In The Beginning, There Was GEnie. GEnie was the online service that General Electric set up to take advantage of the slack-time on its private service. They gave away free lifetime memberships to members of the Science Fiction Writers of America, and it wasn't long until several thousand fans and writers gathered to commune with one another. It was the online con that never stopped.
Until it did.
GEnie got sold off a while back, to a private company. Around that time, it started hemorrhaging members, because the rates were high, because the Net was cooler, because, because, because. The once-thriving community has turned into a ghost town.
What comes next? Jeffery Dwight, the moving force between Greyware (previously reviewed in this space) and Jim MacDonald, one-time GEnie sysop hope that it turns out to be SFFNet.
SFFNet duplicates much of GEnie's functionality: chat rooms, discussion areas, file libraries; and adds to it: a database from Locus, members' Web pages, and new and better things yet to come.
The online world moves fast. So, very, very fast. So fast that the archives from the SMOF BBS, arguably the world's oldest sfnal online resource are the digital equivalent of crumbling parchment. Still, the complete run of the seminal cyberpunk zine CHEAP TRUTH is nothin' to sneer at. Those with delicate stomachs, be forewarned -- this thing is ugly to look at.
From the mind of a University student in Trenton comes this page dedicated to MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000, Comedy Central's insanely brilliant showcase for the humiliation of lame rubber-monster movies.
Speaking of rubber monsters, the latest big-budget site devoted to a big-budget film is up and running. I'm speaking of "The Island of Dr. Moreau," billed as the "scariest book written by H.G. Wells" (though I've never thought of Wells as a horror writer...). Like other movie sites, drmoreau.com pushes the envelope of online ostentation -- sounds, movie clips, 3D VR panoramas of the special effect props, and animations, animations, animations.
Author Cynthia Ward is a regular contributor to the online writers' e-zine Speculations (http://www.speculations.com), in the guise of the Market Maven. Don't miss her timely and incredibly exhaustive list of markets for genre authors.
The Discworld MUD is a multiplayer, international, free role-playing game based on Terry Pratchett's tremendously popular -- and funny! -- novels. Log in, design your character, and lose yourself forever in this lovingly detailed virtual replica of the Discworld.
Tolkein went to great lengths to flesh out Middle Earth, inventing languages and species. He had nothin' on the authors of The Twin Towers. This is one of the biggest MUDs in CyberSpace, an enormous and challenging Multi-User Dungeon.