Friday, September 28, 2018

Kuppers, Studying Disability Arts and Culture (2014)

Petra Kuppers, Studying Disability Arts and Culture: An Introduction. Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. Pp. 186. ISBN 978-1-137-41346-8. $37.99.

Reviewed by Kathryn Allan

Petra Kuppers is a well-known and respected figure in the disability community at large, her work encompassing (and transgressing) the realms of academia, theatre and dance, literature, and activism. It is no surprise then that her handbook, Studying Disability Arts and Culture: An Introduction, brings all of these various backgrounds together to guide those interested in learning about “the work of disabled artists and their allies” and “artful responses to living with physical, cognitive, emotional or sensory difference” (back cover). Primarily marketed as an undergraduate text, Studying Disability Arts and Culture is a useful arts-based learning tool for anyone who wants to explore “disabled bodies and minds in theatre, performance, creative writing, art and dance” (back cover). As a past university educator and current independent scholar who sometimes dabbles in creative writing, I found Kuppers’ text admirably accessible and comprehensive—for someone new to disability studies in general or to disability-centred art practices specifically, this handbook is a useful resource.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Willett, Paths to the Stars (2018)

Edward Willett, Paths to the Stars. Self-published, 2018. Pp. 310. ISBN 978-1-9993827-0-4. US$15.95/CAN$19.95.

Reviewed by Lisa Timpf

An ex-actor who has his own reasons for no longer wanting to be involved in theatre is coerced into directing a production of The Sound of Music aboard a passenger ship. Two translators overcome their mutual feelings of revulsion to work together for the greater good. Odd vegetables cause an explosive situation in a small Saskatchewan community. These are just a few of plot lines featured in Paths to the Stars, a short story collection by Edward Willett. Author of over 60 books, ranging from science fiction and fantasy to non-fiction, and better known as a novelist than a short story writer, Willett has nevertheless written shorter pieces at various points along the way. Paths to the Stars gathers together 22 of Willett’s short stories, roughly a quarter of which are previously unpublished. The book was issued by Shadowpaw Press, an independent publisher established by Willett.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Kuppers, Pearl Stitch (2016)

Petra Kuppers, Pearl Stitch. Spuyten Duyvil, 2016. Pp. 102. ISBN 978-1-944682-06-4. $15.00.

Reviewed by Kathryn Allan

I first read Petra Kuppers’ poetry collection, Pearl Stitch, on a plane while en route to a conference on the fantastic arts. I don’t normally reach for poetry as my go-to travel reading but given my previous encounters with Kuppers’ writing—buying her short story “Playa Song” for Accessing the Future and thoroughly enjoying her short story collection, Ice Bar—I felt that reading something a bit out of the ordinary, as her story-telling always is, would fit the bill. I was not disappointed.

Friday, September 07, 2018

Warren, Museum of Second Chances (2018)

A.E. Warren, The Museum of Second Chances. Locutions Press, 2018. Pp. 319. ISBN 978-1-9999199-0-0. $11.99 pb/$3.99 e.

Reviewed by Lisa Timpf

Imagine visiting a museum that houses woolly mammoths and sabre-tooth tigers, giant sloths and Neanderthal Man—not just as displays, but as living, breathing entities. You may not be able to go there physically—at least, not yet—but A.E. Warren’s futuristic novel The Museum of Second Chances will transport you there in the world of imagination. The time setting for The Museum of Second Chances is set isn’t stated explicitly. What we do know is that it’s almost 200 years after the extinction of the chameleon. Since just over a third of our world’s chameleon species are endangered currently, that may not be so far away as we think.