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Bewildering Stories

Richard K. Lyon

Bewildering Stories biography

to Bewildering Stories bibliography

Hi, I’m Dick Lyon. What would you like to know about me?

Probably the most important thing is that I’m married to a wonderful woman with two fine sons, both of them grown and doing well.

By profession I’m a research scientist and, at age 73, not completely retired.

As the son of an officer in the U.S. Navy, I grew up without a home town. College was first a B.S. from William and Mary and then Ph.D. from Harvard, studying the physics of detonations under Professor G. B. Kistiakowsky, the man who invented the implosion mechanism for the atomic bomb.

From there I went to work at Exxon Research and Engineering, where I did basic and applied work in radiation chemistry, thermal processing, shale oil chemistry, and air pollution chemistry. The later lead me to invent the Thermal DeNOx process, a method for removing poisonous NOx from flue gas. While more patent licenses were sold for this process than any other in Exxon’s history, the first applications were in Japan.

In the course of getting Thermal DeNOx into commercial use I spent some time working in a Japanese oil refinery. Of course a few weeks isn’t nearly enough to learn to understand a different culture, but, for a science fiction writer, it’s a very useful experience.

After 26 years with Exxon Research, I took early retirement to join a small firm, Energy and Environmental Research doing contract research for the DARPA, the U.S. Army, DOE, NSF, EPA, etc.

My writing started at the suggestion of my wife. Early in our marriage we’d spend our summer vacations at the Jersey shore, a place without television reception. In the evening I’d read to her.

She particularly liked Robert Howard’s Red Nails and asked if there were more stories like that. I told her yes, Howard wrote a lot of Conan stories. She, however, wanted stories not about Conan but about the lady pirate who gave the mighty barbarian so much trouble. When I told her Howard hadn’t written any more stories about Valeria, she said somebody should.

That’s how I started writing Demon in the Mirror but as matters worked out the first story I finished and tried to sell was, “The City of Ul Chalan.” I sent it to Analog and Ben Bova bought it! What’s more it placed first in the Analytical Laboratory, and back then, that meant I got a bonus. Experiences like that are highly addictive. From then on writing was my hobby.

When I joined SWFA, I exchanged letters with Andy Offutt. On learning that I had a novel I couldn’t sell, he asked to see it. When I sent it, I got back a very long letter, several pages telling all the evil bad things I was doing as a writer, followed by an admission that despite my failures in telling the story, Andy saw merit in the novel itself. Would I like him to rewrite it for a 50% split?

Since half of something is more than all of nothing, I agreed. My collaboration with Andy lead to four published novels and a huge amount of fun.

What am I doing now? Well, Tales From The Lyonheart is on sale at

Writing Credits, Richard K. Lyon

Short Stories

City of Ul Chalan, Analog 7/1973
Standards, Analog 9/1980,
Top Secret Memo, Analog Mid-December 1984
A Logical Answer to “Where is Everybody?”, Analog 12/1991,
New York versus the Great Apes, Analog 3/1983
The Earth Mover, Space & Time, Winter 1982
Schrodinger’s Absentee Ballet, Quantum Muse, 8/2001
New Jerusalem, Gateway, 8/2001
Strangers on the Night Train, Dragons, Knights and Angels 5/2005
Corporate Philanthropy, Dark Krypt, 1/2006
Boxes, Secret Sanctum, 6/2006
Theft of the Great Pyramid, Galileo, 11/1979
Pulpworld, Microcosmic Tales, Daw Books, 1980
Loophole, Secret Sanctum, 4/2006
The Nun’s Demon Lover, The Sword Review, 10/2006
Fixing the Bell Curve, Anotherrealm, 4/06
Renting to Elephant, Anotherrealm 4/2006
The Chocolate Chip Cookie Co0nspiracy, Aboriginal Science Fiction, Spring 1996
The Secret Identity Diet, Aboriginal Science Fiction, 9/1992
Druin’s Heritage, Swords Against Darkness, Zebra Books, 1979 subsequently translated into German and reprinted in Nirvana, Meulenhoff, 1981

Collaborations with Andy Offutt

Demon In The Mirror, Pocketbook
The Eye Of Sarsis, Pocketbook
The Web Of The Spider, Pocketbook,
“Rails Across The Galaxy,” serialized by Analog , 8/1982, 9/1982, and 10/1982,
“The Dark Road To Wizardry,” posted at Pulp and Dagger.
”Devil on my Stomach,” Dragonfields, Summer 1980 subsequently translated into Dutch and reprinted in Shangri-La, Meulenhoff, 1982,
“The Inn at World’s End,” Ares, 5/1980,
“The Hungry Apples,” The Diversifier, 3/1979,
“The Whispering Mirror,” Ares, 7/1980, subsequently translated into German and reprinted in Der flüsternde Spiegel, Knaur, 1985
Streets of Sinchore at Night, Flashing Swords #11, August 1, 2008

Copyright © 2007 by Richard K. Lyon

Bewildering Stories bibliography

Prose Fiction
The Menace of the Pink Lagoons
The Christmas Present War
Pigs at the Fraternity Party
Strangers on the Night Train (in 2 parts)
The Long Dark Road to Wizardry (novel)

Novelist and Research Chemist, Dr. Richard K. Lyon, died November 21, 2008 in his Fargo, North Dakota home surrounded by his family.

Born December 22, 1933, Lyon was a graduate of William and Mary and received his PHD in physical chemistry from Harvard. He had a lengthy career in chemistry and he was responsible for many scientific publications and patents for various chemical processes. This included the Thermal DeNox process, a technology which removes pollutants from smoke stack emissions. His contributions to pollution control and alternative energy are used throughout the world. He was honored with many awards, including the ACS award and the IR 100.

— from SF/F & Publishing News, SFFWA, November 26, 2008

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