CompuServe SF Forums To Be Deleted

CompuServe (CIS) was the first major commercial online service provider in the United States, the dominant brand of the 1980s. It was known for its online chat system and message forums covering a variety of topics, including the CIS SF Literature Forum.

You may not have realized any of these Forums were still around – and they soon won’t be. Users have been served notice —

Dear Forum friends and family,

We regret to inform you that the Forums will be removed from the CompuServe service effective December 15, 2017. For more than two decades, the CompuServe Forums paved the way for online discussions on a wide variety of topics and we appreciate all of the participation and comments you have provided over the years.

CompuServe was taken over by AOL in 2003, and in 2009 all CompuServe Classic services, including OurWorld Web pages (File 770 used to have one) went away. Now the Forums are being shuttered,

Danny Sichel says they’ll be wiping the archives clean. “A lot of the stuff has been backed up on, but who knows if it’s all the stuff.”

George Brickner

While he was following a trail of links to information about the story, Danny came across the residual web presence of the late George Brickner, one of the most active SF Forum members (under the handle Dupa T. Parrot) who died in 2010. His YouTube channel remains, where he uploaded videos of SF Forum meetups at NASFiC in 1987, and Chicon V in 1991.

Danny says, “It’d be fascinating to know who any of the people in the videos are; perhaps File 770’s readership might have some answers?”

  • 1987 NASFiC CIS SF Literature Forum Party

This is the CompuServe Science Fiction and Fantasy Forum Party at the 1987 NASFiC in Phoenix, AZ. I’m the guy near the computer who waves at the camera. Video recorded by Jim Schneider.


  • 1991 CIS SF Forum Party at Chicon V

This is less than five minutes from the CompuServe Science Fiction and Fantasy Forum party at Chicon V, the 1991 World Science Fiction Convention in Chicago (Aug 29 thru Sep 2). My hand-held technique is pretty bad as I got more chests than heads.


{Thanks to Danny SIchel for the story.]

10 thoughts on “CompuServe SF Forums To Be Deleted

  1. It’s too bad that storage is so expensive, humongous, slow and cumbersome
    that somebody (with authority and access) couldn’t, like, walk over or
    remotely connect a four TB pocket drive and, like, save it all, first.

    Seriously – somebody must know somebody in whoever is still housing this

  2. There are private efforts being made to copy the content of the SF Literature forum (and, I presume, other forums), but there are (we are told) copyright issues with actually publishing them anywhere.

    Some of the forums, including SFLIT, are migrating (without their history) to an as yet undisclosed new web home. I am — was <sigh> — a sysop on SFLIT, the moderator in charge of the book discussions, but have no more information on this than anyone else.

    A few years ago Compuserve migrated the software and we were informed that no thread more than a few years old would be saved; there was instantly a massive grassroots effort across all the forums (led by the members, not the sysops) to tag EVERY old discussion with a new reply, so it would come across in the migration. Compuserve management was, I think, surprised at the reaction of forum regulars across all forums at the impending loss of their history, and the effort to preserve it. In the two forums I frequent, quite literally thousands or tens of thousands of old threads were tagged in the space of a few days. Such efforts are, I gather, happening again, but as I said above it’s unclear whether the data can ever be posted anywhere because of copyright issues.

    Yes, I too would chip in for the cost of storage media. But, alas, we haven’t been given that option.

  3. I’m sure I probably know every single person in that video — but that’s the Chicon I missed because I was getting married. So I’ve never actually met IRL any of them and have no idea what they look like. (Ok, I’ve met a few — but my mild face-blindness combined with the fact that it was 25 years ago means that I can’t even identify the ones I’ve met…

  4. I saved a big bunch of the stuff about me, Science Fiction Chronicle, and Harlan Ellison from GEnie (remember GEnie?) as a several meg MS word file. But I wasn’t even aware that anything else was still around.

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