Marvin Kaye (1938-2021)

Writer and editor Marvin Kaye, 83, died May 13, 2021 in hospice care in New York. Kaye was best known as a prolific editor and anthologist, and was also an accomplished fiction writer and playwright.

Marvin Nathan Kaye was born March 10, 1938 in Philadelphia PA. He attended Penn State, graduating with a BA in 1960 and a master’s in English literature and theater in 1962. He worked as a journalist from 1963-65 and began editing in 1965, becoming senior editor at Harcourt Brace Jovanovich from 1966 to 1970, when he went freelance. He occasionally taught, including at the New School for Social Research, NYU, and Mercy College. In 1975 he co-founded “reader’s theater” The Open Book in New York City, which staged his play The Last Christmas of Ebenezer Scrooge, among others.

Kaye edited many anthologies, mostly SF, fantasy, and horror, but also mystery/crime and volumes of plays. The Fair Folk (2005) won a World Fantasy Award. Other anthologies include Brother Theodore’s Chamber of Horrors (1975); Fiends and Creatures (1975); Ghosts (1981, with Saralee Kaye); A Classic Collection of Haunting Ghost Stories (1993, with Saralee Kaye); Masterpieces of Terror and the Supernatural (1985, with Saralee Kaye); Devils and Demons (1987, with Saralee Kaye); Weird Tales: The Magazine that Never Dies (1988, with Saralee Kaye); 13 Plays of Ghosts and the Supernatural (1990); Witches and Warlocks (1989); Haunted America: Star-Spangled Supernatural Stories (1991); Lovers and Other Monsters (1992); Sweet Revenge: 10 Plays of Bloody Murder (1992); Masterpieces of Terror and the Unknown (1993); Angels of Darkness (1995); Resurrected Holmes (1996); The Best of Weird Tales: 1923 (The First Year) (1997); Don’t Open This Book! (1997); The Confidential Casebook of Sherlock Holmes (1998); The Vampire Sextette (2000); The Ultimate Halloween (2001); The Dragon Quintet (2003); Forbidden Planets (2006); A Book of Wizards (2008); and The Ghost Quartet (2008).

He also edited magazines, including H.P. Lovecraft’s Magazine of Horror (2004-2009), Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine (2008-13), and Weird Tales (2011-14).

As a fiction writer, Kaye was known for his Umbrella series, The Incredible Umbrella (1979) and The Amorous Umbrella (1981), playing with literary works and characters from Flatland to Sherlock Holmes. Some of his stories were collected in The Possession of Immanuel Wolf and Other Improbable Tales (1981).

The Last Christmas of Ebenezer Scrooge (2003) is a sequel to Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol”, and The Passion of Frankenstein (2014) a sequel to Mary Shelley’s classic novel. Fantastique (1992) is a symphonic fantasy. He co-wrote the postapocalyptic series Masters of Solitude with Parke Godwin: The Masters of Solitude (1978) and Wintermind (1984). They also collaborated on A Cold Blue Light (1983), first in the Aubrey House series, with Kaye alone writing sequel Ghosts of Night and Morning (1987). His most recent book is The Quest for the Pastried Peach (2020), with illustrations by Marc Bilgrey.

His wife and collaborator, Saralee Kaye (née Bransdorf), predeceased him in 2006. Their daughter Terry survives him.

For more, see his entry in the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.

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