Created By: zarpaulus on August 16, 2012 Last Edited By: zarpaulus on September 6, 2012
Troped

Longevity Treatment

A technological means of delaying aging

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In many science-fiction works, both Cyber Punk and Space Opera, it's not uncommon for humans, or at least the upper classes, to live for centuries. Most often this reason is some form of technology ranging from alien substances to gene therapy to nanomachines.

A subtrope of Immortality Inducer, usually results in Long Lived or The Ageless.

Film
  • In In Time the aging gene has been "shut down" freezing aging at 25. But to prevent overpopulation and present an anvilicious message about income disparity people are programmed to die at a certain time and use their remaining time as currency.

Literature
  • Rejuv in the Alliance/Union universe is made from a lifeform native to Cyteen and delays aging up to a century. Side effects include sterility and loss of hair color.
  • The spice melange in Dune can extend lifespans up to three hundred years.
  • The Red Mars series features a specialized gene therapy referred to as a "gerontological treatment". The books span over two hundred years and most the major characters, many of whom where already in their 40s-50s at the start of the series, are alive and active that entire time due to repeated use of the treatment.
  • In Heinlein's future history series, particularly Methuselah's Children and Time Enough for Love humanity develops a form of rejuvenation through blood replacement after a group of naturally long-lived people reveal themselves and then hijack a starship when the rest of the species demand they reveal their "secret". Later more advanced methods including complete body replacement are developed.
  • In the The Takeshi Kovacs Series people are implanted with "cortical stacks" at birth that record one's brain state so that when they die they can be "resleeved" in a new body.
  • In Norman Spinrad's Bug Jack Barron, an investigative reporter and consumer advocate begins investigating an organization that provides rejuvenation treatments to the rich and powerful, and finds far more than he bargained for.
  • Roger Zelazny:
    • In Lord of Light, the so-called "Gods" (actually mutant humans) have mind-transfer technology that they use to reward or punish people. Be good, and you may end up with a bright, shiny new young body. Be bad, and you may end up with the old, worn-out body left by someone who was good.
    • In Creatures of Light and Darkness, the technologically advanced world of Blis has more-or-less eliminated death by old age. Death is so rare that the few who volunteer for suicide can leave their heirs a legacy by selling tickets to watch the death.
  • In John Scalzi's Old Man's War, rejuvenation treatment via consciousness transfer to a genetically enhanced body is only available to military personnel--and the minimum age for joining the military is seventy-five.
  • In Wil McCarthy's The Queendom of Sol series, you can "print" a new body for yourself, and then have your mind transferred into it.
  • Larry Niven's Known Space stories
    • Boosterspice (a drug derived from genetically engineered ragweed) can tremendously extend the human lifespan.
    • Ringworld. There is an equivalent to boosterspice available on the title space construct.
    • A World Out of Time has an immortality treatment for adults that involves removing impurities from the body.
  • The prolong treatments in the Honor Harrington books. It's most blatant example is Honor's mother, Allison, who at 90 is still very attractive and capable of bearing children. And since Honor is a second generation recipient,she's likely to live even longer.
  • Citizens of The Culture are genetically engineered to live for centuries, longer if they feel like it.
  • In John Norman's Gor novels, the Caste of Physicians developed a treatment called the Stabilization Serums, which allowed the recipient to live for hundreds of years. The Priest-Kings, the Physical Gods of the setting have a similar treatment, the oldest being about 5,000,000 years old.

Tabletop Games
  • Anagathic drugs in Traveller.
  • A couple of nanosymbionts in GURPS Transhuman Space extend life expectancy by 10 years and expensive "rejuvenation" treatments can actually reverse the aging process.
  • The space marines' biological enhancements in Warhammer40000 allow them to live a millenium or more. Unenhanced human nobles have "rejuvenat" implied to be made from children.
  • The CCG Illuminati has the "immortality serum" card that makes a personality indestructible and can also cause an opponent's personality to defect.
  • Eclipse Phase mentions longevity treatments as part of the backstory. Though they're apparently obsolete now (outside the Junta) since longevity is included in most Basic Biomods and Brain Uploading is commonplace.

