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The Media Sci-Fi Entertainment

Omni Magazine To Reboot 95

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Adi Robertson reports in The Verge that classic science fiction magazine Omni, created in 1978 by Penthouse mogul Bob Guccione and partner Kathy Keeton, is coming back — and with it, questions about how our vision of science and science fiction has changed since Omni closed up shop in 1996. 'There's a heavy dose of nostalgia in the proceedings, and it's not just about bringing back an old name,' writes Robertson. '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.' Omni's resurrection comes courtesy of Jeremy Frommer, a collector and businessman who acquired Guccione's archives earlier this year. Like the original magazine, now available at the internet archive, the new Omni will publish a mixture of new fiction and nonfiction publishing the old illustrations that helped define Omni alongside the stories. Longtime science writer Claire Evans will edit the new online project described as an 'Omni reboot' but plans to jettison one of the magazine's most dated elements — a fondness for extraterrestrials and conspiracy theories. 'Omni always had a distressing new agey tinge to it,' says Bruce Sterling. 'There was a lot of "aircraft of the pharaohs'"rubbish going on, which I didn't have very much tolerance for.'"
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Omni Magazine To Reboot

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  • by P-niiice ( 1703362 ) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @11:36AM (#44510143)
    I hope it does well. Print is not doing well these days. Perhaps a heaily web-integrated setup like Wired would help....
    • by fbumg ( 632974 )
      The article said it will live on the web, with weekly updates. I am pulling for them, but I too am skeptical of the viability of print for a product like this. Nostalgia is great, but it doesn't usually make money in the long run.
    • Now?

      We have pervasive police-state surveillance, US Government cocaine flights from central America and "Conspiracy Realities" exposed by Snowden, Assange, Michael Hastings and Andrew Warren, among others.

      The dark future of Stanislaw Lem's "Memoirs Found in a Bathtub" [] is here.

      • And what [] do you get?

    • by jasno ( 124830 )

      Funny you mention Wired. I was just talking about OMNI the other day and the closest example I could come up with was Wired. The same sort of starry-eyed promotions about technologies 'only 5 years away' and endless prognostications about the glorious or terrifying future.

    • Wired is still around? Really, not being snotty, I thought they were long gone.

  • Just for the nostalgia effect.
  • by kriston ( 7886 ) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @11:43AM (#44510253) Homepage Journal

    OMNI's golden years were the early 1980s. There was so much of what we now call "junk" science that made the magazine so compelling. It took Popular Science and stretched it to the extreme edge of believability which is a big part of what made it so interesting and entertaining.

    • by cusco ( 717999 )
      Omni was where I first heard of the Space Elevator concept. Link to the archives is posted elsewhere in this thread. They had an interesting analysis of solar power satellites in another issue that I may have to look up to see if it was actually as good as I remember.
    • I bought one issue around 1982 and it had already turned the corner. I thought I was reading another work of Erich von DÃniken, what a waste of time.
  • First Art Bell gets back in circulation and then so does Omni. Clearly the end times are upon us.

  • by sandbagger ( 654585 ) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @11:49AM (#44510355)
    Omni used to be a great magazine in the 80s and gradually shifted to a "magical technology will save you" magazine. I remember seeing a headline to the effect of "Ours will be the first generation to live forever". That magazine was one of the first grown up magazines I used to buy as a kid. That, and National Lampoon.
    • by Rinikusu ( 28164 )

      Yeah, my mom subscribed me to it back in the 80s. Used to love that magazine.

      Now, I wish they'd reboot a Mondo2000-esque magazine, focusing on issues in tech, like privacy, data sharing, etc. With lots of weirdos in colorful Kai's Power Tools backgrounds.

      • Now you're talking! I miss all of the creativity that came out of "The Well" back then. Back when you had a "zine" that helped you choose what to wear, what brain enhancing drugs to take, where to stand on social issues, and how subvert the phone company. All in one randomly produced at various times throughout the year publication.

    • by nurb432 ( 527695 )

      That is when i dropped my subscription. I had one from the first day, until they ruined it.

      Sort of like when BYTE went south and became 'yet another PC review magazine'.. Was such a loss to the communities that built them.

    • Damn I miss National Lampoon.

      Owned by a porn company now IIRC. Only making terrible movies, magazine is dead and gone. Web site is basically empty.

      Screw Omni, bring back 'pooners. At least put up an archive and make a 'Politeness Man' movie.

    • Same here. I recall reading an article about the discovery of DHT and its effect on male pattern baldness and how it would be easy to address with that information. "Phew," I said, "I've got 25 years for them to work that out!".

      Today I buy spray-on sunscreen... gee, thanks Omni!

  • plans to jettison one of the magazine's most dated elements - a fondness for extraterrestrials and conspiracy theories.

    They're just doing what their new insect overlords command them to.

  • If that's a tired theme, turn it into spoof fodder. SciFi and comedy are a match made in heaven (in outer space?).
  • No smiling allowed in science. No joy. No room for the human soul. Just rows and columns of numbers. And mobile phones. Lots of mobile phones.

  • > "Omni always had a distressing new agey tinge to it"

    Created by a guy in the 1970s who had a half-unbuttoned polyester print shirt exposing a hairy chest with gold chains? No way!

