John Picacio wonders if Locus should now call itself The Magazine of the SF/F Writer

I came across this interesting post by John Picacio on Facebook.

The artists wonders if Locus went from being The Magazine of the SF/F Field to being The Magazine of the SF/F Writer, what with a paltry three interviews out of 240 in the last decade being with cover artists or illustrators.

Picacio raises a number of questions that should spark a new debate in the SFF circles. It will be interesting to see what comes out of this. . .

Here's an extract:

Here's what bothers me though -- if LOCUS is indeed the magazine of our field (the sf/f field), then why do virtually all of its regular interviews focus on writers? Doesn't "the field" encompass more than just writers? What about illustrators, editors, and art directors as well? Aren't their processes and opinions also an integral part of what advances our field? And if so, then why don't we see more interviews with those folks in LOCUS? In the last decade, to the best of my recollection, the only illustrators interviewed for LOCUS are Shaun Tan, Bob Eggleton, and Kinuko Craft. If LOCUS runs two full-length interviews per issue, then that's 240 interviews over a decade, and only three artists (or so) represented in the last ten years. Fair to say that those are three excellent choices, but three out of 240 possible interviews is a staggeringly low figure, to say the least.


Thus my question -- if LOCUS were to publish more full-length interviews with illustrators, editors, and art directors in addition to their already-outstanding writer interviews, would they diminish their base? Or possibly grow it?


Here's another question -- I wonder if perhaps LOCUS is completely justified to continue as they have (except perhaps change their masthead to "The Magazine of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writer"). Perhaps I've been slow to understand that I'm NOT the audience for this mag because I'm not a writer? Perhaps their magazine is purely a magazine about the sf/f writer and for the fans of those writers, and that's the way it always has been and should be? Maybe LOCUS and I disagree that the art of sf/f is a significant part of "the field" and therefore of genuine interview interest to its readers? If so, then I'd have no problem wishing them continued success, and subscribing instead to another magazine like ImagineFX, where I would learn more about my sf/f art peers and their craft, in the same way that writers learn the same from LOCUS' interviews.

Follow the link for the full article.=)

7 commentaires:

Myshkin said...

Can't speak for anyone else, but I don't really care what the illustrators and cover artists have to say. I would probably enjoy reading an interview with an editor, but the authors would definitely be my main focus. I read SF/F, I don't *look at* SF/F.

Anonymous said...

I agree. Who cares what paints were used to draw a picture?

Marc said...

I think there is main focus, and then there is just disregarding an entire part of the industry. A cover makes up a large part of the book. And while I wouldn't want to read a ton about it, I think LOCUS doing at least one issue with a Cover Art of the year type feature and an interview with the artist would be intriguing.

As was mentioned, it's branded as being the magazine for the industry, and the industry is more than just the readers.

Stinky93 said...

One could also argue that a album cover is a big part of the record industry, but let's face it, it's not. Just about any picture will work if the music is good enough. Remember the white album? Same with books. You could put anything on a Steven King book. The art is just not important.
I have an idea. Let's put a guy with a sword and cloak on the cover of the next fantasy book. Hmmm. I should work in book sales.

Adam Whitehead said...

The importance of artwork in the SF&F field goes way beyond mere book covers. We see many books which have inspired lots of good artists, and authors who have inspired vast amounts of both amateur and professional (for tie-in products) artwork, such as Tolkien, Martin, Moorcock and so on (curiously a lot less for Erikson and Jordan).

The very first thing Tolkien did during his creation of Middle-earth in 1916-17 wasn't to write a story but to draw a picture of the Trees of Light. A noteworthy number of fans of ASoIaF were drawn to it from the boardgame, RPG and the card game, which features a ton of excellent art. The amazing production design of the LotR movies comes from Alan Lee and John Howe, who started their career as Tolkien illustrators.

The only problem with the proposal is that so much cover art is now being reduced just to weird symbols or just a picture of a sword or something that there might not be much to talk about. But I'd certainly be interested to hear about the choices behind the new French SoIaF covers or why Tor thought the new WoT cover was in any way acceptable as a professional illustration.

Anonymous said...

Stinky you just contradicted yourself talking about the comparsion with the white album.Surely the focus of the album was that it was white and thus it being an integral part of its originality.You said it yourself..The "White" album. you didnt call it the beetles ablum which was white.Case concludes that the cover has every advantage of bringing in new listeners or readers.Not many scifi or fantasy authors are world famous with the acception of Stephen King who I class as a fantasy writer.The absolute ignorance and just plain snobism of this publication is staggering.Anyway I agree with JPs points but I would say who the hell reads Locus anyway ..unless your a freaky nerdy scifi geek.I love my scifi but dont want to be part oif their closed nit comunity.Let them play in it.My minds more expansive than indulging them.I wouldnt worry about being left out Mr JP.your not missing out on anything other than being part of their clique""

George Miller

Unknown said...

The only time I consider cover art is when I'm choosing between two similarly priced editions of the same book, then I'll choose the most stylish looking cover. However, this generally amounts to me choosing the book without cover art where at all possible, as I think attempts to actually depict scenes from books never works out very well. I would say interviews with cover artists would have more of a place in art magazines rather than magazines about books, where people are primarily going to be interested in the content rather than the cover.