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Bewildering Stories

Bewildering Stories’
Second Quarterly Review, 2019

Year 18 of Bewildering Stories

The Editors’ Choices in issues 802-813


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 2019. 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

In the past 12 weeks, the Review Editors cast 879 votes on 82 titles, 38 of which have qualified as Editors’ Choices. We congratulate the authors and hope they will inspire all our contributors.

We think our Review Editors reflect the range of opinion to be found among our readers.

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 814 on July 1, 2019.

Titles selected of titles eligible

Short Stories
Flash Fiction
17 of 33
8 of 11
0 of 1
Short Poetry
Essays & Memoirs
5 of 15
8 of 22

Short Stories

Michael J. Albers, Last Shuttle Down
Sam Buckley, Flora of the Fifty Flames
Gary Clifton, Channie Greenberg, Batya
Jeffrey Greene, The Regal Darner
Brandy Isadora, Wanderlust
Christopher Kelley, Summon Surprise
Marshall Moore, The Periodic Table of the Angels
K. Noel Moore, The Friendless Unburied
Natisha Parsons, Spooky
M. L. Robinson, A Monkey in Chameleon Skin
Ron Schulte, Allergy Shots
Ellen Tremiti, Don’t Worry, Little Sis
M. C. Tuggle, The God Particle
Martin Westlake, No More of That
J. H. Zech, Eden's End: Illusionary Birth

Flash Fiction

Gary Clifton, When We Needed You
Charles C. Cole, Harrison Kim, The Screaming Pool


Edward Ahern, Telling a Fortune
Donna Dallas, Moontalk
Ronald Linson, Little Brother
James Robert Rudolph, Santa Fe Unsettled
Gennady Sherman, Lucky Dog

Short Poetry

Edward Ahern, Biosphere
Michael R. Burch, In-Flight Convergence
Thulani E. Buthelezi, The Art of Sky Dancing
Donna Dallas, Portrait of a Woman
Robin Helweg-Larsen, Carefree Youths
Anna Ruiz, Thought Patterns in Sync
Meg Smith, The Moss Bridge
James Robert Rudolph, How One Builds a Life


Books and Other Reviews

Special Feature

Vladislav Surkov, Putin’s Lasting State — tr. Bill Bowler

Discussions and Challenge Responses

Echoes From Dust, chs. 1-6
Voices Bodied and Disembodied


Unintended Causes
Pick Your Take
Catch It, If You Can
Dance Around the Donut
Off Is the Next Stop
Scratching Itches

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. Five 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. Paul Edward Costa, Priests of the Khravik
  2. Robin Helweg-Larsen, From Caveman to Post-Human
  3. Brandy Isadora, Wanderlust
  4. J. H. Zech, Eden's End: Illusionary Birth
  5. Nick Pipitone, Strange Planet
  6. Howard Vogl, A Moan in the Night
  7. Michael J. Albers, Last Shuttle Down
  8. Jerine P. Watson, The Love Letter
  9. Harrison Kim, The Screaming Pool
  10. Donna Dallas, Portrait of a Woman
  11. Arthur Jackson, Jupiter Street

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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