Wednesday, September 1, 2010

'Omni' magazine September 1985

Let's return to the 1980s, and September 1985, to be exact, and the latest issue of Omni magazine. 

Published by 'Penthouse' publisher Bob Guccione and his girlfriend Kathleen Keeton, Omni was one of the best-selling SF and science fact magazines, garnering significant advertising revenue, which in turn allowed it to pay high rates to its fiction authors.

In this issue, cyberpunk stars Bruce Sterling and Lewis Shiner team up to deliver 'Mozart in Mirrorshades', a classic of the genre. It gets a striking (if not entirely accurate) illustration by Etienne Sandorfi:

Some of the advertisements in the magazine are worth getting nostalgic over. First we have a commemorative 'Mr Spock' plate (obviously for Trekkies only), with our hero looking particularly stylish with his crossed-arms pose:

there is also an ad from Casio, featuring its new line of advanced, SOLAR POWERED calculators !

An ad from Hitachi lets those with handsome back accounts know all about its newfangled Compact Audio Disc player and its hi-tech, '2-head' VHS videotape player :

And finally, buried in the back pages of the magazine, a plain, bare-bones ad for 'micro computer' gear from Elek-Tek in Chicago:

How about some cutting-edge daisy-wheel dot-matrix printers ? Or an internal modem ? A 'DSSD' disk drive for your Apple ? Or a pack of 5 1/4 - inch floppy disks ? 

This was indeed the dawning of the home computer era, and for many folks a PC was simply too expensive and difficult to operate to justify purchasing. Something to think about next time you get exasperated and frustrated at the troublesome functioning of your own contemporary machine...?

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