Ardath Mayhar

Ardath Mayhar
Born 20 February 1930
Died 01 February 2012
Occupation Author
Alias name(s) (various)

Ardath Frances Hurst Mayhar (born Ardath Frances Hurst in Timpson, Texas) was an American author working in various genres including science fiction, fantasy and horror. After taking over the contract when the initial authors backed out, she wrote the first novel ever solicited for the BattleTech universe, The Sword and the Dagger. Because of the contract issues it wound up as only the second BattleTech novel to be published, after Decision at Thunder Rift.

Personal History[edit]

Ardath Mayhar began her writing career as a poet when she was nineteen. She began writing science fiction in 1979 after returning with her family to Texas from Oregon. She wrote over 60 books ranging from science fiction to horror to young adult to historical to westerns, with some work under the pseudonyms Frank Cannon, Frances Hurst and John Killdeer.

She was nominated for the Mark Twain Readers Award and had numerous nominations for awards in almost every fiction genre; she won many awards for poetry. In 2008 she was chosen by Science Fiction Writers of America as their Author Emeritus.

Mayhar also owned and operated The View From Orbit Bookstore in Nacogdoches, Texas with her husband Joe until his death in the 1990s; she later sold the bookstore. Until her health prevented it, Mayhar's reputation was such that she still spoke regularly in the area, drawing large crowds whenever she taught and spoke.

BattleTech novel[edit]

In 1986, after Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis had originally been contracted by FASA to write a novel for the BattleTech universe, Ardath Mayhar's publisher arranged for their contract to be transferred to her when Hickman and Weis found a better deal elsewhere. Mayhar then received a boardgame package to provide her with details on the universe background. She also got the earlier 10-page Hickman/Weis storyboard but felt it would not work well as written. She then rewrote it, keeping only the basic idea—the substitution of a Successor Lord for a body double by his enemies. Her novel, The Sword and the Dagger, would become the second novel ever to be published for BattleTech (William H. Keith, Jr. had meanwhile written Decision at Thunder Rift which was completed and published first).

Mayhar reportedly told a fan that she was the first to come up with the concepts of command circuits for faster jump travel and "pony express" message delivery as a way around ComStar in BattleTech.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. According to this obituary thread on the BattleTech forum