Cyberspace Starport--Now Under Construction
Picture a vast structure orbiting somewhere above the world of Cyberspace.
Picture the huckster's room of the best Worldcon ever, in a free-fall ballroom
the size of a small asteroid. Picture yourself floating through an art show
suspended in space, in a transparent corridor fifty kilometers long, with a
spiral galaxy for a backdrop. Picture the hotel lobby of the first
InterGalacticon, with bulletin boards and piles of convention fliers as far as
the eye can see.
You get the idea.
If you are reading this online, on the World Wide Web, you've seen cybermalls
of every size and description. There are the monsters that offer everything
under the Sun (or the DEC); just leave your credit-card number at the door and
walk right in; storefronts only $25,000 each per month, paid in advance.
There are the mom-and-pop mini-malls with a flowershop, a bookstore, and two
starving Netware consultants; stalls only $25 a month. And everything in
There are also a couple of Really Cool Places on the Web (and I had a
link to one, but it disappeared), that would probably have (and certainly
deserve) a couple of pages in the Hitchhiker's Guide to Cyberspace if there
was such a thing. Fannish places.
And so, says I to myself, why not combine the two?
A Modest Proposal
What I want to set up is a ``home away from home'' for fen in Cyberspace. Not
a mall so much as a convention center, a Permanent Floating Cybercon, with a
huckster's level for fannish businesses at fannish prices, a lobby with an
enormous bulletin board and lots of flier tables, an artist's ghetto and print
Welcome to the Starport in Cyberspace:
Cyberspace Starport is conveniently located at A2I Communications (
in San Jose, California. A2i is a commercial service provider, connected to
the Internet via multiple T1 lines. (Grand Central Starport
theStarport.com> is my home system, connected to a2i via
All files will be backed up at both a2i and theStarport.com.
I'm not equipped to handle credit cards or other financial transactions at
this point, but feel free to stick an order blank on one of your pages. I
willbe able to offer (limited) support for HTML forms, so customers
will be able to send you orders by e-mail.
There will be several kinds of data in the Starport:
- In the Mac world these would be called ``folders,'' but we're running a
starport here. You get a subdirectory into which you can toss
whatever text or graphics you want (within limits.) You will be able
to update this at any time via e-mail or ftp. You also get a free
doorway (see below) from whichever area (category) you want to reside
- If you have your own web server, you don't need to take up (or pay for)
space at a2i. A doorway consists of a one-line description, an
optional small graphic (icon), and a paragraph of text. The
description can contain arbitrary numbers of html links.
- A flier is something between a room and a doorway; it's a single
document (file) with at most one moderate-sized graphic. A flier comes
with a free link to it, which consists of the document's title and the
graphic shrunk down to icon size.
- A link is an HTML link containing a document title and an optional
- The Lobby
- Bulletin Boards and Flier Tables for links.
- The Hucksters' Room
- Doorways and links for dealers only.
- The Art Show and Artists' Ghetto
- Doorways and links for for pro and fan artists.
- The Filk Room
- Eventually, I hope, including an FTP archive for filksongs
posted to alt.music.filk.
- The Fanzine Room
- There are a lot of good zines on the Web;
maybe there would be more if more editors had net access.
- The Grand Hotel
- Hotel rooms (and doorways) for fen. There will be a floor for
convention hospitality suites. Your home away from home in Cyberspace.
- The Docking Bay
- Doorways and links to other places in Cyberspace.
...Are nowhere near settled yet (send mail to <steve@theStarport.org> for details
when they become available). However, I'm not expecting to get rich out of
this, just to help pay for my net habit. Expect something like:
Dealers get space in the Hucksters' Room or the Art Show.
- $10/month for up to 1 Mb, and one free doorway.
- Extra Disk Space:
- Conversion and Scanning:
- TBA. It will be possible to submit artwork (e.g. a business card) on
paper, and/or text on a floppy disk in any of several formats, but the
prices aren't decided yet. E-mail is better.
``What's the single most important single difference between a
passenger and a citizen?''
The difference between a passenger and a citizen at the Starport is that you
get free passage (in the form of a doorway or flier) for a month, but after
that you're gone unless you pay up.
A CITIZEN LIVES AN INDEFINITELY PROLONGED LIFE.
---James Blish, in A Life for the Stars.
- Probably free if you provide a reciprocal link.
- $5/month. I have to pay for disk space on this machine, and I'm not
really trying to run a web hosting service.
- Free for 1 month; $2.50/month thereafter.
- At the moment I'm trading space (for Xenofilkia) for subscriptions.
- Conversion and Scanning:
- Probably not. What do you expect for free?
- Filk Room:
- Free or maybe less.
That's right; if BMI ever comes up with a royalty scheme for electronic
distribution, they may pay you whenever someone downloads your
song. In that case I'll take the standard publisher's cut. On the
other hand, it may never happen. Don't expect to store sampled audio,
either; that's 10Mb/minute and takes forever to download. MIDI files
for karaoke, maybe. Lyrics, definitely.
Cyberspace Starport and Grand Central
Starport are service marks of
Cyberspace Starport is hosted at www.rahul.net
343 Leigh Ave, San Jose, CA 95128
Stephen Savitzky <steve@theStarport.com>,
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