Cosmic Charlie
by Bryan Zepp Jamieson

The Charlie Effect
by Keith Campbell

Cosmic Charlie
by Island Girl

Cosmic Charlie
by Misha

KamiCosmic Charlie
by Colin Campbell

Sea Foam
by Swagman

Cosmic Charlie
by Jeffrey P. McManus

Holy Lunch
by Aidan Butler


to Swagazine


Back in 1989, a small computer Bulletin Board System (BBS) in Santa Barbara called "Renaissance BBS" decided to have a group writing contest. Zepp, the sysop, got to lay down the ground rule, and that rule was quite simple: the story, or poem, or whatever, had to relate in some way to a character named "Cosmic Charlie". Everyone had six months to come up with something, and after the stories came in the users would vote for the best-liked. The winner would get a cheesecake at an informal barbeque of sorts called the "Charlie-Q".

The cheesecake wasn't particularly memorable, but the stories showed that the Santa Barbara telecom scene had a rather extraordinary pool of talented writers.

A second contest, "Merry Widow" was held the following year, and after that Zepp moved to Mt. Shasta. The torch passed to The Dragon BBS and eventually Swagland BBS to keep the literary light going, and it succeeded admirably.

Once settled in Mt. Shasta, Zepp tried a similar group effort up there, since Mt. Shasta has a large colony of artists and sages. It was a general failure. Not through lack of local talent but because Mt. Shasta didn't have the special relationship with telecom that Santa Barbara did. They thought of telecom as an amusing toy, nothing more.

The Internet supplanted BBSes and made them all but obsolete, and colonies of creative effort have sprung up everywhere. But Santa Barbara, through Swagazine, is still special, and as far as we know, unique.

And it still has the best writers and artists involved, treating this medium with the respect due it.


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