The Artful Collector: On Iconicity in SF/F Art: Aren’t You Tired of Dragons, Robots and Monsters?

Our field of collecting is known for them: wizards, elves, and things with wings, especially dragons . . . on one side, and saucers, rockets, robots and things looking monsterish, especially aliens…..on the other.  And then for lovers of horrific there are the flesh-ripping fanged creatures, the zombies and whatever is screaming, bloody or rotting, if not looking “undead”.  Are you tired of them? or do you, like me, have a seemingly boundless capacity for such images – so long as they capture whatever it is…that we imagine?

I’m really not sure what makes these images so appealing, but I can tell you this: if you’ve seen thousands of them (as I have) that kind of familiarity doesn’t breed contempt so much as it leads to inattention.  Yes, it’s possible.  You can get immune to whatever beauty or power those images may possess.


I realize that

It’s not bad enough that we have phalanxes of art connoisseurs and eager consumer behaviorists ready to tell us what we should be hanging on our walls, or how to decorate our nests in order to look smart, rich and “with it”.  Now we have feministas and their male counterparts yapping about how putting chain mail bikini-d warriors on the cover of SFWA demonstrates support for the gender-biased underbelly of SFdom.  


Why not just look at this as another case of roses dipped in Lucite, tapestries of dogs playing poker, or gift-shop garden gnomes?   Must everything disliked by one group or another be attributed to intolerance or “objectification”?  Why not give credit to the one attribute of culture that is endemic to all, and will not go away?  Bad Taste


When it comes to bad taste, are there any among us who can claim to be immune from the fascination with the standard masterworks in our field, the classic favorites of our genre?  You say dragon, I say flying saucer.  And we’re both right!  Do you need pictures here to know what I mean?  I think not.

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