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Ben Bova

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Ben Bova

Ben Bova
Ben Bova in 1974
Born Benjamin William Bova
(1932-11-08) November 8, 1932
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Occupation Novelist, short story author, essayist, journalist
Genre Science fiction
Bova's novella "The Towers of Titan" was the cover story in the January 1962 issue of Amazing Stories, illustrated by Ed Emshwiller

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

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.

Bova is an atheist and is critical of what he sees as the unquestioning nature of religion.[5] He wrote an op-ed piece in 2012, in which he argued that atheists can be just as moral as religious believers.[6]

Bova went back to school in the 1980s, earning a Master of Arts degree in communications in 1987 and a Doctor of Education degree from California Coast University in 1996.


Bova worked as a technical writer for Project Vanguard in the 1950s and later for the Avco Everett Research Laboratory[7] 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.[8]

Bova served as the science advisor for the failed television series The Starlost[8] 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.[8]

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, hardboiled cyberpunk science-fiction novel Altered Carbon (2002).

As of 2010, Bova has written over 115 books, 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.



  • Carbide Tipped Pens: Seventeen Tales of Hard Science Fiction, Edited by Ben Bova and Eric Choi (2015)
  • The Future Quartet – Earth in the Year 2042 (1995)


  • Forward in Time (1973)
  • Maxwell's Demons (1979)
  • E (1984)
  • The Astral Mirror (1985)
  • Prometheans (1986)
  • Battle Station (1987)
  • Future Crime (1990)
  • Challenges (1994)
  • Twice Seven (1998)
  • New Frontiers (2014)


  • Exiled from Earth (1971)
  • Flight of Exiles (1972)
  • End of Exile (1975)

Grand Tour

Bova's Grand Tour series of novels presents a fictional treatment of human colonization of the Solar System in the late 21st century. Bova addresses the issue of chronology in this series on his website:

