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Omni Lives!

August 9th, 2013 - 9:53 am

The first time I read Dave Barry — I think it was him — was on the last page of an issue of Omni, and I couldn’t have been more than 11 or 12 at the time. I don’t remember what the column was about, but I do remember he made a joke about wanting to use a thesaurus, only they’d gone extinct 65 million years ago. By that time, I’d been reading the magazine — religiously, if that makes sense for a Bob Guccione science and sci-fi mag — since its 1978 debut.

Anyway, it’s coming back:

There’s a heavy dose of nostalgia in the proceedings, and it’s not just about bringing back an old name. Longtime editor Ben Bova has described Omni as “a magazine about the future,” but since his time as editor, our vision of the future has been tarnished — or, at the very least, we’ve started looking at the predictions of the past with rose-tinted glasses. Evans, for one, echoes the common fear that we’ve stopped dreaming of a better time. “I think Omni was very skewed towards this idea of convenience, leisure, enhanced ability, enhanced freedom, and sexuality,” she says. “The discourse about technology that we have now is much more ‘What is it doing to us? How is it affecting our society? How is it affecting the way we deal with the world?’”

Writer Ken Baumann, who is contributing an essay to the first issue, questions even the idea of looking forward. “It’s getting harder and harder to actually predict in a real way what the future will look like,” he says, “because complex systems get really messy, and ours is more complex and more entropic than ever. Predicting the future may be a thing of the past.”

I’m excited to see where they go with this.

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All Comments   (7)
All Comments   (7)
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As one of the crew that created Omni and as its British and European publisher for a couple of years after issue one, I'm here to tell you this thing is going to crash at the end of the runway. They'd have better luck calling it by its original name, NOVA.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I enjoyed that magazine. I recall reading the Feb 1980 "fusion" issue. They thought fusion power was no more than 20 years away. I also read Sandkings there and was introduced to sci-fi writer Dean Ing. I'll always remember the funky TV commercials they ran.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I loved that magazine. This is good news.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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Frommer describes himself as a geek who hunted down a lost sci-fi gem, but he doesn’t want to run the site at a loss. "It's a labor of love," he says, "and I expect to make money."
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This isn't a great time to launch a web publication. Frommer doesn't seem to have settled on a business model. There was no mention of an Omni Web App. It sounds as though it under the new editor Omni will take a turn away from the new-agey-ness that that made it different from other pulp scifi mags in the 80's.
Is there a shortage of places for scfi writers to publish on the web? It doesn't sound like Frommer has the deep pockets to pay for, say, a new Gibson novel today.
But there is definitely room out there for a better 'go here first' scifi web site. scifi.com (remember that?) used to be it for me when Edelman edited it. Now it's just a promo site for the syfy channel.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I think I have the premier issue buried around here somewhere. Probably worth something.

I'm with Anna as far as being introduced to Gibson. And to Stephen King. They ran a few pages from "Fire Starter", if I'm remembering correctly. Hook-line-and-sinker, as they say.

And the "Alien" artwork, by Giger. I leafed through that issue in the back seat of my parents' car, while they were driving us home from the store that night. Left an indelible mark on my psyche.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I used to read "Omni" years ago but stopped because of the heavy lib/prog advocacy and parapsychology nonsense mixed in with the "scientific" speculation. While a lot of the science fiction in the magazine was of the dystopic "evil capitalists have f*cked up everything" genre, I do have to thank "Omni" for introducing me to the writing of William Gibson. I've read damn near all of his books, starting with his "Burning Chrome" anthology of short stories.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Cool. Loved that magazine growing up. One of the few bright spots about the 1970s. Great articles, great fiction. I'm sad I threw them all away.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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