Creative camouflage for the modern urban cryptozoologist.
InCryptid is an Urban Fantasy series by Seanan McGuire, author of the October Daye and Newsflesh series.The creatures known as cryptids are real, and have shared the earth with mankind since time immemorial. For centuries, a religious order known as The Covenant of St. George has been defending and protecting unknowing humanity by slaying cryptids wherever they encounter them. But a schism occurred in the ranks, and one Covenant agent and his wife left the order, never to return. They and their descendants, now hunted by the Covenant, dedicated their lives to studying cryptids, learning their ecological purpose, and only harming them when no other method of dealing with their presence would work.The Healy and Price families operate with the knowledge that the Covenant considers them traitors and wants them dead. The cryptid community knows that the families are no longer Covenant — but they are not uniformly convinced that it isn't a trick. So the family must train to survive both the cryptids who don't trust them, and the Covenant who still think of them as filthy traitors.The youngest generation of the Price family consists of Alex, zookeeper; Antimony, still studying; and Verity, who wants to forgo the family business and be a ballroom dancer, but has to prove to the family she can survive on her own first.The series so far (in chronological order for the storyline) consists of:
Let's Dance: When Verity says this, she means it more literally than usual.
Loss of Identity: One variety of merfolk is born looking and behaving human. But shortly after puberty, any exposure to water will bring forth their oceangoing nature. Saltwater makes it happen faster; and the land memory erodes as fast as the sea traits return, eventually leaving a typical merperson out of myth who may only barely remember anything about those they knew and loved on dry land.
Magitek: Technology made just for cryptids, such as darks - the literal opposite of electric lights - for cryptids that don't deal well with light.
Mama Bear: You do not want to get in between Frances Healy and her baby.
Male Gaze: Verity's hunting clothes for clubbing. Verity's work uniform at Dave's Fish and Strips. Verity's costumes for her dance competitions. All designed for maximum sex appeal.
Fran ended up with the circus because someone left her outside the tent. She used to hope for her Missing Mom to find her, before giving up.
Missing mothers (and occasionally fathers) are a commonplace happening in a town full of human-appearing merfolk. Once they reach the age of reproducing, exposure to saltwater brings out their seabound nature, and slowly erodes their memory of life on land that Fran and Jonathan must visit.
Perpetual Poverty: The family as a whole is financially solvent. Verity, though, is barely making it on her salary, because she has to pay for rent in New York, plus ammo, plus clothes damaged in her cryptid-related activities, as well as the acoutrements of her ballroom dancing.
Punny Name: Dave's Fish and Strips, a gentleman's club staffed almost exclusively by cryptids.
Reality TV: In-verse, "Dance or Die", the reality show Valerie competed on.
Really 700 Years Old: Not quite, but both of Verity's grandmothers look much younger than they are, in one case due to spending time in alternate dimensions with time dilations, and in the other by virtue of being a very long-lived nonhuman.
The Incredibles: Verity specifically calls out the villain for monologuing.
The two cuckoos in the family are Angela Baker and Sarah Zellaby, referencing Angela Zellaby from The Midwich Cuckoos. This, like their psi-etiquette, chosen from Babylon 5, is an in-universe character choice.
An obscure reference to another filker: "Emerald Green" is a Pegasus-winning song. The writer of "Emerald Green" also has a song about a Siren making a living as a singer.
Dire Straits: Verity invokes "Money for Nothing" when having to talk to Candy about something.
Because Antimony reads a lot of comics, she refers to one of Verity's moves as "pulling a Gwen Stacy".