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Ben Bova

Mr. Bova is a science fiction writer.

11/17/97 6:27:34 PM Opening "Chat Log 11/17/97"

Berrins: Just in case some you folks would like to hang out, eWorld has a special guest on this

Berrins: week- Ben Bova

Mysmartha: I know Ben--he's great!

MaryCP: What is eWorld?

Strebe: If he makes it.

Mysmartha: A sci-fi lengend!

Strebe: eWorld is dead.

Mysmartha: Legend.

Trina Pink: eWorld is a sci=fi legend? Works for me. ;-)

Sushiwritr: But eWorld lives on here. :-)

Mysmartha: Adios!

MaryCP: OK, that's clear...

Sushiwritr: Thanks much!

Trina Pink: eWorld was an online service offered by Apple, Mary CP.

Strebe: eWorld was Apple Computer's online service, closed down 1-1/2 years ago.

Sunnygemms: Martha, thanks for coming.

MaryCP: OK thanks

MaryCP: I don't speak apple

Bova1: Hello. Ben Bova here./

Strebe: Good evening, Mr. Bova.

Trina Pink: Welcome!

Berrins: Hi, and welcome!

FalcnEdie: Hello Ben!!!

DRLIVES: Hello, glad to have you here.

Bova1: Good evening, Strebe. Guess we're a little early.

Strebe: We're right on time, and we ought to start immediately.

Bova1: Good. I'm ready.

Trina Pink: LOL...I guess I can take a hint. ;-)

Strebe: :-)

Trina Pink: Let's start!

Berrins: Actually, we're right on time. Nice intro (to I assume a new collection of shorts)

Trina Pink: Welcome to the eWorld Writers Group!

Bova1: Glad you like it. Yes, it's for a new collection./

Trina Pink: This is usually a critique group, but tonight we have a special guest.

Trina Pink: Ben Bova

Trina Pink: written more than 90 books and is well-known in the field.

Wicked Meg: hello

Trina Pink: Let me try that again...

Trina Pink: For most sci-fi fans, Ben won't need an introduction!

Trina Pink: He has written more than 90 books and is well-known in the field.

Trina Pink: Hopefully most of you have read Ben's essay, "Introduction: The Art of Plain Speech."

Trina Pink: If not, please IM Sushiwritr and have him forward it to you.

Trina Pink: Very interesting essay, btw, Ben.

Trina Pink: We'll be discussing Ben's comments on writing simply -- and discussing whatever else comes up.


Bova1: Thank you.

Trina Pink: (And we WILL be on protocol tonight)

Trina Pink: So let's start by giving Mr. Bova a warm welcome. Thanks for coming, Ben!

Strebe: :::::: clap clap clap clap ::::::

FalcnEdie: Yes, Thank you !!!

Bova1: Glad to be with you.

DRLIVES: Wonderful

Themyerson: Is therea place to find old chats. like one about three hours ago

Trina Pink: Ben, do you want to make opening comments, or shall we leap right into discussion?

Bova1: Let's leap!

Trina Pink: LOL...great. Who wants to go first?


FalcnEdie: <------catching my breath

MmSorel: hello

Trina Pink: GA DRLIVES.

DRLIVES: So how did Asimov develop a naturalistic style?

DRLIVES: Not so easy...ga

Bova1: He worked at writing the way he spoke./

DRLIVES: developing an inner ear?

FalcnEdie: ?

Strebe: ?

Bova1: More of an outer ear; listening to the way he spoke and trying to capture that on paper./

Trina Pink: GA Edie

FalcnEdie: SF is of course a place where a lot of strange and wonderful things can happen,

FalcnEdie: but how imp[ortant do you find character development, and how much

MmSorel: ?

FalcnEdie: of the characters are you familiar with before you start to write? ga

Bova1: To me, character is primary. I need to KNOW my characfters before the fiction comes alive./

Trina Pink: ga Strebe

Strebe: In response to your essay, is there no place for the narrator?

Strebe: No place for character in the way ideas are expressed? Why not?

