Space stations, radioactive journals, and cryptids - celebrating three new zines!

We've just added three zines to the Small Science Zine Library, all created by the same artist, Godai. Godai's zines are about (1) the history of space stations, (2) Maria Skłodowska-Curie's radioactive journal, and (3) the origins of cryptoid pseudo-science (did the legend of Yeti come from misidentifying yaks?) To celebrate these additions to the Small Science Zine Library, we've interviewed Godai about his inspiration, process, and background. See his three zines interspersed in the interview below. And don't forget to print them out and share a little science in your community. 

Q: Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get into making science zines?

Godai: It's a long story. I'm working in IT since 1999, so my professional background is mostly technical, but I have a BA in English teaching, too. And I'm a science fiction writer after hours. I started making zines in early 1990s, my first edited and published one was in the 1980s, tho. I used carbon copy paper to make more copies... I've been doing zines and smallpress for the past two decades, including minizines, but I only got into making 1-page foldables last year and testing the medium. I tried telling about the stuff I love - namely space exploration. 

Q: What inspired you to make your zine The Brief History of Manned Space Stations?

The Brief History of Manned Space Stations by Godai

Godai: For many years I have been an enthusiast of the space exploration, I wrote an alt-history fiction book about it, based on actual events and hardware and also wrote a comic book for kids about the history of space exploration, titled "When I Grow Up, I'll be a Hadfield". I was also pretty active on Polish Wikipedia in the area of space stations, kosmonauts and so on.

Q: What inspired you to make a zine about Maria Skłodowska's radioactive notebook? (Note to readers: Maria Skłodowska is also known as Marie Curie)

The Journal of Maria Skłodowska by Godai

download the printable/foldable version

Godai: I'm taking part in the Monthly Zine Project and the January prompt was "journal." Now, Maria Skłodowska is pretty famous in Poland and for a reason. She's the only woman to date to get two Nobel awards. I first heard about her as early as 1st or 2nd grade of primary school. I knew the story of her radioactive journals for years and I thought it would be a great opportunity to spread some knowledge and also spread some fame for one of Poland's greatest scientists.

Q: Tell us a little about your process of making the zine(s). How did you go about researching the facts and transforming them into an engaging story and zine?
Godai: The idea is the first step. Space stations, cryptids, Polish comics of the 1980s - I do a lot of things, including podcasting, and this bring plenty of potential topics to the table. 
     When I get an idea, I try to break it down first to suit the format. For example, I cut down the cryptids to six only, to accomidate each on a separate page for clarity. [Note: read "Cryptids of the World" below.]
     Concurrently, I do some research. Space stations were easy, as I can recite them at will but cryptids resulted in some research on popularity of those. I also look for articles on that topic, read sources - Wikipedia is a nice starting point as it provides links to actual sources like data or research.
     And then is the tedious work of writing the actual story to make it interesting and drawing the images. I use variety of tool, but in the case of zines - ink sketches work best, as they are easily reproducible. Teh final step is putting the layout together, tinkering with text, adjusting the images. I print and fold a copy and check out if it works - if not, back to the design. It it does, I make copies that are then ready for distribution. I also add the new zine to my "zine central" page on my blog and annouce the release online.

Cryptids of the World by Godai

Q: Any ideas for how people in your community could use the Small Science Zine Library?

Godai: I haven't tried using zines working with kids - yet. But I have run zine-making workshops for children and I find the foldable format really attractive. I delivers small, condensed portions of knowledge in an attractive form. I believe distributing this kind of science among young people would work. While discussing Small Science Library in an online group, one of the users related how they delivered some of the zines to their friend's student and they actually used some of that knowledge. I also think these would work great during informal, extrascholar meeting concentrating on dedicated topics. These could well be distributed among scouts or similar groups. And we need to remember that there is a strong collectible factor to these which is very appealing for kids.

Q: Where can people follow you or see more of your work?

Godai: All of my zines can be downloaded for free on my blog: