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.