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In Memoriam: Influential Sci-Fi Author Ben Bova, 1932-2020

The iconic author behind the Grand Tour series has passed away at 88.

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  • Photo Credit: Alchetron

Legendary science fiction writer and editor Ben Bova passed away November 29th, 2020 at the age of 88 from coronavirus-related pneumonia and a stroke. 

During his prolific career, Bova wrote more than 120 science and science fiction works. He leaves behind a wealth of contributions to the genre he helped shape. 

Though he became a renowned and admired science fiction writer, Bova's career began in science. He worked on a variety of projects related to space exploration, a subject that later formed the basis for so many of his acclaimed novels. 

As the space race began to heat up, Bova joined Project Vanguard as a technical writer. Run by the United States Naval Research Laboratory, Project Vanguard aimed to send a satellite into orbit during the 1950s, a feat they finally accomplished in 1958.

Bova also worked as a science writer for Avco Everett Research Laboratory during the 1960s, as the lab developed heat shields for missions such as Apollo 11. 

Related: 10 Transportive Ben Bova Books

Bova published his first novel, The Star Conquerors, in 1959. With work firmly rooted in scientific facts and theories, Bova leaned toward hard science fiction

From his Grand Tour series, in which humans travel to different planetary and celestial bodies; to his Voyagers trilogy, in which a physicist tracks a signal headed toward Earth, Bova had a unique ability to create stories that were thrilling, yet based in facts. 

His gift as a storyteller earned him honors like a lifetime achievement award from the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation, and a Robert A. Heinlein Award.

Related: Moonwar is a Thrilling Space Romp in Ben Bova's Grand Tour Series

Not limited to novels, Bova also became well-known as an editor. He took charge of the prestigious Analog Science Fact & Fiction magazine in 1972, previously led by John W. Campbell Jr. 

Adeptly steering the magazine and expanding its scope, Bova was named Best Professional Editor by the Hugo Awards a remarkable six times. After leaving Analog, Bova took his experience as an editor to Omni, where he worked for another four years.

Throughout his life, Bova also consulted for television series and movies. He headed both the National Space Society and the Science Fiction Writers of America, serving as president for the two organizations. 

Current Science Fiction Writers of America President Mary Robinette Kowal commented on Bova’s passing, saying “I am devastated that our community has lost Ben Bova. He was so welcoming to new writers and embodied the philosophy of paying it forward.”

Science fiction writers, readers, and enthusiasts alike are sure to miss this legendary writer who gave so much to the genre.

Celebrate Ben Bova's life and work with some of his standout sci-fi! 

[via Tor.com] 

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Featured photo: Alchetron