Wicked Meg: i agree

Strebe: Can not the exploration of the presentation be as compelling as the presentation?

Hwnelms: I like characters who take up the pen and assert their independence apart from the writer

Bova1: I don't understand Strebe's question. The characters express the ideas./

Trina Pink: Wanna followup, Daan?

Strebe: Mr. Bova's essay eschewed strong stylism.

Strebe: Espoused clarity of voice so as not to draw attention to the voice.

Strebe: Is, then, there no place for voice?

Bova1: The style should not be obtrusive. I want the reader to feel he/she is part of the story...

Sushiwritr: ?

Bova1: experiencing what the characters experience. I do NOT want the reader to pause....

Bova1: over my "style."/

Trina Pink: GA MmSorel

MmSorel: I wondered what part of the finished manuscript

MmSorel: is written in the self editing, in subsequent drafts

Strebe: Thank you, Mr. Bova.

MmSorel: or is it draughts

Bova1: For me, the first draft is like the first run-through of a new play by the actors....

Bova1: The real work comes in polishing, rewriting, making everything as good as it can be./

MmSorel: Mr Bova... may I continue?

Bova1: GA

MmSorel: but then, the question is how much of the first draught remains after the polishing?


Bova1: Usually, most of it remains. The changes are usually subtle, but important./

Trina Pink: GA Sushi

MmSorel: thank you.

Sushiwritr: You wrote of SF's optimism.

Sushiwritr: In your collection "Escape Plus" you wrote

Sushiwritr: of helping troubled kids with hi tech'

Sushiwritr: What do you say 30 years later?

Sushiwritr: (hi tech methods)

Bova1: Technology is the way we humans deal with the world around us. Without technology...

Bova1: we are leopard meat. High tech can help us solve our problems, if it is used wisely./

Trina Pink: GA DRLIVES

DRLIVES: After 90 books what devils do you still fight when writing a book? /

Bova1: Getting started. Finding out who the characters really are. Letting them find their own...

Bova1: voices and go their own way. Letting them die, when that's what they decide to do./

Trina Pink: Queue's empty. Who wants to go next?

SLovern162: ?

Trina Pink: GA SLovern

Bobauthor: ?

LMikulski: ?

SLovern162: Do you usually complete the whole book before query letter, or a few chapters

SLovern162: !-I see you are from Naples, Fl.-I'm in Ft.Myers

Bova1: I generally do a brief synopsis, and the publisher offers a contract and advance money....

FalcnEdie: (I don't believe I just got punted by lightning!!! I hoipe this is being logged!!)

Bova1: It's been that since my fourth or fifth novel./

Sushiwritr: (I am logging)--be careful out there. :-)

Trina Pink: GA Bob

Bobauthor: Your opinions about 2 of my favorite authors---Asimov and Heinlein?/

Bova1: Isaac was a dear friend; more like a big brother to me. Heinlein was the dean of...

Bova1: American sf writers. /

Trina Pink: (Wow!) GA LMikulski

LMikulski: I reviewed your book 'Brothers' for the Writers Club. Loved your characterization and the

LMikulski: plot. But with all that kind of hard science, how did you manage to do the research for the

LMikulski: book? What kind of limits, if any, did you set up?/ga

Sushiwritr: ?

Bova1: BROTHERS is about people I know. The scientific aspects are based on research...

Bova1: that I've been doing all my life. I had the ms. vetted by professional biologists...

Bova1: and others who had specialized knowledge in various fields -- including Washington politics.

Bova1: /

Trina Pink: GA Sushi

Sushiwritr: In your essay you wrote of viewing us as "rising apes" vs. "fallen angels."

Sushiwritr: This seems very "american"

Sushiwritr: Are there not more outlooks than this?

Sushiwritr: ga


Bova1: I suppose there are lots of other outlooks. I was writing about mine. But I don't think...

Bova1: optimism is solely an American trait. I think science in general is optimistic...

Bova1: always searching for new discoveries, always trusting that our minds can understand...

