Nictzin Dyalhis

Nictzin Dyalhis
Born(1873-06-04)June 4, 1873
DiedMay 8, 1942(1942-05-08) (aged 68)
Salisbury, Maryland
OccupationShort story writer, chemist
GenreFantasy, science fiction

Nictzin Wilstone Dyalhis (June 4, 1873 – May 8, 1942) was an American chemist and short story writer who specialized in the genres of science fiction and fantasy. He wrote as Nictzin Dyalhis. During his lifetime he attained a measure of celebrity as a writer for the pulp fiction magazine Weird Tales.


Dyalhis's novelette "The Dark Lore" was the cover story in the October 1927 Weird Tales

Firm facts about Dyalhis's life are few, as he coupled his limited output of fiction with a penchant for personal privacy and an avoidance of publicity. His year of birth, usually cited (with a question mark) as 1879, was long uncertain,[1] and he was speculated to have been born in England—or Pima, Arizona. His World War I draft registration card and U. S. Census records establish his birthdate as June 4, 1873, and his state of birth as Massachusetts. His father, reportedly of Welsh extraction, was also born in Massachusetts, and his mother in Guatemala. Even Dyalhis's name is uncertain; in his stories, Dyalhis played with common spellings, so that "Earth" becomes Aerth and "Venus," Venhez, and he was thought to have possibly done the same with his own name, turning the prosaic "Dallas" into the exotic Dyalhis. According to L. Sprague de Camp, however, Dyalhis was his actual surname, inherited from his Welsh father, and his given name Nictzin was also authentic, bestowed on him due to his father's fascination with the Aztecs.[2] His draft card establishes his full name as Nictzin Wilstone Dyalhis.

Among the imaginative readers of his stories, Dyalhis acquired a reputation for possessing unusual abilities and an exotic history as an adventurer and world traveller. The known facts of his life are more prosaic. At some time during his youth he lost one eye, as noted on his draft card. He worked as a chemist, and married Harriet Lord; in 1920 the couple was living with her mother in Sugar Grove, Warren County, Pennsylvania. Harriet was an inmate of the Warren State Hospital in 1930, while Nictzin was living in Maryland in the early 1940s, reportedly in difficult financial circumstances. He died in Salisbury, Maryland on May 8, 1942.

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