Such a chronology is difficult to compose, because many of the novels overlap one another in time. Mars and Moonrise, for example, overlap considerably. Given that caveat, here is an approximate time sequence for the Grand Tour novels. Remember, however, that any of these novels can be read completely independently of the others. There is no need to read the novels in any particular order.[9]
The internal chronology of the series lacks complete consistency.
  • Powersat (2005) – CEO Dan Randolph of Astro Corp. has a dream of providing a desperate world with tons of energy; provided by solar satellites located in geosynchronous orbits around the Earth, and wirelessly transmitted. However, stubborn politicians, and oil companies make the way hard; but Dan has built a space plane that will drastically reduce transportation costs, making way for cheaper and easier constructed Powersats. But when the space plane blows up upon re-entering the atmosphere, Randolph is convinced that it may not be an accident; as a shadowy terrorist group threatens to bankrupt him, and even kill him.
  • Privateers (1985; immediately precedes Empire Builders, with most of the same cast of characters, but with an alternate history including a still-extant Soviet Union, because Bova wrote it before the U.S.S.R. collapsed.)
  • Empire Builders (1993)
  • Mars (1992) – Navajo geologist Jamie Waterman is surprised to find that he will be going on the first mission to Mars, as part of the landing crew. They will only have a few months to explore the Red Planet; a few months to prove that this world is worth another mission, as this one took decades to put together. With limited supplies, the six men and women set out to explore the top of Mt. Olympus and the bottom of Valles Marineris; having only each other to rely on. As the book draws to an end Waterman makes one of the biggest discoveries in the System, and finds a clue of even a bigger one.
  • Moonrise (1996; The Moonbase Saga, v. 1) – Moonbase is an old lunar outpost, maintained by Masterson Corporation; it bleeds money, and most members of the Board disapprove of it. However, Paul Stavenger, astronaut and new husband to Joanna (née Masterson) and CEO of the Board, has a dream of creating a sustainable colony on the Moon; but not everyone agrees with him, or his marriage.
  • Moonwar (1998; The Moonbase Saga, v. 2) – the fanatical group "New Morality", along with their sister organizations the "Holy Disciples" and "Sword of Islam" have gained global support and power; and are dead set against anything to do with nanotechnology, which they call the "Devil's work". So when the last nations on Earth ban the practice, Moonbase is all that is left of a technology that could potentially save the entire Earth; granting asylum for a few runaways. But when the UN starts to send troops over, Director Douglas Stavenger declares independence; and begins a war that will see no one dead or all of them.
  • Return to Mars (1999)
  • The Precipice (2001; The Asteroid Wars, v. 1)- when Billionaire Martin Humphries comes to CEO of Astro Corp, Dan Randolph, and freely offers him a fusion space propulsion design, Dan is at the very least curious; but with his company near bankruptcy, the "bold astronaut" has no choice. However, Dan realizes that he may have gone too far this time.
  • Farside (2013)
  • Jupiter (2001)
  • The Rock Rats (2002; The Asteroid Wars, v. 2) – Martin Humphries returns to complete his conquest of the Asteroid Belt, along with it riches of water and metal ores; but first, two rivals stand in his way. The first being Pancho Lane, new member on the Board of Astro Corp. The second being Lars Fuchs, an independent miner who has a dream of building a space habitat in orbit above Ceres. Each begins to raise the ante, and none are willing to back down.
  • The Silent War (2004; The Asteroid Wars, v. 3)
  • The Aftermath (2007; The Asteroid Wars, v. 4) – The novel begins at the destruction of the original Chrysalis habitat at Ceres; but with the view from the family aboard the Syracuse. As the family's ship is attacked, Victor the father separates the command module from the rest of the ship to draw the attackers away; but leaves his family no way of getting home, as they drift on a 5-year orbital journey. After life-altering changes, Dorn and Elverda travel the Asteroid Belt searching for the bodies of the dead who perished in the Asteroid Wars; but Martin Humphries is bent on destroying both of them. Kao Yuan is the captain of the spacecraft "Viking", which is on the mission to kill Dorn & Elverda; however, Humphries' former lover, Tamara is the real commander, and she begins to have plans of her own. Eventually, Fate brings all these people together at the right moments in order to restore Humanity, and bring justice.
  • Saturn (2002) – the space habitat Goddard is launched from Earth, on a two-year journey to Saturn; twice as far from the Sun as anyone has gone or lived before. The habitat is made up of ten thousand people; most of whom are exiles from Earth, thrown out by the New Morality, Holy Disciples or Sword of Islam. As the habitat goes further into deep space, some begin to plot and scheme; to create a new society in their eyes. However, most don't realize that they are all part of an experiment.
  • Leviathans of Jupiter (Feb 2011) – Physicist Grant Archer studies the huge and possibly intelligent creatures of Jupiter.
  • Titan (2006, John W. Campbell Memorial Award)
  • Mercury (2005)
  • Mars Life (2008) – Jamie Waterman is back as Director of the Mars Program; along with his wife Vijay, the beautiful Indian-Aussie, and Dex Trumball, the Director of the Board in charge of Mars financing. The death of his son bring Waterman and his wife back to Earth, and puts them both in a slump. Over the years, the New Morality has slowly been taking over the American government, and gaining power; the NM restricts and censors anything that is a threat to them, and hide behind religion. One of their biggest concerns is the Mars program, which is taking money away from projects that would benefit the dystopian-style Earth. As money is slowly cut off from Mars, Dex & Jamie rush to find a solution to keeps the exploration of Mars open; however both have different views. Waterman wants to preserve the Martian life and culture, while Dex is willing to open Mars up to wealthy tourists. The Navajo scientist and Vijay return to Mars in time of great discovering; a Martian village and relics have been found, as well as what might be a graveyard, holding remains of an ancient, intelligent Martian race. Jamie struggles to find the balance of things, as time and money begin to run out; and the answer could be found in his dreams.
  • Venus (2000) – Van Humphries is the younger of the two sons of Martin Humphries; a man who ultimately despises him, and regards him as a weakling. Van's older brother, Alex, was always there to protect him, until his death on the first crewed mission sent to touch down on Venus. Now three years later, Martin Humphries is offering a 10-billion dollar reward to anyone who can bring his elder son's body home... from the hellish surface of Earth's sister. Van is bent on proving his father view of him wrong, while rescuing his beloved brother's body; and 10-billion dollars, which he desperately needs, as his father has cut off his "allowance". But as Van and his crew near Venus, Lars Fuchs comes racing out of the belt; determined to find Alex's body, and receive the reward from his nemesis M. Humphries. Unpredicted problems, and grand discoveries are made and prove disastrous, as the two crews are brought together... somewhat.
  • The Return (2009)
  • New Earth (2013)
  • Mars, Inc (2013) – a "parallel" version of the exploration of Mars, where private enterprise (and not a government program) drives the conquest.[10]

According to his official Web site, Bova suggested that the books can be read chronologically as follows; Powersat, Empire Builders, Mars, Moonrise, Moonwar, Return to Mars, The Precipice, Jupiter, The Rock Rats, The Silent War, The Aftermath, Saturn, Leviathans of Jupiter, Titan, Mercury, Mars Life, Venus, and The Return.[11]

Bova also published a short story collection including stories that span much of the timeline, called Tales of the Grand Tour (2004)[9]

