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Bewildering Stories

Bewildering Stories’
Fourth Quarterly Review, 2020

Year 19 of Bewildering Stories

The Editors’ Choices in issues 873-884


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 — fall or spring, according to your hemisphere — with the Review Editors’ selection of favorites from the fourth 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, Jeffrey Greene, Andrew L. Hodges, Gary Inbinder, Bill Kowaleski, 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, and Bill Kowaleski; 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 659 votes on 70 titles, 25 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 cool, with 8 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.

Next week will feature the Mariner Awards, the Editors’s Choices for the year in the Annual Review. We resume regular publication with issue 885 on January 4, 2021.

Titles selected of titles eligible
2 of 2
0 of 1
1 of 1
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
8 of 32
8 of 14
Short Poetry
5 of 11
1 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.


Natan Dubovitsky, Near Zero
Bill Kowaleski, Creative Destruction


N. D. Coley, Megan’s Shift

Short Stories

Jeffrey Greene, Only You Will Find Me
Harrison Kim, Salim Kingo, The Widow
Dhasi Mwale, Forget Me Not
Samuel Oladele, Two in One
Heather Robinson, The Stages of Grief
Timothy Yeo, Yixin’s Hunger

Flash Fiction

Gary Clifton, Charles C. Cole, Gary Inbinder, The Sketch
Jeremy N. Marks, Sturgeon Sea


Mike Acker, Now and Then
Gary Inbinder, Boris Kokotov, Auld Acquaintance
Nick Pipitone, Spirit and Flesh

Short Poetry

Edward Ahern, We Lepers


Books and Other Reviews


Strictly Forebitten
Gone Without Saying
Fossil Forms
Uncounted Words
Given the Choice
When and Where, Who and Why?
Too Late Young

Discussions and Challenge Responses

A Pronoun Away
Postscript to “Cassandra’s Voices in 2016”


Gary Clifton, Ground Rules
Charles C. Cole, Reading an Old Letter
Rick Kennett, Piloting into the Unknown

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. Two 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. John W. Steele, The Replicant
  2. Ryan P. Dalton, Poison Control
  3. Jerry Guarino, In the Mouse-Bird Ecozone
  4. N. D. Coley, Megan’s Shift
  5. Mike Acker, Now and Then
  6. Ellis L. Knox, The Giant, the Cow and the Pixie
  7. Howard Vogl, A Hazy View on a Sunny Day
  8. Gordon H. Sun, Bunker Mentality
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. Multiple listings are ties. For all practical purposes, all the titles linked under each of the “telescopes” tie for the distinction of “the quarter’s best.”

Short Stories
Flash Fiction

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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