DargonZine is a periodically published ezine or online magazine whose origins pre-date the mainstream use of the Internet. Formerly called FSFnet (Fantasy and Science Fiction on the Internet), DargonZine caters to readers of fantasy and science fiction literature and was first published in 1984. It serves as the expressive vehicle of a group of amateur writers collectively known as The Dargon Project. Its establishment date marks it as the longest, continuously produced fantasy-fiction ezine on the internet.[unreliable source?]
DargonZine releases 4-10 issues a year. Its International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) is 1080-9910.
DargonZine débuted in December 1984 as FSFnet (Fantasy and Science Fiction on the Internet) on the co-operative university network BITNET, the academic network that existed prior to the mainstream establishment of the Internet. Under the editorial direction of Ornoth Liscomb, FSFnet printed reviews of contemporary fantasy and science fiction works, commentary, and included original, standalone fictional stories penned by subscribers. It attempted to use technology to supplant traditional print-based methods of entertaining and organizing amateur writers. FSFnet was one of the first groups to use the LISTSERV software for mass e-mailing of communications among members.
Eventually a group of FSFnet writers expressed a desire to link their stories within a shared world setting resulting in the formation of the Dargon Project in 1985. Stories written for the Dargon Project would be located in a fictional town called Dargon, set within a world of magic and medieval-level technology.
Initially, Dargon Project stories appeared beside other unrelated member contributions. As more and more stories continued to be written in the world of Dargon, it became clear the direction of the ezine was shifting. Thus, in November 1988, FSFnet was officially renamed DargonZine and eliminated the inclusion of reviews and commentary. From that point forward, all content was to be set in the world of Dargon. Together, FSFnet and DargonZine make one of the longest running electronic magazines on the Internet.[unreliable source?]
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Black Idol: Despite having been in existence for almost 20 years, and having all stories set within the same fantasy world, the Dargon Project did not succeed in organizing a majority of its writers into producing a tightly-focused, related plot arc. That changed at the group’s yearly Writers’ Summit in May 2003. In Austin, Texas, twelve writers gathered together and collectively agreed to write a story arc about a religious relic that wreaked havoc on a disaster-prone settlement called Northern Hope. The stories would chronicle the relic’s discovery, its transport across the northern tip of the continent, and its eventual disposal in the frigid waters of the Valenfaer Ocean. The Black Idol storyline eventually produced twenty-seven stories published over three-years.
Great Houses War: The Great Houses War story arc represented an unusual dedication by one Dargon writer determined to explain a little-explained but substantial conflict in the shared world’s history. Called the Great Houses War, the event referred to a civil war fought between royalist and insurrection forces in the kingdom of Baranur over who would succeed to the throne. The storyline covered nine stories published over two years and was by Canadian author Nicholas Wansbutter.
Talisman: The Talisman series of stories, by long-time Dargon author John White (published under the pen-name of Dafydd Cyhoeddwr) spawned thirty-eight chapters published over five years. It chronicled the efforts of four people to unite the shattered remnants of a magical Talisman that bound them together over several lifetimes through reincarnations (and new genders), and tested relationships, loyalty and the definition of love.
- Dargonzine.org – Official DargonZine website.
- ISSN - International Standard Serial Number organization home page
- E-Zine List - John Labovitz's E-Zine-List
- LISTSERV - History of LISTSERV software on the Internet
- FSFnet 0-0 - FSFnet's first issue in text format
- Textfiles.com/FSFNET - Textfiles.com's historical archive of FSFnet issues
- Open Road - Review of DargonZine from Open Road
- InterText - DargonZine mentioned in InterText
- TeleRead - 2009 review of DargonZine at TeleRead