Bruce Balfour was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma and wrote his first novel before he was 3 months old. It wasn't very good.

Bruce BalfourBalfour moved to Orange County, California when he was ten. An avid science fiction reader, he started writing short fiction when he was fourteen. Hundreds of short stories later, his first professional sales occurred in 1981, when he was finally able to beat the editor of Twilight Zone Magazine into submission with a flurry of manuscripts.

Balfour continued to write a variety of SF, contemporary fantasy, and horror stories that were published during the following years as Balfour supported his habit by working as a delivery truck driver, comic book writer, commercial photographer, low-budget screenwriter, engineering test driver for Subaru, college bookstore manager, freelance journalist, NASA computer scientist, management consultant, and computer game developer/designer (also starting three software companies of his own). Some might say that Balfour can't hold a job, but he says there are three explanations for his variety of occupations – he likes to learn new things, he likes to write, and he likes to eat.

After living around Los Angeles for ten years, Balfour felt obligated to study film production at UCLA. When he realized that there were only about eight very busy people in California who were actually employed in film production, he made the natural switch and became a computer science major at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Desperate for people with artificial intelligence training, NASA hired Balfour at Ames Research Center. When they needed someone to push computer buttons on the Kuiper Airborne Observatory, a high-altitude research aircraft, NASA put Balfour on a team to capture infrared images of the Space Shuttle on reentry.

Kuiper Airborne Observatory and Bruce

He enjoyed pushing buttons, and there were a few occupations he hadn't worked at yet, so Balfour became a computer game designer. Involved in early and successful efforts to bring extensive stories and deeper characters into computer adventure games, several of Balfour's original and adapted PC games – such as Neuromancer, Wasteland, Outpost, and The Dagger of Amon Ra – became award-winning bestsellers. This also gave him the chance to use other aspects of his artificial intelligence training.


While managing the development of his computer games, Balfour's first novel, Star Crusader, was published in 1995. A non-fiction book that explained the science behind his Outpost space simulation game – sometimes characterized as "Sim City in space" – was published in 1994. Adopted as a teaching tool by many high school science classes, the Outpost game and book remained in print until 2000.

Fearing that he might miss something during the dot-com boom, Balfour moved from the mountains near Yosemite and returned to the San Francisco Bay Area. As the director of product development for a large educational software company, he managed the creation of complex websites and distance learning products. A well-paid cog in the machine of a multinational corporation, Balfour spent way too much time with high-tech executives, cultish software developers, and the possibilities of advanced Internet technologies, causing the darker themes of his next novels to ferment in his head. Bewildered as always, his natural response was to then get a degree in science journalism from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Forge of Mars

Balfour's recent novels, which explore such diverse subjects as artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, international politics, the future of the Internet, and the future of marketing, have been well-received. The Forge of Mars, published by Berkley/Ace in September of 2002, was a national bestseller. The 2003 sequel, The Digital Dead, examined realistic near-future technologies that simulate immortality and how they might be used by unscrupulous marketers and politicians. Prometheus Road was published by Berkley/Ace in October of 2004.

His most recent novel is Burning Season, a modern-day techno-thriller, published in January 2012. He is now working on a historical novel set in ancient Egypt during the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses III, as well as another modern-day thriller.

Burning Season
Returning to the world of Big Science and Big Shiny Objects such as x-ray synchrotrons and supercomputers, Balfour took a job with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California. Infected with an apparent desire to work for every national lab in the country, Balfour then took a job with Sandia National Laboratories in Livermore, California, where he worked in Business Development and pretended to understand some of what wass going on around him at the lab (which was much stranger than science fiction).

As part of his Sandia job, he was also the president of a nonprofit technology incubator supporting young companies engaged in advanced transportation and renewable energy technology development. He then joined the board of directors for the North Bay iHub and the SoCo Nexus technology incubator in Sonoma County, California.

Realizing that his life wasn't complicated enough at this point, he is now splitting his time between working on his PhD in Sociology at Penn State and living with his wife and various pets a few miles north of San Francisco in Marin County, California.

Bruce Balfour





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