Marvin Kaye (www.marvinkaye.com) is the author of 16 novels, 6 nonfiction books, several plays & play adaptations, and editor of more than 30 fantasy, mystery and theatre anthologies, for which he won the 2005 World Fantasy Award as best anthologist. Currently editor of Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine, Marvin is a native of Philadelphia, but currently lives in New York, where he is (retired) Adjunct Professor of Creative Writing at NYU.

We are fortunate to include “Marvin Kaye’s Nth Dimension” column as a regular, exclusive feature of the Space and Time website. Enjoy!

Still HOG-Tied! (October, 2013)

Not long ago, I devoted one of my columns to HOGs, that is, Hidden Object Games, which I play incessantly at my computer. The nature of these fun-time activities was discussed in that composition, so please consult it on Space and Time Magazine’s website. The only additional thing I will say here is that I suggested any game-player who needs help should consult either Big Fish Games’s walk-throughs, as they are called, or those offered by Gamezebo.com.

Concerning Immediacy (August, 2013)

English fiction is a game played with time.

To explain this, one must consider verbal tense, which is essentially a grammatical tool that enables the writer to locate a situation in time. Most contemporary fiction, whatever the category it falls into, tends to be written in the simple past tense.

Going HOG Wild! (November, 2013)

I learned I have an addictive personality many years ago when I visited my friend and fellow magician R. J.  Lewis in Atlantic City. He was performing at Resorts International, the first casino to open in New Jersey. Arriving early, I passed the time playing the slots – only to find out that I couldn’t make myself stop. Only when the time came to meet my friend did I reluctantly leave the gaming room, but as I did, I swore never to go into a casino again.

In Praise of Fritz Leiber (January 2012)

During fantasy-SF conventions where my colleague and fellow anthologist David Hartwell and I have served as panelists, I have heard him remark that back in the 1950s and 1960s a devoted aficionado of the genre(s) could read everything published in any given year. But now that fantasy and SF have proliferated into significant marketing categories, it is no longer possible to read everything available in bookstores and online.

Haunted Cinema (March 2011)

Fantasy literature has been my favorite genre all my life, but although I’ve always enjoyed good stories about monsters, witches, vampires, ghouls, werewolves, demons, zombies, etc., they only frighten me to the extent that a skilled author is able to engineer a necessary suspension of disbelief, for such things have never really scared me. For all my devotion to terror fiction, most of what we write about just  aren’t real to me. I suppose I was lucky enough to read Dracula when I was still young enough to fear the undead, but it’s a been a long time since vampires have “worked” for me; the last author who did anything unusual with the theme was Richard Matheson in a few short stories and, of course, his novel, I Am Legend, which is, however, science fiction.

Grumping About Godniosity (December 2010)

My friend and sometimes collaborator Parke Godwin once observed that when the slow cycle of evolution doomed the sabre-tooth tiger to extinction, it was not before the dying breed had wrought considerable havoc and death. In like fashion, ideas, like species, take a long time to die and in the process, great harm frequently is sustained by mankind’s collective mind, heart and spirit. This is frighteningly evident today, and not only in the violent counter-politics of various middle-and far-eastern nations, but in what one might term the ethical relativism and cynical manipulativeness of American right-wing fundamentalism.

Confessions of a Reiki Master (March 2010)

Many years ago, I was in London on my way to dinner with fantasy editor Stephen Jones and, while negotiating on foot the semicircle of Oxford Circus, a double-decker bus sideswiped me and I sailed several feet into the side of a stone fountain, where I hit my head and sustained a bruise to my till-then good right ankle (the left having been injured in childhood).

The Horror Film That I Hate The Most (October 2009)

When I was a boy, my regular Saturday babysitter was the Haverford movie theater across North 60th Street from my father’s West Philadelphia radio repair shop. (There was one TV in the store, a small-screen test model that none of the family paid attention to. I asked Dad what it was. He said, “It’s a radio, except you see the people talking.”)

