a large, mysterious, alien-made artifact encountered in space or on another world
Niven has ceased to be the acceptable face of technophilia and come to resemble not just his collaborator Pournelle but the Chalkers and the Busbys. Early in his career he brought back into fashion—naively but effectively—the resonances and charms of Big Dumb Objects like the Ringworld: as painted stages go, his Meccano universe was sort of loveable.
The Big Dumb Object becomes for them a peopled and moralised landscape.
The history of science fiction is filled with large structures; but it is a mistake to consider them as mere genre conceits, ‘big dumb objects’, as some have called them, growing out of the desire to have purely fictional dramatic extravagances.
The engineer frowned. ‘I don’t like it when machines act un-predictably. I was on Iskander Pasha when its AI skewed. Can you BDO the net?’ ‘I know my business,’ said The Lotus Jewel sharply. ‘A crew this size couldn’t run a Big Dumb Object.’
Roz Kaveny in Foundation
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Last modified 2021-01-05 18:00:31
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.