Seanan McGuire is one of those awesome authors who constantly writes extras for her series. While some of them are found in anthologies—the bane of many thrifty readers—many more of them are available for FREE on her author website. More recently, McGuire has also been adding one additional story, usually from either her OCTOBER DAYE or INCRYPTID series, on her Patreon account, where for as little as one US dollar per month, you can also have access to the new stories/POVs/etc.
Altogether it adds up to LOADS of extra information and background on your favorite characters to tide you over until the next full-length novel is released.
These are the InCryptid shorties, 0.02 – 0.21. I’ve hyperlinked the FREEBIES back to McGuire’s website where you can download them in a variety of formats for yourself.
0.02 – One Hell of a Ride
Jonathan Healy is traveling to his family home in Michigan via train with a Miss Frances Brown, the former star performer of a circus (former b/c Jonathan’s dispatching of a Questing Beast left her without a circus in which to star). On the way, the train tears a hole in “reality’s sock,” taking them from their own America to an underworld dimension filled with hungry imps that enjoy surprised and hapless travelers as snacks.
Jonathan and Fran battle their way from one end of the train to the other, defending themselves and the few survivors they encounter with silver as they go, their ultimate goal to assist the conductor (should he still live) in achieving the momentum that will return them to their home world.
The conductor is both alive and (somewhat arbitrarily) a gorgon.
It is made clear that the railroad men know of the potential for tearing a hole into a parallel dimension but determined it more cost efficient to pay off survivors than take precautionary measures, such as outfitting the train cars with silver.
Damn the man.
Overall, a decent short, but throwing us into the middle of Jonathan and Fran’s acquaintance leaves something to be desired.
0.03 – No Place Like Home
This short takes place after Jonathan and Fran leave the no-longer-in-a-hell-dimension train, but skips ahead three months to the day when they finally arrive at the Healy home.
It’s as lovely:
She’s left Arizona with a man she barely knew, all because he looked at a monster and saw a miracle–a miracle that was about to eat them, but a miracle all the same. The talking mice didn’t hurt. How could she have stayed behind, when there were things like this in the world?
As it is heartbreaking. While it’s clear that Fran is utterly uncomfortable in the presence of a loving family, she’s got enough moxie to hold her own . . .
I think it’s safe to say that Verity takes after her grandma Fran. Though it must be said, Jonathan’s mother Enid is no shrinking violet.
I love these Baker/Healy/Price women.
0.04 – Stingers and Strangers
I tried to refrain from purchasing any anthologies I didn’t already own when I decided to get current with InCryptid, but after half a dozen various references to Fran and Jonathan’s trip to Colorado, I caved.
Was it worth it?
Eh. I’m finally rid of the WHAT-AM-I-MISSING?! angst, and the story itself is in the top two of the extras I’ve read so far, but then there’s the shame of my weakness to contend with, so six of one, half dozen of another.
Fran and Johnny go to Colorado after receiving word that the apraxas wasps are behaving strangely . . . And that’s all you get. Suffice it to say, there’s a darn good reason the wasps are out of sorts, and anything that freaks out giant, intelligent, brain-eating insects is worthy of concern.
0.05 – Married in Green
Carnivals creep me out. They just do. And while it was fun to think of Fran as an ex-circus performer, having that ex-circus show up at the Healy home for her wedding . . . was creepy.
Creepy and ominous.
Could’ve done without this one, I think . . . o.O
0.06 – Sweet Poison Wine
Fran and Jonathan take a belated honeymoon to Chicago, where they stumble into some rival bootlegger shenanigans. They get reeled into more than a onetime rescue when they realize that the man they saved from river hags was meant to supply the gorgons whose hotel they’re staying at (who are also friends of the family) with Medusa wine, which is deadly to humans.
The wine appears to have been stolen by a competitor—a human competitor—so they must retrieve the wine not only so the gorgon’s upcoming religious ceremony can take place as planned, but also so the idiots who stole it don’t die horrible deaths.
