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That Thing Is Not My Child


(permanent link) added: 2011-02-05 18:52:12 sponsor: KingZeal (last reply: 2011-02-07 11:26:00)

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Bruce Wayne: Look, I know he...troubles you. But he's here. You have to get over the how and why. Trust me on this...that boy needs his father.
Clark Kent: I'm not his father!
--Young Justice, "Schooled"

A trope common to Science Fiction or Horror, in which a victim finds their genes, DNA, soul, or "essence" taken or copied without their permission, resulting in an offspring which is either unnatural or unwanted--or both. This being could be a Clone, Humanoid Abomination, or a Gattaca Baby created by a Stalker with a Test Tube. Sometimes, the villainous party may take what they want from the character's real offspring instead, twisting it with Body Horror, Demonic Possession or The Corruption, prompting the parent to now consider it a different entity entirely and deny any kinship. In any case, the clear message is that the parent DOES NOT WANT.

Things can get even Squickier if the "offspring" is a full-size, adult clone. Many people in real life have identical twins, so most would consider a copy that's close to their age (or even older) a "sibling" rather than a "child"...although that's moot if this trope is played straight, of course.

This can become the progeny's source of angst or their Freudian Excuse for turning evil. For this trope to be in effect, it has to be clear that the "child" is considered a new creation outside of the "parent's" control (i.e., rape, cloning, or some sort of freak accident). If the parent willfully mated, cloned themselves, or did brutal experiments on their own child, only to disown them later, that is a different matter.

This trope is often the result when The Bad Guy Wins in a story with a Stalker with a Test Tube, or after a character catches a Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong. A common reaction is ~But I Can't Be Pregnant!~, and sometimes happens in Real Life with a Child by Rape.

Do not confuse with I Have No Son, in which the parent disowns a disappointing child.

Examples:

Anime/Manga
  • This seems to be much how Guts reacts in Berserk, afterhis unborn child is defiled when Casca is raped by Femto. Unlike most examples on the list, it actually is his child, but merely corrupted by events outside of his control.

Comics
  • Cable's reaction to the "son" which was sired when his identical clone Stryfe raped his wife.
    • Ironically, Cable himself is the son of Madelyne Pryor, aka "The Goblin Queen", the Evil Clone of Jean Grey. She handled it better.
  • Averted with Superboy in the comics, whom Superman intially accepts as a buddy, and then as a cousin--but never as a son. (Although an in-universe newspaper article written after Superboy came Back from the Dead states that Superman felt Superboy's death was "like losing a son".) Even Lex Luthor, who created the boy and donated the other half of the DNA, considered him a son...at first.
  • Averted with Batman and Damien Wayne, the fifth Robin, who may or may not have been the result of a Stalker with a Test Tube.
  • Played with between Spider-man and his clone, Ben Reilly. The two eventually resolve their differences and come to see one-another as brothers...even if half the time they aren't even sure who the original is.
    • In Ultimate Spider-Man, Peter was even tricked into believing a clone of himself was his father. He was not pleased when he learned the truth...nor was his "dad", who was a Manchurian Agent and didn't know about it himself.
  • Invoked in Avengers Academy. Ant Man was replaced by a Skrull which copied him "to the genetic level" and, during an affair with Tigra, impregnated her. As such, the child is genetically Ant Man's. Later, the real Ant Man returns, and Tigra insists that he has no parental claim to the baby. He agrees, but she then asks him to be the child's godfather instead.

Film
  • This is how some parents react to the silver-eyed children in The Village Of The Damned movie and its remake.
  • In Inception, Mal and Cobb both react this way when they're faced with children they believe to be fake, while they may or may not be dreaming. The jury's still out on which interpretation, if either, was correct.
  • In the B-Movie ~It's Alive!~, this is a major plot point for the father of a killer mutant baby.

Literature
  • Averted in the Vorkorsigan Saga (Brothers in Arms), Miles discovers that a Komarran terrorist cell had him cloned for a substitution plot, but Miles very emphatically views Mark as his brother. Mark is surprised.

Live-Action TV
  • In "The Doctor's Daughter", the Doctor originally reacts this way to his "daughter", actually an Opposite-Sex Clone.
  • In an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the crew were kidnapped and their DNA used to make clones. They ended up killing the clones, and were accused by the former kidnappers of genocide (and certain Real Life groups of showing an abortion on TV).
    • In another episode of TNG, Ryker murders the not-yet-awake clone of himself produced by the colony that reproduced by cloning (their initial population was too small to provide adequate genetic diversity). Ryker cites some "diminished my uniqueness" excuse. The tranporter-accident clone fares better, having been stranded on a planet for years and thus diverged from the "original" Ryker.

Tabletop Games
  • This was what led Lord Soth of Dragonlance and Ravenloft fame to commit his first supreme act of evil, one of several that would ultimately make him a Darklord of Ravenloft. He and his wife, Lady Korrine of Gladria, had been trying to produce a son to be his heir, and Korrine had consulted a witch about the problem, who had agreed to help them, but had warned her that the child would be a representation of Soth's soul. Unfortunately, Korrine didn't know about the bad shit that her husband had done, including ordering the murders of his half-brother and sister by his seneschal Caradoc, else she would have known what would eventually transpire of the birth and would be of a mind to curse the witch. When she gave birth to the son in question, it had a face similar to that of dragon-kin with two arms on one side and a leg on the other, with the last leg placed at the bottom of the buttocks as if it were a tail. To say that Soth was pissed about this was a massive understatement, and thinking that she had cheated on him with some kind of demon, Soth murdered Korrine and the monstrous child.

Videogames
  • This is Big Boss's initial reaction to the Snake brothers, who are his clones. He eventually comes around, though.
  • Averted in Parasite Eve 2, when Aya Brea finds out that an evil cult has cloned her in order to create a new 'Parasite Eve' with the ability to control NMC's... despite having standing orders to destroy the girl, and despite said girl going One-Winged Angel on her, she stubbornly refuses to hurt her, and eventually adopts the young clone as her daughter.
  • Played with in Tales of the Abyss, with "replicas" (clones) in general.

WesternAnimation
  • This is Superman's reaction to Superboy in Young Justice.
  • In Gargoyles, Xanatos created a clone of Goliath, who reacted in disgust, calling him a "thing" and an "abomination". Elisa immediately pointed out that "Thailog" could be considered his son, but while he agreed the damage had already been done and the clone turned against him.
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