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The IOBA Standard is the journal of the Independent Online Booksellers Association and covers the book world, with a special focus on the online used, out-of-print, and collectible bookselling markets.


The Neutrino Effect by Michael E. Kirshteyn

The Neutrino Effect

E-book, 552 pages

13 figures $6.95


Told from Vlad’s perspective, the story unfolds as a first-person account of the great events shaping man’s first encounter with extraterrestrials. This exciting narrative brings us right into the character of Ustinov, as we learn of his childhood and his fascination with NEUTRINOS, the sub-atomic particles that give shape to the universe. His theory is that the constant flow of neutrinos in the universe can be tapped to create a transmission frequency capable of reaching billions of miles into outer space. His theory gains him early admission to a prestigious science institution in Russia, and he graduates with honors, going to work on a top-secret weapons project for the New Soviet Union. After a terrible accident that costs the lives of many friends and co-workers, Vlad defects to the States, where he takes a teaching position and begins New World Science Industries with a small group of like-minded colleagues.

Fifteen years later, Vlad is older and somewhat wiser, a rich and respected research specialist whose company has contributed to the betterment of all mankind through advances in power generation and quantum light physics. His core team of eccentric scientists and philosophers include the brilliant Xan Huxley, a half-Asian physicist with a mind towards understanding “the beauty of the equation.” Herbert Eastman, Xan’s partner from a long-abandoned Neutrino research effort in the Antarcticas, is a nerdy young man whose passion in life is for speculative science and digital perfection. David and Lindsay Romano are the lovers of the group—David, a raging ego and outrageous joker with a lust for life, Lindsay the mother hen of New World. They are each brilliant mathematicians and hard workers, while they keep everyone grounded in a family atmosphere. Rounding out the core group is Harry Northrop, an aged former engineer, now head business administrator for the company. An ex-alcoholic and chronic womanizer, Harry is about to go through an ugly divorce and is battling the temptation to give in to his old youthful ways. This is Vlad’s family.

On Christmas Eve 2076, a practical joke gone awry at an office party ironically leads to the discovery that allows Vlad Ustinov’s team to build the first-ever Neutrino-based transmitter. Shortly thereafter, they beam their first message into space, under the watchful eye of General Jake Vicobs, a robust middle-aged go-getter in the new American government who has championed the various reforms that have helped humanity pull back from the brink of self-destruction. The transmission is a success . . .but our transmissions quickly attract another watchful eye.

The eye of the Ign’takk.

In their own language, they refer to themselves as The World Builders—a highly-telepathic race of aliens whose technology and wisdom is millions of years in advance of ours.

In an attempt to prevent us from utilizing the limited Neutrino bandwidth as a transmission frequency, thereby exposing ourselves to potentially hostile invasions by other civilizations, The World Builders quickly journey to our planet and initiate an explosive confrontation. In the fiery aftermath, thousands of their crewmembers end up scattered across the continental united states—a photosynthetic race of subservient creatures called the Truh’ll’zst, which in the language of The World Builders means ‘from the light.’

A conference with the president is quickly organized to discuss the crisis. Vlad Ustinov and his team are invited by the aliens to attend and are given carte’ blanche at the White House as negotiations for peace and plans for the capture and removal of the Truh’ll’szt from earth are discussed.

After an exciting series of encounters and confrontations, including the invasion of our world by a war-loving race of feudal barbarians known as the Shkk Renn, a deal is struck with the World Builders in which they are allowed room on our world to conduct research and create outposts. In exchange, they will protect the Earth from further invasions and allow us to become students of their science.

Speaking for the World Builders is a headstrong female ambassador, whose name—Or’hikk—literally means Wise Light. It is her fascination with the enigmatic Xan Huxley that brings her to the decision to unite her people with those of earth. Though her feelings of love are cloaked in denial, she cannot slight her bond with Xan, and the two become close friends and liaisons. Various intriguing subplots regarding the supporting characters develop as the story progresses, each building to a climax.

Amidst all this intrigue and action, Vlad Ustinov becomes ambassador to the World Builders, and he shares many adventures with them as they fight to protect our planet and battle the invaders who set upon us. As these adventures mount, an intriguing dynamic develops between humans and aliens, one in which the World Builders must learn to overcome their self-righteous position as a superior race, and accept humankind as the unique and fascinating species we truly are. Along the way, Huxley and Vicobs conspire against the powers of our government to execute a radical new experiment in organic matter transportation that will lead to an unprecedented leap forward for our people—and the universe. This bold action on our part also helps to decide our nobility in the eyes of The World Builders. In this way, the title of the book now refers to both humans and aliens, as we each struggle in our own way to build the future.

In the end, Vlad must deal with the tragic death of his comrade Harry Northrop at the moment of humanity’s most selfless collective act—when we, as a species, decide to give up our newly-claimed relocation planet to a race of nomad aliens who are left without a home when their star system goes supernova.

Filled with nonstop action and intrigue, and written in a quick and friendly prose style sure to attract readership of all ages, THE NEUTRINO EFFECT is thoughtful, character-driven science fiction recalling elements of Heinlein and Asimov, while possessing a powerful voice all its own. The story threads weave together to create an allegorical fable tinged with reality, and finally topped by a super surprise ending.

In a literary universe of stock pulp serial characters, Vlad Ustinov is an offbeat and refreshing change of pace. A chronicler of history to come, and a hero for the future.


Raised in Cincinnati and educated in public schools, he eventually found his way to the University of Cincinnati and, over the protests of the school administration, managed to annex a series of degrees in Mathematics, Computer Science and Computer Engineering, up to and including a Ph.D. He infiltrated a series of companies and climbed the corporate ladder, ignoring all cries of outrage, until he found himself hitting the glass ceiling. He is married to Vlada Berman, a business analyst with whom he shares two children. The Kirshteyns live in Cincinnati, Ohio.



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