'Omni' Magazine Will Rise Again
"Have you ever looked up at the sky on a clear, star-filled night and wondered at the awesome magnitude of the universe… and asked yourself: who and what am I; where do I come from and where am I going? And have you ever considered the possibility that life—life in any form—may exist out there among the stars? If that thought stimulates your mind as well as your imagination—you may be interested in seeing a very unusual publication called OMNI, the newest and most original magazine in America today.”
–Bob Guccione, 1983
The warehouse that contains the biggest OMNI magazine collection in the world is in New Jersey. It’s the most nondescript building you could imagine. Actually, it’s somehow more than nondescript; its appearance and contents are so diametrically opposed that the building veers into a negative space of visual mundacity. When I visited, it was raining. The beige buildings peeling along the I-95 were streaked with mold and dust. I pulled my rental car into a nearly empty parking lot and ran through the rain toward the building, which supposedly held the sacred relics of the greatest science magazine that ever was.
A few months ago, I wrote an article about OMNI. The magazine’s been out of print for 15 years, and you’re lucky if you can even find a solitary old copy in a thrift store. But if you hit upon a trove of issues, like I did as a teenager rifling through an estate sale, and if you’re the right kind of person, OMNI will blow your mind. You’ll find that its voice is as radically relevant now as it was in its heyday of the 1980s. A gonzo blend of science and science fiction, it was sexy, irreverent, scarily prescient—I never imagined when I was investigating its history that I’d find myself elbow-deep in the biggest OMNI collection in the world. But that’s the internet for you.