RIP, Ben Bova

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RIP, Ben Bova

1Petroglyph
Nov 30, 2020, 5:41 pm

Ben Bova died yesterday, 29/11, from COVID-19 related pneumonia and a stroke.

https://twitter.com/KathrynBruscoBk/status/1333160997104873474

2timspalding
Nov 30, 2020, 6:31 pm

I saw. I've never read him. What would one start with?

3AnnieMod
Nov 30, 2020, 6:59 pm

Oh no. :(

>2 timspalding:

Mars would be a good introduction for most people I suspect. It has the added benefit of actually kicking off a pretty big universe that you can explore if you like him. Don't expect high prose though - Bova had never been considered one of the better stylists in the genre:) I like some of his older stuff as well but it may be a bit too old-fashioned and not necessarily in a good way for most people :)

4Petroglyph
Nov 30, 2020, 7:09 pm

>2 timspalding:
I'm not the right person to ask, I'm afraid -- Bova, for me, is one of those classic, 1970s-80s-era authors that I can't really recommend to a new readership, so I won't.

>3 AnnieMod: sounds like she knows what she's talking about! Go with her rather than someone who isn't too keen on the author.

5Marissa_Doyle
Nov 30, 2020, 7:15 pm

I mostly remember him as the editor of OMNI magazine, back in the late seventies.

6AnnieMod
Editado: Nov 30, 2020, 7:32 pm

>4 Petroglyph: The problem with Bova and a lot of the authors from this generation is that newer authors wrote their books again... and better (and sometimes before them - most of these ideas had been around and explored in stories since at least the 50s - then explored again in novels later). It is inevitable in a lot of ways (a book about Mars is almost a given if you stay in the Solar system) but when one reads them in the wrong order, the original/traditional author sound bland (especially when the author does not have the little oomph that Asimov or Clarke have for example). So finding a place to start is not always easy. And Bova's Mars is not the first -- it is a nice story though if you don't throw a book away because you disagree with some of the author's views (it is less old-fashioned than his older stuff but still... not something I would recommend as an introduction to the genre).

I actually wondered for a second if Powersat may not be a better start being a newer book - but I find it to be like Asimov's Foundation prequels - works better when read after the main event and not as a start... :) Or Privateers (which is different from the rest of the series so starting with it is a bit of a misnomer but as a taste may work). Either of the three can work as a standalone and/or a start really although I prefer Mars - unless one is so tired of Mars stories that they need something else.

Bova is Bova - acquired taste in a lot of ways. :) I remember a review from way back when in Strange Horizon that called him a bad writer (http://strangehorizons.com/non-fiction/reviews/titan-by-ben-bova/) -- I don't necessarily disagree with a lot of what is said in it but there are different ways to look at things and people like different things. And taste is subjective. :)

7stellarexplorer
Nov 30, 2020, 8:13 pm

It’s less that his writing was memorable, and more that he’s a familiar old (literary) friend from the past... RIP

8reading_fox
Dez 1, 2020, 4:22 am

I thought sam gunn was a lot of fun. I think I first read Bova as Privateers which will be a bit dated today, but it's still enjoyable. I didn't feel the need to read much else by him. Another of famous added to this year's tally. :-( RIP

9Shrike58
Editado: Dez 1, 2020, 7:27 am

The problem is that his fiction felt dated even when it was new...but he deserves all the plaudits he received as an editor. I consider myself to be fortunate to have seen him at the 2011 Balticon.

10lorax
Dez 1, 2020, 8:45 am

From what I remember from past discussions, Bova's work being dated in terms of social interactions and expectations won't be an issue for Tim.

11bnielsen
Dez 1, 2020, 1:22 pm

>10 lorax: It's also a function of how quick a reader is. If it takes half a day to read one of Bovas books, it's probably not a great loss. It is takes a couple of weeks, maybe that's time better spent on something else.

12RobertDay
Dez 1, 2020, 6:05 pm

Bova's editorship of OMNI has already been mentioned. He came to that after six years editing Analog, which he took over from John W. Campbell. Bova won six Best Professional Editor Hugos in that time.

13RandyStafford
Dez 4, 2020, 10:29 pm

Harlan Ellison used to use him as his science advisor. They wrote "Brillo" together.

14Genxer
Dez 28, 2020, 8:24 pm

I have not read much Bova, but he was and is a legend. My thoughts (albeit, late) with is family and friends.

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