Ardath Frances Hurst Mayhar (February 20, 1930 – February 1, 2012) was an American writer and poet. She began publishing poetry in the 1940s and who wrote historicals and Westerns as Frank Cannon and other non-sf/fantasy books as John Killdeer and Sarah MacWilliams.
She began publishing sf/fantasy with "The Cat with the Sapphire Eyes" for Weirdbook #8 in 1973; she integrated this tale into the second volume of her Kyrannon Shar-Nuhn sequence, which comprises her first novel, How the Gods Wove in Kyrannon (1979), and The Seekers of Shar-Nuhn (1980). Like much of her work, this sequence makes use of the instruments of Science Fantasy – specifically, magical devices and powers which are justified by recourse to "scientific" explanations, generally rooted in the past (see Science and Sorcery) – to heighten tales whose protagonists, often adolescent girls, exhibit a goodness which is sometimes shining. In the Tales of the Triple Moon sequence, folk of transparent decency must resist a tyrant whose disruptive influence threatens to sour the harmony between human beings and Nature. The Macaque Cycle, both with Ron Fortier and comprising Trail of the Seahawks (1987) and Monkey Station (1989), features Uplifted monkeys (see Apes as Human) who must work out how to coinhabit our planet with us
In 1979 she returned with her family to Texas from Oregon. She was nominated for the Mark Twain Award, and won the Balrog Award for a horror narrative poem in Masques I.
She had numerous other nominations for awards in almost every fiction genre and has won many awards for poetry. In 2008 she was honored by Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America as an Author Emeritus.
The most sf-like of Mayhar's individual novels were Khi to Freedom (1983), Golden Dream: A Fuzzy Odyssey (1982), Exile on Vlahil (1984), an elaborate and effective Planetary Romance, The World Ends in Hickory Hollow (1985), a Post-Holocaust tale set in Texas, where a small family fends off raiders in terms evocative of Survivalist Fiction, and A Place of Silver Silence (1988), a First Contact tale for a younger audience.
Mayhar owned and operated The View From Orbit Bookstore in Nacogdoches, Texas, with her husband Joe until his death in the 1999. She later sold the bookstore, which served the students of Stephen F. Austin State University and people in the East Texas area, providing a wide variety of books and literature as well as Joe's computer services that would otherwise have been unavailable to this region. Until her health began failing, her reputation was such that she still spoke regularly in the area, drawing large crowds whenever she taught and spoke.
Mayhar also shared her knowledge of the skills of writing with many people through the Writer's Digest correspondence courses.
Space Opera Books
The Sword and the Dagger? (1987)
Golden Dream: A Fuzzy Odyssey? (1982)