Sam Gunn

  • Sam Gunn, Unlimited (1993) (short- story collection)
  • Sam Gunn Forever (1998) (short-story collection)
  • Sam Gunn Omnibus (2007)

Chet Kinsman

  • The Weathermakers (1967) Back-story of a major character from Millennium
  • Millennium (1976)
  • Colony (1978)
  • Kinsman (1979)
  • The Kinsman Saga (1987) (combines Millennium (1976) and Kinsman (1979); includes introduction and narrative by Bova explaining the reworking of these two novels)

Non-series novels

  • Escape! (1969)
  • THX 1138 (with THX 1138
  • When the Sky Burned (1972)
  • Gremlins, Go Home! (with Gordon Dickson) (1974)
  • The Starcrossed (1975)
  • The Multiple Man (1976)
  • City of Darkness (1976)
  • Test of Fire (1982) (A revised version of When the Sky Burned)
  • The Winds of Altair (1983)
  • Peacekeepers (1988)
  • Cyberbooks (1989)
  • The Trikon Deception (with Bill Pogue) (1992)
  • Triumph (1993), ISBN 0-312-85359-9 (alternate-history work, set at the end of World War II, in which Winston Churchill plots the assassination of Joseph Stalin, and in which Franklin D. Roosevelt lives past 1945)
  • Death Dream (1994)
  • – expanded edition later republished as The Immortality Factor
  • The Green Trap (2006)
  • Laugh Lines (2008) (A collection of short stories, 'The Starcrossed' and 'Cyberbooks')
  • – earlier shorter edition published as Brothers
  • The Hittite (2010) (A retelling of the Iliad)
  • Able One (2010)
  • Power Play (2011)
  • Transhuman (2014)
  • Rescue Mode (with Les Johnson) (2014)
  • Power Surge (2015)


To Save the Sun

  • To Save the Sun (with A.J. Austin) (1992)
  • To Fear the Light (with A.J. Austin) (1994)


  • Voyagers (1981, volume I)
  • The Alien Within (1986, volume II)
  • Star Brothers (1990, volume III)
  • The Return (2009, volume IV)


  • The Star Conquerors (1959)
  • Star Watchman (1964)
  • The Dueling Machine (1969)
  • As on a Darkling Plain (1972)

Star Quest Trilogy

  • Death Wave (2015)


  • Man Changes the Weather. 1973.
  • Starflight and Other Improbabilities. Westminster Press. 1973. ISBN 0-664-32520-3
  • Notes to a Science Fiction Writer. Houghton Mifflin. 1975. ISBN 978-0684144344
  • The High Road Houghton Mifflin. 1981. ISBN 0-395-31288-4
  • Assured Survival: Putting The Star Wars Defense In Perspective. 1984. UG743.B68
  • Welcome to Moonbase. Ballantine. 1987.
  • The Craft of Writing Science Fiction That Sells. Writers Digest Books. 1994. ISBN 0-89879-600-8
  • Immortality. 1998.
  • Are We Alone in the Cosmos?. 1999.
  • The Story of Light. 2001.
  • Faint Echoes, Distant Stars: The Science and Politics of Finding Life Beyond Earth. 2004.

Anthologies edited

  • The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume Two, (1973), Volume two A OCLC 12264834 and Volume two B OCLC 12264899
  • The Best of the Nebulas (1989), ISBN 0-312-93175-1
  • The Many Worlds of Science Fiction (1971), ISBN 0-525-34550-7
  • Carbide Tipped Pens: Seventeen Tales of Hard Science Fiction (2014), ISBN 978-0-7653-3430-5

Short fiction

Title Year First published in Reprinted in
Appointment in Sinai 1996 Analog 116/7 (Jun 1996)


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Barbara Bova DiesLocus sf&f news:
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b c
  9. ^ a b
  10. ^
  11. ^

External links

  • Official website
  • Works by Ben Bova at Project Gutenberg
  • Works by or about Ben Bova at Internet Archive
  • Works by Ben Bova at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
  • Works by Ben Bova at Open Library
  • Ben Bova at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
  • Ben Bova at the Internet Book List
  • An audio interview with Ben Bova (MP3 format) from Hour 25
  • Mars Life, 25-page excerpt
  • Mars Life: Mankind’s Future in Space at publisher Macmillan (archived 2011-05-20) – Bova, 2008: "Mars Life completes this trilogy of completely realistic novels about the first humans to explore the red planet."
  • Interview on the SciFiDimensions Podcast
  • Interview on Freethought Radio by the Freedom From Religion Foundation
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