Bewildering Stories is a weekly magazine of sf and speculative fiction (mostly) and poetry (some), created and managed by Don Webb and half a dozen others. Because it does a Quarterly Review and an Annual Review of the editor’s choice, it produces about 47 issues a year of original material (or predominantly original – it allows previously published material). It is now coming up on issue number 800. I’ll leave it to you to figure out how long it has been in existence… for an online magazine, it is truly venerable.
I often have a poem in Bewildering Stories, and this week is no exception: “When at the End – Wishful Thinking“:
“When at the end of life we who by swords, axes, cleavers
go as heroes to Valhalla, the rest go to Hel.”
“When at the end of life we the true believers
go as saints to Heaven, the rest go to Hell.”
“Our memory is all that we are.
When at the end of life we are remembered,
we still exist for as long as our memory lasts.
Remember us! We are no more than memories of our pasts.”
When, at the end, the helmet of this life is lifted away,
the Virtual Reality of “human” fades to grey,
will you find yourself in a world fresh, rich and deep,
an environment more meaningful, truer, greater?
(And is it somewhere you go even now, in sleep?)
Surely behind the simulation must be a Simulator.
It accepts formal and informal verse, being more concerned with the speculative nature of the ideas than with an aesthetic preference. The poem above is pretty much a sonnet, though the scansion is uneven, the rhyme scheme unorthodox and the rhymes themselves iffy (beginning with rhyming Hel with Hell). So not a very aesthetic product, but full of speculation – which is the priority.
The editorial board is diverse, Don being based in Canada but drawing on others in the UK and US. Submissions of course can come from anywhere. And another nice thing that Don does is to include “Challenge questions” about a number of the pieces in each issue. The answers from readers are not typically shared, but it is a nice way of provoking more thought.
Altogether a worthwhile magazine for poets as well as fiction writers.