie Siddal
LindaAnn LoSchiavo, Lethe’s Lullaby
Peter Roberts, In a Maryland Graveyard

Short Poetry

Edward Ahern, Breaking Waves
Meg Smith, Douglas Young, Yellow Weeds


Books and Other Reviews


Some Are Wine
Lemon Flowers and Fruit
Unfitting the Crime
6° K.
What’s to Sneeze At?
Count Your Change

Discussions and Challenge Responses

Students and Speech


Charles C. Cole, My Friend the Bully
Boris Kokotov, For My Brother


Richard Ong

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. Gary Clifton, The Vortex
  2. Stephen Ellams, Musical Tastes Change
  3. Meg Smith, The Unborn Family
  4. James Rumpel, Earth Treasure
  5. Charles David Taylor, Delphi, Voice from the Cloud
  6. Chariklia Martalas, The Miner and the Opera
  7. Ana Teresa Pereira, The Dark Pond
  8. Edward Ahern, Breaking Waves
  9. Arthur Davis, The Morland Basking Plain

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

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