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August 8, 2013 9:17 AM   Subscribe


 
Huh. The magazine was published by Bob Guccione, of Penthouse magazine and Caligula fame. Who knew?
posted by stopgap at 9:23 AM on August 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's sorta cute how the letters in 'OMNI' can be arranged to look kind of like '2013'.
posted by grubi at 9:24 AM on August 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


Who knew?

You must not have read OMNI. It was the mane-of-hair-wearing-gold-necklaces-under-a-half-open-shirt of SF magazines. That Bob Guccione was involved is not at all surprising.
posted by DU at 9:28 AM on August 8, 2013 [16 favorites]


Who knew?


As a youngster in the mid-80s I somehow convinced my mother to get me an Omni subscription. A few years later when I first saw a Penthouse I was shocked by the common design elements.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 9:33 AM on August 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Considering it had ads for marital aids and Penthouse Online, the ownership was unsurprising.
posted by mkb at 9:33 AM on August 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


We got OMNI when I was a kid and I read so many isues over and over. I knew even then that some of it was a bit silly and over the top, but so much of it was so good. I'm always happy to see anything about it, but if it's coming back in any form I'm quite excited. I'm curious to see what, if anything, comes of this.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 9:34 AM on August 8, 2013


As a precocious little nerdlet, I was aware of the Penthouse connection.

I loved the short stories and the section of pseudo-science. (I think the pages were red?)
posted by thebrokedown at 9:37 AM on August 8, 2013


Heh, "The Guccione Collection"
posted by KokuRyu at 9:39 AM on August 8, 2013


My dad used to get Omni. It had some cool stuff in it, notably "Continuum"
posted by KokuRyu at 9:39 AM on August 8, 2013


As a teenager, I read it for the pictures.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:42 AM on August 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


The magazine was published by Bob Guccione, of Penthouse magazine and Caligula fame. Who knew?

Everyone? It was a centerfold away from being Penthouse.
posted by GuyZero at 9:43 AM on August 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


Space Penthouse.
posted by grubi at 9:45 AM on August 8, 2013 [8 favorites]


I bought an Omni magazine during a church mission trip to Florida with my choir group, where we sang a terrible Christian musical for a few churches, ran a Vacation Bible School for another, and were told (I refused) to harass innocent beachgoers with tracts and witnessing.

I remember that was where I first learned about nanotechnology and it blew my mind.
posted by emjaybee at 9:45 AM on August 8, 2013


Please, God, don't let this turn into another Boing Boing.
posted by Ratio at 9:46 AM on August 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


Who knew?

Well, I certainly knew – when I was in high school my father, a photographer, had a number of photo essays in OMNI, and since it was on my way home from school I'd meet him at their offices after work. Which were in the back of the Penthouse offices, in a building on Madison Avenue, and when you got off the elevator the lobby was decorated with framed Penthouse and Forum covers; the Penthouse office itself was decorated with tasteful nudes but littered with proof sheets of beaver shots. As a teenager in the pre-Internet days, when porn was precious, I found that pretty titillating – but the OMNI offices were stacked high with publisher review copies of upcoming sci-fi books, which to a young nerd were like gold.
posted by nicwolff at 9:47 AM on August 8, 2013 [9 favorites]


I came for the pictures, but stayed for the cartoons. And the stories. And the pictures.
posted by mule98J at 9:51 AM on August 8, 2013


Yeah, my main-of-hair comment wasn't a diss. I always got sucked in because it looked like it might have porn inside, but I stayed in because it was so darn interesting.
posted by DU at 9:52 AM on August 8, 2013


Early Omni had some really great fiction, courtesy of fiction editor Ben Bova who they poached from Analog. It was my first exposure to Card and Gibson, Martin and bunch of others.
posted by octothorpe at 9:52 AM on August 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


OK, apparently everyone knew about the Penthouse connection. I read Omni as a prepubescent kid, so that would have been way over my head. I was more interested in the ads for “gifts and gimmicks” in Boys’ Life than ads for marital aids. Carry on.
posted by stopgap at 9:52 AM on August 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I blame early exposure to Omni for my fetishes. It's not easy to find bald women with prisms refracting rainbows from their foreheads.
posted by benzenedream at 9:55 AM on August 8, 2013 [28 favorites]


Cool! This should be fun. As others have mentioned, they published some excellent fic.
posted by zarq at 9:56 AM on August 8, 2013


New fiction by Rudy Rucker and Bruce Sterling. Off to a good start.
posted by ryoshu at 9:59 AM on August 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


stopgap: OK, apparently everyone knew about the Penthouse connection. I read Omni as a prepubescent kid, so that would have been way over my head. I was more interested in the ads for “gifts and gimmicks” in Boys’ Life than ads for marital aids. Carry on.
OK, then, I think you're ready for the rest of it. Sit down.

