The Novels

Sociology 500, a Romance (Second Draft) -- The first book in the Economics 101 Trilogy.
Karel and Dan, former American football teammates and now graduate students, meet fellow graduate students Kristie and Bobbie, and the four form a steady study group.

Economics 101, a Novel (Rough Draft) -- My first sustained attempt at a novel, two-thirds finished in rough draft, and heading a little too far south.
What would you do if you and your study partner, with whom you had been seriously discussing marriage, suddenly found yourselves all alone together on a desert island?

Featured Post

Sociology 500, a Romance, ch 1 pt 1 -- Introducing Bobbie

TOC Well, let's meet Roberta Whitmer. Bobbie entered the anthropology department office and looked around. Near the receptionis...

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Soft, Preface


Preface

The Soft Ones, innumerable, playing interminably in the vast field of light.
Playing, playing, ...

The field is sparse and spare. If not for the Soft Ones, there would be precious little to see in the field. It is the Soft Ones who bring variety and beauty to the scene, which is as it should be in a nursery.

For the field is just that, a nursery for the Soft Ones.

And the endless play, well, it could have no end, since they mostly know neither cause nor effect, act nor consequence. Time? Happily, entropy is foreign to their experience. They need to play.

A few in the field, however, have become gradually aware of some connection between one act and the next. As they become aware, they begin tutoring the younger ones.

Younger ones, indeed, for without time there is no standard for age in this field other than that awareness.

It is a different sense in which there is no time outside the nursery. Perhaps I should say, no measured time.

But there is a tracking of the progress of the Soft Ones, and, as the Soft Ones become able to distinguish act from consequence, they are brought to meet the Hard Ones, for new stages in their tutelage. And then they return many times to the nursery, continuing to tutor their younger siblings.

And, at some point, only the greatest of the Hard Ones can know when, the Soft Ones are brought together in small groups for an important meeting with the Hard Ones.

But it is not the Hard Ones who speak. The oldest of the Soft Ones stand and tell the assembled younger ones of a change. The Hard Ones, who gave them organized existence and created the nursery for them, also create entropic fields. And there is one such field for this nursery.

But the nursery having served its purpose, will shortly be taken away.

On leaving the nursery, the Soft Ones may choose.

They may accept entropic form, with it's causes and consequences, acts and effects, and the entirely new experience of need.

Or they may choose to remain untainted by entropy, in a form that does not interact with the entropic field. I should say, it does not easily interact with the entropic field, for there are ways. Forbidden ways, indeed.

But each must choose for self. None may choose for another.

There is more to the change to explain, and the Soft Ones are for the most part, not yet prepared. They are all allowed to return to their play.

But now there is more than just play.

One of the elder Soft Ones, who has mastered many of the principles of cause and effect, of sequence, insists that entropy is not for the Soft Ones. It is dangerous, and brings something called unhappiness, which is a terrible thing.

Others of the elder Soft Ones point out that, until they know unhappiness, they cannot know happiness. And they say that happiness must be a wonderful thing.

And the rebel, for rebel he is, asks, "How can you know that happiness is so wonderful?"

"The Hard Ones say it is."

"I say it must be a terrible thing. Unhappiness is a terrible thing, and happiness requires unhappiness. Therefore happiness must be a terrible thing."

Some of the Soft Ones are impressed. It sounds so logical.

Others argue.

Still others see through the conceit and set it aside, shaking their figurative heads.

And again, meetings are called.

An elder Soft One stands up and explains the course of entropy. When they are given entropic form, they will also be given new abilities.

But entropic forms are necessarily limited. Each ability or group of abilities is mirrored by a lack of ability, or various lacks.

While they have played, they have already chosen many of their abilities, but each will be required to make more choices now, as the nursery itself begins to be subject to entropy.

And the children, the Soft Ones, return to their play.

Again, the Rebel, that bright thinker, sows his seeds of discontent.

"Why should we choose? Why should there be limits?"

And again there are those who argue, and those who set aside the question as more conceit.

"Let us wait for the Progenitors, the Hard Ones, to tell us all things. Then it will be plain."

"You are so trusting."

"Should I trust you, instead?"

"Of course!"

"I'll pass."

And, after more play, a grand meeting is called. All the countless Soft Ones attend.

Again, an elder Soft One, one who has learned so much from the Hard Ones that he almost seems to be a Hard One, stands and explains.

"This coming entropic state is our next state. Limits are useful things. We were created to learn to work with limits." He pauses, to allow all space for understanding.

"If we don't learn to work with limits, we cannot fulfill our purposes." Again he pauses.

"And if we accept our next state, we may then choose the state that follows. But if we refuse, we may never proceed."

And the Rebel stands up. "But some will fail."

Another of the elder Soft Ones stands up. "All of us shall fail. Failure is not a bad thing. It is important for learning."

