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The Pyrophylic Saurian by Howard L. Myers

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"The Pyrophylic Saurian" is a 1970 science fiction novelette by Howard L. Myers. It is about a band of space criminals who discover a secret mother-lode on a classified planet.

A Practical Use For Fairy Tale Creatures

I have always been a fan of dragons. I love everything about them: the pictures, the mythology, the sense of fear and wonder – ah, they are such cool beasts! And while these beautiful creatures often show up in fantasy themed stories, this is the first time I have come across the idea in a truly legitimate science fiction story – and that is awesome!

Non-spoiler Summary in a Nutshell

Dragon by miheco, CC 2.0 license

Omar Olivine has taken a huge risk, and one that he hopes will pay off big. See, he used to be a proxad in the Space Patrol, but he got tired of that and so sprung a group of criminals to help him in his new-found life of crime. Now their rag-tag bunch is orbiting a very secret planet and they intend to find out, harvest and sell the reason for that secret. They should make a killing right? Well, probably, if they can get past the dangerous Jurassic-period lifeforms, and the strange euphoric feeling that keeps overcoming them! Hmm… maybe Omar should have been more careful in his crew selection.

My Two Cents…

  • The dinosaur-like life forms encountered on Dothlit Three were totally fun – and a cool SF mashup of some interesting ideas!
  • The “secret” mother-lode the criminals discover was pretty funny too. I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised given the state of the world at the time "The Pyrophylic Saurian" was written!
  • Ok, so this story has a bit of a campy SF space opera feel to it, but I didn’t mind – I thought it was just a fun story to read. Your taste may vary.

Interesting Tidbits:

  • Page Count: 17
  • Word Count: 9,229
  • Special thanks to Free SF Reader for suggesting "The Pyrophylic Saurian".

Where You Can Find The Pyrophylic Saurian:

  • This short story first appeared in the January 1970 edition of Analog Science Fiction / Science Fact.
  • You can read "The Pyrophylic Saurian" online for free at
  • It is also included in Baen’s book of Howard L. Myers stories A Sense of Infinity.

Craving More Science Fiction Short Stories?

If you liked "The Pyrophylic Saurian" then you might also enjoy “Who’s Afraid of Wolf 359?” by Ken MacLeod – a Hugo nominated short story about a man who agrees to investigate an abandoned experimental civilization around a distant red dwarf.