Robert E. Vardeman was born in Mineral Wells, Texas, but is a longtime resident of Albuquerque, New Mexico. He graduated from the University of New Mexico with a B.S. in physics and a M.S. in materials science. He worked for Sandia National Laboratories in the Solid State Physics Research Department before becoming a full-time writer. He got his start in writing by writing for science fiction fanzines, and was nominated for the 1972 Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer. Vardeman is one of the founders of Bubonicon, a science fiction convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
He is the author of more than fifty fantasy and science fiction novels. An anthology of his short fiction, Stories From Desert Bob's Reptile Ranch, was published in 2007.
He wrote the original story novels Mutiny on the Enterprise focusing on Captain Kirk battling his own crew, and The Klingon Gambit, another official Star Trek novel.
Vardeman's fantasy series include The War of Powers (six volumes co-authored with Victor Milan), Cenotaph Road (six volumes of science fantasy), The Swords of Raemllyn (nine volumes co-authored with Geo. W. Proctor), The Jade Demons (four books), The Keys to Paradise trilogy, The Demon Crown trilogy, and a British-published trilogy called The Accursed. Vardeman also wrote the novelizations of the fantasy game series, God of War and Ruins of Power, a MechWarrior: Dark Age story.
Vardeman's science fiction works include the Weapons of Chaos, Masters of Space and Biowarriors trilogies, and the stand-alone novels The Sandcats of Rhyl, Road to the Stars, and Ancient Heavens. The 1991 techno-thriller Death Fall is a related novel, although works set in a contemporary setting are often not categorized as science fiction.
Vardeman also wrote a series of three mystery novels involving the "psychic detective" Peter Thorne: The Screaming Knife, The Resonance of Blood and Death Channels.
Vardeman has written a number of game-related tie in works, including:Dark Legacy (1996) - for the Magic: The Gathering game
The Great Helium War (1998) - for the Crimson Skies game
Hell Heart (2000) - for the Vor: The Maelstrom game
Ruins of Power (2003) - for the Mechwarrior: Dark Age branch of the Battletech game
God of War (2010) - novelization of the game of the same name with Matthew Stover
God of War II (2013) - novelization of the sequel
The first volume in Vardeman's Keys to Paradise fantasy series was credited to the pseudonym "Daniel Moran", the publisher possibly being unaware of author Daniel Keys Moran, but the second book in that series then stated that Vardeman was "writing as Daniel Moran." Vardeman started publishing two other series under pseudonyms in the late 1980s - the fantasy series After the Spell Wars under the name F.J. Hale, and the Star Frontier science fiction series under the name of Edward S. Hudson. Both of these series were partially republished under Vardeman's own name. He also wrote Gateway to Doom (1983) from Tom Swift III, and The Microbots (1992) and Mutant Beach (1992), part of the Tom Swift IV series of books under the house pen name, Victor Appleton; as well as writing numerous westerns under the pen names Karl Lassiter and Jackson Lowry. He also wrote in the mid-1970s for Book Creations, Inc., under house pseudonym Paul Kenyon for The Baroness series, but the book was canceled before publication. Similar work includes eight novels written for the Nick Carter adventure series, the novel Sea Fire under the name Cliff Garnett, more than 100 novels written for a major western series, plus eight novels written for another western series that was less enduring.