And the eldest says,
I alone shall not fail. I shall give up my opportunities so that I can help each and every one of you when you fail.
And the Rebel says, "All by yourself. You must be proud to be so strong."
I shall have help, when needed. But that which must be done by the individual, I will do as I have learned from the Progenitors. I will do it myself, and I shall not fail. And all who fail may then follow me, and the failures may be put behind them.
All who so choose shall proceed.
And the Rebel says,
Oh Hard Ones! Give me that help and I will see that no one fails. This one who claims to be first is a weakling and a coward if he should allow any to fail. But give me the help and power you would give him and I will not let anyone fail.
And a Hard One speaks.
We shall send the eldest.
After some argument, the Soft Ones return to their play. But many choose to reject entropy and follow the Rebel.

And they argue with the rest, until it turns into war.

And the Hard Ones send those who insist on warring to the entropic field early, without entropic form, to observe the entropic field and consider their decisions.

They others mostly wait for their turns to assume entropic forms, but the war continues.



(With apologies to Isaac Asimov and all the other fans -- others besides me, I mean -- of The Gods Themselves out there. I just couldn't think of a better name for them, without inviting even more misunderstanding. 

With apologies also, to all who have their own understanding of the Creation. Please don't get excited, this is just a novel -- a fantasy, if you will.)

I need something to do while I work out some difficult problems, so I'm going to start a new novel.

If you have read this far, you will have recognized it as an attempt to re-tell the creation myth.

Some will accuse me of using pseudo-scientific argument to promote superstition.

You may say as you like. This is a novel, not scripture, and not science handbook.



Chapter One -- The Hard Ones


[Backed up here.]

Friday, September 16, 2016

Soft, the Table of Contents

[Backup] Soft, Preface (the Introduction) [JMR201609171453]

[JMR201609171436: This is now the backup for the Preface.]

Preface

The Soft Ones, innumerable, playing interminably in the vast field of light.
Playing, playing, ...

The field is sparse and spare. If not for the Soft Ones, there would be precious little to see in the field. It is the Soft Ones who bring variety and beauty to the scene, which is as it should be in a nursery.

For the field is just that, a nursery for the Soft Ones.

And the endless play, well, it could have no end, since they mostly know neither cause nor effect, act nor consequence. Time? Happily, entropy is foreign to their experience. They need to play.

A few in the field, however, have become gradually aware of some connection between one act and the next. As they become aware, they begin tutoring the younger ones.

Younger ones, indeed, for without time there is no standard for age in this field besides that awareness.

It is a different sense in which there is no time outside the field. Perhaps I should say, no measured time.

But there is a tracking of the progress of the Soft Ones, and, as the Soft Ones become able to distinguish act from consequence, they are brought to meet the Hard Ones, for new stages in their tutelage. And then they return many times to the nursery, continuing to tutor their younger siblings.

And, at some point, only the greatest of the Hard Ones can know when, the Soft Ones are brought together in small groups for an important meeting with the Hard Ones.

But it is not the Hard Ones who speak. The oldest of the Soft Ones stands and tells the assembled younger ones of a change. The Hard Ones, who gave them organized existence and created the nursery for them, also create entropic fields. And there is one such field for this nursery.

But the nursery having served its purpose, will shortly be taken away.

On leaving the nursery, the Soft Ones may choose.

They may accept entropic form, with it's causes and consequences, acts and effects, and the entirely new experience of need.

Or they may choose to remain untainted by entropy, in a form that does not easily interact with the entropic field.

But each must choose for self. None may choose for another.

There are more details to explain, and the Soft Ones are for the most part, not yet prepared. They are all allowed to return to their play.

But now there is more than just play.

One of the elder Soft Ones, who has mastered many of the principles of cause and effect, insists that entropy is not for the Soft Ones. It is dangerous, and brings something called unhappiness, which is a terrible thing.

Others of the elder Soft Ones point out that, until they know unhappiness, they cannot know happiness. And they say that happiness must be a wonderful thing.

And the rebel, for rebel he is, asks, "How can you know that happiness is so wonderful?"

"The Hard Ones say it is."

"I say it must be a terrible thing. Unhappiness is a terrible thing, and happiness requires unhappiness. Therefore happiness must be a terrible thing."

Some of the Soft Ones are impressed. It sounds so logical.

Others argue.

Still others see through the conceit and ignore it.

Again, meetings are called.

An elder Soft One stands up and explains the course of entropy. When they are given entropic form, they will also be given new abilities.

But entropic forms are necessarily limited. Each ability or group of abilities is mirrored by a lack of ability, or various lacks. While they have played, they have already chosen many of their abilities, but each will be required to make more choices now, as the nursery itself begins to be subject to entropy.

And the children, the Soft Ones, return to their play.

Again, the Rebel, that bright thinker, sows his seeds of discontent.

"Why should we choose? Why should there be limits?"

And again there are those who argue and those who set aside the question as more conceit.

"Let us wait for our Progenitors, the Hard Ones, to tell us all things. Then it will be plain."

"You are so trusting."

"Should I trust you, instead?"

"Of course!"

"I'll pass."

And, after more play, a grand meeting is called. All the countless Soft Ones attend.

Again, an elder Soft One, one who has learned so much from the Hard Ones that he almost seems to be a Hard One, stands and explains.

