Ben Bova

Benjamin William "Ben" Bova (born November 8, 1932) is an American writer. He is the author of more than 120[1] works of science fact and fiction, he is six-time winner of the Hugo Award, a former editor of Analog Magazine, a former editorial director of Omni; he was also president of both the National Space Society and the Science Fiction Writers of America. He lives in Florida.[2]

Ben Bova
Ben Bova in 1974
Ben Bova in 1974
BornBenjamin William Bova
November 8, 1932 (age 86)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
OccupationNovelist, short-story author, essayist, journalist
GenreScience fiction
Amazing stories 196201
Bova's novella "The Towers of Titan" was the cover story in the January 1962 issue of Amazing Stories, illustrated by Ed Emshwiller

Personal life and education

Ben Bova was born on November 8, 1932 in Philadelphia. He graduated from South Philadelphia High School in 1949 and has been inducted into the SPHS Cultural Hall of Fame in recognition of his achievements. In 1953, while attending Temple University in Philadelphia, he married Rosa Cucinotta; they had a son and a daughter. The couple divorced in 1974. In that same year he married Barbara Berson Rose.[3] Barbara Bova died on September 23, 2009.[4] Bova dedicated his 2011 novel, Power Play to Barbara. In March 2013, he announced on his website that he had remarried.[1]

Bova was an avid fencer in his younger days and organized Avco Everett's fencing club.[5]

Bova is an atheist and is critical of what he sees as the unquestioning nature of religion.[6] He wrote an op-ed piece in 2012, in which he argued that atheists can be just as moral as religious believers.[7]

Bova went back to school in the 1980s, earning a Master of Arts degree in communications in 1987 from the State University of New York at Albany and a Doctor of Education degree from California Coast University in 1996.[8]


Bova worked as a technical writer for Project Vanguard in the 1950s and later for the Avco Everett Research Laboratory[9] in the 1960s. when they conducted research in lasers and fluid dynamics. At Avco Everett he met Arthur R. Kantrowitz (later of the Foresight Institute).

In 1972, Bova became editor of Analog Science Fact & Fiction, after John W. Campbell's death in 1971. At Analog, Bova won six Hugo Awards for Best Professional Editor.[10]

Bova served as the science advisor for the television series The Starlost[10] and left in disgust after the airing of the first episode (1973). His novel The Starcrossed, loosely based on his experiences, featured a thinly veiled characterization of his friend and colleague Harlan Ellison. Bova dedicated the novel to "Cordwainer Bird", the pen name Ellison uses when he does not want to be associated with a television or film project.

In 1974, he wrote the screenplay for an episode of the children's science-fiction television series Land of the Lost, titled "The Search".

After leaving Analog in 1978, Bova went on to edit Omni, from 1978 to 1982.[10]

Bova holds the position of President Emeritus of the National Space Society and served as President of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) from 1990 to 1992.

He appeared as the Guest of Honor at the Florida convention Necronomicon in 1995 and 2011. In 2000, he attended the 58th World Science Fiction Convention (Chicon 2000) as the Author Guest of Honor.

In 2007, Stuber/Parent Productions hired him as a consultant to provide insight into what the world may look like in the near future, for their film Repo Men (2010) starring Jude Law and Forest Whitaker. Also in 2007 he provided consulting services to Silver Pictures on the film adaptation of Richard K. Morgan's hardboiled cyberpunk science-fiction novel Altered Carbon (2002). He was awarded the Robert A. Heinlein Award in 2008 for his work in science fiction.[11]

As of February 2016, Bova has written over 124 books,[12] non-fiction as well as science fiction, drawing on his experiences to create fact and fiction writings rich with references to artificial hearts, artists, environmentalism, fencing and martial arts, lasers, nanotechnology, photography, and spaceflight.


