"The Experiment is a self-published novel by acclaimed author Katherine Stableford.
Shy, retreating Ellen Toliver has few good friends and no luck with romance in her life - until she creates an handle for herself on the internet, joins a few messageboards, and begins writing a public journal. As Ellen Toliver, her life may be mediocre, but online, ToLive620 is popular, well-liked, and respected. But the more her online life thrives, the more Ellen struggles with questions facing many users of the internet in modern times - is love through cyberspace real and true? How can you trust a friend, or even a lover, you've made over the internet?
The book is notable for the controversial inclusion of several cybersex excerpts, including one in which Ellen's moniker "ToLive620" is mistaken for a man.
Ellen lives with her mother Abby and her brother Ez, who both express concern throughout the novel about how much time Ellen is spending on her computer. For the most part, Ellen keeps her online life a secret from the both of them. As the story progresses, however, Ellen finds it increasingly difficult to keep her real life and her internet life separate.
Matthew Halliwell (alias Well_Its_Matt) first befriends Ellen after reading one of her journal entries about her favorite cartoons from the 1980s. Their correspondence becomes increasingly flirtatious, and though Matthew expresses desire to meet Ellen in real life, Ellen becomes increasingly nervous about meeting him, and experiences conflict over whether or not love over the internet can be true. At the end of the book, it is implied but not explicitly stated that they are officially an item, both on the internet and off.
Benjamin Loomis is Ellen's boss, who is basically a misogynist jerk. Ellen is shocked halfway through the book when she realizes that he's very much infatuated with her online persona, without realizing that it's her.
Pammy (TuxedoMskGrl) was one of Ellen's first online correspondents, and the first online friend she met in real life. She becomes a close friend of Ellen's but later betrays her by sharing some of Ellen's personal information publicly on the internet."
This community is for fans of this excellent novel to come together and discuss it!