He sometimes used pseudonyms, including Scott Nichols, Gerald MacDow, and Arthur R. Kurtz.
Scortia was born in Alton, Illinois, and attended Washington University in St. Louis, where he earned a degree in chemistry in 1949. He worked for a number of aerospace companies during the 1950s and 1960s, and held a patent for the fuel used in a Jupiter fly-by mission.
Scortia had been writing in his spare time while working in the aerospace field. When the industry began to see increased unemployment in the early 1970s, he decided to try his hand at full-time writing.
He began publishing SF in 1954. His first novel in 1974, The Glass Inferno (written with Frank M. Robinson), was the inspiration for the 1974 film “The Towering Inferno.” Other books with Robinson included The Prometheus Crisis (1975) and The Nightmare Factor (1978).
Scortia also collaborated with Dalton Trumbo on the novel The Endangered Species.
His short fiction was collected in Caution: Inflammable! (1975) and in The Best of Thomas N. Scortia (1981).