where the writers are
Interview with Paul Melko

Paul lives in Ohio with his beautiful wife and four fairly wonderful children. He is an active member of the Science Fiction Writers of America, where he sits on the board of directors as the South-Central Regional Director and is chair of the Grievance Committee.

Paul's fiction has appeared in Asimov's Science Fiction, Realms of Fantasy, Spider Magazine, The Year's Best Science Fiction, Talebones, and other magazines and anthologies. His work has been translated into Spanish, Hungarian, Romanian, Czech, and Russian, and it has been nominated for the Sturgeon, Nebula, and Hugo Awards. TEN SIGMAS AND OTHER UNLIKELIHOODS is his collection of science fiction.

1) What fiction did you select for this collection and why?
TEN SIGMAS is a collection of my science fiction short fiction, all published within the last decade or so. The twelve stories first appeared in such places as Asimov's SF, Talebones, and Strange Horizons. The title story first appeared in Talebones #28, and was subsequently picked up by Gardner Dozois for his year's best collection.

2) Explain the title for my blog readers.
The title story "Ten Sigmas" is from the view point of a character who lives simultaneously in billions of universes. He's a normal distribution of all his selves. During the course of the story, he continually makes decisions that drive him farther and farther to the edge of the normal distribution, until he is so far away from the center -- ten standard deviations, or ten sigmas -- that he becomes unique again in his consciousness, just like you and me.

3) There's some overlap of stories between this collection and your first novel, isn't there?
My first novel -- SINGULARITY'S RING -- was released last month. It's the story of five teenagers that are actually a plural human who can share thoughts and emotions among themselves. Each chapter is from the point of view of one of the teens. When I first wrote the book, there were six humans in the composite human. Subsequent editorial decisions resulted in the sixth person being dropped. The collection includes the original sextet-based stories that became the novel, as well as the section cut from the novel and first published in Asimov's SF: "The Summer of the Seven." Also in this collection is the Nebula-, Hugo-, and Sturgeon-Award nominated story "Walls of the Universe." This story is the basis for my next novel, of the same title, coming out winter 2009 from Tor Books.

4) Why did you choose Fairwood Press to publish this collection?
Fairwood Press publisher's Patrick Swenson published in his magazine Talebones a number of my stories: six of them, in fact. Two of them are included herein. The sixth is in the current issue of Talebones, "Cankerman's Shower," available now. When it came time for me to publish my collection, there really was no choice except for Fairwood Press. Check out the other collections available from Fairwood.

5) Come on. Which story is your favorite?
All of these stories are special to me. How can you ask that? All right, "Ten Sigmas" is the story that is most significant to me. I still choke up when I read the ending. Yes, I'm a big baby.

6) Who drew the artwork?
Adam Hunter Peck drew the awesome cover. Check him out here: http://www.adamhunterpeck.com/

7) What are you writing now?
I've just turned in the novel version of "Walls of the Universe." My follow-up novel is set in the same universe as "Cankerman's Shower" and is entitled CANKERMAN'S TWIN. It's the story of a misogynistic remittance man with no scruples, traveling about the galactic empire, getting into trouble and adventure.

8) Where will you be next? I'll be at Millenicon in Cincinnati March 14-16. Then I'll be at the Nebulas in Austin, Texas April 25-27. Over the summer, look for me at Marcon in Columbus, Confluence in Pittsburgh, and WorldCon in Denver!

Link to buy: www.fairwoodpress.com
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