Ben Bova

Ben Bova

Ben Bova in 1974
Born November 8, 1932 (1932-11-08) (age 79)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Occupation Novelist, short story author, essayist, journalist
Genres Science fiction

Benjamin William Bova (born November 8, 1932) is an American science-fiction author and editor. He is the recipient of six Hugo Awards for Best Professional Editor for his work at Analog Science Fiction in the 1970's.


Personal life

Ben Bova was born on November 8, 1932 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1953, while attending Temple University in Philadelphia, he married Rosa Cucinotta; they had a son and a daughter. He would later divorce Rosa in 1974. In that same year he married Barbara Berson Rose.[1] Barbara Bova died on September 23, 2009.[2]

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

Professional career

Bova worked as a technical writer for Project Vanguard in the 1950s and later for the Avco Everett Research Laboratory[3] in the 1960s when they did 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 Fiction after John W. Campbell's death in 1971. At Analog, Bova won six Hugo Awards for Best Professional Editor. After leaving Analog in 1978, he went on to edit Omni during 1978-1982.[4]

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

Bova served as the science advisor for the failed television series The Starlost,[4] leaving 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 Harlan Ellison uses when he does not want to be associated with a television or film project.

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.

Bova went back to school in the 1980s, earning an M.A. in communications in 1987 and a Ed.D. (from California Coast University) in 1996.

Bova has drawn on his experiences to create fact and fiction writings rich with references to spaceflight, lasers, artificial hearts, nanotechnology, environmentalism, fencing and martial arts, photography and artists.

As of 2010 Bova has written over 115 books - non-fiction as well as science fiction. In 2000, he attended the 58th World Science Fiction Convention (Chicon 2000) as the Author Guest of Honor.

Recently, Hollywood has taken an interest in Bova's works due to his wealth of knowledge about science and about what the future may look like. 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 feature adaptation of Richard Morgan's novel "Altered Carbon". In 2007, Velocity Management became Ben Bova's literary manager.[5]



  • Forward in Time (1973)
  • Maxwell's Demons (1979)
  • E (1984)
  • The Astral Mirror (1985)
  • Prometheans (1986)
  • Battle Station (1987)
  • Future Crime (1990)
  • Challenges (1994)
  • The Future Quartet - Earth in the Year 2042 (1995)
  • Twice Seven (1998)


  • 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.[6]

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 geosync orbit around the Earth, and wirelessly transferred. 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 disprove of it. However, old 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.
  • Return to Mars (1999)
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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)
  • 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.
  • Mercury (2005)
  • Titan (2006, John W. Campbell Memorial Award)
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Leviathans of Jupiter (Feb 2011)

According to [1], Bova suggested that the books can be read chronologically as followed; Powersat, Empire Builders, Moonrise, Mars, Moonwar, Return to Mars, The Precipice, Jupiter, The Rock Rats, The Silent War, Saturn, Titan, The Aftermath, Mercury, Mars Life, Venus, and Leviathans of Jupiter.

Bova also published a short story collection including stories that span much of the timeline[6]:

  • Tales of the Grand Tour (2004)

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

  • Out of the Sun (1968)
  • Escape! (1969)
  • THX 1138 (with George Lucas) (1971), based on the film THX 1138
  • As on a Darkling Plain (1972)
  • When the Sky Burned (1972)
  • Gremlins, Go Home! (with Gordon Dickson) (1974)
  • The Starcrossed (1975)
  • City of Darkness (1976)
  • The Multiple Man (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)
  • Brothers. NEL. 1995. ISBN 0-450-61335-6.  - expanded edition later republished as The immortality factor
  • The Green Trap (2006)
  • Laugh Lines (2008) (A collection of short stories, 'The Starcrossed' and 'Cyberbooks')
  • The immortality factor. Tor. 2009. ISBN 978-0-765-30525-1.  - earlier shorter edition published as Brothers
  • The Hittite (2010) (A retelling of The Illiad)
  • Able One (2010)


  • Orion (1984)
  • Vengeance of Orion (1988)
  • Orion in the Dying Time (1990)
  • Orion and the conqueror (1994)
  • Orion Among the Stars (1995)
  • Orion and King Arthur (2011) Only available as an audiobook

To Save the Sun

  • To Save the Sun (with AJ Austin) (1992)
  • To Fear the Light (with AJ Austin) (1994)


  • Voyagers (1981)
  • The Alien Within (1986)
  • Star Brothers (1990)
  • The Return (2009)


  • The Star Conquerors (1959)
  • Star Watchman (1964)
  • The Dueling Machine (1969)


  • The Amazing Laser. Westminster Press. 1971. ISBN 0-664-34003-2. 
  • Man Changes the Weather (1973)
  • In Quest of Quasars. Signet. 1975. ISBN 0451614119. 
  • Starflight and Other Improbabilities, Westminster Press, 1973, ISBN 0-664-32520-3
  • Notes to a Science Fiction Writer, Houghton Mifflin paperback, 1981
  • Assured Survival: Putting The Star Wars Defense In Perspective, UG743.B68 (1984)
  • The beauty of light. John Wiley & Sons. 1988. ISBN 0471625809. 
  • The Craft of Writing Science Fiction That Sells, Writers Digest Books, 1994, ISBN 0-89879-600-8 (a guide to writing fiction of any genre)
  • 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)
  • "Across my life ...". Analog 130 (1&2): 112–114. Jan/Feb 2010. 

Anthologies edited

Short fiction

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

Bova, Ben (1998). Twice seven. Avon Eos. ISBN 0-380-79741-0. 
Bova, Ben (2004). Tales of the Grand Tour. Tor. ISBN 0-765-30722-7. 


  1. ^ Jay P. Pederson, ed (1 December 1995). St. James Guide to Science Fiction Writers (4th edition ed.). St. James Press. ISBN 978-1558621794. 
  2. ^ Locus sf&f news: Barbara Bova Dies
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b "Sci-fi writer blasts gimmicks". The Windsor Star. Canadian Press. October 20, 1979.,1618005&dq=toronto+world-science-fiction&hl=en. Retrieved March 5, 2011. 
  5. ^ Dodd, Stacy (2007-05-31). "Ben Bova". Variety. 
  6. ^ a b Bova, Ben. "Grand Tour Chronology". Retrieved 2008-06-23. 

External links

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