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Bewildering Stories

Bewildering Stories’
Fourth Quarterly Review, 2019

Year 18 of Bewildering Stories

The Editors’ Choices in issues 826-837


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 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

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 882 votes on 86 titles, 36 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 12 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 will follow with the 2019 Mariner Awards on December 30 and resume regular publication with issue 838 on January 6, 2020.

Titles selected of titles eligible
0 of 1

2 of 4
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
11 of 37
7 of 9
1 of 1
Short Poetry
6 of 16
8 of 17
1 of 1


Jen Sexton-Riley, The Squirrel Eaters
Eugène-Melchior de Vogüé, Joseph Olenin’s Coat

Short Stories

Thom Arrell, One Day
Wes Blalock, Tears for Lucifer
David Brookes, Follow the Sun Underground
Gary Clifton, Hold That Hot Phone
Heather J. Frederick, Not That Kind of Cat Lady
Walter Giersbach, Secret Agent in Sky City
Harrison Kim, Cabron’s Coup
K. M. McKenzie, Bought, Sold, Delivered
Len Messineo, It’s Like Mr. Potato Head
Jason Powell, On Top of Everything
Socorro Venegas, The Giant and the Moon

Flash Fiction

Gary Clifton, Charles C. Cole, Crystalwizard, On the Snowy High Road


Charles C. Cole, Getting Even


Nancy D. Bonazzoli, Homeward
Bill Bowler, He Gobbled Up the Minutes
Jack D. Harvey, All My Money Pissed Away
Boris Kokotov, The Suckers
LindaAnn LoSchiavo, Unquiet House
Michael Murry, Of Ice and Men

Short Poetry

Mike Acker, Ex
Edward Ahern, Brotherly Bramble
Louanne W. Ewald, Wake-Up Call
Gary Inbinder, Michael Murry, Unholy Meditation
Nick Pipitone, Swamp City
Meg Smith, Daughter of Bright Matter


J. Zhanna M. Smith, The Magpies and the Cuckoos


Books and Other Reviews


Take Charge
Then and Back
Pass-Fail Tests
Marking Cards
Very Exiting
Men Overboard
Changing Flats
In This Handbasket
The Eyes of the Beholders

Letters and Challenge Responses

The Legend of Potter’s Field
Wayward Dogs


Charles C. Cole, Richard LeBlond, Tea with the Grizzlies

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. Six 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. J. Zhanna M. Smith, The Magpies and the Cuckoos
  2. Jack D. Harvey, All My Money Pissed Away
  3. Robin Helweg-Larsen, Eva’s Trip
  4. John Haymaker, The Legend of Potter’s Field
  5. Silvia E. Hines, Science and Derision
  6. Thom Arrell, One Day
  7. L. L. Asher, Julie’s Tree
  8. L. S. Popovich, Echoes From Dust
  9. Scott Richburg, Ghost Man on First
  10. Edward Ahern, Brotherly Bramble
  11. K. M. McKenzie, Bought, Sold, Delivered
  12. Michael Murry, Unholy Meditation

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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