William H. Keith Jr.

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William H. Keith Jr.
Born (1950-08-08) August 8, 1950 (age 73)
GenreMilitary fiction
Science fiction

William H. Keith (born August 8, 1950) is an American author mainly contributing to military science fiction and military fiction and related game design, who writes also under several pen names, such as Ian Douglas, Robert Cain and H. Jay Riker. His newer original works are written under the name of Ian Douglas.

Early life[edit]

William H. Keith grew up with his brother J. Andrew Keith.[1]

William H. Keith served in the United States Navy as a hospital corpsman from 1969 to 1972 during the Vietnam War era.


William H. Keith Jr. and his brother J. Andrew Keith noticed ads in Journal of the Travellers Aid Society which announced that Game Designers' Workshop (GDW) was looking for authors; Loren Wiseman hired them to start freelancing for GDW in 1978 or 1979, and the three of worked together one a lot of the early material for the Traveller universe.[1]: 56  William Keith also contributed heavily to the graphical appearance of that era of Traveller releases.[1]: 56  The Keith brothers began earning enough money that they were able to do freelance work full-time beginning around 1979.[1]: 56  The Keith brothers began working for FASA by the end of 1980, with William Keith contributing artwork for the magazine High Passage beginning in 1981.[1]: 119  FASA began publishing adventures for Traveller beginning with Ordeal by Eshaar (1981) by the Keith brothers, who then wrote the "Sky Raiders" trilogy (1981-1982) for FASA.[1]: 119  William Keith designed the role-playing game Behind Enemy Lines (1982), the first RPG set in the 1940s.[1]: 120  FASA ended its support of Traveller in 1983, so the Keith brothers continued writing for Traveller with the new company Gamelords, but continued to work for FASA on other projects.[1]: 120  The Keith brothers authored seven Traveller supplements published by Gamelords, including The Mountain Environment (1983), The Undersea Environment (1983), and The Desert Environment (1984), and adventures intended for the environments described in those rulebooks.[1]: 131 

The Keith brothers produced some material for the Chivalry & Sorcery line in 1984, and in 1985 they began working on other lines for Fantasy Games Unlimited including Aftermath!, Daredevils, Flashing Blades, and Psi World.[1]: 75  The Keith brothers also designed Freedom Fighters (1986), one of the final role-playing games published by FGU.[1]: 75  William Keith authored Delta Force: America Strikes Back! (1986), the first role-playing game from Task Force Games.[1]: 116  William Keith wrote Decision at Thunder Rift (1986), the first novel published by FASA.[1]: 122  William Keith authored a large MegaTraveller campaign set in the Gateway sector for The MegaTraveller Journal #4 (1993), the final publication of Digest Group Publications.[1]: 206 

William Keith became a professional artist and writer, working in the game industry with his brother Andrew, particularly for Game Designers' Workshop and FASA before becoming a full-time author. Much of his early work, including the Warstrider series, the Freedom's Rangers series, the Cybernarc series, and the Invaders of Charon series, is currently out of print; 'Warstrider' will be re-released in 2014. He was also an early author for BattleTech, writing the saga of the Gray Death Legion.

Keith also writes under various pseudonyms and "house names", including Ian Douglas and H. Jay Riker, and is a shadow author of several books "by" celebrities. He has written extensively in Keith Laumer's Bolo series, contributing several short stories to the Bolo anthologies, as well as three full-length books, Bolo Brigade, Bolo Strike, and Bolo Rising. As Ian Douglas, he writes military science fiction: the Galactic Marines series (composed of the Heritage Trilogy, the Legacy Trilogy, and the Inheritance Trilogy), and the newer Star Carrier series. As H. Jay Riker he writes military fiction: a series about the United States Navy SEALs progression from World War II through the Vietnam War, Desert Storm, and Iraqi Freedom, and another series, The Silent Service, about the United States submarine service.

Other novels include Diplomatic Act with Peter Jurasik, and Two of Minds, nominated for a Newbery Award. He also continued Keith Laumer's Retief series with Retief's Peace. His first non-fiction book, The Science of the Craft, was published in 2005; it is about the link between witchcraft and science.

Keith's recent work includes three books in Stephen Coonts' Deep Black series; a police procedural/detective novel in the Android universe; and a new series about Navy Hospital Corpsmen in the future.

Keith, a Wiccan and a Reiki master, is also a member of Western Pennsylvania Mensa.[citation needed]


Significant works

Writing as William H. Keith Jr.:

BattleTech series

  • Decision at Thunder Rift (1986) ISBN 978-0-451-45221-4; reprinted as ISBN 978-0-14-017549-3, ISBN 978-0-931787-69-0, ISBN 978-0-451-45184-2, and ISBN 978-3-453-03889-9
  • Mercenary's Star (1987) ISBN 978-1-55560-030-3; reprinted as ISBN 978-0-451-45194-1 and ISBN 978-0-14-017550-9
  • The Price of Glory (1987) ISBN 978-1-55560-038-9; reprinted as ISBN 978-0-451-45217-7, ISBN 978-0-14-017551-6, and ISBN 978-3-453-03891-2
  • Blood of Heroes (with J. Andrew Keith) (1993) ISBN 978-0-451-45259-7
  • Tactics of Duty (1995) ISBN 978-0-451-45382-2, reprinted as ISBN 978-0-451-45490-4
  • Operation Excalibur (1996) ISBN 978-0-451-45526-0, reprinted as ISBN 978-3-453-10927-8

Writing as Ian Douglas:

Heritage Trilogy

Legacy Trilogy

Inheritance Trilogy

Star Corpsman Series

Star Carrier series

  1. Earth Strike (2010) ISBN 978-0-06-184025-8
  2. Center of Gravity (2011) ISBN 978-0-06-184026-5
  3. Singularity (2012) ISBN 978-0-06-184027-2
  4. Deep Space (2013) ISBN 978-0-06-218380-4
  5. Dark Matter (2014) ISBN 978-0-06-218399-6
  6. Deep Time (2015) ISBN 978-0-06-218405-4
  7. Dark Mind (4-25-2017) ISBN 978-0-06-236898-0
  8. Bright Light (11-27-2018) ISBN 978-0062369017
  9. Stargods (11-26-2020) ISBN 978-0062369031

Andromedan Dark

Solar Warden

Writing as Robert Cain:

Cybernarc series

Writing as H. Jay Riker


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Shannon Appelcline (2011). Designers & Dragons. Mongoose Publishing. ISBN 978-1-907702-58-7.
  2. ^ Douglas, Ian (October 25, 2016). Altered Starscape: Andromedan Dark: Book One. Harper Voyager. ISBN 978-0062379191.

External links[edit]