Welcome to the OFFICIAL 'About The Author' page of:
Michael Selden, an author living in Woodland Park Colorado, U.S.A., writes fiction spanning multiple genres. His first book, ‘The Boy Who Ran’, is a Middle Grade novel, which won the 2014 IPPY gold medal for juvenile fiction, and his second book, ‘The Balance’ is a Young Adult Science Fiction novel set in a dystopian future world. He is currently working on another science fiction novel, called ‘I AM’, which he hopes will be out by the end of 2016.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I’ve lived all around the world as a child and worked as a research physicist and principle investigator for 30 years as an adult, both for science and for a defense applications. In 2013 I retired and moved to Woodland Park—near where I attended high school—to write novels and to enjoy life in the mountains. My hose is in a small town at an altitude of 8500 feet (2600m), and I live on the edge of a national forest and near to wildlife preserves.
People in the Land survived the destruction of the last world war only to have their lives disrupted again by a wayward asteroid that broke up and rained down on the planet, just as life had begun to regain a sense of normalcy after the war. The second tragedy also disturbed the power sharing arrangement between the two leading factions that had helped rebuild the Land—the Council, and the Order—an agreement called The Balance. Council leaders exploited the chaos that followed and drove the Order and its members into exile. Afterward, they began banning the use of most modern technology, which the Council had long blamed for the war. Phoebe is the last remaining product of the Order’s genetic engineering programs still living under the Council’s rule. She doesn’t understand why she’s so different from everyone else, and struggles to survive while hiding what she is. The exiled Order members realize her condition and their leader sees the potential in her that might help them regain their place in society, and to re-establish The Balance.
This morally gray dystopian novel is as thought provoking as it is entertaining. Michael Selden’s The Balance is an intelligent and engaging story about Phoebe, a psychically gifted teenager living under the rule of a strict theocracy. She is contacted in her dreams by her mother, who she thought was dead, and starts down a path of self-discovery, trying to learn more about her past and her powers. Her life, however, may have more significance than she understands. As her abilities grow she is unknowingly led toward a destiny that may change the entire world. Nearly two hundred years after a global nuclear war, the Land is ruled by the Council—a religious organization that believes that technology was the cause of the war and is therefore sinful, and the Order—who agree that technology used to create weapons was wrong, but want to preserve most technology and even improve on humanity through genetic engineering—in an agreement known as The Balance. When an asteroid strikes the earth, the Council uses the resulting chaos to oust the Order and establish itself as the ruling body of the Land. Phoebe is the last of the Order’s genetic experiments into developing psychic sensitivity, born just as the asteroid strikes. She lives her life under the rule of the Council, trying to keep her abilities hidden. As her powers grow, the leaders of the Order, who went underground but did not cease to exist, see in her the potential to restore The Balance—if only they can keep her alive. The Balance is a well written book. Phoebe is a relatable character—shy and lonely, she wants a normal life. Her father Daniel, grandfather Jacob, and boyfriend Caleb are very likable—they all want to help and protect Phoebe. Though the basic premise of a young girl destined to change a harsh political landscape will be familiar to many, Selden has added interest to the story by exploring the political climate of his world. He explains the Council’s fears: Some of the most respected theologians of the day believed that there was a relationship between unrestrained technological knowledge and original sin—the knowledge of good and evil. These scholars believed that destruction was an inevitable consequence of too much knowledge being made available, and that, sooner or later, war would happen again. Selden pits the Council against the Order, a group willing to pursue technological advancement through the ethically questionable means of genetic engineering. By exploring the difference between these two extremes without ever fully casting judgment for or against either faction, the author creates a narrative that is thought provoking as well as entertaining. The Balance is a highly creative, thoroughly enjoyable book. The author leaves plenty for his characters to do in the next book, and will leave young fans anxious for the next installment.