Monday, July 6, 2009

CompuServe Classic: R.I.P.

I joined CompuServe sometime in 1987.

I used to be a sysop (system operator) of the WordStar Forum there, and I hung out a lot in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Forum (so much so that the command GO SAWYER at the CompuServe prompt would take people there).

On October 10, 1989 -- almost 20 years ago -- I was given a "sponsored account," meaning I didn't have to pay for my connect time (I remember one year prior to that my bill for CompuServe connect time was $700). It was a joy to be able to go anywhere and do anything on that service without getting charged -- such was the online world back in the day.

I made my first online friends on CompuServe -- including SF writers John E. Stith, Mike Resnick, Barbara Delaplace, and Roger MacBride Allen, and all sorts of WordStar users; many of them are still good friends to this day.

And now, it's over: AOL, which acquired CompuServe some years ago, has finally shut down CompuServe Classic.

CompuServe was a very important part of my life from 1988 until the early 2000s. I made friends there, I learned things there, I did tons of online research there (using a service called Magazine Database Plus), I won awards there (the CompuServer Science Fiction and Fantasy Forum's HOMer Award), I sold the one and only bit of shareware I ever wrote there (MICKEE: The Mouse Interface for the Control-Key Editing Environment, which gave mouse support to WordStar), I got my email there, I even hosted my webpage there for a while (with the ungainly address of, and (long before anyone had heard of blogging) I began this online journal there (with entries starting back in 1999 salvaged here).

R.I.P., CompuServe. You were good to me, and you mattered, and I will always remember you.
Visit The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site



At July 06, 2009 11:05 PM , OpenID rvitelli said...

Am I a horrible person for not even realizing that Compuserve was still around all this time? I hadn't used it in years and I can't even remember the last time I saw one of their ads. So much for the hard sell.

At July 07, 2009 12:19 AM , Blogger George B. said...

Hi, Rob,

CompuServe Classic service pretty much was just an email service. Once the forums were transferred to Prospero (ala DelphiForums) and opened to the World for free, there was no reason to have an account.

The SFLit forum still exists at or but it's a shadow of its former self.

All one seeds is an AIM screen name to access "CompuServe" now.

George (aka Da Boid)

At July 07, 2009 1:40 AM , Blogger Mike Resnick said...

I remember when you were just a kid starting out back on CompuServe. I also remember spending an inordinate amout of time working with the Imps, the wannabees whose name stood, as I recall, for "IMPatient (to be published"); a lot of them sold, and a number are still selling. It was a wonderful forum once upon a time, second only to the late lamented GEnie. But in all honesty, I haven't been back there in maybe six or seven years. Still, it's sad to know that's its followed the dodo and the 60,000-word sf novel into oblivian.

At October 26, 2009 2:14 PM , Blogger Jimmy said...

I too remember and bemoan the comradeship of the Compuserve forums which helped me through a very difficult time of my life.


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