  1. ^ a b "Official Website". Archived from the original on January 3, 2013. Retrieved December 24, 2012.
  2. ^ Orion and King Arthur. Tor Tom Doherty. 2012. pp. inside back flap. ISBN 9780765330178.
  3. ^ Jay P. Pederson, ed. (December 1, 1995). St. James Guide to Science Fiction Writers (4th ed.). St. James Press. ISBN 978-1-55862-179-4.
  4. ^ Locus sf&f news: Barbara Bova Dies Archived March 3, 2016, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ "Ben Bova". Goodreads. Retrieved 2017-04-25.
  6. ^ Gutsch, Bonnie. "Ben Bova". FFRF Website. Freedom From Religion Foundation. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
  7. ^ Bova, Ben (July 22, 2012). "Ben Bova: History says atheists just as moral as believers". Scripps Newspaper Group. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
  8. ^ "Ben Bova-bio". Archived from the original on January 20, 2017. Retrieved 2017-01-19.
  9. ^ Ben Bova: We need more of Kantrowitz’s ‘impure research’, By BEN BOVA, Posted February 14, 2009 at 7:01 p.m, Naples Daily News at the Wayback Machine (archived March 20, 2012)
  10. ^ a b c "Sci-fi writer blasts gimmicks". The Windsor Star. Canadian Press. October 20, 1979. Retrieved March 5, 2011.
  11. ^ "The Locus Index to SF Awards: 2008 Robert A. Heinlein Award". Locus Publications. 2008. Archived from the original on 2010-04-23. Retrieved 2016-11-21.
  12. ^ "Ben Bova". Archived from the original on February 15, 2016. Retrieved 2016-02-10.

External links

Ben Bova bibliography

The following is a bibliography of works by American hard science fiction author Ben Bova.

Edward E. Smith Memorial Award

The Edward E. Smith Memorial Award for Imaginative Fiction, or "Skylark", annually recognizes someone for lifetime contributions to science fiction, "both through work in the field and by exemplifying the personal qualities which made the late "Doc" Smith well-loved by those who knew him." It is presented by the New England Science Fiction Association at its annual convention, Boskone, to someone chosen by a vote of NESFA members. The trophy is a large lens mounted on a simple plinth.The award was inaugurated in 1966, the year after Smith's death. Fifty-one people have been honored in 49 years to 2015 (Hal Clement received the award twice, in 1969 and 1997).

Skylark recipients

GURPS Terradyne

GURPS Terradyne is an original worldbook for GURPS. It is a future history suitable for a Hard Science Fiction campaign, in the tradition of stories by Robert A. Heinlein, Lester Del Ray and Ben Bova or the manga/anime Planetes.

Grand Tour (novel series)

The Grand Tour is a series of novels written by American science fiction author Ben Bova.

The novels present a theme of exploration and colonization of the solar system by humans in the late 21st century. Most of the books focus on the exploration of one particular planet or planetary moon.

Several recurring themes are presented throughout the series. In particular, most of the solar system bodies whose exploration is the focus of a particular novel are presented as having life, either past or present. Many of the expeditions which explore the planets run into serious difficulty. The protagonists of most of these books are presented as initially weak and/or lacking in ability or confidence, and as part of surviving the trials of the story become heroic.

The future humanity as depicted in the Grand Tour novel series is divided between Greens (environmentalists) and wealthy industrialists, as well as between secularists/scientists and religious fundamentalists. These conflicts generally are presented as part of the background and often set up the initial conflicts of each of the books. In addition, several of the books reference, or indeed directly deal with, conflicts between wealthy industrialists and small, independent operators seeking to exploit the solar system's vast untapped mineral wealth.

A major theme of the series, which takes center stage in several of the novels, is the search for life on other planets in the solar system. Mars, Mars Life, Jupiter, Venus, Mercury, Saturn, Titan, and Leviathans of Jupiter all deal with this issue. The discovery of life in the solar system often leads to conflicts between religious fundamentalists and scientists, with the former seeing the existence of such life as conflicting with their religious doctrines.

