The Artifact as Icon In Science Fiction
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Wolfe, Gary K. "The Artifact as Icon in Science Fiction." Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts 1.1 (1988): 51-69.
Includes brief discussions of Larry Niven's Ringworld (1970) and The Ringworld Engineers (1980), and M. Crichton's Sphere (novel) — which GKW sees as an instructively derivative work. Note the alien ship in A. C. Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama (q.v. under Fiction) growing "from a tantalizing mystery into an adventure-filled landscape and finally into a monument to the indifference of the universe" (65-66).
Wolfe also deals with Gregory Benford's Against Infinity (1983), a work of interest for genetic engineering and other themes.