In Memoriam: Ben Bova

Former SFWA President Ben Bova (b.1932) died from COVID-19 related pneumonia and a stroke on November 29.  Bova served two consecutive terms as SFWA President from 1990-1992.

Bova published his first novel, The Star Conquerors in 1959 and published several novels and short stories throughout the 1960s.  In 1972, he took over the reins of Analog following the death of John W. Campbell and edited the magazine until 1978, when he became the editorial director of Omni magazine through 1982. While serving as the editor of Analog, Bova was one of several editors that contributed to SFWA’s The Science Fiction Hall of Fame series.

In the 1980s, Bova began writing the Voyagers and Orion series, the former about humanity’s first contact with aliens, the latter about an eternal hero who Bova placed in a variety of different historical (and mythical) contexts. His publication in 1992 of the novel Mars kicked off what would eventually become a twenty-two volume series known as “The Grand Tour” which applied hard science fictional techniques to most of the planets in our solar system, most recently Uranus, published earlier this year.

Bova was the Author Guest of Honor at Chicon 2000, the 58th Worldcon. He was a lifetime achievement recipient from the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation, a Robert A. Heinlein Award winner, a Skylark recipient, and an inductee into the First Fandom Hall of Fame. He won six Hugo Awards for his editorial work on Analog as well as four additional nominations. In 1995, his story “Inspiration” was a Nebula finalist.

In addition to serving as the President of SFWA, Bova also served as President of the National Space Society. He was a frequent commentator on science and space exploration and has published numerous non-fiction articles and books.

SFWA President Mary Robinette Kowal adds: “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.”