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Bewildering Stories

Bewildering Stories News

A Contest, Serials, and the Quarterly Reviews

by Don Webb

Graham Storrs kindly brings to our attention storySouth’s annual contest.

Thank you, Graham. We at Bewildering Stories encourage everyone to nominate their favorite story to the storySouth contest in progress during the month of March. Of course we’d love for our contributors to win $100 and fame.

Be sure to read the contest rules; that goes without saying. In general the object is to solicit nominations of stories published on line in 2008. In Bewildering Stories, that’s issues 273-318.

E-zine editors are entitled to submit three nominations, and Graham rightly points out that we might do so. The opportunity is attractive but not very practical. Who really is the editor? The Review Board has nine members, and their collective decisions make up the Quarterly Reviews.

I suppose the three top-ranked short stories in 2008 might qualify, but it’s far from easy to determine which they are. Besides, the number three is comfortable for e-zines that appear quarterly and publish maybe two or three dozen titles a year. That’s what I suspect storySouth has in mind. For us, that’s science fiction; it’s just not our reality. Bewildering Stories appears weekly and publishes hundreds of titles a year. I think it’s simpler and fairer that each reader nominate a favorite.

Much as I wish to reward our contributors, I look upon storySouth’s contest as a slightly monetarized mini-variation on the Preditors & Editors contest, back in January. It is at least in part a straw poll; and pious disclaimers notwithstanding, there is no way to prevent campaigning and ballot-box stuffing.

I challenge any e-zine or contest on the Net to equal Bewildering Stories’ Quarterly Reviews in fairness. And the quality of the Quarterly Reviews’ contents will give anyone else a very good run for — pardon the expression — their money. Rather than apotheosize one story and author — or a very few — we give credit where it’s due. If we had any money, we wouldn’t issue prizes; we’d declare a dividend and reward all those who place in an Annual Review.

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Bewildering Stories keeps evolving under our very eyes; it’s a sign of life. I thought you might enjoy knowing how some editorial decisions are made.

Our Submissions guidelines discourage unfinished works; we really do not like to end anything with “Continuation pending.” But the rules are there to serve us, we’re not here to serve the rules. Content is what counts. A few cases in point, by way of example:

If you’ve ever wondered why we’re called “Bewildering” Stories, now you know. And as we like to say, there is no story so truly bewildering as reality.


Copyright © 2009 by Don Webb

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