SFF Net, the online community where authors, publishers, editors, and fans shared their love of science fiction and fantasy for two decades, officially shuttered its doors on Friday.
The site first opened over 20 years ago, in July 1996, back when social media barely existed and Google was in its infancy. It was a spinoff of an online service provider called GEnie, which was founded in 1985 (and shut down New Year’s Eve 1999, partially thanks to the Y2K bug). When rumors surfaced that the GE mainframe was going to shut the site down, SFF Net emerged to preserve the community.
SFF Net was a place where creators and fans could come together over their mutual love of scifi and fantasy. During its heyday, SFF Net hosted hundreds of domains for authors and writing groups, providing email, chat, and networking opportunities for budding creators. It also held discussion groups and sponsored parties at comic conventions. Then, of course, you had the slough of bulletin boards and forums.
Over the past few years, the rise in online hosting and social media rendered many of SFF Net’s features obsolete. While dozens of author sites were shut down as a result of the site’s closing on Friday, those sites were largely outdated and many people who had been on the site had already moved on. SFF Net provided a valuable service for a number of years, designing and maintaining HTML websites for people without the skills to make their own, but at one point their services were no longer needed
SFF Net has a private Facebook group for former members and fans of the site. For anyone needing to access any of their content, the creators have archived the newsgroups for people to grab their stuff, but it will only be available through April 2.