Paul Melko

Paul’s fiction has appeared in various magazines and anthologies. SINGULARITY'S RING, his first novel, was released from Tor in February 2008 and a science fiction collection, TEN SIGMAS AND OTHER UNLIKELIHOODS, was released from Fairwood Press in March 2008. His work has been nominated for the Sturgeon, Nebula, and Hugo Awards in 2007. His second novel, THE WALLS OF THE UNIVERSE appeared in February 2009. It was optioned by Aron Warner of Strange Weather. The sequel to WALLS, THE BROKEN UNIVERSE was released in June of 2012.


Dysfunctional Family Cat
My very first publication, though not my first acceptance. (Isn’t that always the case?) My first was… hmmm… “A Good Man’s Magic” which was accepted in a college spec fic magazine called Visions, published at Cornell University. I never heard from them after the acceptance. Anyway, “Dysfunctional Family Cat” came about because of my wife’s allergy to cats. Cats seem to be sacred to some people, and especially in spec fic. (They’re just dumb animals! Wake up! Really.) Anyway, this SF story was about a woman allergic to a cat that exuded an addictive, psychotropic drug.


“Bolt” came about because of a lightning strike very close to our apartment in Pittsburgh. It was late at night, just before a storm was rolling through, no rain, but the air was thick. Then WHAM! lightning struck a few hundred feet from us, and it felt like the bolt crawled into the room with us. Amazingly loud. The story is set in that same few moments before a storm, a surreal time. It also deals with death. I think this might be one of my best stories, and it earned an honorable mention in the The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror a few years back.


I took a bus ride, from Columbus to Boston when I was looking at graduate schools in 1990. In Pittsburgh a woman climbed on board. By the time we reached Philadelphia, she had to be forcibly removed from the bus by the police. This is her story, as well as the story of a naive young man. This also received a honorable mention in the The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror.

The Light of Evil

This was my second story in Talebones , the second of four. You mean you don’t subscribe to Talebones ? Patrick and Honna are good people, and they put out a damn fine magazine. Pick it up, read it, and you won’t be disappointed. “The Light of Evil” is a fantasy piece, dealing with (you guessed it) good and evil.

Defense Mechanism

This is my frivolous lawsuit extrapolation story. Aberrations crashed and burned before this
story could appear.

Alien Fantasies

“Alien Fantasies” appeared in issue #5 of Terra Incognita, along with a story by Mary Soon Lee and a poem by Timons Esaias, both friends of mine. This is another of my stronger stories, about our obsession with aliens.


This story never saw the light of day either. The Fractal folded too soon. This is a Dilbertian tale of corporate identity, or the lack thereof.

Ikara’s Rose

I love this fairy tale. Oak presents the goddess Ikara with a rose. There’s a funny story about the title, that I might let slip if you ask. There’s a sequel that I haven’t worked on in a while, “Oak and the Long Winter.” I should find it and polish it up.

Death of the Egg King

My latest story in Talebones , this is the tale of a device, called an Egg, that collects aromatic molecules from the air and allows forensic scientists to deduce what happened in the room where the Egg was in the past several days. One of my better idea-stories.

The Burning Man

My first professional sale, marred by the fact that a printing error left out the last three words. This one is about a man who falls in love with a wizard’s wife, only to be cursed for a thousand years. I often harp on sympathetic antagonists evoking tension in a story. I think this is one of the times I actually succeed in doing it myself.


“Keystone,” in Neverworlds , is a magical realism piece about a building that refuses to fall down, just because it is so set in its ways.

Singletons in Love

Editor Lou Anders invited me to contribute to an anthology with a unique theme: create a story in a world where humans do not come to depend on computer technology, networks, and other classical cybertropes. What if humanity chooses some other path? I had an idea for the anthology immediately and wrote “Singletons in Love.” In this story, I explore the synthesis of multiple humans into a single entity, and how they inherit the earth after a Vingean Singularity has occurred.

Kirby Drogan and the Two Giants

Kirby Drogan is the youngest of the Drogan Dragon brothers, and perhaps the most sensible. When the brothers take a cushy castle defense job, only Kirby sees trouble on the horizon.

Fallow Earth

Aliens land in a redneck rural trailer park. A young girl, too smart for her age, deals with her handicapped brother, bullies, and an alien with an agenda of his own.

Doctor Mighty and the Case of Ennui

A superhero comedy. Doctor Mighty is feeling a little glum.

Strength Alone

Disaster strikes on a mountain side, as a lone member of a pod struggles to save part of another and grapple with his own loss. This story is a sequel to “Singletons in Love”, both of which are set in the universe of my current novel Singularity’s Ring.

Carousel Safari

Scotty sells a man his nightmares and the result isn’t as he expects.

Ten Sigmas

This story depicts the effect of choice.

The Summer of the Seven

The third published section of my novel Singularity’s Ring, set on Mother Redd’s farm when a septet comes to stay for the summer. Jealousy, competition, and ducks insue.

The Teosinte War

A maniacal scientist is using parallel worlds to test historical causality. Who can stop him in his goal to prove his mad theories?

The Walls of the Universe (novella)

A teenager loses his place in his world to a version of himself from another universe and struggles to get his life back.

Snail Stones

Two boys on a colonized planet discover an exploited alien and figure out how to save it.

Singularity’s Ring

My first novel, set in the universe of “Singletons in Love,” “Strength Alone,” and “The Summer of the Seven.” Out February 2008 from Tor!

Cankerman’s Shower

Cankerman is a misanthropic minor noble, traveling the galaxy in search of the easy buck and easy woman. A deal gone sour places him in the company of a group marriage running a cargo ship between systems. But the abused party is on their trail!

The Walls of the Universe (novel)

John Rayburn loses his universe when he is tricked by another version of himself. Each alternate Earth takes him farther from him.

Ten Sigmas and Other Unlikelihoods

My first science fiction collection! From Fairwood Press.

The Broken Universe (novel)

A group of unverse-hopping entrepreneurs build a transuniversal company, until the multiverse police find them.

Latest News:

Refrigerator magnets for the new book have arrived. If you want one, let me know, and I’ll get it to you. While supplies last!

I’ll be on Writers Talk May 14th and 16th. Hear me talk about myself.

Here’s a link for the Walls book signing!

Short Stories:

The Summer of Seven

"In the summer of our fourteenth year, we weren't the only one to live with Mother Redd on the farm in Worthington. That was the year the Seven came to stay."

Read for free

Released under a Creative Commons License.

The Walls of the Universe

"John looked at this other John, this John Subprime, and decided he would be the one. He was clearly a Johnny Farmboy, not one of the Johnny Rebels, not one of the Broken Johns, so he would be wide-eyed and gullible."

Read for free at Asimov's

Nominated for the Sturgeon, Nebula and Hugo Awards in 2007. Originally published in Asimov's April/May 2006 issue.

Strength Alone

"Strength Alone" is part of a series of stories about an unusual branch of humanity. It is the first chapter of Singularity's Ring.

Read for free at Asimov's

Nebula Award Preliminary Ballot Nominee in 2005.


March 6, 2012: OSU Barnes & Noble in Columbus, Ohio

May 22, 2012: THE WALLS OF THE UNIVERSE mass market edition release at the OSU Barnes & Noble in Columbus, Ohio

June 29, 2012: THE BROKEN UNIVERSE release at the OSU Barnes & Noble in Columbus, Ohio