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 fourth 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!
American contemporary artist Simone Leigh created a stir in recent years with her watermelon sculptures shaped like giant cowrie shells. She’s a visionary leader using sculpture to build new narratives and “to rewrite the watermelon”, judo-flipping its history as a negative cultural symbol. Daniel José Older has been doing some bodyslamming of his own lately, reshaping urban fantasy with Latin flavor and cultural diversity. Thematic essences of the cowrie-adorned Elegba permeate a true-to-life Brooklyn in his supernatural thriller, Half Resurrection Blues, where there is life, death, and the mysterious stranger who limps between them.
Founded by Charles N. Brown in 1968, Locus Magazine has won twenty-nine Hugo Awards, and she’s responsible for four of them. She keeps the magazine appearing every month without missing a beat, evolving it editorially and visually under her leadership.
What does this Abe Sapien cover have to do with a shrimp? Pretty much nothing, other than I know I’ll be channeling my inner Mignola when I do my Loteria Grande card for this crustacean. There are scores of fabulous Mignola covers, but this is one of my all-time faves in the Hellboy universe.
“Moon and Jade left before dawn broke and flew through the day like arrows. They flew over the jungle, then hills, then edge of the grass plains, heading toward the mountains. They pushed themselves hard, stopping only briefly to rest, and at the end of each day they were too exhausted to talk about anything except whose turn it was to hunt.” Martha’s Books of the Raksura series was partially inspired by the lack of strong female characters she experienced as a younger reader. “One of the reasons I was drawn to adult sf/f was because it was possible to find female characters who actually got to do things.” Her latest book, Stories of the Raksura: Volume One is available now, and Volume Two releases this June.
Just released on February 10th and already racking up buzz and acclaim, Signal to Noise is a literary fantasy about love, music, memory, and sorcery in Mexico City. If you dig ’80s music, this novel is your jam. Heads up, Blondie and Joy Division fans — the author even has an ‘official playlist’ of music that inspired the narrative.
He’s famous for his definitive artwork for Dungeons & Dragons, as well as his best-selling covers for the books of R.A. Salvatore. He’s one of the best fantasy artists (and dragon painters) of the last twenty years, equally adept at painting traditionally and digitally, and now he’s about to become a writer/illustrator. DAW Books will publish his debut novel, the first of a trilogy. Here’s a look at one of his first paintings drawn from that forthcoming book.
Two words: TRIGGER DISCIPLINE. Make sure you mind yours, cosplayers, or this author will go Full Metal Jacket on you. Cole is a three-tour veteran in Iraq, and he recently shared an emotional, insightful post about his military service. You want epic military drama and magic all rolled into one book? His new novel Gemini Cell is the mission you’ve been waiting for.
“Humanity has colonized the solar system – Mars, the Moon, the Asteroid Belt and beyond – but the stars are still out of our reach.” This is the first novel in James S.A. Corey’s New York Times-bestselling series, adapted by SyFy for the forthcoming television drama, The Expanse. “We made it all this way, so far out into the darkness. Why couldn’t we have brought more light?”
You can’t read these books on an empty stomach. Plates of chicken and ham sandwiches that refill themselves, sausages, chocolate frogs, peppermint humbugs, rock cakes, nut brittle, custard tarts, red currant rum, and on and on……the Potter books are famous for their prodigious menu of fantastic food. Who wants some Butterbeer?
TOMORROW!! Find out who carries El Mundo! Discover which author owns the shadows as El Venado!