Meet Vector—a Zine About Science and Society

Meet Vector—a Zine About Science and Society

Meet Vector—a Zine About Science and Society

By Monica Kortsha



Science often starts in a lab, but it rarely stays there.


I started the zine Vector to provide a platform for people to explore how science works its way through society at every level. It’s not a publication dedicated to promoting STEM per se or for announcing new discoveries. Instead, the zine is about recognizing that humans have biases and egos, ethics and morals, weird habits and senses of humor that influence how science is interpreted and applied.


The name Vector is meant to highlight that point. In biology, a vector is a vehicle, the means by which infections are spread or DNA inserted into a transgenic organism. In physics, it’s any value with a magnitude and direction. We want Vector to cover the impacts of science spreading through the world.



The zine is managed by myself and two other editors, Diego Cruz and Madeline Detelich. I work as a science writer for The University of Texas at Austin. Maddy works in water quality for the state and Diego works in publishing. We came together to create the zine out of a shared curiosity in science and technology. We were also all annoyed at a style of science communication that treats science like a magic show— a spectacle meant to delight and entertain with its amazingness—rather than a process that can impact the world in multitude of ways depending on who is encountering it, why and under what circumstances (looking at you IFL Science).


Each issue of Vector is organized around a particular scientific topic. We took a leaf from the likes of Nautilus, The Point and Lapham’s Quarterly, preferring to take a deep dive into one topic. Like these other publications, we also publish in print. We do that in part because we think print encourages people to spend more time with the material than they would online. It also helps us fit into larger zine culture that values self-produced print media and the culture of swapping, selling and sharing zines between producers.



Our first issue focused on GMOs and was published in fall 2016. It includes a comic presenting the history of genetic modification, an interview with a corn and soybean farmer about his GMO crops, and an essay on how a Supreme Court ruling impacts gene patents, among other pieces. We hope to continue to feature a similar array of work and perspectives in our upcoming second issue.  The theme for this one is Truth and we’re planning on going to print in the late summer or early fall of 2018.


The primary goal for Vector now is growth in awareness and contributors. Most people who know about the zine found out about it directly from me or the other editors. We want Vector to be a place for all sorts of media and perspectives on science and technology, including all sorts of writers.


So if you’re a new writer who wants to try out their craft, or a seasoned practitioner looking to hash out ideas before sending them to larger publications, we would love to hear from you. In addition, if you’re interested in helping in other ways, from writing blog posts on our website, getting the word out or helping organize an event, please let me know.


Thanks for reading! If you’re interested in a free copy of our first issue, send me an email at vectorzine@gmail.com and I’d be happy to provide it.

Founder Madeline and founder-author Monica at the Houston Zine Fest in the fall of 2016
Founder and editor, Deigo, at the Lone Star Zine Fest last spring











Monica Kortsha is founder and editor of the zine Vector and science writer at the University of Texas at Austin Jackson School of Geosciences. She attended one of the ATXSciWri Bar Scrawls to share the zine, invite writers, and share the significance of creating a personally-crafted, small batch zine filled with locally-sourced content without the pressure of economic-drivers—just pure knowledge and creativity.


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