Big Dumb Objects

Tagged: Theme

A jocular though affectionate piece of sf Terminology which seems to have been coined by Roz Kaveney in her retrospective essay "Science Fiction in the 1970s" (June 1981 Foundation), with specific reference to the titular Macrostructure of Larry Niven's Ringworld (1970). The term became fairly commonplace in sf circles to describe megalotropic sf, and indeed was the primary headword for the thematic subgenre in the second edition of this encyclopedia. In Sunstorm (2005) by Arthur C Clarke and Stephen Baxter, a huge artificial shield built in space to protect Earth from the titular Disaster is explicitly referred to as a big dumb object. It is however a big smart object inhabited by a highly capable AI, and the frequent need to qualify "Big Dumb Object" in this way has led to this edition's adoption of Macrostructure as the main relevant headword. [DRL/PN]

see also: Dyson Sphere; Living Worlds.

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