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Ella Mack
Third Millennium Publishing, 295 pages

Ella Mack
Currently living a quiet rural Carolina life with a collection of semi-domesticated pets, Ella Mack graduated from college with a degree in chemistry and physics. She went on to pursue an active career in the health industry. As an escape from the very real ailments of modern society, she began writing science fiction novels as a hobby. The novels thus far produced chronicle travels to distant parts of the galaxy to explore the triumphs a nd tribulations of future societies.

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Past Feature Reviews
A review by John Enzinas

Scuzzworms by Ella Mack provided a number of firsts for me. It's the first time I got a note from the author explaining that she was no good at self-promotion and the book is self-published because she wrote as a creative outlet and didn't want to bother with the publishing process. It's also the first time I ever had an author use a couple of amazon reviews (of which she included a copy) as a reason her book was worth reading.

It was with great surprise and pleasure that I discovered that it was worth reading.

Scuzzworms is a scientific detective novel. The story begins with the arrival of the main character on the research station. She has been hired as an Ethnobiologist, someone who looks at the interactions of creatures and attempts to understand what drives them. She is also a very angry person and carries a chip on her shoulder that the slightest breeze could disturb. 

Thankfully on a orbital station, the breezes are few and far between. Unfortunately, there are plenty of jealous and/or short-sighted colleagues who generate more than enough wind to displace the unstable block. While this provides drama and conflict, it does not prevent our hero from piecing together the secrets of the alien life cycle, boosting her colleagues's careers and even saving the aliens she has been studying. 

The book could have been a bit tighter, maybe foreshadowed the alien's secret a little bit more subtly, but not by much. This book will be right up the alley of anyone who enjoys a carefully constructed alien and for anyone who has ever worked in a research-based industry. Mack brilliantly captures the foibles of those who must publish or perish. 

Copyright © 2009 John Enzinas

John Enzinas reads frequently and passionately. In his spare time he plays with swords.

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