March 2021 is a special month for us because it marks the 20th anniversary of the SF-Fandom community forums. The forums were originally hosted on Xenite.Org, which I launched in March 1997. So Xenite is 4 years older than SF-Fandom.
We probably would not have created this site had it not been for legal threats made against another fan Website. But there was another reason why we set up a new domain. Xenite had experimented with a sponsored hosting plan that proved to be disastrous for our forum community. The deal we worked out generated some revenue for us but the company’s Web servers couldn’t handle all our traffic.
So we built SF-Fandom.Com and moved our forums to the new domain. My late friend and partner, Dixie Harrison, took on the primary administrative role. She recruited a team of moderators to help us build our growing community and maintain the high standards of behavior we asked of our members (no flame wars – no personal attacks).
In those days the TV shows that I loved best – Xena: Warrior Princess, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Stargate SG-1, Farscape, and Dark Angel – were still in production. There were other shows, too, including Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda (after Hercules ended), Earth: Final Conflict, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World, Jack of All Trades, Cleopatra 2020, and a few others I can’t recall.
We loved Star Wars, Star Trek, Middle-earth, The Queen of Swords, history, archaeology, science, and many other topics.
It was a great time and the best part of the experience was that so many people joined in to share the journey with us. We talked about our favorite authors, shared ideas about new books, movies, and TV shows, and had fun.
But over time the old science fiction forum communities began dying off. I’ve watched dozens of them go under because Facebook and Twitter and Tumblr took over the world of “social media”.
But we’re still here. We’re not going away.
I don’t have as much time for my fannish interests as I used to, and some old friends have moved on. RobRoy McCandless was one of our chief administrators for many years. We stay in touch on Facebook. He went on to publish his own books, including the award-winning Tears of Heaven. Honestly, RobRoy has written so many books you can browse them all on Amazon. Well done, my friend!
Our forum community thrives today, and you don’t have to register to browse our discussions. Free registration is required if you want to join the discussions or subscribe to them.
We share news about actors, writers, and people (of interest to our members). We celebrate fan birthdays, talk about conventions, and keep alive the memories of our favorite authors including J.R.R. Tolkien and Andre Norton. Xenite.Org (and therefore by inheritance SF-Fandom) hosted the Web’s first (and now oldest) dedicated Andre Norton fan community. A few of our friends, including the much loved Paul Goode, have passed away.
Paul was a kind and gentle man. Not only was he a member of our forum community, I met him at many science fiction conventions. We always tried to make time to catch up and wish each other well. We were heartbroken when Andre Norton died. Paul was one of her biggest fans. And when he passed away, too, a great gap formed in our community. We celebrate his love for the genre and remember his kind words.
Something I enjoy doing – when I have time – is sharing fan-movies in our forums. We can embed YouTube videos. I’ve watched countless hours of fan films in the Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Star Trek universes. And I’ve found some pretty cool independent science fiction movies, too.
We don’t allow links to illegal downloads but we do encourage authors and film-makers to drop by our forums and tell us about their projects. It’s not easy to promote a new book or film when few people have heard about you. SF-Fandom wants to meet the next generation of creators.
We’ve laughed, and cried, and had our bitter moments. The forums have been lost and rebuilt more than once. We endure because we’re science fiction fans. And we’ll always welcome new names and faces among us.
I shared a few more details about the history of our forums in this discussion a few days ago. If you’re an old friend who hasn’t visited us in a while, you’re welcome to drop by and say hello. And thank you to everyone for being a part of SF-Fandom.