While each novel can be read independent of the others, and they can be read in any order, there are distinct story arcs within the series. The Moonbase arc (which may also include the Asteroid Wars arc), the Mars books, and the Saturn books, for instance, comprise various sagas within the series.

John Harris (artist)

John Harris (born 29 July 1948 in London, England) is a British artist and illustrator, known for working in the science fiction genre. His paintings have been used on book covers for many authors, including Orson Scott Card, Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Frederik Pohl, Ben Bova, Wilbur Smith, Jack Vance, Ann Leckie, and John Scalzi. His work has covered many genres and although he made his name in the science-fiction genres, he is now exploring a new realm, the imaginative realism of aerial landscapes.

Jupiter (novel)

Jupiter is a science fiction novel by American writer Ben Bova. This novel is part of the Grand Tour series of novels. It was first published in 2000.

Mars Life

Mars Life is a science fiction novel by Ben Bova. This novel is part of the Grand Tour series of novels. It was first published in 2008 and is a sequel to Ben Bova's novel Return to Mars.

Matagorda Island

Matagorda Island ( (listen)), Spanish for "thick brush," is a 38-mile (61 km) long barrier island on the Texas Gulf coast, located approximately seven miles (11 kilometres) south of Port O'Connor, in the southernmost part of Calhoun County. Traditional homeland of the Karankawa Indians. The island is oriented generally northeast-southwest, with the Gulf of Mexico on the east and south, and Espiritu Santo Bay on the west and north. It is separated from San José Island to the south by Cedar Bayou, and is separated from the Matagorda Peninsula to the north by Pass Cavallo. It has no permanent residents and is accessible by boat only. It has a land area of 157.25 square kilometres (60.71 square miles).

Matagorda Island State Park occupies 7,325 acres (2,964 hectares) on the northeastern end of the island. The remainder of the island is devoted to wildlife refuges managed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and is known as Matagorda Island National Wildlife Refuge and State Natural Area.

The land that is now Matagorda Island State park was acquired in 1940 by condemnation from the Hawes, Hill, and Little families (but not the Wynne-Murchison interests) for use as a temporary training facility for the World War II era.Matagorda Island State Park was featured as a "survival location" by the main characters in the book, 'Day by Day Armageddon' by J.L. Bourne. The island is also featured as a principle location in the book Powersat by Ben Bova. Life on the island in the late 1800s is described in the book "A Texas cowboy, or, Fifteen years on the hurricane deck of a Spanish pony" by Charles A. Siringo

Mercury (2005 novel)

Mercury is a 2005 science fiction novel by American writer Ben Bova. The story chronicles the chain of events which leads Mance Bracknell, a shy but gifted engineering student, from the pinnacle of success to the depths of misery and vengeance.

Orion in the Dying Time

Orion in the Dying time is a 1990 science fiction novel by American writer Ben Bova. It follows Orion as he finds himself in the Neolithic having been sent there by the Creators who plan on him stopping the mad creature Set in his grandiose plans to destroy human kind and to repopulate the Earth with his kind.

Return to Mars

There is also a 1955 juvenile science fiction novel of this name by W. E. Johns.

The title 'Return to Mars' was used by authors Anthony Pollock and Brian Crowley in 1989, published by Magistra (Australia) as non-fiction.Return to Mars is a science fiction novel by Ben Bova. This novel is part of the Grand Tour series of novels. It was first published in 1999 and is a sequel to Ben Bova's novel Mars.

Stranger in Paradise (short story)

"Stranger in Paradise" is a science fiction short story by American writer Isaac Asimov. It was written in the summer of 1973 for an anthology of original stories edited by Judy-Lynn del Rey, but was rejected by her. It was also rejected by Ben Bova for Analog Science Fiction and Fact before being accepted for If magazine, where it appeared in the May–June 1974 issue. The story was reprinted in the collections The Bicentennial Man and Other Stories (1976) and The Complete Robot (1982).

