What was your favorite class in college?

What was your favorite class in college?

When I went back to university, one of the courses I had to take to get entrance to the degree program was an English course. I never enjoyed it when I was in high school, mainly because of the essays and I wasn’t a big fan of reading. Needless to day, I enjoy writing blog posts not only because I get to choose the topic, but it doesn’t have to be that long.

Watchmen by Alan Moore

Watchmen by Alan Moore

The first one that I took was called the Hero’s Journey. This is the first time I really learned how to properly write an essay. I actually read the books, including Dracula and many of the mythologies, such as Hercules. I enjoyed it so much that I took two more English classes during my degree and made it a point to take one whenever I could. I was actually ENJOYING English and reading!

The next one was Zap, Pow, Bang!: Popular Literature. How could I not take this course? We got to read comic books! Specifically, one of the best known graphic novels of all time: Watchmen. I knew that it was influential, but I never realized how deep it actually went. We also read The Maltese Falcon and From Russia With Love. Our group project: Comparing The Maltese Falcon to “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” as a film noir. We of course got top marks for that one. It was definitely one of my favourites.

During my last year, I took one more. However, it wasn’t my first choice, nor my second choice. They eliminated both of those, one of which included Eastern Literature and I ended up with Science Fiction. Now this may surprise many people who know me, since I am a big geek when it comes to Science Fiction. But I’ve never been a big fan of the writing or reading of it. Give me a screen any day and I’ll watch “Firefly“, “Battlestar Galactica” and of course “Doctor Who” any day, all day. I have to admit, I wasn’t very fond of most of the novels required for the class, including Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, Octavia Butler’s Kindred or H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine. I appreciated them for what they were, but they weren’t a pleasant read for me. It felt more like high school all over again: reading stuff I didn’t want to read just to pass a class. But I am happy to say that this was the only piece in the course I didn’t like. There was plenty more! We got to watch “Ghost in the Shell” and “Bladerunner” as part of our studies, so there was some video thrown in which made my day.

William Gibson's Neuromancer

William Gibson’s Neuromancer

I did enjoy reading William Gibson’s Neuromancer, especially when I was told that it was what sparked the famous Role-Playing Game (RPG) “ShadowRun“. I actually found the audio book narrated by Gibson himself. Very interesting to say the least. One of the assignments was to do our own bit of creative writing (which I was terrible at in high school). But I actually enjoyed it too. Based on Neuromancer and a ShadowRun game that I used to play, I came up with the ending to a campaign that my GM never finished. And no, I never forgave him for that. At the time, he said that he figured everyone could do their own ending. So I did. It’s still not finished, but I completed the assignment and have actually created a blog on it. There I also describe the back ground to the story as well as a totally different storyline which I think I need to pick up again very soon. Check out ShadowShui here.

So thank you Ryerson University for renewing or rather starting my love of literature.

Change the end of any famous story, true or fiction

 

Change the end of any famous story, true or fiction. I just did a post last week about writing a book, so this is a bit of a follow up to that.

Neuromancer

First edition paperback cover (Ace Science Fiction 1984)

Feng Shui Roleplaying Game

Feng Shui Roleplaying Game

I took an English course at Ryerson University in Science Fiction. I didn’t think I would enjoy it because it was my third choice. The other two didn’t have enough enrollment, so I settled for this class. Boy was I pleasantly surprised! We were charged with writing something creative in the style or based on one of the books that we read during the semester. I was inspired! A few years earlier, I’d been party to a role-playing game that we called “Shadow Shui”. It started out as a Shadow Run campaign, which is a cyber-punk style based on the William Gibson book, Neuromancer. Part way through, we changed the mechanics of the game to a system called “Feng Shui”, but continued the main story line, hence Shadow Shui.

Shadow Run Roleplaying Game

Shadow Run Roleplaying Game

This was one of, if not my favourite campaign. I loved my character and did my best to never miss a session. I even recorded everything in Excel spreadsheets to make sure I had everything at hand. We had to take a break from the campaign because some people’s schedules changed. We were almost finished and could have probably finished it during a long weekend. I bugged the game master to finish it for years. One day, I asked him again when we were going to finish it and another player who was standing beside us said, “Are you going to tell her?”. The game master decided not to finish it and let everyone write their own ending to the story. I was dumbfounded! He couldn’t do that! Well, he did or rather…didn’t.

This was my chance! The prof loved my proposal and off I went. Hence, Shadow Shui: The Story was born. I got a great mark on it and was truly interested in writing it. I joined a writer’s group at a local bookstore run by a friend of mine. After the store closed, I put up shadowshui.wordpress.com. I hope you will enjoy the story’s “end” since I hope to continue it further someday.

UPDATE: I’ve just realized the difficulty with my blog link. I’ve just corrected it. Sorry!