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 third 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 of 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!
Ursula K. Le Guin on her evolution as a writer: “While I was writing The Eye of the Heron in 1977, the hero insisted on destroying himself before the middle of the book. ‘Hey,’ I said, ‘you can’t do that, you’re the hero. Where’s my book?’ I stopped writing. The book had a woman in it, but I didn’t know how to write about women. I blundered around a while and then found some guidance in feminist theory. I got excited when I discovered feminist literary criticism was something I could and actually enjoy. I read The Norton Book of Literature by Women from cover to cover. It was a bible for me. It taught me that I didn’t have to write like an honorary man anymore, that I could write like a woman and feel liberated in doing so.” (via Whole Earth Review)
Want gentle reads that soothe and deep-cleanse you to a higher state of calm? Well, then it’s quite possible that Chuck Wendig is not your dude. Want nitro-boosted novels delivered by a raging maniac screaming in lava and unicorn blood, while waving a roaring blowtorch two inches from your face? Then welcome to paradise — enter the wild, wonderful world of Chuck Wendig, one of the most prolific and compelling voices in today’s sf/f.
Jack has twelve fingers and twelve toes and he’s stuck in juvenile detention with Shreve, a likable, fast-talking kid who is more than what he seems. They must escape harrowing forces entwined in nightmare, and embark on the ultimate run for their lives. “The Twelve-Fingered Boy is John Hornor Jacobs’s debut young adult novel and it’s amazing….part Huck Finn, part X-Men. This is a book that mesmerizes like a venomous snake…I’ll be on the watch for the next two volumes.” — Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing.net
What made her write a book about AIs, imperialism, war crimes, and gender identity? “I started with the idea of ships with ancillaries, and parallel to that of Anaander Mianaai with many bodies. When I started thinking of things I could do with those ideas, the question of just who such a being might be was up front in my thoughts. And the question of just how that might work, on a technical level. I mean, from one angle, it’s all magic, all Sufficiently Advanced Technology, right? But on another level, I thought it would be good to look at some basic information on how our brains work. I came away with an unsettling sense of just how fragile our identities are, and the possibility that we’re all of us in some way more than just one person. And since that was really interesting to me, that was what I pursued, mostly, while I was writing.” (via io9)
Of all things Pixar has produced over the years, this seven-minute film written and directed by Enrico Casarosa may be my favorite. “La Luna‘s closing credits appear atop watercolor and pencil drawings that were originally part of Casarosa’s ‘beat boards. ‘That’s the way I pitched the idea to begin with, with 20-30 images to tell the whole story. That’s a wonderful way to see the shape of it. I love to work that way, you kind of write visually to begin with. They gave us something to aim for artistically, to try to bring some of the look of that traditional media into the CG.'”, said Casarosa in a 2011 interview with AWN.
I don’t know what storms are bellowing through this guy‘s head, but they must be beautiful ones. His pictures are idea machines in overdrive, and I hope they keep cranking, even though he currently works by day as a clinical psychologist! Now there’s a dual-identity, two-headed monster talent.
He’s the Caipirinha-slugging, drunk-tweeting founder of MonkeyBrain Comics, along with wife and partner Allison Baker — as well as the co-creator of comics properties such as Edison Rex, The Mysterious Strangers, Memorial and more. Big days ahead for another of his comics originals — the super-fun, crime-solving drama iZombie — premiering on the CW March 17th, starring Rose McIvor and produced by Veronica Mars‘ Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero-Wright.
Over the last six or seven years, there’s been a lot of conversation about the depiction of non-white characters on the front of mainstream sf/f books. Awareness for cultural diversity on covers is rising and progress is happening, but there’s still a long road ahead before that door is completely removed. Even though this 2011 cover is a relatively solemn composition for artist Jon Foster (known for his dynamic action shots), it packs a profound wallop.
Personal note about Jaime Hernandez and Love and Rockets: I would be creating my own Loteria if Love and Rockets never existed, but I’m not sure I would have the faith to stay the course without its example. It showed a younger me that Mexican-Americans could be more than someone else’s history written for us, and that a readymade future was not acceptable. It’s a book that showed we can be whatever we want, that there was dignity and legacy in our own raw vision, and that it was worth trusting my own. It showed me how to shut up and let the work do the rebelling instead, even before I fully understood the concept. There’s absolutely no outward resemblance in my work toward anything Jaime or Los Bros do, but without Love and Rockets, I’m not sure my Loteria would be what it’s becoming.
TOMORROW!! Find out which author is channeling El Musico and bringing back the ’80s, and which authors are rocketing to La Estrella and beyond!