Basically, it was Fran’s kind of honeymoon. *winks*
0.07 – The First Fall
This one was too sad for me to like it all that much.
Sad and CREEPY, thanks to Fran determination to find and visit the carnival:
There is something eternal about the carnival, Jonathan reflected . . . When the last embers of the sun died, there would be a carnival still glowing bright in the ashes of the world, filled with people trying to get one more ride in before they went to their rewards.
The thought was comforting and terrifying all at once, because if the carnival was eternal, that made it a kind of parasite, a living thing with human bodies for cells. It was almost cryptid in its own right, a form of life so vast and slow that the mind could barely comprehend it, and so reduced it to a fun-fair dazzle of light and sound and harmless motion.
But all living things must eat, and if the carnival was a predator, on what flesh did it feed?
But just b/c I didn’t like it doesn’t mean you won’t. Avoiding real life, heartbreaking things when reading is my prerogative. And anyway, as upsetting as the information is. It’s kind of important. Just know going into it what you’re in for. *wails*
0.08 – Loch and Key
Two years have passed since the events of THE FIRST FALL, and the Healys are finally moving past their collective sadness. Recognizing this, Alexander and Enid decide to take all four of them on a family fishing trip, where more than fish wait in the waters.
Unfortunately, the man who acts as caretaker for the lake creatures is beset by greedy relatives looking to turn said creatures into a payday.
Can’t have that, can we? *orbit gum smile*
0.09 – We Both Go Down Together
I’m sad to say that I didn’t have much use for this one.
The life cycle of cryptids in question is horribly depressing, and it felt like the entire scenario was manufactured to make Fran’s demand to be part of the “adventure” while EIGHT MONTHS PREGNANT a stroke of luck rather than reckless and foolhardy. #notbuyingit
0.10 – Oh Pretty Bird
SO. I finally learned where all the hatred the Healys are harboring for most Cuckoos comes from . . . It’s justified.
The less said about this one the better. Pretty much everything about it was a surprise, including the babysitter . . . o.O
0.11 – Bury Me In Satin
“Honestly, I’m still a little shocked that you weren’t more upset,” said Mary.
“Oh, I was. Still am, really,” said Fran. “But Alice has always adored you, and she’s a pretty good judge of character. It’d just upset her if I went and tried to lay you to rest, and you’re a nice girl. A little deader than I might like, but that’s not your fault.”
Mary’s story. Ish.
0.12 – Snakes and Ladders
LOVED this one.
I have to admit that I was a bit worried when I realized it was primarily told from the POV of a six-year-old, but McGuire nailed it. Alice was hilarious and there was enough adult POV to keep it from getting too child-like.
This is what happens when a Healy is kidnapped while out trick-or-treating.
0.13 – Broken Paper Hearts
That is all.
0.14 – The Star of New Mexico
I can’t . . . I’m too sad . . .
0.2 – The Way Home
I’d like to say that in the wake of agony caused by the last two extras, THE WAY HOME was fresh and bright start . . . and I guess it was, in part. It was lovely to see a sixteen-year-old Alice, so reminiscent of her mother, BUT . . . any relief I felt on being reintroduced to a healthy, happy, fearless Alice was nullified by scared, bitter man Jonathan had become in Fran’s absence.
It burns us, precious.
0.21 – The Lay of the Land
Yay! Finally an extra about Thomas and Alice. It’s just the beginning of their acquaintance, and their age difference is currently inappropriate for a romantic relationship, but the foundation gets laid, so hooray for that.
ALSO there’s a talypo. #ilovetalypos
Obviously, none of this is going to make a lick of sense to you if you aren’t also a die-hard InCryptid fan, and for that I apologize. At a minimum, I hope you take how great McGuire is to her readers, and give her a chance if you haven’t already. One Author. Two of my current favorite urban fantasy series. The end.