Bova1: anything we come across./

Trina Pink: GA DRLIVES

Sushiwritr: My specialty = optimistic theological viewpoints. :-)

DRLIVES: What was the hardest book to write, and why?

Bova1: The hardest book is always the one I'm working on at the moment./

DRLIVES: good answer

Trina Pink: LOL. That's reassuring!

Trina Pink: Who's next?

Strebe: ?

Trina Pink: GA Strebe

Strebe: Have you ever indulged in speculative writing you later regretted?

Strebe: ga

Bova1: I've been at this game a long time, but I can't honestly recall any speculation that...

Bova1: I've regretted. I've predicted quite a few things that have come to pass. And lots more...

Bova1: that hasn't come to pass -- yet./


Trina Pink: LOL. GA DR.

DRLIVES: so what things have you predicted that have come to pass???

Bova1: The space race of the 1960s. Virtual reality. Cloning. SDI (aka "Star Wars"). Many more./

SLovern162: ?

DRLIVES: love it :>

Trina Pink: GA SLovern

SLovern162: How long did you write-How many rejections till you got published?

SharmaUSA: ?

Bova1: I published short fiction right away -- in my teens. Took about ten years before...

Bova1: I got my first novel published, though./

Valatin: ?

Trina Pink: Wow. That's impressive. GA Sharma

SharmaUSA: How important is a good editor, and what can writers do to hook up with the right one for th

SharmaUSA: them? GA

FalcnEdie: (yeow I'm only a year away!!)

Bova1: There's virtually nothing a writer can do to connect with a particular editor, except send..

Bova1: your mss. to that editor. Frankly, there aren't very many good editors any more....

Bova1: The book industry has become a merchandise mart, and editors don't edit, they...

DreamsEcho: ?

Bova1: package products and attend sales meetings./

Trina Pink: GA Valatin

SharmaUSA: What if you don't like what the editors doing to your stuff?/

Valatin: Which of your books should I read first?

Bova1: If you don't like what an editor is doing, stop submitting your work to that editor.

Valatin: [obviously I've lived in a cave for too many years]

Bobauthor: ?

SharmaUSA: Thanks. That's what my instincts were telling me, too.

Bova1: I'd like you to read my latest work, because I think that's my best. Try MARS, BROTHERS...

Bova1: and DEATH DREAM (ALL IN PAPERBACK). My newest novel is MOONRISE...

Bova1: a hardcover from Avon. It will come out in paperback in February, when Avon also...

Bova1: brings out its sequel, MOONWAR. Take a look at my web page for samples./

Sushiwritr: ?

Valatin: Thank you :>

Trina Pink: Can you give us the url, please, Ben?

Bova1: sff.net/

Trina Pink: Thanks you. :-) GA DreamsEcho

DreamsEcho: I've just finished editing a book. How should the writer & I go about finding an agent?

Bova1: Very few agents will deal with unpubloished writers. If the book is a SF novel, try...

Bova1: the book publishers yourselves. If and when you get an offer of a contract, then almost...

DreamsEcho: How do we get into the ball park then?

Bova1: any agent will be GLAD to negotiate for you./

Trina Pink: GA Bob

Bobauthor: As an editor, what noted writers did you most and least enjoy working with?/

Bova1: Get into the ballpark by determing which publishers are publishing the kind of work...


Bova1: you're doing and sending them a query letter. Look up editors' names in...

Bova1: Literary Market Place. Libraries and bookstores have it.

DreamsEcho: Thanks.

Bova1: I enjoyed working with all the writers. Nobody gave me a hard time./

Trina Pink: GA Sushi

Sushiwritr: In "Brothers" you depict nanotech allowing telepathy. You usually do very "hard"

Sushiwritr: SF. Where to you draw the line with speculative hi tech?/

Bova1: I don't think you mean BROTHERS. You mean VOYAGERS III: STAR BROTHERS...

Sushiwritr: Ah, yes--sorry

Bova1: in which the nanotech was advanced alien technology, not the nanotech we know how...

Bova1: to build (almost)./

MmSorel: ?

