A Brief History of the Big Dumb Object Story in Science Fiction

For reasons relating to my on-going Because My Tears Are Delicious To You reviews over on my site, I was reminded of the golden age of what reviewer Roz Kaveny called the “Big Dumb Object” story. Perhaps a definition is in order.

Contrary to the name, BDOs are not necessarily dumb. In fact, most of them have rather sophisticated infrastructure working away off-stage preventing the story from being a Giant Agglomeration of Useless Scrap story. What they definitely are is large. To be a BDO, the Object needs to be world-sized, at least the volume of a moon and preferably much larger. BDOs are also artificial. Some…well, one that I can think of but probably there are others…skirt the issue by being living artifacts but even there, they exist because some being took steps to bring them into existence.

There may be another characteristic BDOs need to have to be ...