Next Author: Liane Merciel
Previous Author: Rati Mehrotra

Paul Melko

Paul Melko lives in Ohio with his beautiful wife and four fairly wonderful children. Paul’s fiction has appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, Realms of Fantasy, Spider Magazine, The Year’s Best Science Fiction, and other magazines and anthologies. Paul’s work has been nominated for the Sturgeon, Nebula, and Hugo Awards. SINGULARITY’S RING (Tor Book, Feb 08) is his first novel, the protagonist of which is actually five humans who can chemically share thoughts, allowing them to act as one entity. Strom’s story, “Strength Alone,” (part of SINGULARITY’S RING) made the Nebula preliminary ballot. Paul’s novella “The Walls of the Universe” was nominated for the Hugo in 2007. Learn more at Paul Melko’s website.

The Walls of the Universe

The Walls of the Universe — (2009-2012) Publisher: John Rayburn thought all of his problems were the mundane ones of an Ohio farm boy in his last year in high school. Then his doppelgänger appeared, tempted him with a device that let him travel across worlds, and stole his life from him. John soon finds himself caroming through universes, and, when the device breaks, unable to return home. John settles in a new universe to unravel the machine’s secrets and fix it. Meanwhile, his doppelgänger tries to exploit the commercial technology he’s stolen from other Earths: the Rubik’s Cube! John’s attempts to lie low in his new universe backfire when he inadvertently introduces pinball. It becomes a huge success. Both actions draw the notice of other, more dangerous travelers, who are exploiting worlds for ominous purposes. Fast-paced and exciting, this is SF adventure at its best from a rising star.

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsfantasy and science fiction book reviews

The Walls of the Universe: Nice twist on a familiar premise

The Walls of the Universe by Paul Melko

Paul Melko’s The Walls of the Universe reminds me a bit of the old-style Heinlein/Asimov kind of juveniles: plucky young intelligent male protagonist into science gets himself into lots of scrapes then extricates himself using those sciency smarts (say, to invent or build something), all of which is conveyed in adequate but not particularly memorable prose. It also reminded me a lot of the old TV show Sliders, both in its movement-through-parallel-universes premise (not original to Sliders by any means) and in its TV-like presentation — easily digestible writing, various moments of implausibility, a tendency to have things happen a bit too easily. What redeems the novel somewhat is its use of multiple point-of-view from the “same” person — two parallel versions of the main character, a nicely managed twist on a familiar premise that lifts Read More

The Broken Universe: Solid but uninspiring

The Broken Universe by Paul Melko

In The Broken Universe, Paul Melkoreturns to the world of his Walls of the Universe, expanding on both the universe count and the character count as well as greatly raising the stakes. While doing so, unfortunately, he also carries over some of the first book’s flaws, making the sequel, like book one, a solid but uninspiring read.

The book picks up pretty much where Walls of the Universe finished, soon after the defeat of the Alerians (since you pretty much have to have read book one to fully follow The Broken Universe, I’m going to assume you’ve done so). It’s taken them almost two months to return to their home universe, and in that time the remaining Alerians have regrouped and are ready to cause John’s group some serious problems, ranging from deadly attacks to leg... Read More

More speculative fiction from Paul Melko

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsSingularity’s Ring — (2008) Publisher: The debut novel from a exciting new voice in SF — about what happens after ninety percent of humanity leaves Earth. There is an artificial ring around the Earth and it is empty after the Singularity. Either all the millions of inhabitants are dead, or they have been transformed into energy beings beyond human perception. Earth’s population was reduced by ninety percent. Human civilization on Earth is now recovering from this trauma and even has a vigorous space program. Apollo Papadopulos is in training to become the captain of the starship Consensus. Apollo is a unique individual in that he/she/it is not an individual at all, but five separate teenagers who form a new entity. Strom, Meda, Quant, Manuel, and Moira are a pod, as these kinds of personalities are called, genetically engineered to work as one and to be able to communicate non-verbally. As a rare quintet, much relies on the successful training of Apollo, but as more accidents occur, the pod members struggle just to survive.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsTen Sigmas & Other Unlikelihoods — (2008) Publisher: Paul Melko’s first story collection pulls together the best of his science fiction, including the title story, “Ten Sigmas” and “Singletons in Love,” both of which were reprinted in The Year’s Best Science Fiction, edited by Gardner Dozois. Also in the collection is “Walls of the Universe,” a short list finalist for the Nebula, Hugo and Sturgeon Awards in 2007. Several stories are set in the universe of his first novel, Singularity’s Ring, from TOR Books in February 2008.