Sushiwritr: ;-)

Trina Pink: GA DRLIVES

DRLIVES: In your essay , you mentioned including fantasy..which is harder to write...fantasy or

DoryCrowe: ?

DRLIVES: hard scifi

Bova1: I don't write much fantasy, so I can't really give you a reasonable comparison. For me...

Bova1: science fiction is plenty hard enough.:)


Trina Pink: LOL. GA MmSorel

MmSorel: Mr. Bova, do you plot out your

MmSorel: stories before you begin, and how detailed do you get?

MmSorel: you mentioned that you have to have the characters alive in your head...

Bova1: I don't much detailed plotting. I prefer to develop the characters before I start writing...

Bova1: and let their conflict develop the plot for me./

Trina Pink: GA Dory

DoryCrowe: What is a good resource for info on cutting edge nanotechnology?

DoryCrowe: ga

MmSorel: does that mean that you

Bova1: Eric Drexlers's book, ENGINES OF CREATION, is the best source for nanotech info./

MmSorel: your, i mean, characters are archetypes of a sort

MmSorel: symbols of conflicts?

Trina Pink: Ben, MmSorel is asking a followup question. Did you get it?

Bova1: No! I try to write characters who are living, breathing, loving, bleeding, hating...

Bova1: individual human beings. They each have their own set of values and goals. They are...

Bova1: what makes a story interesting./

SLovern162: ?

Trina Pink: GA Slovern

MmSorel: but how and why do you bring them together, there has to be a situation

MERRYpin: The horizon of expectations!

MmSorel: sorry!

SLovern162: How long does it take you to write a book & do you have a disciplined schedule during day

Bova1: Okay, wait and let me answer these comments. Sorel: every story consists of a character...

Bova1: struggling to solve a problem. That's what a story is. No problem, no conflict, no story....

Bova1: How long does it take to write a book? All my life! It may take only a year or two...

Bova1: to type it, but it often takes decades to get to the point where the typing can begin./

Trina Pink: LOL...great answer!

Trina Pink: My clock says we're out of time...and we're also out of questions. :-)

Trina Pink: Perfect.

Berrins: ?

Trina Pink: Ben, thank you so much. I know you gave up part of your conference for this.

FalcnEdie: ?!!!!!!

SharmaUSA: Thankyou Mr. Bova.

Trina Pink: Ai yi yi!

Bobauthor: Thank you for sharing your time with us!

Trina Pink: Thank you so much for coming.

MmSorel: thank you

FalcnEdie: never mind

NoriAK: thank you

DRLIVES: Enjoyed it alot...

SLovern162: Thanks so much for the info.

SharmaUSA: Thanks Trina.

Bova1: Thank you all. I'm in Palo Alto at the moment; I'm going to give a speech to a NASA group...

DRLIVES: Please come again...

AnacondaOz: Thank you

Sushiwritr: Thank you Mr. Bova. Next week we're hosting author Jane Yolen. :-)

Bova1: tomorrow. I've been up since 1 a.m. Pacific Time, and I really need some sleep. Thanks...

Bova1: again for your interest.

LMikulski: Thank you

MmSorel: good night, and thank you

Valatin: Thanks :>

Strebe: Mr. Bova, we're all very appreciative.

DRLIVES: sleep tight, don't let the bugs bite

DreamsEcho: Let the man get some sleep people. Thanks Sir.

Trina Pink: If anyone wants information about this critique group, e-mail Sushiwritr.

Trina Pink: Otherwise...that's it for this week. Great session!

MmSorel: this is a very good forum, thanks trina and sushi

DRLIVES: Trina, I think you did a great job...are you doing next week too?

Trina Pink: Yes, I'm guesting again next week, DR. Thanks. :-)

Berrins: Hope you have a good conference, and push some for a real "selene" space station

DRLIVES: see you then....thanks again.

Berrins: on the moon

DRLIVES: bye everyone, have to go

11/17/97 8:15:52 PM Closing "Chat Log 11/17/97"

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