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Bewildering Stories

Bewildering Stories’
Second Quarterly Review, 2021

Year 19 of Bewildering Stories

The Editors’ Choices in issues 896-907


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 2021. 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, 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 587 votes on 64 titles, 23 of which have qualified as Editors’ Choices. We congratulate the authors and hope they will inspire all our contributors.

The Departments have a memoir as well as a selection of Challenges.
The Order of the Hot Potato is hot, 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.

Looking ahead: We resume regular publication with issue 908 on June 28, 2021. The next few weeks will include catching up with e-mail, a procedure that has been regrettably but unavoidably delayed. The on-line schedule now constitutes mostly a list of titles. The number of long works pending and in progress will affect all genres substantially in the coming weeks.

Titles selected of titles eligible
2 of 2
0 of 1
2 of 2
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
8 of 34
7 of 10
Short Poetry
4 of 13
0 of 2

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.


Jef Coburn, Jade
Jeffrey Greene, The Night Companion


Ralph Benton, Visions of Glory
Bill Prindle, Her Favorite Demon

Short Stories

R. C. Capasso, Pim and the Enyons
Gary Clifton, Down Time
N. D. Coley, The Last Station
David Far, Calculating Hope
David Henson, The Deeper Why
Gary Inbinder, Nemo and Kafka in Limbo
H. Roth-Brown, The Last Ones the Light Will Touch
J. F. Sebastian, In the Shadow of the Stars

Flash Fiction

Gary Clifton, Charles C. Cole, Bill Prindle, Three Ways of Looking at Eggplants
Lewayne L. White, Caught by the Cat-Man


Bertil Falk, Hints of Lost Stories
Lori R. Lopez, Creatures of the Macabre
Jessica Lee McMillan, Taking Shape
Yvonne Nguyen, Snowless Minefield


Books and Other Reviews


You the Troll Will Defeat
Angel Needed
Not So Fast

Discussions and Challenge Responses

Michael E. Lloyd, Piloting the Plover
What Are Spaceships?
What Are Space Aliens?
The Wishing Ceremony


Gary Inbinder, The Winter of My Discontent
Harrison Kim, The MacKenzie Days

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. J. F. Sebastian, In the Shadow of the Stars
  2. Bill Prindle, Three Ways of Looking at Eggplants
  3. Shauna Checkley, The Night of Passion and Rapture
  4. Jef Coburn, Jade
  5. A. L. Scheuer, Car Guys
  6. David Far, Calculating Hope
  7. Laramie W. S. Graber, A Beginning at the End
  8. Marion J. May, Inga’s Persuasion
  9. Timothy Singratsomboune, The Penthouse
  10. Paula Keane, Clockwork Hearts
  11. Shauna Checkley, Back When We Were Mermaids
  12. Bertil Falk, Hints of Lost Stories

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. The most highly rated titles in the quarter are designated by the name of arms of the Galaxy.

Short Stories
Flash Fiction

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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