Publication Year: 2014
Published by: University of Illinois Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
Gregory Benford’s life has been active, varied, and highly significant—a life that has generated much fiction. Born in 1941 in Mobile, Alabama, he has strong roots in the American South. But as member of a military family, he spent much of his adolescence in such far-flung places as Germany and Japan...
Chapter 1: Gregory Benford
Throughout his long career as science fiction writer, Gregory Benford has remained steadfast in his claim that science is at the center both of the twentieth century and of the form of literature he sees as its central mode of expression. What else should SF deal with than the impact of scientific ideas...
Chapter 2: Benford in His Own Words
Gregory Benford has written much nonfiction commentary over his long career, both on his own fiction and on that of others. He has also written on philosophical, cultural, and political issues that concern science fiction. These writings are essential to understanding Benford’s science fiction, for...
Chapter 3: Fictional Directions
Gregory Benford is a writer who came up through the science fiction pathway, but he, like many of his generation, had ambitions to break out of the SF ghetto, to write literature. In Benford’s case, the goal from the outset was to write serious fiction about the new world that science offered to mankind...
Chapter 4: Galactic Center One
The works that make up the series of Benford novels commonly called the Galactic Center saga span nineteen years of the author’s career. They encompass as well a changing landscape of science fiction, in which space adventure, once central to the genre, becomes a near relic. The first novel, In the Ocean...
Chapter 5: Galactic Center Two
The first two novels in the Galactic Center series are set in Earth’s near future. The dates are from 1999 (twenty-two years after the novel’s publication) to 2061, a time when mankind has conquered space in the sense that it can reach nearby stars and thus stands on the edge of “the ocean of night,” deep...
Chapter 6: To the Galactic Center
The next four Galactic Center novels span vast expanses of spacetime and nine years of the author’s career, from 1987 (Great Sky River) to 1996 (Sailing Bright Eternity). The reader of this human saga wants to know how it will end at a place of such unthinkable magnitudes as Galactic Center. What...
Chapter 7: The Science Fiction Novel of Manners
During the late 1990s, after the completion of his final Galactic Center novel, Benford produced a series of novels that could be classified as “science thrillers.” These are novels where some strange and often menacing occurrence (such as the approach of an alien object to Earth) triggers conflict between...
Chapter 8. Benford's Short Fiction
Since his first published story “Stand In” appeared in 1965 in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Gregory Benford has published a large number of short stories in magazines and in anthologies. He collected many of his best stories in two landmark volumes—In Alien Flesh (1986), and Matter’s End...
There are many other aspects of Benford’s work which, alas, cannot be studied in detail because of space. One particular aspect—which has been part of Benford’s approach to fiction from the start but which has intensified in his later career—is an open process of creation. By this I mean not only his interest in collaborating...
Interview with Gregory Benford
A Gregory Benford Bibliography