The Precipice (Bova novel)

The Precipice is a science fiction novel by Hugo Award winner Ben Bova. This novel is part of the Grand Tour series of novels. It is the first book in The Asteroid Wars series. It was first published in 2001. The title "The Precipice" refers to the "greenhouse cliff", or the ultimate collapse of Earth's biosphere, preceded by the steady encroachment of climate change.

The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume Two

The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume Two is an English language science fiction two-volume anthology edited by Ben Bova and published in the U.S. by Doubleday in 1973, distinguished as volumes "Two A" and "Two B". In the U.K. they were published by Gollancz as Volume Two (1973) and Volume Three (1974). The original U.S. subtitle was The Greatest Science Fiction Novellas of All Time.

Twenty-two novellas published from 1895 to 1962 were selected by vote of the Science Fiction Writers of America, as that body had selected the contents of The Science Fiction Hall of Fame Volume One, 1929-1964, a collection of the best-regarded short stories. SFWA had been established in 1965 and that publication year defined its first annual Nebula Awards. Introducing the collected novellas, Bova wrote, "The purpose of the Science Fiction Hall of Fame anthologies is to bestow a similar recognition on stories that were published prior to 1966 [sic], and thus never had a chance to earn a Nebula."The selection process generated both a top ten stories and a top ten authors.

Although the original publication dates ranged from 1895 to 1962, only two stories were published before 1938, "The Time Machine" by Wells (1895) and "The Machine Stops" by Forster (1909).

Theodore Sturgeon reviewed the anthology favorably, praising the decision to issue it in two volumes rather than scale back the contents.

Bova's introduction thanks Doubleday science fiction editor Larry Ashmead for that.

The Star Conquerors

The Star Conquerors is a science fiction novel by American writer Ben Bova. It was published in 1959 by the John C. Winston Company.

This is one of the thirty-five juvenile novels that comprise the Winston Science Fiction set, which novels were published in the 1950s for a readership of teen-aged boys. The typical protagonist in these books was a boy in his late teens who was proficient in the art of electronics, a hobby that was easily available to the readers. In this book, though, the protagonist is a junior officer, about twenty years old, in the Star Watch, the interstellar navy of the Terran Confederation.

Titan (Bova novel)

Titan is a science fiction novel written by Ben Bova as part of the Grand Tour novel series. It directly follows the novel Saturn, in which the space habitat Goddard has finished its two-year journey from Earth, and has settled into the orbit of Saturn. The book won the 2007 John W. Campbell Memorial Award.

Vengeance of Orion

Vengeance of Orion is a 1988 science fiction novel by American writer Ben Bova. It is the sequel to Orion and follows his adventures in the time of the Greek heroes Achilles and Odysseus in the siege of Troy. The story takes up many plot elements of Homer's "Iliad" but also includes elements not appearing in Homer, such as the presence of the Hittite empire to the east of Troy.

Venus (novel)

Venus is a science fiction novel by Ben Bova, part of the Grand Tour novel series and first published in the year 2000. The story follows Van Humphries, the son of the ruthless tycoon Martin Humphries, and his experiences on Venus.

Winston Science Fiction

Winston Science Fiction was a series of 37 American juvenile science fiction books published by the John C. Winston Company of Philadelphia from 1952 to 1960 and by its successor Holt, Rinehart & Winston in 1960 and 1961. It included 35 novels by various writers, including many who became famous in the SF field, such as Poul Anderson, Arthur C. Clarke, Ben Bova, and Lester del Rey. There was also one anthology, The Year After Tomorrow, edited by del Rey and others. There was one non-fiction book Rockets through Space: The Story of Man's Preparations to Explore the Universe by del Rey which details the factual science and technology of rocket flight. Many of the dust jackets became science fiction classics; the artists included Hugo Award winners Ed Emshwiller and Virgil Finlay along with Hugo nominees such as Mel Hunter and Alex Schomburg.

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