  • I think this idea is fine if they bring in a new world of "magazine" and what magazine means to people. Content is king after all. Become Flipboard's flagship news source. Master RSS/Atom syndication. Something that stands out. But don't do it the same way all over again. I think Science readers are at an all time high. Would be a grand time to have a go to source, that did it in a easy to consume manner.
  • by Psion ( 2244 ) on Thursday August 08, 2013 @12:10PM (#44510683)
    This sounds exciting. I was a huge fan of the magazine and still have many copies gathering dust in various places. Omni introduced me to new artists and writers I'd never heard of before, posted light articles about various scientific matters, and from "Continuum" to "Anti-Matter" gave readers a chaotic, but often optimistic glimpse at possible futures.

    Please don't leave the optimism out. There's been a resurgence of neo-Malthusian gloom in the last decade or so. If the new Omni becomes a mouthpiece for doom-mongers, I'll gladly walk the other way. Oh, and a little fringe science is kind of fun, too. Maybe ESP and flying saucers have become passé, but I'd like a serving of zero-point energy and parallel universes, please.
  • This trash was not part of the *original* Omni, but what it became towards the bitter end. When Omni finally closed up shop it was a shadow of what it was in the early days, and long overdue.

    Ill check it out of course, but ill hold hopes until i see if they can recover the old magic. I doubt they pull it off.

    • by Varka ( 767489 )
      I'm looking at an Omni Magazine from 1978 and it contains the UFO UPDATE section on page 28. That trash was ALWAYS a part of Omni magazine.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I would buy that for a dollar!!

  • Reboot reboot REBOOT (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Stop calling every resurrection a fucking reboot! You reboot a computer, not a magazine, not a movie, not a TV show. The ONLY thing that can be rebooted is a computer, outside of that the term "reboot" has zero meaning. For fuck's sake, it's like when all those marketing pieces of shit latched on to "cyber" and "virtual" for every fucking thing.

    If you use the word "reboot" and you aren't referring to a computer, then you are a fucking moron and you don't have a clue.
    • No, you're wrong. Anything that can be 'booted' can be 'rebooted'.

    • by wjcofkc ( 964165 )
      English is a tragically flexible language if you haven't noticed. Words take on new meaning and shift in their meanings all the time. Just sayin'
  • Why bring back an old magazine title when it will end up being more full of ads then actual articles? 10+ years ago I used to read Popular Science, Popular Mechanics, and Scientific American all the time and it was worthwhile reading. Now in the last 4-5 years i've noticed in the above mentioned magazines there is literally twice as many ads with the majority of them being 3-8 page ads trying to hype some product, car, etc, the usual two page ads, and so on. Plus, a lot more mail in cards that everyone basi

    • by cusco ( 717999 )
      I just recently got rid of the huge pile of Scientific American magazines that were in the garage. The ones from the mid-'90s were thick, with long articles written by the researchers. They had charts and graphs that referred to actual research, and monthly there was an article about experiments and equipment you could build yourself. Last month's issue was 1/2 the thickness with twice the advertising, a majority of the articles were written by journalists (good journalists, but still not actual scientist
    • by Omestes ( 471991 ) <omestes AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday August 08, 2013 @02:42PM (#44512397) Homepage Journal

      SciAm became a total waste of time. Its now written for the absolute bottom, and has pretty much embraced pushing an agenda (environmentalism and global warming) over what they used to do, digest new science for lay people without being condescending. Yes, I agree with their stance on their pet issues, but this doesn't mean I want to be preached at. If I did, I'd borrow my father's copies of The Nation. I hate media with an agenda. I don't want to be preached at, and I don't want to read something that I 100% agree with. They dumbed down the rest of the content, and decided to present it in a "For Dummies" style, with bullets pretty much summarizing the full article before you even read it, so you don't have to actually bother.

      PopSci and Mechanics turned into gadget rags, and whorish ad platforms long ago.

      Pulp magazines are dead. Or at least should be. I only get some photography magazines now (art focused, not gear focused), and McSweeny's The Believer for the lady friend. I also poach my father's copies of Mother Jones, since they can be pretty good and balanced for a liberal rag, from time to time. I used to get the Economist, but I couldn't keep up with weekly reading, and got sick of the Eurozone Collapsing RIGHT NOW, constantly, for three years. They also decided to not support Android, so I couldn't read it on either my phone or my tablet after upgrading to a Newer android version.

  • oh, what's the point though, the web is full of free porn no anyways
  • Guccione should be described as something and Penthouse mogul e.g. millionaire-playboy and Penthouse mogul, not just 'Penthouse mogul.'

    Remember before there was 50 Shades of Gray there was Penthouse Forum.

    • And Games magazine was published by Playboy. I remember hoping my mom didn't find that out, even though Games itself was squeaky clean!
  • The Internet Archive originally had all the issues except for February 1984, but some others have since been removed [] at the request of the content provider. Most if not all of the original Archive issues are available on a torrent [] created before they went missing. (No, it wasn't me.)

    Unfortunately, at least some of the issues were scanned selectively, with some ads being left out, for example.

  • What about my subscription? Back when they went under, I had 18 months left and they died. Are you gonna make that up to me?

"In my opinion, Richard Stallman wouldn't recognise terrorism if it came up and bit him on his Internet." -- Ross M. Greenberg