Nick Abadzis signing LAIKA at Quimby’s!
Thursday, October 4th, 7:00 PM
This fall marks the 50th anniversary of Sputnik 2 and the landmark voyage of Laika, an abandoned mixed breed puppy who became Earth’s first space traveler. LAIKA by Nick Abadzis retells the unforgettable true story of this special dog’s place in history in a powerful graphic novel that earns a place next to Lassie and Old Yeller as a timeless animal story.
On October 4, 1957 the Soviet Union stunned the world with the launch of Sputnik 1, the world’s first artificial satellite. At the height of the Cold War, the historical implications of such an accomplishment were great, as the U.S. and the Soviet Union jockeyed for political domination five years before the Cuban missile crisis brought the world its closest to nuclear war. A month later, by command of the Soviet premier, a second satellite was to be launched—with a loftier goal in mind: launching a living being into space—a stray dog named Laika.
The timing was too tight to adequately prepare for such a mission, and, as is well-documented, Laika met her demise in space. The scientific value of Sputnik 2 was minimal, and the public outcry over the dog’s death overrode the mission’s success. The official story at the time was that Laika had survived four days in orbit; the truth is that stress and overheating in the capsule killed her in less than 5 hours.
Abadzis weaves together the stories of Sputnik’s Chief Designer, Korolev—a former prisoner in a gulag; Oleg Gazenko—the leading scientist behind the Soviet animals in space program who selected and trained Laika; Yelena Dubrovsky—a nurse with veterinarian training and the niece of Major General Pokrovky whose compassion for animals was overridden by her allegiance to communism; and Laika, whose heartbreaking journey takes her from the streets of Russia to the laboratories of the space program, and ultimately into space.
A British comics creator whose work has been published in the U.S., Europe, and Japan, Abadzis researched the Russian state archives in Moscow, and unearthed a multitude of facts about the space program that were unavailable to the public prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union. Through interviews with scientific and historical experts and visits to the Sputnik 2 archives, Abadzis masterfully recreates the timeline that resulted in Laika’s launch into space.
Nick Abadzis will be doing a powerpoint presentation about the book and will also be on hand to sign copies.