Lyndon Hardy


Lyndon Hardy (1941- ) Author, prankster, grandfather

He became interested in fantasy while wandering through the fringes of fandom when he was at Caltech. In addition to reading and writing, he has sporadic bursts of enthusiasm for collecting stamps and playing cards. As of yet, he has not figured out a plot line for a stamp collector who saves the world.

He published three fantasy novels for Ballantine/Del Rey in the 1980's

Master of the Five Magics - 1980

Secret of the Sixth Magic - 1984

Riddle of the Seven Realms - 1988

The first edition of these books are no longer in print, but when they were, over 600,000 copies were sold.

While at CalTech, in 1961 he organized and led what has been called the best college prank ever pulled - The Rose Bowl Card Stunt Caper.

He lives with his wife, Joan, in Torrance, California. Together they have two daughters and four living grandchildren.

Lyndon Hardy was born in Los Angeles, and except for a few years spent in Texas while growing up, has lived in California all his life. He received a BS in Physics from the California Institute of Technology in 1962 and a PhD in Physics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1966.

For 30 years he worked at TRW helping to build ground station software for satellites. After retiring from aerospace, he cofounded a software consulting firm, Alodar Systems, specializing in business processes, ERP solutions, and application integration. In 2016, he retired the company and began a new full time career of writing. Time will tell if he still has any gas left in the tank.

Smashwords Interview

Why do you write fantasy and not science fiction?
As a youth, I liked stories about knights in shining armor rescuing damsels in distress. At that time there was relatively little fantasy around compared to science fiction, so I read that too. In comparing the two, I came to realize that, in science fiction, once the setting was established, everything that happened followed logically. There were no rabbits pulled out of a hat at the last minute.

In fantasy, on the other hand, if there was an element of magic, most of the time it was diffuse and not crisply defined. At the last minute, some hitherto undisclosed spell could save the day. Perhaps the encounter with the unknown is an essential element of truly engrossing fantasy, but I, for one, found it a tiny bit dissatisfying.

There is fantastic invention in science fiction too, of course, but once postulated, the tales evolved from there. Isaac Asimov, in his classic robot stories, started with the positronic brain and three laws of robotics, and from this small premise developed a treasure trove of short stories and novels.

In college, I decided that I too wanted to write a story in which the problems that drove it came from basic laws of nature. I wanted to write a story such that, when the protagonist got in a jam, the reader realized that he really was in a jam. And I wanted it to be a fantasy, not science fiction.
So how did you go about figuring out what the governing laws of fantasy were?
But I had no idea how to proceed. If I created laws for fantasy out of whole cloth, how different was that from just coming up with negatronic brains or some such? This puzzle lurked in my head for many years. I went to graduate school, got a job, married and had a family.

One day one thought surfaced along with another -- suppose, just suppose, that these laws of magic were not just arbitrary constructs but had some ‘basis in fact’? What if the laws of magic were indeed true throughout the universe, but as civilizations on different worlds advanced and matured, some, like ours on earth, followed the natural laws and abandoned pursuit of the magical ones, whereas others followed the magical instead?

Now, I do not believe for one minute that the laws of magic in my books are in any way true, but in the spirit of the supposition, if they were, even though our civilization is science-based, there would be bits of folklore and myth that hinted at what these other laws might be. For the most part, we have just abandoned them.

Perhaps if I spent some time examining this folklore I might detect some clues on how to formulate these laws. Then hopefully, as a story based on them was read, the reader would pause from time to time and think ‘Oh, yeah. I remember Aunt Suzie saying something about that when she was a little girl.’ The laws of magic would not be arbitrary but would have at least a faint ring of ‘truth’ to them.

So for the next few years off and on, I read about magic, constructed straw man laws, put them away for a while, came back later to them many times, and iterated on what a consistent set might be.
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Lyndon Hardy online


Magic by the Numbers
Action, adventure, and romance in the universe first created in Master of the Five Magics. Each volume in the series is stand alone and can be read in any order.


The Archimage's Fourth Daughter
Series: Magic by the Numbers, Book 4. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 135,070. Language: English. Published: December 15, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
A cross-over between sword-and-sorcery and urban fantasy subgenres. Briana is in a jam. Even her father, Alodar the Archimage, cannot not fix things. The only thing that will save her is to go on an adventure worhy of the sagas. Aliens, volcanoes,, and, of course -- magic
Riddle of the Seven Realms, 2nd edition
Series: Magic by the Numbers, Book 3. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 139,550. Language: English. Published: November 10, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
The worst of the mess they were in, Kestrel knew, was that it was all his own fault. It all began when he had tried to cheat the lady wizard, Phoebe, with a load of worthless wood. When she insisted on testing his sample, the demon Astron had burst through the flame... "Lyndon Hardy's incisive logic makes the wildest flights of fantasy beliveable -- and fascinating" -- Lester del Rey"
Secret of the Sixth Magic, 2nd edition
Series: Magic by the Numbers, Book 2. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 129,920. Language: English. Published: November 10, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
The laws of the five magics were being set aside. If the world was to be saved it was up to Jason the wordsmith. But what was he to do? He had writer's block and suffered from agoraphobia. He was not a hero for the sagas. "Lyndon Hardy brings us a story in which the rigorous application of logic gives an added dimension of reality to fantasy" - Lester del Rey
Master of the Five Magics, 2nd edition
Series: Magic by the Numbers, Book 1. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 156,570. Language: English. Published: November 10, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
Alodar was a mere journeyman thaumaturge learning the least of the five arts of magic. As such he had no right to aspire to the hand of the fair lady, Queen Vendora, but aspire he did. "One of the most logical detailing of the laws of magic ever to appear in fantasy" - Lester del Rey This edition includes new added chapters, a glossary and an author's afterward.

Lyndon Hardy's tag cloud

action    adventure    coming of age    contemporary    demon    fantasy    magic    magician    puzzle    quest    romance    science fiction    sorcery    wizard