Video Games
  • The Sims 2 features a carnivorous plant that produces a substance that when drunk gives a Sim an extra day of life.
  • In the Mass Effect series humans commonly live to 150 or so due to gene therapies and drugs. Putting us in the mid-range for lifespans in that universe.
  • Several forms appear in Sid Meierís Alpha Centauri:
    • There is a secret project called 'The Longevity Vaccine' and another one called 'Clinical Immortality'.
    • It is mentioned that the player character goes through some sort of gene therapy on a regular basis to explain how they stay alive for the full five centuries of the game.
    • One of the other characters is said to have kept a strict 'longevity regimen'.

Web Comics
  • A plot point in Schlock Mercenary is "Project Laz'r'us" which was intended to circumvent humanity's short lifespans in comparison to many other sophonts using hyper-advanced nanotechnology. The nannies are also capable of repairing a clinically dead host and even making internal backups of the brain.
  • In the future of S.S.D.D the wealthy are able to afford implants that extend lifespans until an accident kills them. At least two of Maytec's board of directors are in their fifties and appear to be twenty.
  • In Freefall life extension drugs are apparently available over the counter. At one point Florence (an uplifted red wolf) states that her projected lifespan of 160 years is slightly shorter than a human's.
  • In Escape from Terra rejuvenation treatments are one of many examples of bio- and nano- technology that are officially banned on earth. Reggie King and Babbette the elder undergo the treatment on Mars, and the first man on Mars is a great-great-great-grandparent who looks no older than thirty.
Community Feedback Replies: 34
  • August 16, 2012
    MrRuano
    Marvel-616 has the Infinity Serum, which Nick Fury used. It's stated that he's around fifty, yet looks about thirty.
  • August 16, 2012
    surgoshan
    • Heinlein's Alternate Future series developed rejuvenation that, on average, doubles a person's natural span.
  • August 16, 2012
    ccoa
    A type of Immortality Inducer that causes The Ageless, or at least Long Lived.
  • August 16, 2012
    Shnakepup
    • The Red Mars series features a specialized gene therapy referred to as a "gerontological treatment". The books span over two hundred years and most the major characters, many of whom where already in their 40s-50s at the start of the series, are alive and active that entire time due to repeated use of the treatment.
  • August 16, 2012
    randomsurfer
  • August 16, 2012
    ccoa
    I think it's common enough in Speculative Fiction to be a subtrope of Immortality Inducer. Be sure to pull the examples off that page.
  • August 16, 2012
    zarpaulus
    Mind grabbing them for me? I'm currently on phones and tablet.
  • August 17, 2012
    morenohijazo
    I think The Sims 2 had a carnivorous plant (Cowplant) that created a serum (milk) that, when drunk, gave the Sim who drank it an extra day of life.
  • August 17, 2012
    dragonslip
    cool
  • August 19, 2012
    Xtifr
    • In Norman Spinrad's Bug Jack Barron, an investigative reporter and consumer advocate begins investigating an organization that provides rejuvenation treatments to the rich and powerful, and finds far more than he bargained for.
  • August 25, 2012
    Tallens
    • The prolong treatments in the Honor Harrington books. It's most blatant example is Honor's mother, Allison, who at 90 is still very attractive and capable of bearing children. And since Honor is a second generation recipient,she's likely to live even longer.
  • August 25, 2012
    chicagomel
    What about the Lazarus Pits in Batman?
  • August 25, 2012
    MorganWick
    Would artificial blood for vampires be a subtrope, or just related?
  • August 25, 2012
    randomsurfer
    In Robert A Heinlein's Lazarus Long 'verse the Howard Families are very long lived due to genetics along with some external rejuvination technique. The regular non-Howard human race have managed to create their own longevity serum as well.

    EDIT: @zarpaulus below: Ah, sorry. My bad.
  • August 26, 2012
    zarpaulus
    ^ That's what I meant by the "future history" series.

    ^^ Not related at all. Vampires get their longevity from whatever turned them into the living dead. Blood, natural or artificial, is just food.
  • August 26, 2012
    Xtifr
    The current name may make it sound like it's specific to serums. A more general name, like Longevity Treatment might work better and be less confusing. Also, would be nice to see those examples properly sorted by medium.

