John Picacio is a World Fantasy and Hugo Award-winning illustrator who is currently reimagining Loteria, the classic Mexican game of chance. His first Loteria artworks are now available as a set of large-format, special-edition cards from Lone Boy.
Welcome to the sixth and final installment of The Loteria Match Game, sponsored by SF Signal. I’m your host, John Picacio.
How many of you know the game of Loteria (AKA Mexican Bingo)? If you understand how traditional Bingo works, then you’ll know how to play Loteria, even if you never have. Bingo uses combinations of letters and numbers to play, while Loteria’s agony and ecstasy is all about the shuffle of a 54-card picture deck. Players have a ‘tabla’ or placard featuring a random selection of picture icons, and the game-caller shuffles the cards and announces an icon (or creates a rhyme suggesting it, if you’re fancy). The first player to have a line of called icons across, down or diagonal on their tabla – wins!
Loteria is a deeply popular national pastime in Mexico, and within Mexican-American communities. The game is an intrinsic part of my culture, and I’ve played it since I was a child. The classic cards are produced by Don Clemente / Pasatiempos Gallo, and those are the pictures you see celebrated here.
I’m currently producing my own imaginings of these classics with the Loteria Grande Card series, and I’m proud to announce here that these artworks will be featured in my first book as a writer/illustrator, after almost twenty years as a full-time cover artist for science fiction, fantasy and horror clients. The full deck of fifty-four is a work in progress and labor of love, but the first eleven of my artworks are available right now as a limited-run, special-edition collectible card set, while supplies last.
The Loteria Match Game is merely a fun invention (it’s not the narrative that I’m writing and it’s not the way you play Loteria), but it demonstrates how much possibility these icons have. Over the next few days, I’ll continue matching fifty-four sf/f authors, artists and creative luminaries with icons of the classic Loteria.
¡Andale! Let’s get started!
Light brings warmth. It makes things easier to see, but get too close and you might get burned. This author spotlights bright attention on issues such as DRM and net neutrality, and with that much light comes a lot of heat. I hope books like Little Brother and Homeland age well enough with the changing times that my child will be able to relate to them when she’s old enough. We’ll see. If not, I bet Cory might have a new book or two to raise the heat when the time comes.
Young Karn plays his beloved board game ‘Thrones and Bones’, dodging the drudge of family destiny. Thianna is half-giant, half-human, in-between, and out of place. Tragedy teams them on a breathless chase to save what they most cherish from the dangers of strange magic, walking dead, trolls, giants, and a dragon for the ages. Published by Crown Books for Young Readers, this is Anders’ debut middle-grade novel, lauded by io9 as “the fantasy adventure book I wish I’d had when I was a kid.”
I know, I know…as soon as I say ‘chalupa’, some of you are ready to hit the nearest Taco Bell. Knock it off — these aren’t the chalupas you’re looking for. Watch two people rowing a boat. They have to row together to get where they’re going. Now you’re ready to enter The Lives of Tao by this author-turned-Kilimanjaro conqueror. An alien merges with a very unlikely human and the results are symbiotic and improbable, but unless they can work together, the human race may not survive.
Who doesn’t love the way this guy lays down the paint? I love where he’s headed with his career. Even as I’m writing and illustrating my Loteria book, I’m watching what Greg is doing as he creates his own illustrated novel. I’ve seen bits of the visuals and it’s gonna be a jawdropper. From time to time, I mention the difference between ‘creatives’ and ‘creators’ and this guy is definitely headed toward the latter territory. He’s an artist’s artist.
She swims equally well with words and in pictures. As an Executive Editor of Ace/Roc, she patrols a big ocean — a good thing because she’s not one to be contained in a fishbowl.
Inspired as a social rebuttal to the film District 9, Lagoon is a story about an alien invasion in Lagos, Nigeria, and how the society reacts. As she states on her blog, “at its heart a story about humanity at the crossroads between the past, present, and future, Lagoon touches on political and philosophical issues in the rich tradition of the very best science fiction, and ultimately asks us to consider the things that bind us together — and the things that make us human.”
To you, this is an innocent flowerpot. In a Vandermeer epic, herein lie the seeds of annihilation for all authority figures, and the only reasonable response is acceptance. (Shoutout to Pablo Delcan — amazing cover art for the Spanish editions of The Southern Reach trilogy.)
The artifacts are everything in his blockbuster game Numenera. Nanotech healing armor, wish coins, monocles of health, supersonic warhorns, phase bows — when you’re talking about eight civilizations worth of leftover technology, the world is not enough. In this game creator’s hands, a simple artifact like a harp might play the music that moves mountains, or the notes that can turn stone walls to rubble. Want to see this world of endless imagination come to the big screen? You can help make it happen.
You will find epic action and frogmen in his debut novel, Tome of the Undergates, and yet even after you’ve finished the Aeon’s Gate series and demand his next one, Sykes is still wearing that shaved bear mask and screaming, “Are you not entertained?” How can you go wrong with an author who says, “I’ve often thought about writing a ‘How to Write’ book. But it’d just be 200 pages of pictures of me eating fried chicken and crying.” Or this pearl of wisdom: “For awards, write something different. For sales, write something familiar. For integrity, write dinosaur erotica.” La Rana says, “Seek out The City Stained Red.” It’s all about the karma.
Muchas gracias to everyone who took the time to read these Loteria Match Game posts! Your turn — share your own Loteria matches in the comments section. Holler with any questions — and don’t forget to score your special-edition Loteria Grande Cards while supplies last!
In Loteria We Trust!