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Bewildering Stories

Prakash Kona writes about...

The Banquet of Variety

I wish to speak of some of the things I liked in the Second Quarterly Review:

These are some of the pieces I recommend to Bewildered readers hungry for the variety of writing that seems to be lost with quantity overwhelming quality in the global publishing market.

Ideally I would really like to comment on each of the pieces individually because of the effort and the individuality reflected in the kind of writing that we see on this website. As I tell my friend Don Webb, writers are more themselves here than in most other places that we get to see. That’s what makes Bewildering Stories a special place to write. And such a pleasure, as well, with Don unassuming as ever but examining through closed eyes.

Flash fiction:
J D Riso, “The Things I Will Miss”
Rebecca Lu Kiernan, “Schrödinger’s Cat”
Anna Ruiz, “Death Takes a Holiday,” “Onions”
Don Webb, “A Prophet Not Without Honor,” “Writing Pastiches”

The pleasure of the text is such a relative phrase when you seriously think about it. But is it all that relative? The kind of writing that affects us, is it free of bias? Perhaps that bias is imperative. It is the recognition of the bias that goes into things that we like that makes us readers in the best sense of the term.

But I request the readers to take time and read as many of the other pieces as possible. At least, like me, take a bit of each to fill the belly of the imagination. That’s what we do when we go to an Indian wedding. Given the variety of the food it is impossible for us to taste everything. So we choose a little of each from a lot of everything. That’s how I indulge my philandering reading instincts. Even a great mind like Dr. Johnson was not free from that particular weakness.

Copyright © 2006 by Prakash Kona

Prakash, thank you for a most elegant compliment.

Your observation about “quantity overwhelming quality in the global publishing market” is quite apt. What can we do but rely on experience and the recommendations of people we trust? That’s why we have the Reviews and why the editors agonize over them — all the while leaving the door wide open to “minority reports.”

“Writers are more themselves here than in most other places that we get to see.” Another compliment we deeply appreciate. We don’t tell our contributors who to be or what to write. They may seldom feel that way when we ask for rewrites, and yet in that, especially, we have one motive: to help them “be themselves,” as you say, as best we can. We are very protective of our contributors; Bewildering Stories succeeds only to the extent that they do.

Is Bewildering Stories like an Indian banquet? That would be truly magnificent: always a new surprise in the next dish. Maybe it’s the thought of succulent, spicy curries, but all of a sudden, I feel hungry...


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