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Name: GEnie
Date(s): 1985-1999
Moderator: various
Founder: Bill Louden
Type: online community (pre-Web)
Fandom: multiple
URL: n/a
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GEnie (the double initial caps are an integral part of the name) was a text-based online information and social-networking service created by a General Electric subsidiary, and operated from 1985-1999.

Its offerings included early versions of MMORPGs, message boards, chat services, and file-sharing archives. These were grouped by subject matter (astrology, gardening, photography, etc.) so that each interest group had its own RoundTable, with its own sysop/moderator. While several of these RoundTables (such as Games and Showbiz) attracted fannish interest, GEnie is primarily remembered in fandom as host to the SFRT (Science Fiction RoundTable), which in turn hosted a great variety of fan and professional communities devoted to science fiction literature, film, television, and other media.

Fan Comments

Somewhere in 1986 I got online, first on Compu$erve, but there's a reason everyone who's ever been a member spells it that way -- $12.50/hour, ouch. GEnie was much cheaper, only $6/hour during evenings and weekends, so I moved over there and stayed pretty much until the place shut down. (GEnie rocked, it was the best online service of its time, but management was a pack of idiots and its corporate parent, General Electric, never cared about it, so management ran it into the ground and then wandered away.) [1]


  1. Angie, How I Got Into This (2007)