From the mouth (well, fingers) of Matt Ruff:

Author of Fool on the Hill

The Bohemians' tale was inspired by my real-life adventures living in Prudence Risley Hall.

Jed Cyrus, the constable of the town of Auk, where we first meet the Bohemians, was named after Ed Cyrus, who was Resident Housing Director of Risley from 1983 to 1989. (Though the constable is portrayed as something of a buffoon, Ed was a very competent and very tolerant guy—when I consider all the mischief I got up to in the dorm, it's a wonder he never used his master key to murder me in my sleep.)

Joe Scandal, mentioned in passing as the RHD of Ujamaa, was named after Joe Scantlebury, the real RHD of Ujamaa.

Myoko and Fujiko, the Grey Ladies, were based on Mia Korf and June Sassa, both Risleyites. After graduation, June ran off to Tennessee with an artist named Tom; Mia became an actress, and has had a pretty successful career so far, although she may have missed her shot at superstardom—according to Risley rumor, she was the runner-up to Marina Sirtis for the Counselor Troi role on Star Trek: the Next Generation.

When I first met them, Mia and June used to hang around with a guy named Rich Carbin, and because of this I tend to mentally associate Rich with Lionheart, even though he has almost nothing in common with the character.

Evan Evanson, another Risleyite, swears I once told him that he was the inspiration for Skippy the Beagle. While I don't actually remember this, there is enough of a resemblance that it's probably true.

Finally, while most of the dogs and cats in the story are as fictional as the human characters, Gallant the St. Bernard was based on a real St. Bernard that belonged to one of the Cornell fraternity houses.

Risley in other literature:

While not one of the top prank schools, my alma mater, Cornell University, gets a few honorable mentions (in If at All Possible, Involve a Cow: The Book of College Pranks —though Steinberg somehow overlooks a couple noteworthy stunts (the theft of a parking lot, and the attempt to establish a monarchy in Prudence Risley Residence Hall) that happened to coincide with my attendance at Cornell. Maybe in the sequel.

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