"To verify the author's science foundation, I know from my work that real-life psych-tech research here in Mountain View is already on the verge of creating micro-broadcast units to shift inner mood and attitude in preferred directions - at the touch of a mobile app. In the hands of the wrong people, this same technology will become downright horrific. John's novel points attention right where it's needed - before this story becomes reality."
"Although Jack, this novel's male hero, is a rush to keep up with - I was especially hit, very nicely in the heart, by the female lead: Mahalena. This character becomes almost mythic in her open risky portrayal of a young woman living dangerously on the mindfulness-edge. Too spontaneous for her own good, Mahee risks everything in order to finally discover where her 'a la nueva' vision might take her. Her lover Jack is the most lucky guy - great action-romance!"
"HIGHER FORCES is one of those rare suspense novels that sustain philosophical depth and romantic passion right at the heart of the plot. Selby's non-stop suspense is a fun fast read which left me ruminating for days about the deeper issues. This story portrays a new breed of youthful-but-mature action-romance hero, challenging companies like Google/Alpha to re-examine long-term strategies."
B Budd Smith
What if, right in the middle of an engrossing suspense plot, we inject a contemporary Buddha/Jesus/Gandhi figure with revolutionary transformation vibes? And running parallel with the #metoo gender revolution, let's make that remarkable person a nervy young woman struggling to break free from her male-dominated Mayan heritage, even while caught in thriller action?
In the first scene of HIGHER FORCES, that same woman, Mahalena Bernhardt, steals an ancient Mayan ceremonial phallus from her Stanford genius-run-amuck brother - and the nasty edge of an ancient priestly-cult prophesy gets hammered right into the middle of a hi-tech Silicon plot.
Into this maelstrom comes the male hero of the novel, a bio-resonance scientist at Berkeley who falls hard for Mahalena. Quickly getting sucked into Mahee's struggle, Jack Hadley is challenged to transcend inherited attitudes and old-order scientific intent, in order to support Mahalena's 'a la nueva' vision.
In prose that flows like action cinema, author John Selby also realistically portrays Google/Alphabet as a primary antagonist in the plot to secretly employ bio-resonance mind-manipulation tech - supposedly as an anti-terrorist weapon. Two high-up Alpha leaders struggle to maintain acceptable ethical ground while battling with the CIA and insider white-coat terrorists.
This is fiction at its best, serving a higher humanitarian purpose - identifying imminent tech-driven dangers that could surreptitiously (and with vast profit potential) take away our personal freedom to choose our own emotions. The jade phallus symbolizes our current struggle to evolve beyond the heartless domination of oligarchs, into a more humane, intuitive, compassionate (and yes, often very sexy) approach to intimacy and power.
What happens when a good-guy white-collar genius at Stanford goes rogue - and develops a killer brain-modification technology to control our core emotions and attitudes - from a distance?
Jack Hadley's father was murdered two years ago in his Stanford Lab - and Jack is still determined to find the killer. Meanwhile his nemesis Bernardo Bernhardt is down in Guatemala developing illicit psych-tech equipment that can impact both feelings and thoughts from a distance. And - Bernardo's remarkable twin sister Mahalena is set to risk her life to put an end to this white-collar terrorist plot.
She's also experimenting with a unique Mayan-inspired approach to resolving male-female conflict - and when Jack inadvertently becomes her lover, they end up having to put their lives on the line to defuse Bernardo.
In a closely-related twist, Larry Bish and Randall Togins, semi-invisible high-ups at Google/Alphabet, get caught in corporate melt-down while struggling to out-maneuver the CIA and grab Bernardo's billion-dollar IP. In the wrong hands Bernardo’s bio-resonance weapon could become a devastating mood-manipulation tactic. With Google, the same technology could create a pharma-disrupt worth billions for treating emotional suffering. And of course, the CIA craves the psych-tech tool for secretly zapping terrorist minds.
Caught up in dark corporate maneuvers and outlaw-tech subterfuge, Mahalena tries to maintain her 'a la nueva' vision of a qualitatively-new way of relating. Struggling to control possession of the actual jade phallus, she teams with Jack (a young Berkeley psychology professor) as they strive together to outsmart both the CIA, Bernardo, and Google. Racing from Silicon Valley to Lago Atitlan, HIGHER FORCES delivers believable psych-tech suspense, exposing intense political and ethical issues during non-stop drama.