Liberace was gay.

And so is Elton John.

And Lassie.

Well, technically he was a cross-dresser. But he certainly wasn't above humping a sire.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:08 AM on August 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Claire Evans from YACHT as editor?! This bodes well. Their last album has a lot of transhumanist themes, and she's been blogging about science for a while now.
posted by mean cheez at 10:12 AM on August 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


DU: " I always got sucked in because it looked like it might have porn inside, but I stayed in because it was so darn interesting."
Dear Omni, 

I read stories in your Letters column all the time about sexy alien abductions, 
but I never thought it would happen to me!

...


posted by zarq at 10:14 AM on August 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Omni was the first place I ever saw one of those Magic Eye pictures, maybe in the late 80s or early 90s. Only it wasn't a picture, it was just some design and they went into great explanations of how it was done and I focused until the two dots became one and I saw the reverse of what I was supposed to see and here we are in 2013 and I still can only ever see a reverse 3D image and can never, ever, make out what it's supposed to be.

Penthouse would also have a similar effect on my perception of what sex with a woman was supposed to be like (mostly hot tub threesomes or orgies in the backs of ice cream trucks) but eventually I was able to figure that one out. Unlike those stupid Magic Eye pictures.

tl;dr: I liked Penthouse better than Omni. These days I'm sure I'd prefer Omni.
posted by bondcliff at 10:16 AM on August 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


bondcliff: how much did you pay for your ice cream truck?
posted by boo_radley at 10:17 AM on August 8, 2013


boo_radley, I never thought this would happen to me, but when I saw that "For Sale: Cheap" sign on that truck...
posted by bondcliff at 10:19 AM on August 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


A guy in my junior high school used to read "Penthouse Variations" at lunchtime. 25 years ago that was some twisted stuff, now it's just Tumblr, Jake.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:21 AM on August 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I mostly recall it being filled with over-the-top Utopian speculation, random pseudo-science & ghost stories. Maybe I picked up the wrong issues, but even when I was 12 or 13, it struck me as all a bit ridiculous.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:26 AM on August 8, 2013


Back around the mid-80's, Omni had a pretty prescient story about tablet computing, coming close to how we think about it today.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:38 AM on August 8, 2013


Space Penthouse.

Well where else would the space elevator go?
posted by Naberius at 10:38 AM on August 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Cool. Thanks, boo_radley.
posted by homunculus at 10:43 AM on August 8, 2013


Why did I have to go to a long meeting without posting this?

;]

This is awesome! Thanks, boo_radley!
posted by batmonkey at 10:46 AM on August 8, 2013


Y'all know the old OMNI is up at archive.org, right?
posted by thelonius at 10:50 AM on August 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Space Penthouse.

Wasn't that where the term "Space Porn" originated? Or "Science Porn"?

Also "nerdgasm"?

I have been waiting for this ever since it was pre-announced a couple months ago... how eagerly? I've kept a tab open on Firefox with the 'Coming Soon' page and checked it daily.

And yes, the old OMNI is up at archive.org. I downloaded it all after the previous FPP.
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:52 AM on August 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


The Gallery is absolutely fantastic.
posted by jbickers at 10:54 AM on August 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I still have the very first issue of Omni, October 1978.

This was the beginning of my freshman year of high school. At that time I regularly read Starlog and Asimov's Science Fiction for SF fiction and news, and Popular Science for science news. And I regularly pilfered my dad's stash of Penthouse — I'm pretty sure that Guccione announced the publication of Omni and promoted it in Penthouse for months before the magazine began, so I knew about the connection from the start.

I was thrilled with Omni with its mix of SF and science and technology reporting. It was sensationalistic and unreliable, but I didn't know that at the age of thirteen — for me, then, it was just right.

