CHALLENGES by Ben Bova

CHALLENGES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Twelve tales and six essays, 1962-92, including three previously unpublished stories, each piece illuminated by an extensive, and often broadly autobiographical, introduction. Veteran writer-editor Bova's ideas tend to be large concepts rather than sharp insights; not surprisingly, then, his novels are rather more successful than his stories. So here, where only three yarns rise much above the fairly mediocre: "Thy Kingdom Come," dramatizing poverty and struggle in the mid-21st century, plus pieces about a Dyson sphere and some alien art. Elsewhere, the topics range from gravity, news manipulation, lawyers, twins, pacifism, computers, and signalling aliens to a Poe pastiche and altering history; one or two already have a dated feel. The essays, definitely superior, are at once readable, informative, and thought-provoking. One examines literacy and computers in the 21st century; another discusses the challenges of writing the thematic novel. For the rest, titles such as "2042: A Cautionary Pessimistic View," "Science in Science Fiction," "John Campbell and the Modern SF Idiom," and "Science, Fiction, and Faith" more or less explain themselves. Worthwhile, especially for the essays and the various indications of Bova's own editorial thought processes--he has been no small influence himself.
Pub Date: May 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0812514084
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Tor
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1993




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