Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Ben Bova (1932-2020)

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Earlier this month, the legendary author and editor Ben Bova passed away in Florida. Bova famously took over Analog after the death of John W. Campbell, and he was the crucial figure in a transition that managed to honor the magazine’s tradition of hard science fiction while pushing into stranger, less predictable territory. By publishing stories like “The Gold at the Starbow’s End” by Frederik Pohl, “Hero” by Joe Haldeman, and “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card, as well as important work by such authors as George R.R. Martin and Vonda N. McIntyre, Bova did more than anyone else to usher the Campbellian mode into the new era, and the result still embodies the genre’s possibilities for countless fans. I never met Bova in person, and I only had the chance to interview him once over the phone, but I was pleased to help out very slightly with his obituary in the New York Times. It’s a tribute that he richly deserved, and I hope that his example will endure well into the next generation of editors and writers.

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