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Ben Bova

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Ben Bova
Ben Bova in 1974
Ben Bova in 1974
BornBenjamin William Bova
(1932-11-08)November 8, 1932
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
DiedNovember 29, 2020(2020-11-29) (aged 88)
Naples, Florida, U.S.
  • Author
  • essayist
  • journalist
EducationSouth Philadelphia High School
Temple University
University at Albany, SUNY (MA)
California Coast University (EdD)
GenreScience fiction
Notable awardsInkpot Award,[1] Hugo Award for Best Professional Editor
Rosa Cucinotta
(m. 1953; div. 1974)

Barbara Berson Rose
(m. 1974; died 2009)

Benjamin William Bova (November 8, 1932 – November 29, 2020) was an American writer and editor. During a writing career of 60 years, he was the author of more than 120[2] works of science fact and fiction, an editor of Analog Science Fiction and Fact, for which he won a Hugo Award six times, and an editorial director of Omni; he was also president of both the National Space Society and the Science Fiction Writers of America.[3]

Personal life and education[edit]

Ben Bova was born on November 8, 1932, in Philadelphia. He graduated from South Philadelphia High School in 1949. In 1953, while attending Temple University in Philadelphia, he married Rosa Cucinotta; they had a son and a daughter. The couple divorced in 1974. That year he married Barbara Berson Rose.[4] Barbara Bova died on September 23, 2009.[5] Bova dedicated his 2011 novel Power Play to Barbara. In March 2013, he announced on his website that he had remarried, to Rashida Loya.[2]

Bova was an atheist and was critical of what he saw 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]

He 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.[2]

Bova died from COVID-19-related pneumonia and a stroke on November 29, 2020, at the age of 88.[8]


Bova's novella The Towers of Titan was the cover story in the January 1962 issue of Amazing Stories, illustrated by Ed Emshwiller.

Bova worked as a technical writer for Project Vanguard in the 1950s and later for the Avco Everett Research Laboratory[9]

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 (1973),[10][11] resigning as he lacked the "contractual right to remove his name from the credits."[12] His novel The Starcrossed, loosely based on his experiences, featured a characterization of his friend and colleague Harlan Ellison as "Ron Gabriel".[13] In 1974, he co-wrote the screenplay for an episode of the children's science-fiction television series Land of the Lost, titled "The Search".[14] After leaving Analog in 1978, Bova went on to edit Omni, from 1978 to 1982.[10]

Bova held the position of President Emeritus of the National Space Society and served as President of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).[15][16]

In 2000, he attended the 58th World Science Fiction Convention (Chicon 2000) as the Author Guest of Honor.[17] 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.[18]


As of February 2016, Bova had written over 124 books in various genres.[19] He edited several works, including The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume Two (1973)[20] and Nebula Awards Showcase 2008.[21] He wrote the Grand Tour novel series about exploration and colonization of the Solar System by humans. Reviewing a collection of 12 of the series published in 2004, The New York Times described Bova as "the last of the great pulp writers".[22]


  1. ^ "Inkpot Award". Comic-Con International: San Diego. December 6, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c "Official Website". Archived from the original on January 3, 2013. Retrieved December 24, 2012.
  3. ^ Orion and King Arthur. Tor Tom Doherty. 2012. pp. inside back flap. ISBN 9780765330178.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ "Locus sf&f news: Barbara Bova Dies". Archived from the original on March 3, 2016.
  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". naplesnews.com. Scripps Newspaper Group. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
  8. ^ In Memoriam: Ben Bova, at Science Fiction Writers of America; published November 30, 2020; retrieved November 30, 2020
  9. ^ Bova, Ben (February 14, 2009). "Ben Bova: We need more of Kantrowitz's 'impure research'". Naples Daily News. Archived from the original on March 20, 2012.
  10. ^ a b c "Sci-fi writer blasts gimmicks". Windsor Star. Canadian Press. October 20, 1979. Retrieved March 5, 2011.
  11. ^ "Sci-fi author critical of TV". Star-Phoenix. November 2, 1979. p. 31. Retrieved November 30, 2020 – via Newspapers.com Open access icon.
  12. ^ Patterson, William H. Jr. (June 3, 2014). Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century, Volume 2: The Man Who Learned Better (1948–1988). Macmillan. p. 349. ISBN 978-1-4299-8796-7.
  13. ^ Weil, Ellen; Wolfe, Gary K. (2002). Harlan Ellison: The Edge of Forever. Ohio State University Press. pp. 120–121. ISBN 978-0-8142-0892-2.
  14. ^ Erickson, Hal (March 13, 2015). Sid and Marty Krofft: A Critical Study of Saturday Morning Children's Television, 1969–1993. McFarland. p. 131. ISBN 978-1-4766-0784-9.
  15. ^ "National Space Society Governor Ben Bova Biography". National Space Society. August 3, 2017. Retrieved November 30, 2020.
  16. ^ "Ben Bova". News-Press. March 6, 2001. p. 88. Retrieved November 30, 2020 – via Newspapers.com Open access icon.
  17. ^ Halevi, Charles Chi (August 27, 2000). "Science fiction is fun for fen". Chicago Sun-Times. p. 28.
  18. ^ "The Locus Index to SF Awards: 2008 Robert A. Heinlein Award". Locus Publications. 2008. Archived from the original on April 23, 2010. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  19. ^ "Ben Bova". www.benbova.net. Archived from the original on February 15, 2016. Retrieved February 10, 2016.
  20. ^ The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume Two, (1973), Volume two A OCLC 12264834 and Volume two B OCLC 12264899
  21. ^ Bova, Ben, ed. (2008). Nebula awards showcase 2008 : the year's best SF and fantasy. New York: Roc. ISBN 978-0-451-46188-9. OCLC 192027364.
  22. ^ Jonas, Gerald (March 7, 2004). "Science Fiction (Published 2004)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved November 30, 2020.

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