WEDNESDAY’S SHORT STORIES #2: WHERE THE VEIL IS THIN Edited by Cerece Rennie Murphy & Alana Joli Abbott

The cover by Anna Dittmann lured me into reading Where the Veil is Thin: An Anthology of Faerie Tales (2020). Like many of these themed anthologies, there’s a variety of quality among the stories. My favorite story in Where the Veil is Thin is Alethea Kontis’s “The Seal Woman’s Tale.” The Seal Woman is a skin walker, a supernatural being with the power to physically take the appearance of anyone (but she doesn’t like become a man).

“The Seal Woman’s Tale” starts with the changing of appearances and leads to a more sinister circumstance: the Seal Woman becomes the prisoner of the King of Trolls. The King of Trolls is cruel and power-mad. But the Seal Woman plays the Long Game. I also enjoyed “See a Fine Lady” by Seanan McGuire. If you’re in the mood for some stories that will capture the essence of Halloween, give Where the Veil is Thin a try. GRADE: B


Introduction” by Jim Hines — 5
“The Tooth Fairies” by Glenn Parris — 8
“Glamour” by Grey Yuen –19
“See a Fine Lady” by Seanan McGuire — 33
“Or Perhaps Up” by C.S.E. Cooney — 44
“Don’t Let Go” by Alana Joli Abbott — 65
“The Loophole” by L. Penelope — 90
“The Last Home of Master Tranquil Cloud” by Minsoo Kang — 102
“Your Two Better Halves: A Dream, with Fairies, in Spanglish” by Carlos Hernandez — 113
“Take Only Photos” by Shanna Swendson — 139
“Old Twelvey Night” by Gwen Nix — 152
“The Seal Woman’s Tale” by Alethea Kontis — 164
“The Storyteller” by David Bowles — 182
“Poisoned Hearts” by Zin E. Rocklyn — 186
“Colt’s Tooth” by Linda Robertson –196



24 thoughts on “WEDNESDAY’S SHORT STORIES #2: WHERE THE VEIL IS THIN Edited by Cerece Rennie Murphy & Alana Joli Abbott

  1. Jeff Meyerson

    It’s funny you mention this, because we were just discussing our different tastes as far as fantasy goes yesterday, Jackie watched the first series of CARNIVLA ROW on Prime, and she is now watching HIS DARK MATERIALS on HBO. Neither of them appealed to my taste at all. Throw in Fairies and you lose me.

    1. maggie mason

      Jeff I didn’t like his dark materials, but did make it thru the first season won’t be watching the 2nd one

  2. Michael Padgett

    It would require a considerable leap of faith for me to buy, or even borrow, an anthology that doesn’t contain a single story by anyone I’ve read, or even heard of. Throw in my general lack of interest in fantasy, and it’s case closed. Are these people I would have heard of if I was a fantasy fan?

    1. george Post author

      Michael, the “Biggest Name” writer in WHERE THE VEIL IS THIN is Seanan McGuire. She, like James Patterson, seems to publish a book every month!

      1. Todd Mason

        She might actually write hers, however. There are a number of “emerging” writers here. I’ve read little by any as yet myself, including even billboard introducer Hines.

      2. Todd Mason

        Oh, definitely. I put it in quotation marks more as self-criticism–I’m Not Keeping Up–than any intended critique of the newer writers in the field…and Hines ain’t exactly a newbe.

  3. Patti Abbott

    I just said this to Tracy and I will say it again here. Or ask it. I wonder if science fiction/fantasy shorts are more successful than crime shorts because they can play with an idea. Mysteries are not so much about an idea or a concept. The only crime shorts that work well for me are character- driven, not plot. Hard to get a plot into a 5000 words story.

    1. george Post author

      Patti, I’d say you’re right about the differences between crime short stories and SF/fantasy short stories. Many of these fantasy stories in WHERE THE VEIL IS THIN are mood pieces.

      1. Todd Mason

        I don’t know if I agree there. Suspense fiction works rather well at all lengths, and detective fiction as well…I’m trying to imagine any sort of crime fiction that doesn’t lend itself to short fiction…perhaps the caper story, to some degree? While certain CF, such as the “impossible” crime story, can only become tiresome if it plays out for too long.

  4. Prashant C. Trikannad

    George, to echo what Michael said, I’d think twice before buying a collection of short stories by authors I have never heard of. When this happens I usually read the extracts and then decide whether to read a short story or book.

    1. george Post author

      Prashant, I’m willing to invest my time and money to find new writers in these anthologies. Sure, sometimes the stories from beginning writers are mediocre, but I enjoy the elation when I find a “Dimond in the Rough”!

  5. Rick Robinson

    This one doesn’t appeal to me, but then I’m not big on fairy stories. I read Pullman’s book, first in the trilogy, and was unimpressed, so no HIS DARK MATERIALS for me either.

    BTW, my short story post is up, after internet problems last night and this morning.

    1. george Post author

      Rick, we’ve had some storms and power outages in our area (but not us) so the Internet seems very slow today. Sorry to hear about your Internet problems.

  6. Todd Mason

    FAERIE MAGAZINE has changed titles but before B&N started giving up on magazines this summer, it was still running…an odd combo of fantasy fiction, clothing/costumery instruction, New Agey cheerfulness and essays about folklore.

  7. tracybham

    I too have a problem with anthologies that don’t include authors I recognize, but I am trying to get over that because the stories I liked best in the Clarkesworld anthology were all by authors new to me. I also like the cover on this one, which is a strong point in its favor from my point of view.


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