Happy birthday Gregory Benford!

Gregory Benford in 2008
Gregory Benford in 2008

Gregory Albert Benford (photo ©Gregory Benford) was born on January 30, 1941 in Mobile, Alabama, USA.

Gregory Benford earned a Bachelor of Science in physics in 1963 from the University of Oklahoma in Norman, a Master in Science in 1965 from the University of California at San Diego, and a doctorate in 1967 from the same university. In that year he married Joan Abbe, with whom he had two children. Their marriage lasted until his wife’s the death in 2002.

In 1965, Gregory Benford started the science fiction fanzine “Void” with his twin brother Jim. In the same year he published his first short story, “Stand-In” in the “Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction”. In 1969 he began writing a science column for “Amazing Stories”. This combined his work as a science fiction writer with the one as a scientist as Benford worked as a researcher in the fields of astrophysics and plasma physics and was among the authors of over 200 scientific articles.

Gregory Benford’s first published novel was “Deeper Than the Darkness”, also known as “The Stars in Shroud”, in 1970, followed by “Jupiter Project” in 1975.

In 1976, Gregory Benford published the first novel of the so-called Galactic Center Saga, “In the Ocean of Night”. This saga is about a galactic war between mechanical and biological beings. In the following years, the author published other novels of the saga: “Across the Sea of ​​Suns” (1984), “Great Sky River” (1987), “Tides of Light” (1989), “Furious Gulf” (1994), and “Sailing Bright Eternity” (1995).

During his career, Gregory Benford has collaborated several times with other authors: he wrote “If the Stars Are Gods” (1977) with Gordon Eklund, “Shiva Descending” (1980) with William Rotsler, “Heart of the Comet” (1986) with David Brin, “Beyond the Fall of Night” (1990) with Arthur C. Clarke, and “A Darker Geometry” (1996) with Mark O. Martin.

Gregory Benford won the John Wood Campbell Memorial Award, the British Science Fiction Association Award and the Nebula Award for Best Novel with “Timescape” (1980).

Speculations concerning truly exotic life forms are at the heart of the two novels telling the Adventures of Viktor and Julia: “The Martian Race” (1999) and “The Sunborn” (2005).

Gregory Benford also wrote various works set in universes created by other authors. He wrote short stories set in Larry Nivel’s Known Space and the novel “Foundation’s Fear” (1997), set in the universe of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation.

Gregory Benford has never abandoned his career in the scientific field, so he has never been particularly prolific, even if in decades he has still published many works. His retirement concerned only his university work because he subsequently committed to other scientific projects, particularly in the field of genomics with the aim of treating chronic diseases and aging.

Because of his education, he has always tried to develop scientifically plausible stories that are interesting at the same time. For this reason, he wrote works in which the technical-scientific side is strongly developed using it to create stories in which, for example, there are intriguing aliens. In recent years his activity as a writer is limited, but he has written works of such value as to place him among the great science fiction writers.

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