The Creep Mesquite Anthology, by Clara Bush, is currently a collection of three novellas all focussing on love, time and space. The three stories all involve aliens, gore, teenage love and space travel and are held together by both the characters involved and a certain thematic unity.
The Creep Mesquite Anthology could perhaps be described as a science fiction/horror/romance mash up, although the ‘romance’ is much closer to the darker type of romance that Shelley would have known than anything you will find in the romance section of your bookshop.
In Clara Bush’s hands this genre proves a fitting setting for a young adult novel. When you are a young adult everything seems to be the biggest and most important thing in the world, especially your first love. So having a young adult story played out on a canvas as epic as space is perfect.
The first story, Wyso and the Other Creepy Kids on Gerard Street, sees childhood sweethearts develop into adult lovers against a backdrop of aliens, gothic horror and weirdness. The novella is suffused with the hormonal haze of teenage years, which works beautifully with a skewed Americana setting.
The second story, Man’s Best, is very different in tone. While still being funny and scary in equal measure, the characters are both more circumspect and less sure of themselves. This befits a setting of a world where only a fraction of the population have the capability to dream.
The third story in this trilogy, Sparkers, could almost have been split into two stories itself. The first part taking place in modern America while the second is more intergalactic in nature. Like the first two novellas there is plenty of aliens and horror, but there is also a much stronger sense of sadness running through this most recent installment of the Creep Mesquite Anthology.
What is perhaps most impressive about this anthology is how each story is distinct in tone yet still within the same theme. At no point do you feel as if you have been here before, despite the plot having deliberately circular aspects.
I imagine many readers who would perhaps be put off by the covers of these books and their young adult themes, being pleasantly surprised when reading them. I certainly was, and found myself looking forward to getting back to the novellas at the end of the day. I imagine Clara Bush could turn her hand to many different genres as the narrative leaps effortlessly from science fiction, to horror, to romance and occasionally something approaching the more transcendental.
Overall the books were written with flair, heart and a great deal of creativity and I imagine many people will be getting a lot of joy from them. The only thing I find slightly odd is that the only book you have to pay for is the first one, the other two being free. I would have thought it would be the
other way around but I’m sure there are good reasons for this. Either way, the first one costs less than a chocolate bar so there is pretty much zero reason for all you science fiction fans not to pick it up today.
The best place to buy these books is probably through the author’s blog, where you can be directed where to buy the book in pretty much any format you wish. If you know you want it on Amazon you can use the link below.