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Zines with Zee

posted Apr 30, 2019, 2:21 AM by Grace Bridges   [ updated May 16, 2019, 7:13 PM ]
Zee Southcombe, a writer, illustrator and producer of zines, is sending DIY zine packs for purchase in GeyserCon's craft area. Today she discusses why Zines are important to science fiction and fantasy fandom. 

Hi Zee! Before we start, what’s your definition of a zine?
Zines are, by definition, hard to define – the whole point of them is freedom of expression and form, and giving less-heard voices a platform. I tend to describe them to people as “the DIY end of self-publishing”. 
For me, one thing that makes a zine stand out is being able to see the hand of the creator in the final piece, whether that be slightly off-kilter folding, handwritten text, the shadow of sellotape in the photocopied pages, or maybe something special like hand-cut pages that would be difficult to create in a mass-produced product. The stock-standard zines you'll see are 8-page minis that are folded from a single sheet of paper, and staple-bound booklets. 

You’re an artist and illustrator. How did you get interested in producing zines?
I have a background in visual art, and came to writing as an adult (I was always an avid reader, of course). I hadn't made any art for a while, and while I loved the process of writing and publishing, I found I was craving something more hands-on. 
At ArtWeek Auckland a few years ago, I attended a panel discussion on independent publishing. One of the panellists spoke about zines and I was drawn by the experimental aspect; zines are, by nature, a forgiving medium. It was also a way for me to return to my visual art roots without getting too distracted from my WIP.

You also write for children and produce non-fiction, so what is it that attracts you to zines?
It was actually through zine-making that I discovered a liking for non-fiction, and collaborative publishing. After my (wo)manpower zine series, I embarked on books that used my experience in zine-making to inform the process.
Zines have become an important element in my role as a children's author because they're an accessible format for publishing – one of the schools I visited last year are even going to host their own zinefest! I've become so fond of the format that I'm re-releasing my own children's fantasy novels as zines.

How are zines important to fans of science fiction and fantasy?
Science fiction and zines go way back! While the self-publishing of booklets and pamphlets, which could quite comfortably fit most people's definition of a zine, have been around since before Gutenberg's press, the first zines are generally agreed to be the sci-fi fanzines (sometimes called chapbooks) of the early 20th century (the first of which was published in 1930 by the Science Correspondence Club, titled The Comet – think the snail mail version of online forums, with some fanfic and short stories chucked in for good measure).
Contemporary zines are actually quite similar, generally being either short fiction (quite often illustrated) or a fanzine celebrating a particular world, niche genre, or film / book / game. Zines are a way to share our own stories in a very tangible, but low cost format, and to dive a little deeper into fantasy worlds we know and love.

Zee is a mixed media book artist & author/illustrator with a penchant for zine-making. She lives with her cat and her husband, nestled between hills and sea in the beautiful Otago. 
Visit Zee's website at http://lifeinanalogue.co.nz