    Literature:
    • Roger Zelazny:
      • In Lord Of Light, the so-called "Gods" (actually mutant humans) have mind-transfer technology that they use to reward or punish people. Be good, and you may end up with a bright, shiny new young body. Be bad, and you may end up with the old, worn-out body left by someone who was good.
      • In Creatures Of Light And Darkness, the technologically advanced world of Blis has more-or-less eliminated death by old age. Death is so rare that the few who volunteer for suicide can leave their heirs a legacy by selling tickets to watch the death.
    • In John Scalzi's Old Mans War, rejuvenation treatment is only available to military personnel--and the minimum age for joining the military is seventy-five.
    • In Wil McCarthy's The Queendom of Sol series, you can "print" a new body for yourself, and then have your mind transferred into it.
  • August 26, 2012
    zarpaulus
    Hmm, maybe, Longevity Treatment or Rejuvenation Treatment could work.

    I'm not too sure that Brain Uploading examples should count.
  • August 27, 2012
    Arivne
    Literature
    • Larry Niven's Known Space stories
      • Boosterspice (a drug derived from genetically engineered ragweed) can tremendously extend the human lifespan.
      • Ringworld. There is an equivalent to boosterspice available on the title space construct.
      • A World Out of Time has an immortality treatment for adults that involves removing impurities from the body.
  • August 27, 2012
    Xtifr
    ^^ Pure Brain Uploading (putting your consciousness in a machine) probably shouldn't count. Mind Transfer (putting your consciousness in a new body) seems like it should, though, if it's used for the purpose. (Or else we need yet another trope.)
  • August 27, 2012
    zarpaulus
    All right, I'll accept Brain Uploading into another biological body.
  • August 28, 2012
    Koveras
    Do the Lazarus Pits from DC Universe count? They are basically basins of special water that reverses the aging process, turning old men young again, without a usage limit.
  • September 1, 2012
    zarpaulus
    ^ I don't know, it's not technology is it?
  • September 2, 2012
    Tallens
    I put an Honor Harrington example up earlier. Did it get lost in the shuffle?
  • September 2, 2012
    zarpaulus
    ^ Yeah, just rectified that.
  • September 2, 2012
    Xtifr
    This is starting to look pretty good. You might want to expand the description a little. In particular, make sure you mention related tropes and how they're related, so people don't misuse this out of ignorance. (And when you launch, make sure you go and mention this on the related tropes, to help people find it.)
  • September 2, 2012
    Topazan
    • Several forms appear in Sid Meiers Alpha Centauri:
      • There is a secret project called 'The Longevity Vaccine' and another one called 'Clinical Immortality'.
      • It is mentioned that the player character goes through some sort of gene therapy on a regular basis to extend their lifespan.
      • One of the other characters is said to have kept a strict 'longevity regimen'.
  • September 3, 2012
    Arivne
    In John Norman's Gor novels, the Caste of Physicians developed a treatment called the Stabilization Serums, which allowed the recipient to live for hundreds of years.

    I am not putting this in the standard format because the Gor page is not allowed to have examples, so it can't be added there.

    Edit: Healers -> Physicians.
  • September 3, 2012
    Koveras
    @zarpaulus: Nah, that's not technology, that's kind of a natural discovery, like a fountain of youth.
  • September 3, 2012
    randomsurfer
    ^^Caste of Physicians, not Healers. The Priest-Kings, the Physical Gods of the world, have a similar treatment. The oldest Priest-King is something over 5,000,000 years old.

    And you can still link to Gor, can't you? You just can't Cross Wick examples there. (Which is silly IMO, but since I'm not 5P I don't get a vote.)
  • September 4, 2012
    zarpaulus
    I'm pretty sure I've seen Gor referenced in other trope pages.
  • September 5, 2012
    zarpaulus
    So, think it's ready for launch?

    I'll give it eight hours unless someone says anything.
  • September 5, 2012
    Xtifr
    ^ Again, the description needs work. "In particular, make sure you mention related tropes and how they're related, so people don't misuse this out of ignorance."

    As soon as I see a better description, I'll give this its final hat.

    eta: also, do you know what indexes you're going to use? That's a handy thing to decide before launch, though usually pretty easy to figure out.
  • September 5, 2012
    zarpaulus
  • September 6, 2012
    Xtifr
    Ok, that's probably good enough. Launch it already! :p ;)

    eta: actually, one more thing. You might want to have at least a brief note explaining why Brain Uploading doesn't count. Something like:

    Contrast Brain Uploading, where the body is abandoned rather than preserved or replaced.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=0dnyn8y9mna0hjxg1d78jc3k