Clone By Conversion
Creating a clone by converting someone else into a copy of the original
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(permanent link) added: 2013-05-27 10:59:46 sponsor: Bisected8 (last reply: 2013-05-31 02:58:41)

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Indexes: Our Clones Are Identical, Speculative Fiction Tropes, Disguise Tropes, Mind Manipulation

One of the problems with cloning is how slow and inefficient it is; you have all the difficulties of creating life, letting the clone mature, dealing with it diverging from the original, Clone Degeneration and so on. One simple way around this is to start off with some raw materials...namely, another person. This can range from using Functional Magic or Phlebotinum to transform someone physically and mentally or using more mundane means like Magic Plastic Surgery and Brainwashing. Either way, the unfortunate victim becomes the original's Doppelgänger.

Since this basically involves killing the person the clone's "made" from, this trope tends to be the preserve of villains. Indeed since cloning's become possible in Real Life, (and no longer automatically brings to mind a Mad Scientist), this is a good way for a writer to keep the act of cloning someone as ethically questionable. A villain who makes a habit of it might also be The Virus (especially if the clones are able to transform people as well).

Expect all the usual Cloning Blues to be turned Up to Eleven, since the copy has to deal with a Loss of Identity on two levels; both as a copy of someone else and from losing their original identity (if they can even remember it).

Compare and Contrast; Human Shifting (where someone has the ability to transform into another person), We Will Not Use Stage Makeup In The Future (when this is used where a simple disguise would have sufficed), Body Surf, (where there is always only one of the "surfer", barring accidents), The Virus (which transforms the victim into a member of the Virus' type, rather than into a specific individual, although this distinction may be blurred if the Virus has a Hive Mind) and Face Stealer (who forcefully transforms themselves into the original rather than the other way around).

Examples:

Advertising
  • This GE Super Bowl Special commercial uses Agent Smith (see The Matrix below) as a visual metaphor for their medical assistance software's ability to be "everywhere".

Anime and Manga
  • Naruto features a method of bringing people back from the dead by turning still-living people into clones of them.

Fan Fiction

Film
  • The 2010 horror movie Victim is about a Deadly Doctor transforming a young man ( who murdered his daughter) into a copy of his dead daughter through plastic surgery and brainwashing.
    • The Spanish thriller The Skin I Live In has a similar premise, although the doctor in question is using a Magic Plastic Surgery technique he invented to turn his victim into a copy of his dead wife.
  • In the second The Matrix movie and onwards, Agent Smith gains the ability to do this (in the first movie he could only Body Surf people who were still plugged into the matrix, like all the other agents). By the end of the third film he's more or less assimilated everyone in the matrix into a copy of himself.
  • Blofeld attempts this at the start of Diamonds Are Forever. James Bond, KOs a scientist on the project and steals his clothes and subverts the trope by drowning the would-be clone in mud.
  • The 6th Day Zig Zags this to justify how fast they can clone people. They use this trope to clone people, but they use it on "blank" clones they started growing beforehand.

Tabletop Games
  • Dungeons & Dragons third edition introduces the psionic power "Mind Seed" which, after a week-long incubation, turns the target into a mental duplicate of the psion (though eight levels lower than the psion when s/he infected the target).

Literature
  • In Stardoc: Plague of Memory Cherijo's long-dead first love, Kao Torin, is sighted on the Hsktskt homeworld. He turns out to be a genetically altered Hsktskt, created from DNA extracted from Kao's corpse which was buried in space by Jorenian custom.

Live Action Television
  • Similarly to the Matrix example, The Master in Doctor Who does this to almost the entire human race.

Video Games
  • In Resident Evil 6 Simmons created a clone of Ada Wong (who he was a little obsessed with) by testing out the C-Virus on Carla Radames. When she got her memories back, she was not amused.
  • The cloning pod in Evil Genius works by copying the Evil Genius's appearance onto one of the many disposable mooks in your employ. The purpose of this is to get the mook killed in order to make the World Powers believe your Evil Genius is dead and lower your heat level.
  • In Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance, it is revealed that Organization XIII was designed to gather twelve Nobodies who could be subjected to this trope in order to serve as vessels for Master Xehanort's heart.
  • In Final Fantasy VII, Cloud Strife turns out to be this kind of clone of Sephiroth (along with countless others, who were implanted with Jenova's cells). He is also one, to a lesser degree, of his dead friend Zack, whose personality and memories he partly absorbed after the resident Mad Scientist messed up his head.
  • The King of Fighters utilizes this in K's story. He's still considered a clone of main hero Kyo despite only being injected with Kyo's genes and retaining his own appearance.

Western Animation
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