(1938- ) US writer and anthologist who began his career with detective novels like A Lively Game of Death (1972), produced a horror anthology, Brother Theodore's Chamber of Horrors (anth 1975) with Brother Theodore, and came into his own as a genre writer with an sf sequence, the Masters of Solitude series – The Masters of Solitude (1978) and Wintermind (1984) – with Parke Godwin. His second sequence, the Fillmore series – The Incredible Umbrella (fixup 1979) and The Amorous Umbrella (1981) – is of fantasy interest for its sophistication of the comic model established by L Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt in their Incomplete Enchanter sequence; its direct influence was Silverlock (1949) by John Myers Myers. Fillmore's travels through umbrella-engineered Portals to various Alternate Realities are conducted at a very considerable rate, are extremely funny at times, and develop a complex relationship between Fillmore and the worlds he enters. In the first, for instance, which is based on the Topsy-Turvy worlds of the Savoy Operas (> W S Gilbert; Opera), Fillmore finds that when he actually sings along in order to expedite an ongoing plot, he becomes immured (> Bondage) in the Story, which must be told before he can escape to the next world.
The Aubrey House sequence – A Cold Blue Light (1983) with Godwin and Ghosts of Night and Morning (1987) – introduces a passel of Occult Detectives into a Haunted Dwelling containing a pool of pure psychic energy capable of generating, in each of them, a unique confrontation with the Otherworld; in the second volume, the ghost is so introjected that the tale can be read as a mundane examination of personalities under stress. Fantastique (1992) may be MK's most interesting novel. The tale mirrors that of the Symphonie Fantastique (1830) by Hector Berlioz (1803-1869), its five chapters corresponding in structure and relative length to the five movements of the symphony (> Music). Berlioz's belle dame sans merci (> Lamia) and his trip to Hell recur here, in a contemporary theatre setting. It is hoped MK can continue with work of similar ambition. [JC]
Other work: The Possession of Immanuel Wolf and Other Improbable Tales (coll 1981).
as editor: Fiends and Creatures (anth 1975); Ghosts: A Treasury of Chilling Tales Old and New (anth 1981; cut vt A Classic Collection of Haunting Ghost Stories 1993 UK) with Saralee Kaye; Masterpieces of Terror and the Supernatural: A Treasury of Spellbinding Tales Old and New (anth 1985) with Saralee Kaye; Devils & Demons: A Treasury of Fiendish Tales Old and New (anth 1987) with Saralee Kaye; Weird Tales: The Magazine that Never Dies (anth 1988) with Saralee Kaye (>>> Weird Tales); 13 Plays of Ghosts and the Supernatural (anth 1990); Haunted America: Star-Spangled Supernatural Stories (anth 1991) with Saralee Kaye; Lovers and Other Monsters (anth 1992); Masterpieces of Terror and the Unknown (anth 1993); Angels of Darkness (anth 1995).
Marvin Nathan Kaye