It was the first magazine I ever subscribed to — I think for the first year or so I picked it up at the bookstore, but then I subscribed and maintained a subscription all through high school. For years I kept all the issues; I think that when I first moved as an adult I threw out all but that premiere issue, which I've kept all these 35 years since.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:05 AM on August 8, 2013


My all-time favorite Omni moment was reading George R.R. Martin's "Sandkings" in the August 1979 issue. Still gives me the chills.
posted by Stig at 11:22 AM on August 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


My favorite as a kid. I am wondering how many disused OMNI Photovores are lying around out there, ready to reawaken for the Robot Apocalypse? I know there is one lurking in my Mom's house somewhere.
posted by rocketpup at 11:30 AM on August 8, 2013


It was the periodical equivalent of Doctor Who, back when Doctor Who was something you needed delicately adjusted rabbit ears and an encyclopedic knowledge of the UHF dial in order to capture in its static-ridden majesty.
posted by rocketpup at 11:36 AM on August 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I've thought of Gawker's io9 as sort of a successor to Omni, but I'll be curious to see what happens with "Omni Reloaded," here...

And, yeah, I remember "Sandkings" there, and had the first issue of the magazine around for years.
posted by rmd1023 at 11:40 AM on August 8, 2013


First article:

Lucid Dreaming: We Just Sort of Made That Shit Up, Man
posted by jquinby at 11:45 AM on August 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


jquinby: "First article: Lucid Dreaming: We Just Sort of Made That Shit Up, Man"

I will cut you. in my dreams. that I'm directing.
posted by boo_radley at 11:51 AM on August 8, 2013


I loved the short stories and the section of pseudo-science. (I think the pages were red?)

That was Anti-Matter, with the black pages.

Omni was the only magazine I subscribed to in junior high, for the last few years of its (original?) existence. I can probably blame a lot of my weird streak on that one...
posted by neckro23 at 11:54 AM on August 8, 2013


Omni was the first place I ever saw one of those Magic Eye pictures, maybe in the late 80s or early 90s. Only it wasn't a picture, it was just some design and they went into great explanations of how it was done and I focused until the two dots became one and I saw the reverse of what I was supposed to see and here we are in 2013 and I still can only ever see a reverse 3D image and can never, ever, make out what it's supposed to be.

It's a sailboat.
posted by radwolf76 at 2:47 PM on August 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


I don't remember a regular section in Omni with black pages, but I remember a section that was red, and another that was silver. I don't remember what the content was, just red/silver pages with the top third or so of the page left empty...
posted by egypturnash at 3:51 PM on August 8, 2013


I have a confession to make. For 4 years in my early teens, I would go in for my monthly appointment at my orthodontist and steal my his copy of Omni from the lobby. Every month. over and over. I'm surprised they never caught on.
posted by Megafly at 4:55 PM on August 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


My memories of Omni include reading Mefisto In Onyx by Ellison and shedding tears of frustration that I couldn't see that goddam Magic Eyes sailboat. I'm excited to see where this reboot goes.
posted by bstreep at 5:54 PM on August 8, 2013


Anybody remember that table art book they put out? It was full of very esoteric sf art and they wove somekind of story around all these disparate paintings and illustrations. Found it at a book warehouse as a 10 year old and god, do I wish I still had it.

OMNI was the best thing in the world for the poor black kid stuck in the small towns of racist Missouri in the late 70s.
posted by artof.mulata at 8:26 PM on August 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Y'all know the old OMNI is up at archive.org, right?

Great! I did not know that. My love gave me a complete collection of Omni, from 1978 to 1995, and that's enough! I AM NOT collecting any more Omni! I've often wondered if they were really worth holding on to for all these years. I am going to assume they are, and continue to keep them.
posted by QueerAngel28 at 6:37 AM on August 9, 2013


My all-time favorite Omni moment was reading George R.R. Martin's "Sandkings" in the August 1979 issue. Still gives me the chills.

It's here, in case anyone else's curiosity was piqued.
posted by dubold at 8:59 AM on August 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


Continuum was in towards the front, on silver pages. Little blurbs about at least semi-believable science stuff.

Antimatter was towards the back, on red pages. Little blurbs about UFOs and Bigfoot and crap.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:17 AM on August 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


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