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The age of the internet has been rough on traditional printed publications. Even major magazines such as People and Time have occasionally struggled as they adapted to the digital age that has more and more people absorbing most of their content digitally. While that ongoing transition has seen the demise of many smaller publications, the magazines that have adapted well, like Wired, are better than ever. There’s another nice perk of the online era when it comes to the magazine world: you can preserve publications and make them available to more people with a scanner and some patience. Case in point: the entire run of Omni magazine is online and readable for free.
Focusing on both science and science fiction, Omni enjoyed a long and venerable run, first published in October 1978. The print version lasted until Winter 1995, and while a digital version continued through 1997, eventually that, too, folded. That’s a damn shame, but what an amazingly cool treat that the entire run of the magazine is available for our perusal at the Internet Archive. Some days I really love the internet.
During its long history, Omni featured many who would go on to become notable contributors to science fiction literature, including Ben Bova, who worked as an editor for the mag. Omni also first published many stories that became genre classics, such as Harlan Ellison’s novella, Mephisto in Onyx and William Gibson’s Burning Chrome. It also published genre-leaning stories by more mainstream writers, including William S. Burroughs and Joyce Carol Oates.
Omni very much paved the way for sites such as GFR, so we’re thrilled to see that it’s been preserved for all of us to enjoy in the years to come. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some reading to do…