Ringworld has been criticized by some as having characters which are underdeveloped and somewhat two-dimensional. Ringworld is a “hard science fiction” novel. It is certainly true that this sub-genre has a tradition of concentrating on plot, science and technology, often or even usually to the detriment of developing three-dimensional characters.
The tendency toward underdeveloped characters in American science fiction waned somewhat after the “New Wave” SF sub-genre of the sixties introduced mainstream literary qualities into the genre. Larry Niven was certainly aware of this; Ringworld was published in 1970. But it is not our intent to offer an apologia for underdeveloped characters. Indeed, criticizing Ringworld for a lack of character development is entirely missing the point; it is missing the main plot of the book.