FidoNet Star Wars Echo

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The FidoNet Star Wars Echo was a FidoNet "echomail" message forum distributed on bulletin board systems (BBS) in the 1990s. Discussing George Lucas' Star Wars saga and pre-dating the modern Internet, it was one of the earliest influential forms of Star Wars on-line fandom.[1]


Noteworthy participants in the Echo message forum included Star Wars authors Roger MacBride Allen, Kevin J. Anderson, Brian Daley, Barbara Hambly, Shane Johnson, Vonda McIntyre, L. Neil Smith, Kathy Tyers, Tom Veitch, Timothy Zahn — along with occasional Lucasfilm representatives, West End Games freelancers, and employees of Dark Horse Comics.[2]


Founded on February 25, 1991 by moderator Eli "Skip" Shayotovich, the Star Wars Echo quickly became one of the most popular forums within FidoNet.[3]

In November 1994, the Echo launched a monthly on-line newsletter/fanzine entitled Out of the Maw.[3] Echo member Rich Mason also compiled his own fanzine, entitled Starfighter Command.

The Echo pioneered a parallel message forum devoted to playing the Star Wars role-playing game on-line.[4][5]

Due to the participation of the early Star Wars authors and some current and future West End Games freelancers, Echo members were credited with helping to flesh out some of the early Star Wars expanded universe material.[6][unreliable source?]

In late 1994, some members of the Echo attempted to compile a CD-ROM containing all of the Star Wars digital media—images, sound files, text documents, etc. -- that were available on-line at that time (very little by modern standards). It was a non-profit endeavor, asking members to pay only the cost of the blank CD-ROM. However, when members approached Lucasfilm's licensing department for permission to create the CDs, that permission was denied, and the CD-ROM was never distributed.[7] This attempt by the fans encouraged LucasArts to create its first early commercial Star Wars media compilations, and to develop a strategy to deal with the protection of their intellectual property on-line.[1]

When the arrival of the Internet quickly eroded the use of BBS systems and FidoNet, Echo members made the migration and created some of the important early Star Wars fan web sites (such as Echo member Mike Farnham's Star Wars Inter-Fido RPG site),[5] and Echo moderator "Skip" Shayotovich later served double-duty as president of the America Online Star Wars Fan Club. Naturally, many Echo members also became involved in the RASSM newsgroup, and there was a friendly rivalry between the two groups for a time.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Knight, Chris (May 9, 2001). "In The Beginning... Star Wars Comes To A Wired World". TheForce.Net. Retrieved February 22, 2015. 
  2. ^ Schwab, Mike, ed. (December 1995). "Out of the Maw: volume 1, issue #2". Retrieved February 22, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b Schwab, Mike, ed. (November 1994). "Out of the Maw: volume 1, issue #1". 
  4. ^ Schwab, Mike, ed. (March 1995). "Out of the Maw: volume 1, issue #3". 
  5. ^ a b Little, David O. (March 6, 1999). "The Phantom RPG Menace". Echo Station. 
  6. ^ Schwab, Mike, ed. (July 1995). "Out of the Maw: volume 1, issue #4". 
  7. ^ Schwab, Mike, ed. (September 1995). "Out of the Maw: volume 1, issue #5". 

External links[edit]

  • The RASSM History Archive discusses the history of the Internet's rec.arts.sf.starwars.misc newsgroup, in which many Echo members played a part. (Since both groups were operating in parallel for a time, many of the debates and issues discussed on this site applied to the Echo as well.)
  • FidoNet Star Wars Echo on Wookieepedia