Whenever I see perfect, shiny spheres or elipsoids in a futuristic or alien looking setting I think of Culture ships like Mistake not... from The Hydrogen Sonata. "It' a matter of fitness. I fit.... you don't" this scene looks like the Gzilt facility on ablate, which is where the trouble really started.
A yes, the 'good Doctor', one of the few real Ph.Ds writing 'golden age' SF. The Hydrogen Sonata was the SF swan song [alas] of the late, great Iain M. Banks, who almost started a new golden age of space opera all on his own www.theguardian.com/books/2012… .