Read the Rest…

The Yessense of Nonsen¢e (June 2009)
I’m not related to Danny Kaye, but he was my first “anti-establishment” hero. The establishment was the world of grownups. I am the youngest of four siblings, separated from the next eldest by nine years. My early life at times seemed governed by a household of real and substitute parents, and that entailed an abundance of negatives: no-no, uh-uh, and lots of other expressions calculated to close off, curtail, deny, rule out, shut down, set limits, and when combined with the economic strictures of post-Depression America, it is no wonder that to this day I have difficulty granting myself permission to do things that are not utilitarian, unless it has been disguised under the heading of “doing something for someone else.”
Read the Rest …

I’m Just Wild About Y.A.! (March 2009)
I learned about the wonders of YA - Young Adult - literature when my daughter Terry was a grade school student in Manhattan. I became a volunteer at the school’s library, and between there and the ads she’d bring home from Scholastic Books, I discovered that some of the best writing in American letters is being done in the YA field. Later, I became involved with BookPals, an organization of professional actors who read in public schools around the country; through them I also encountered splendid children’s books, but this month I want to focus on YA because I suspect it escapes the notice of too many establishment book critics. Read the Rest …

Harry, Frodo and the Force (January 2009)
Ads for three new science fiction films appeared the same week in 1951 in Philadelphia newspapers, and though I didn’t realize it at the time, it was the first golden age of fantasy cinema (I regard SF as a subcategory of fantasy). That is perhaps unfair to prior film classics such as Metropolis, Nosferatu, or Things to Come, and one might well regard the horrific output of Val Lewton as a Golden Age in itself, but I merely cite personal opinion. For me, the first golden age began in 1951 with the release of The Day the Earth Stood Still and climaxed with Forbidden Planet in 1956. (FYI, the other two movie ads along with “Day” were for The Thing from Another World and When Worlds Collide.) Read the Rest …

 

6 Comments

  1. Posted October 16, 2009 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Dear Marvin,

    Your brilliant, delightful, humorous, informative, analytical pieces on nonsense and science fiction/fantasy opened a brave new world for me! I found these columns in Space and Time provocative and refreshing!

    I never would have found them but for eHarmony, which sent me your profile as a Match. All I did was search Google on “Marvin novelist.” Maybe this little “event” could be the basis for your next novel.

    My background is very different from yours — it could be stimulating for us to meet and talk. Although . . . I’m not sure you need any more stimulation!

    Marlene Lundberg

  2. Posted October 23, 2009 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Dear Marlene,

    Thank you for your positive reactions to my column. To quote actor Robert Morley, who once told an admirer who praised his film work, “That’s devilishly intelligent of you!”

    I am mystified how and why Eharmony sent my name to you as a possible match, inasmuch as I have never been in any way affiliated with them or their services.
    However, I never object to forming a new friendship, so perhaps you will send your contact info to my website, http://www.marvinkaye.com?

    Cordial best,
    MK

  3. Posted March 28, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    A slight correction is in order for my latest column, “Confessions of a Reiki Master.” In speaking of the word’s definition, it is only the second syllable, “-ki”, that is roughly equivalent to the Chinese “chi” and Indian “prana,” all locutions for what George Lucas calls “the force.”

  4. Suzy Kim
    Posted September 3, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Dear Marvin,

    I have read your Nth Dimension version of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street by George Dibdin Pitt, and being so intrigued by the genre and the play, I decided to base my International Baccalaureate Theatre High Level Research Investigation paper on this play.

    My research question is “how would an actor prepare for the role of Sweeney Todd with respect to the theatre tradition of Victorian Melodrama in the play Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street by George Dibdin Pitt?” and I would be absolutely delighted if you could please share your wisdom in this area. The book contained notes on how to stage the play, and since you have directed the play in Penn state, I thought that you would have first-hand experience on how an actor would prepare and perform the role of Sweeney Todd.

    Is there any way that I can contact you for this matter?

    Thank you!

    Sincerely, Suzy Kim

  5. I am Sheldon Blecher
    Posted November 22, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    This is a message for Marvin Kaye. Please forward it to him.

    I’m curious to know how you came up with the name Sheldon Blecher in your sitcom “Less than kind”. I lived in Philadelphia from 1955 to 1963 with my wife Sandi and had two daughters. Did we know each other? It’s a pretty unusual name to just make up. If we did know each other, I apologize for not remembering - but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t value the relationship. We had good times together - didn’t we.

  6. Posted August 25, 2013 at 4:18 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr. Blechner,

    Sorry I took so long to reply, but I only just noticed your message. You are confusing me with another Marvin Kaye. He is a Canadian actor. Once he had the gall to complain to me because he couldn’t use his name in the US Actors Equity union because of me; I told him I’ve been using it a lot longer than he has. But he got the use of the name at yahoo, and I had to insert my middle initial in my address there.

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