He was the science advisor for the failed television series The Starlost, leaving in disgust after the airing of the first episode; his novel The Starcrossed was loosely based on his experiences and featured a thinly veiled characterization of his friend and colleague Harlan Ellison. He dedicated the novel to "Cordwainer Bird", the pen name Harlan Ellison uses when he does not want to be associated with a television or film project.
Bova was a technical writer for Project Vanguard and later for Avco Everett in the 1960s when they did research in lasers and fluid dynamics. It was there that he met Arthur R. Kantrowitz later of the Foresight Institute. Bova is an avid fencer and organized Avco Everett's fencing club. Bova is also an environmentalist of the Ansel Adams variety and met Adams by chance. Bova wants to conserve the Earth but rejects Luddism.
Bova has drawn on these meetings and experiences to create fact and fiction writings rich with references to spaceflight, lasers, artificial hearts, nanotechnology, environmentalism, fencing and martial arts, photography and artists.
Bova is the author of 32 non-fiction and 62 fiction books.