In nineteen wildly imaginative and gemlike tales of reinvention and reclamation, Ice Bar offers us a world resembling our own, uncannily, but with both terrifying and reassuring differences. Kuppers is a writer of rare gifts, one who transports herself and her reader into visionary, complicated, but also utterly plausible places. With her empathy, combined with a piercing insight, we encounter through this work a world refusing to be set aside. Ice Bar’s tales, like the best myths, both chill us and warm us as they expose our as-yet unexamined psyches, and reinventing our time, place, and positions in it. This book’s insights are offered up by a rare talent, a serious and generous intelligence. These are the stories we have been waiting to read, by the writer we’ve long needed.
Laura Kasischke, author of The Raising and Space, in Chains
The stories in Petra Kuppers’s Ice Bar are a fascinating blend of post-apocalyptic science fiction and psychedelically nightmarish fantasy, written in her signature poetic prose, and featuring a cast of queer, vulnerable, beautiful characters. Kuppers has that rare talent of being able to combine sometimes grittily realist stories and setting with surreal motifs weaving dreamily through fabulist and magical details. And even rarer, of addressing important, social and political themes without ever skimping on the quality and sheer delight of the writing.
Djibril al-Ayad, Editor, The Future Fire: Social-Political Speculative Fiction
Petra Kuppers’ Ice Bar is a lush and startling collection which often defies clean genre categories, blending apocalyptic futurism, fantasy, myth, steampunk, magical realism, and more. Kuppers’ poetic prose moves viscerally quick with its rich description and surreal details that leave you balancing on the edge of reality and something, somewhere else—a dream, a hallucination, a false memory. Importantly, the worlds of Kuppers’ stories are worlds with not only mermaids, ghosts and other non-human beings, but also worlds full of disabled people, queer people, and people of color whose narratives are not about their disability, sexuality, gender, or race alone. The politics of the texts are clear, yet unobtrusive, integrated into not merely content, but also the aesthetics of the collection. Take the plunge and escape into the ever-shifting worlds of Ice Bar.
Sami Schalk, author of Bodyminds Reimagined:
(Dis)ability, Race, and Gender in Black Women’s Speculative Fiction
Each story in Ice Bar unsettles the reader as Kuppers’ writing seamlessly slides between the familiarity of the present into strange apocalyptic visions and hidden dream worlds. Woven throughout the collection are the grounding touchstones of adaptation and interdependence, community, and raw human connection. Ice Bar elegantly expresses Kuppers’ dedication to creating art that entertains while thoughtfully fostering inclusivity and social justice.
Kathryn Allan, co-editor, Accessing the Future:
A Disability-Themed Anthology of Speculative Fiction
In Petra Kuppers’ marvelously inventive collection of short stories, we journey from a post-apocalyptic world of fire and ice to a world where graveyard lichen from abandoned mental hospitals is smoked, calling back the dreams and nightmares of dead inmates. Past and present, human and animal, swim and swirl together here. Kuppers’ stories are grounded in disability culture, and they send down wild roots and sprout branches which twist and curl.
Anne Finger, author of Call me Ahab
Petra Kuppers is a disability culture activist, a community performance artist, and a Professor at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor. She also teaches on the Low-Residency MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts at Goddard College. She is the Artistic Director of an international disability performance collective, The Olimpias; and has led horror and dark fantasy writing circles in Wales and the US since the 1990s.
Petra uses somatic and speculative writing as well as performance practice to engage audiences toward more socially just and enjoyable futures. She has written academic books on disability arts and culture, medicine and performance, and community performance. Her poetry collections include PearlStitch (2016) and Cripple Poetics (2007). She lives with her partner, poet and dancer Stephanie Heit, in Ypsilanti, Michigan, where they co-create Turtle Disco, a community arts space.