Since you, the reader, are being kind enough to give up some of your time to read this story, you need to know something in advance about the world in which Karel and Dan meet Bobbie and Kristie.
That is, I'd like you to know some things about it.
It does look a lot like our world. There is a union of independent states similar to the United States of America here. It has a Constitution and a Declaration of Independence and a Bill of Rights and a history very much like our USA. There is a Christian religion in this world, with a Bible. And there is a restorationist Christian church with a companion scripture similar to the Book of Mormon. There are even states parallel to such as Hawaii, New Mexico, and Texas, and countries parallel to such as Japan and the Philippines.
As much as I can without causing confusion, I will borrow names from our world.
You will find some differences, of course.
In the world of this novel, that book of companion scripture, being named after the ancient new world prophet who abridged it, has a name that can be translated as "Eternal Progression". Since that is a mouthful, I'll abbreviate it "E-P"†. And the restorationist church will be commonly called after the book, with the resulting confusion about whether E-P-ists are Christian or not.
You ask why you should care about this?
The protagonists of this novel are of the E-P-ist faith, and will do some things that you might not expect.
The university where most of the story takes place would not be called Brigham Young University. It kind of looks a lot like BYU, and it is even located in a town a bit south of the Point of the Mountain. But from the way it was named and its history and so forth, it would make more sense to call it Orson Hyde University. And there are some policy differences at the school that you may notice.
Speaking of points of policy -- considering that it's a different world, perhaps you will not be overly disconcerted if the E-P-ist church has certain points of policy different from the Mormons, as well.
I think that will be enough that you won't be too surprised. Thus --
Sociology 500, a Romance‡
by Joel Matthew Rees
Copyright 2017, all rights reserved.
Table of Contents
- Chapter 1 -- Introductions
- Part 1 -- in which we meet Bobbie, and she is accepted to graduate school.
- Part 2 -- in which we meet Karel and Dan, and they are admitted to grad school, as well.
- Part 3 -- in which I talk about football and engage in a little recreational invention.
- Part 4 -- in which we get to actually meet Kristie, and Bobbie and Kristie meet Karel and Dan.
- Chapter 2 -- Going by Four
- Part 1 -- in which Dan and Karel discuss their luck with women.
- Part 2 -- in which Kristie and Bobbie talk about about men.
- Part 3 -- in which our four protagonists go on a double date and find that they do like each other.
- Part 4 -- in which our four friends study and dance and set some patterns for the next couple of years.
- Part 5 -- in which we read their letters home.
- Chapter 3 -- The First Semester
- Part 1 -- in which we get to listen to our protagonists talk about many things, including much that is religious in nature, before a study group session.
- Part 2 -- in which the protagonists and some friends visit the temple and talk a little about the physical meaning of being a proxy.
- Part 3 -- in which Bobbie and Karel explain a little about the temple to Mrs. Burns.
- Part 4 -- in which we meet Piers (again), and he invites Bobbie to a movie that Karel doesn't like, and our friends talk a little about social and sexual issues.
- Part 5 -- in which I introduce more of the people our four protagonists socialize with, and talk a little more about the world they live in.
- Part 6 -- in which I moralize about beauty and love and introduce more history of this novel's world, and we meet more of our four protagonists' friends.
- Part 7 -- in which I invent a solar system and our friends play Pit.
- Part 8 -- in which we attend a class with Dan and Kristie and learn a little about their calendar.
- Part 9 -- in which we continue to observe their class and learn a little about their computer technology.
- Part 10 -- in which I commit the literary folly of asking you, the reader, to put up with an extended passage written in a language for machines after talking a little about the computers of their world and time.
†I had thought to use the name "Straitgate" (partial Japanese-English pun) as the name of that prophet and the book he was the editor-in-chief of in the alternate world of this novel, but there are already organizations with that name. Using that name might invite confusion.
(I was thinking of Jesus as being the gate and considering that the gate is very hard to get through if you don't conquer your pride, ergo, "strait".)
I had also considered "Moregood", but I might as well just use "Mormon" if I do that. (The interested reader might research why.)
Which left me scratching my head. Thinking of repentance as a "proceeding forth to return to that God from whence we came" brought back a name that has some special meaning to me -- "Forth". And I decided the confusion might be something I could deal with, and maybe the Forth Programming Language community would not be too upset at me for presuming to use it.
"Turn" or "Return" might be more appropriate, but "Forth" also sort-of evokes the idea of "doing more good".
But, no, after more thought, I decided that I need as much separation as possible for certain elements of the plot. (People get upset when you talk about certain things.)
So I will use the abbreviation "E-P", for "Eternal Progression". Maybe I'll be able to provide a satisfactory explanation somewhere in the story.
Ultimately, I know someone will be dissatisfied, but no proxy name I could use will satisfy everyone, and I do want to make it clear that this is an alternate world.
(The Programming Language Forth will get some mention along the way.)
‡For the curious, this novel is essentially an edited extract of The First Draft of Economics 101, a Novel, and is named in a similar pattern. Perhaps you will understand that I plan it to be the first of a trilogy.
[Previous versions backed up here: http://joel-rees-economics.blogspot.com/2017/02/backup-soc500-00-00-toc.html.]