Created By: Bisected8 on May 27, 2013 Last Edited By: Bisected8 on May 31, 2013
Nuked

Clone By Conversion

Creating a clone by converting someone else into a copy of the original

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Needs a Better Name?

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
Community Feedback Replies: 21
  • May 27, 2013
    billybobfred
    • In Radiance, Elspeth accidentally does this. She uses her truth-sending power, along with several thousand years of memories, to break a few minds. The resulting mindbroken person can, with heavy makeup, be tricked into thinking they are one of the people whose memories they've been flooded with, at which point they forget the rest of it, essentially becoming that person.

    this is a really poorly written example and if anyone can make it look less dumb that'd be great

  • May 27, 2013
    Bisected8
    I've tried changing it to remove some of the spoiler text and chop it down. I haven't read the fanfiction in question, so let me know if I've added something incorrect by mistake.
  • May 27, 2013
    Astaroth
    The cloning pod in Evil Genius works by copying the Evil Genius' appearance onto one of the many disposable mooks in your employ. The purpose of this is to get the mook killed so that the World Powers believe your Evil Genius is dead and causing a drop in your heat level.
  • May 27, 2013
    StarSword
    Compare We Will Not Use Stage Makeup In The Future.

    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.
  • May 27, 2013
    DrakeClawfang
    • In Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance, it is revealed that the true purpose of Organization XIII was to gather twelve Nobodies that fragments of Master Xehanort's heart could be transferred into, creating thirteen vessels for himself along with his original body. This is the reason compared to their human selves, Xigbar has greying hair, Saix's hair is a paler blue, and they have yellow eyes -- they were the two members that got the furthest in this conversion, and thus they began to take on Xehanort's signature appearance.
  • May 27, 2013
    randomsurfer
    re The Matrix: Doesn't Agent Smith do this in the first film too? I've only seen the first one (and that was quite a long time ago) but I remember this happening. Not widescale, but to a few people at a time.

    Also, in this GE Super Bowl Special commercial uses Agent Smith as a visual metaphor for their medical assistance software.
  • May 27, 2013
    DrakeClawfang
    No, Agents including Smith can just rapidly shift hosts, they don't copy themselves
  • May 27, 2013
    Bisected8
    Yeah, the agents in the first film just Body Surf (in fact, I'll add that to the example to pre-empt natter).
  • May 28, 2013
    aurora369
    In Final Fantasy VII, Cloud Strife turns out to be this kind of clone. Of Sephiroth, to be precise. This explains his SOLDIER-like powers despite never being a member of SOLDIER (Sephiroth famously was, and the guy received a portion of his powers). In addition of being a literal Clone By Conversion of Sephiroth, he's also a figurative Clone By Conversion of his dead friend Zack, whose personality and mannerisms he absorbed after the resident Mad Scientist messed up his head.
  • May 28, 2013
    Bisected8
    So, has anyone got any thoughts on the name, suggestions for indexes, etc?
  • May 28, 2013
    TheTitan99
    In Batman Beyond Return Of The Joker, the Joker implants his DNA and consciousness into Tim Drake, which allows the Joker to hijack his body, even down to making Tim look and sound exactly like the Joker.
  • May 28, 2013
    MrRuano
    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.
  • May 28, 2013
    JohnnyCache
    Tabletop Games
    • D&D 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).
  • May 29, 2013
    Bisected8
    So, is the current title OK, or does anyone have a better one?
  • May 29, 2013
    Koveras
    The name works.
  • May 29, 2013
    Bisected8
    Well, since nobody seems to be objecting to the name, I assume there's no other suggestions?
  • May 30, 2013
    Bisected8
    This YKTTW seems to have gone suspiciously smoothly, but it all seems to be in order (5 hats, plenty of examples, no criticisms/confusion). Launching in 24 hours, unless there's something I've missed.
  • May 30, 2013
    JohnnyCache
    One last thing you might want to add:

    Compare and contrast:
    • 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. (This distinction may be blurred if the Virus has a Hive Mind.)
  • May 30, 2013
    ryanasaurus0077
  • May 30, 2013
    DavidTC
    The 6th Day uses this to justify how fast they can clone people, but its appears less morally ambiguous because they use 'blanks', pre-growing unformed people and then altering them into the clone. (Well, it's less morally ambiguous until the Fridge Horror hits and you realize that those blanks have to have almost fully-formed brains to go along with their almost fully-formed bodies, because you sure as hell can't grow a brain ten minutes.) I'm not sure what this is...zig zagged trope?
  • May 31, 2013
    Bisected8
    One hour 'til launch. =D

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=ua9y2jrmygjgqym9awphy26l&trope=CloneByConversion