The Best of Bova: Vol. 3
by Ben Bova
Cover Artist: Adam Burn
Review by Jon Guenther
Baen Trade Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781481482592
Date: 01 August 2017 List Price $16.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
The Best of Bova: Volume III concludes Baen's comprehensive republish of many of Ben Bova's greatest stories. I had purchased Volume 1 and after reading it was more than eager to get an opportunity to read and review Volume III. The nice thing is that these don't seem in any particular order, that I'm aware, so for the Bova fan (or even the future-Bova-fan), this book is as good to start with as the others.
Included in this line-up is a Sam Gunn story, "Sam Below Par", along with one of my all-time favorite stories by Mr. Bova: "Vision", which examines the human aspect of space travel and exploration. But rather than exploring in detail the litany of stories included within the book, which any reader could glean by simply viewing the table of contents, I would more like to speak to the overall value of the book's content.
Not only does the book have an introduction by Ben Bova that discusses the story selections that span his illustrious career of more than half a century (1960-2014), each story also has a small preface by the author about what was in his mind that he recalls at the time when writing the work. This is invaluable in a collection that is designed, on some level, to act almost like papers of criticism. It would and should also appeal to fans, and most especially to other authors and aspiring writers.
So often are the works of an SF legend not realized like these works by Baen, so lovingly dedicated by the author and well-packaged by a publisher, until after an author is deceased. To get an inside look by Mr. Bova at his own work is a delight and I've concluded Baen has done justice, as with the first two volumes in this final tome.
Having known Ben personally for quite a few years now, I can almost hear his quiet and somewhat professorial, unassuming voice as I read the vignettes prior to the actual stories. This gives me some sense of the authenticity and quality of these books. Fans and devoted SF readers shouldn't ignore The Best of Bova: Volume III. It's well worth the cost for adding it to any good collection of timeless SF books, and as a short story collection it stands on its own merits.