Paul Melko - Tor/Forge Blog



#TorChat June 2012 Sweepstakes

Did you participate in today’s #TorChat? We hope you enjoyed it and look forward to your participation in next month’s chat on June 20th!

In the meantime, here’s your chance to win some books. two lucky winners will receive a copy of Existence, KOP Killer, and The Broken Universe, recently published titles from today’s #TorChat guests! Leave a comment below to enter.

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And again, we’d like to thank David Brin, Warren Hammond, and Paul Melko for joining us on Twitter today.

Sweepstakes closes to new entries on June 27th.

To find out who the guests will be for next month’s #TorChat before anyone else, check out the #TorChat sidebar in our newsletter! In the meantime, keep your eye on our Facebook and Twitter where we’ll have details as they’re available. We’ll see you all next month!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. You must be 18 or older and a legal resident of the 50 United States or D.C. to enter. Promotion begins June 20, 2012 at 4:30 p.m. ET. and ends June 27, 2012, 12:00 p.m. ET. Void in Puerto Rico and wherever prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules go here. Sponsor: Tom Doherty Associates, LLC.

June #TorChat Lineup Revealed

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This month, we’re going back to our roots on #TorChat! Joining us on June 20th from 4 to 5 PM EST are David Brin, Paul Melko, and Warren Hammond, to talk about science, science fiction, and the future!

Tor Books (@torbooks) is thrilled to announce the June #TorChat, part of a monthly series of genre-themed, hour-long chats created by Tor Books and hosted on Twitter.

This month, #TorChat is going back to its roots – we’re talking about science fiction and the future with three amazing sci-fi novelists. Joining us will be David Brin (@DavidBrin1), scientist, futurist, and the author of the just-published novel Existence; Paul Melko (@paulmelko), the author of the Hugo- and Nebula-nominated novella “The Walls of the Universe” that became the novel The Walls of the Universe, as well as its recently released sequel, The Broken Universe; and Warren Hammond (@WHammondAuthor), the author of the gritty, futuristic KOP series, including the just published KOP Killer. These three authors each have their own vision of the future, and they’ll discuss how they compare in Wednesday’s #TorChat!

The chat will be loosely moderated by Annie Gala (@aaaaaaannie), of Macmillan Digital. We hope that science fiction fans will follow the chat and join in using the Twitter hashtag #TorChat!

About the Authors

DAVID BRIN is a scientist, speaker, technical consultant and world-known author. His novels have been New York Times bestsellers, winning multiple Hugo, Nebula, and other awards. Brin lives near San Diego, California, with his wife and their three children. Existence, his latest novel, publishes on June 19th.

PAUL MELKO’s fiction has appeared in various magazines and anthologies. Singularity’s Ring, his first novel, and Ten Sigmas and Other Unlikelihoods, a science fiction collection, were both published in 2008. Melko’s work has been nominated for the Sturgeon, Nebula, and Hugo Awards. His latest book, The Broken Universe (sequel to 2009’s The Walls of the Universe) published on June 5th.

WARREN HAMMOND is the author of two previous books, KOP and Ex-KOP, which were hailed by the Denver Post as “an addictively readable mix of hard-boiled detective and science fiction.” Hammond lives with his wife in Denver, Colorado, where he is currently developing a new mystery/noir series. His latest book is KOP Killer, published on June 5th.

About #Torchat
#TorChat is a genre-themed, hour-long chat series created by Tor Books and hosted on Twitter. Guest authors join fans in lively, informative and entertaining discussions of all that’s hot in genre fiction, 140 characters at a time, from 4 – 5 PM EST on the third Wednesday of every month. Each #TorChat revolves around a different genre topic of interest, often of a timely nature, and strives to provide a new media opportunity for readers to connect with their favorite authors.

About Tor Books
Tor Books, an imprint of Tom Doherty Associates, LLC, is a New York-based publisher of hardcover and softcover books. Founded in 1980, Tor annually publishes what is arguably the largest and most diverse line of science fiction and fantasy ever produced by a single English-language publisher. In 2002, Tor launched Starscape, an imprint dedicated to publishing quality science fiction and fantasy for young readers, including books by critically acclaimed and award winning authors such as Cory Doctorow, Orson Scott Card, and David Lubar. Between an extensive hardcover and trade-softcover line, an Orb backlist program, and a stronghold in mass-market paperbacks, books from Tor have won every major award in the SF and fantasy fields, and has been named Best Publisher 24 years in a row in the Locus Poll, the largest consumer poll in SF.


Exploiting the Multiverse for Fun and Profit

The Broken Universe by Paul Melko

Written by Paul Melko

In 1957, Hugh Everett proposed the many-worlds interpretation (MWI) of quantum mechanics. MWI states that the universe forks at each quantum event, creating a multiverse: an infinite number of universes superimposed upon each other. Any possible universe can exist in the multiverse. In fact, every possible universe does!

