Saturday, January 02, 2010



I'm in Slate this week with an article and slide show remembering the giddy futurism of Omni magazine:

The piece began after I found a stash at a junk store, and was hit by a shock of recognition of a 1979 cover -- I actually remembered getting that issue as a kid. And inside the issues, the ads of long-lost firms -- DAK, Fidelity Chess, Infocom games, Commodore 64! -- were as weirdly evocative as the articles. Leafing through pages I last read 25 to 30 years ago, I found myself remembering them. A lot of them, in fact. I've become so used to the ephemeral nature of magazines that I've forgotten how some reading experiences -- especially at the age of 10 -- can still deeply, subtly imprint themselves.

Among the many riches I found in a junk-shop stash of Omnis -- (Yonkers spaceport! A 1984 account of telecommuting! An Italian atomic bomb!) -- I also came across this astounding ad from the final days in 1995, long after I and just about everyone else had stopped reading. No matter how hard up times may be for science magazines today, just remember: nobody's asking their editorial assistants to staff a 900-number.

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