"This coming entropic state is our next state. Limits are useful things. We were created to learn to work with limits.

"If we don't learn to work with limits, we cannot fulfill our purposes."

And the Rebel stands up. "But some will fail."

Another of the elder Soft Ones stands up. "All of us shall fail. Failure is not a bad thing. It is important for learning."

And the eldest says,
I alone shall not fail. I shall give up my opportunities so that I can help each and every one of you when you fail.
And the Rebel says, "All by yourself. You must be proud to be so strong."

"I shall have help."

And the Rebel says,
Oh Hard Ones! Give me that help and I will see that no one fails. This one who claims to be first is a weakling and a coward if he should allow any to fail. But give me the help and power you would give him and I will not let anyone fail.
And a Hard One speaks.
We shall send the first.
And after some further argument, the Soft Ones return to their play, but many choose to reject entropy and follow the Rebel.

And they argue with the rest, until it turns into war.

And the Hard Ones send those who insist on warring to the entropic field early, without entropic form.

They others mostly wait for their turns to assume entropic forms, but the war continues.



(With apologies to Isaac Asimov and all the other fans -- others besides me, I mean -- of The Gods Themselves out there. I just couldn't think of a better name for them, without inviting even more misunderstanding.)

I need something to do while I work out some difficult problems, so I'm going to start a new novel.

If you have read this far, you will have recognized it as an attempt to re-tell the creation myth.

Some will accuse me of using pseudo-scientific argument to promote superstition.

You may say as you like. This is a novel, not scripture, and not science handbook.



Chapter One -- The Beginning



Re-plotting the Story in Economics 101

I'm feeling less and less confident about my first attempt at a novel, Economics 101. I've jumped too many sharks with it.

No, I haven't. To say what I wanted to say, all of that has to be there, and more.

Not so much jumping sharks as simply saying too much to fit in the short, readable novel I had thought I could translate myself. I had originally been thinking of a novel that could be used by Japanese high school students to study English. Economics 101 is so very much anything but that.

So I'm thinking of splitting it out into smaller, less unpalatable bites.

Since I have the idea some people will be offended that I made Mormon culture and philosophy as prominent as I have, I'm also thinking of using the alternative history ruse to hide the connections somewhat.

Borrowing from a cultural myth about the meaning of "mormon", maybe I could name the religion 「増善」 (Zouzen) or 「溜善」 (Ryuuzen).


A quick search on the 'net brings up a 「増善寺」 (Zouzenji), a historic temple in Shizuoka that dates back to the seventh century.

Ryuuzen could pun to something like "loosen", or Zouzenji could pun to "sausage".


Hmm.

The school could be 若橋大学 (Wakahashi Daigaku). Or it could be a juku.

Roberta Whitmer could be 白池 光美 (Shiraike Mitsumi). She would still dance, of course.

Karel Pratt could be 鋭井 達人 (Surudoi Tatsuto), a frisbee player.

[JMR201609171733:

Daniel Claymount could be -- ouch. Claymount is not too bad, 土山 (Tsuchiyama) is a good name.

But Daniel -- "God is my judge". Japanese gods tend to be arbitrary, if colorful, creatures, not the kind you would want to judge you. At least, not unless you are really up for thrills that could be fatal. And the easiest transliteration, the made up word 「裁神」 (Saijin) puns to 「祭神」, or "god of the shrine", or "festival god".

Inverting the characters, 「神裁」(Shinsai), does produce a real word, meaning "god as judge".

But as a first name?

And Kristine, that's pretty tough, too. "Believer in Christ", or "Christ-bearer". Mapping that to Kanji just doesn't work. Invokes too many conflicting semantics.

But Tasuku as a reading for 「救う」(sukuu, save/help) is a valid male name.

Person (Pierson) maps well to 「石」(ishi, rock).

Tsuchiyama Shinsai (土山 神裁)?

Ishii Kyuuko (石井 救子)? [JMR201609172255: Or maybe it could be Hirako. ]

I mean, it's not like I have to get some city hall bureaucrat to clear these names.

;-)

]

And so forth.

I could push the time back somewhat farther, maybe the mid-eighteenth century, when uncharted islands really were uncharted and the supernatural less of a comic-book device. 

And Okigake (Wyecliffe) and Ginoshu (Zedidiah) could be privateers. Without radios, what do I do there? (意岐崖、義主)

And is Tessa now Yotsuko or Karuka? Hmm. Scary. (四ツ子、刈香)

Yeah. And make the religion a restorationist sect of Shinto.

Wait. Would Japanese people be offended about that restorationist bit? I'd be making claims that the Nihonshoki has been misinterpreted significantly, and that would be rather a revolutionary idea to many people.

And dealing with the historical issues of misogyny?

Wait. I guess Tatsuto could not be a frisbee player. And Mitsumi would not be a midwife. Her mother could be the midwife, and she could be her mother's helper? Maybe.

This is going to take a bit of research.

Simplify the storyline, maybe, but make my job harder, getting the background information right.

Sigh. I don't have the money to support the family while I do that.