Welcome to the Multiverse. Take a Seat on the Left and the Right.

Science fiction has always been fascinated with parallel universes and alternate histories. The advent of MWI provided a scientific theory that allowed writers to justify any alternate history they wanted. One small quantum decision otherwise and the South won the Civil War. Likewise, parallel universe stories – stories where multiple universes exist and can be communicated with or traveled to – were invigorated by MWI.

A Good Book in Any Universe

My favorite parallel universe books are Philip Jose Farmer’s World of Tiers series. Farmer’s multiverse is composed of a series of pocket universes, created by a race of technologically superior humans called Lords. These universes aren’t parallel universes created by quantum events, but rather manufactured universes.

Isaac Asimov’s The Gods Themselves depicts two universes with vastly different physical properties, our own and an alien one. Each is exploiting the other for cheap energy.

In Michael Kube-McDowell’s Alternities, parallel universes are exploited by a few people in the know. One character uses the universes to enact his sadistic fantasies. Another, the president of an out-matched USA, uses a parallel universe as a bolt hole against his Soviet enemies. Another character dates the doppelganger of a former girlfriend.

A Post Scarcity Multiverse

Exploiting the multiverse seems to be at the heart of many parallel universe stories. The obvious method to riches and fame is arbitrage. Buy low and sell high! Now add an infinite number of markets. My own characters trade in ideas; in the Walls of the Universe, they introduce pinball into a world that never had it.

I Never Metaverse I Didn’t Like

If there is a universe for every decision I make, then there exists universes where I’ve made every wrong possible decision in my life. But those versions of me aren’t really me! (Or so I rationalize.)

My story “Ten Sigmas” is about a massively-parallel human being whose consciousness exists in many universes at the same time. His quantum wave form doesn’t collapse, but instead allows him to share information among himselves, making him nearly omniscient in his local vicinity. A split-second decision for him one day causes all his selves to slowly peel away until it is only a single instance trying to save a girl’s life.

In the second book of my series, The Broken Universe, due out in June, my characters start up a transuniversal company, recruiting their own doppelgangers to manage the firm. At first simple arbitrage is enough for them, but they face the problem of uniqueness. What good is all this capital, if in those millions of universes, billions of people are suffering, every day. My characters decide to do something bigger and wiser with their technology.

Advances in string theory suggest that multiple universes exist outside our own, driven by the multidimensional spaces around which quantum strings vibrate. This too will inform the next generation of parallel universe stories: each multiverse is governed by a different set of physical properties. Together those multiverses form the omniverse. For now this is a place we can only visit through the work of science fiction writers or the equations of quantum physicists.


From the Tor/Forge June newsletter. Sign up to receive our newsletter via email.


More from the June Tor/Forge newsletter:

News: Paul Melko’s The Walls of the Universe nominated for Compton Crook Award

Image Placeholder of - 53Paul Melko’s The Walls of the Universe is one of four finalists in the Compton Crook/ Stephen Tall Memorial Award best first novel in the science fiction/fantasy field!

The Award:

“This award was founded by the Baltimore Science Fiction Society, Inc. in 1982, and consists of a certificate and (in the belief that first novelists are often underpaid) a check for one thousand dollars. In addition, the winner is flown to our annual convention at our expense to receive the award.

Our convention is held this year on May 22 to 25 (Memorial Day weekend) at the Marriott Hunt valley Inn.

The winner will be decided on April 25th.”

More info here.

News: Starred review for The Walls of the Universe by Paul Melko

Image Placeholder of - 77 The Walls of the Universe by Paul Melko receives a starred review in the December 15 issue of Publishers Weekly!

They write: “An adventure with both brains and heart…With imagination and sympathy, Melko makes the journey genuinely exciting and leaves plenty of room for future exploits.”

Here is the full review:

The Walls of the Universe Paul Melko Tor, $25.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-7653-1997-5

Melko (Singularity’s Ring) sends a naïve high school senior on a sharply imagined trip across divergent time lines in an adventure with both brains and heart. John Rayburn is approached by John Prime, another universe’s version of himself, who lends him a device that permits travel to parallel worlds. John realizes he’s been tricked when he can’t get back home. He stops in an almost-familiar universe to analyze the device and return to his own world, where John Prime is trying to get rich quick by “inventing” gadgets that his new home lacks. Soon the two are making friends and putting down roots, each discovering that he carries his own fundamentally empathetic, responsible personality from one universe to another. With imagination and sympathy, Melko makes the journey genuinely exciting and leaves plenty of room for future exploits. (Feb.)

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