Creating Life Is Awesome
To be able to create intelligent life. Not just having a regular baby, but creating
something through science or magic would be amazing.
In many works, Creating Life Is Bad
. An ultimate show of scientific hubris
. Western literature has its roots in a religious tradition in which the act of creation is the turf of God Almighty. Thus, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
not only became very influential, but also constantly interpreted through the lens of this condemning mindset.
Since then, more and more authors have been moving away from that old trope, instead moving towards this one — either defying the Frankenstein tradition or ignoring it completely. To qualify for this trope, the created life must be good and be treated as such. Of course, it must be created by humans or similar, not by deities in the traditional sense.
created individuals are evil by nature, then both tropes apply. If all the created individuals are good (and remain reasonably good, instead of falling into the Frankenstein tradition) but all humans hate them, then it's Torches and Pitchforks
or Cloning Blues
rather then Creating Life Is Bad
The creator is likely to be a Motherly Scientist
or Deity of Human Origin
Anime and Manga
- In Cardcaptor Sakura, Clow Reed created Kero, Yue, Spinel Sun, and Ruby Moon. We neither get nasty results from them or Humans Are Bastards type reactions to them.
- In Mahou Sensei Negima!, the mage known as "the Lifemaker" got his title for a reason: the Magical World, with its own entire ecosystem and intelligent ensouled beings numbering nearly a billion, was created by him. His creating life is never portrayed as a bad thing... it's the fact that he now wants to end said life that makes him the villain.
Films — Animated
- In Spike's issue of the My Little Pony Micro Series, he accidentally turns his pet "Sea Beasts" into intelligent creatures. This is not portrayed as a bad thing, especially when Spike realizes that there are no shortcuts to growing up.
Films — Live-Action
- In Frozen, the "rightness" of creating life through magic varies depending on the mage's mindset. For example, when Elsa is upset, she conjures up Marshmallow, a hulking snowlem that is easily angered (you can piss him off merely by lobbing a snowball at him) and attacks Anna. When Elsa is happy, as seen in "Let it Go," she creates Olaf (unintentionally), a friendly creature that is Purity Personified and helps Anna and Kristoff. It's basically the logical conclusion of Personality Powers — a mage's feelings and desires come through in whatever they make.
- In Titan A.E., mankind triumphs by creating an entire planet for itself, complete with a fully populated biosphere.
- In the Disney version of Pinocchio, the title character is created by the joint efforts of Gepetto (who built his body) and The Blue Fairy (who gave him life). It is all treated as a good thing.
- In TRON, we have this guy named Alan. He's a rather meek guy, but he also created the title character, who is this awesome holy warrior. And they are really fond of each other too, although Tron's perception of Alan as moving in mysterious ways and everything seem a bit strange to those who know Alan from a very different perspective.
- We also see other Programs created by Encom personnel, like the formidable Turbulent Priest Dumont (created by Encom founder Walter Gibbs). Gibbs, in fact, provides the closest we get to an explanation by shouting at Dillinger that "our spirit remains in every Program we design for this system!"
- In TRON: Legacy, Tron himself has fallen to tragedy. But that is not Alan's fault, creating him was still the coolest thing ever. Kevin Flynn is a benevolent creator of programs that are alive... and who also transform into biological humans when/if they beam over to the human world. While some programs can be considered bad people, the act of creation done by a human is treated as cool and worthwhile in itself. Clu was the one who turned bad and corrupted others, but the mistake Kevin made was not creating Clu in the first place but rather charging him with a well-meaning but inherently flawed agenda.
- In Never Let Me Go, the artificial humans are kind and compassionate, and so are the humans who try to help them. Ironically, society doesn't want them to be good - it's easier to justify exploiting them if one can pretend that they are soulless.
- Frederick Frankenstein in Young Frankenstein starts off a highly rational man, then gets excited once he finds out it is possible to create life, and once he gets over some fearfulness of his creation, he learns to love it. Matter of fact, this is one of the very few Frankenstein stories that has a happy ending, because the creator accepts his flawed creation instead of rejecting it.
- Jurassic Park at first plays up the idea of recreating prehistoric animals from fossilized mosquitoes from this angle. However, some of the characters don't agree with this. Ian Malcolm seems to believe that Creating Life Is Bad. After his experience in the Park, Alan Grant seems to have taken up this mindset as well when we see him in Jurassic Park III. However, creating life in general still comes across as pretty awesome; it's just that attempting to control that life and modify it to suit your tastes will lead to disaster. In Jurassic World, the herbivorous dinosaurs and even the T. rex have been successfully contained and put on display, but the Indominus rex is created as a Living Weapon, which Goes Horribly Right.
- The title wizard of Diana Wynne Jones's Dark Lord of Derkholm creates new life forms all the time, including griffins and winged humans. Some of them contain his own DNA and are treated as family members. Although this creates some unusual parent-child tensions, his creative work is treated as a positive thing on the whole.
- This story also subverts Creating Life Is Bad, by having various characters wrongly believe the protagonist to be evil.
- It should, however, be noted that his methods are prone to occasional hiccups, including flocks of jeering wizard geese and carnivorous sheep. These are still treated as awesome when properly handled.
- In the third book of the Young Wizards series, Dairene's ordeal ends in the creation of an entire race of sentient robot wizards, who then become the first species to outright reject the Lone One's offer. Simultaneously subverts A.I. Is a Crapshoot, as they come close to making the spectacularly bad move of freezing the universe until Dairene talks them out of it.
- Creating life (well, turning existing life into sentient life, but it's the same idea) is the central imperative of the entire Galactic culture in the Uplift series by David Brin. It adds to the spice of it that every one of the thousands of species making up that culture is itself a creation of a previous race, in a chain going back billions of years.
- In Circle of Magic, Daja creates living metal, which is treated as an amazing achievement and is used to make a copper tree that grows and Artificial Limbs that move amongst other things. She doesn't cross the line into making sentient life though. Later in the books, an inexperienced glass mage accidentally makes a living glass dragon, who is also treated as a marvel.
- In The Black Gryphon, which takes place Just Before the End, thousands of years before the Heralds of Valdemar series, the great mage Urtho has successfully created several intelligent species, with the gryphons being his masterwork. That he must press them into war against his opposite number Ma'ar (who creates semi-intelligent monsters in imitation of Urtho) is a source of great sorrow. The gryphons are unambiguously good creatures, and Urtho's biggest mistake lies merely in failing to trust them with the secret of successful reproduction (intentionally a more complicated process than for humans), so that they may live independently of their creator.
- In Star Trek: The Next Generation, Data is an artificial person. He's a good guy, and his creator is cast as a benevolent father figure. Unfortunately, his elder brother Lore was decidedly not a good guy.
- In Dissidia: Final Fantasy Cid of The Lufaine used his peoples science and magic to create Chaos, his "son" whom he and his wife cared for like any human child. Sadly, Cid and his wife were unable to prevent the government form using Chaos' powers for destruction. This (among other things) eventually led Chaos to hate his "father". Later he successfully repeated the experiment and created the Warrior of Light, who's life took a more positive direction.
- The Talos Principle is based entirely around this; humanity is dead, and they don't yet have the technology to produce a human-like AI. So they create a program which will, in the long term, produce one via evolutionary programming.
- In Mage: The Ascension, both the Traditions and the Technocratic Union create intelligent lifeforms in a benevolent manner. These creations can even become playable characters without any drawbacks from their artificial origins.
- In GURPS "neogenesis" is the ultimate biogenesis technology and classified as TL11 development, the creation of a truly viable species doesn't occur until TL12.
- In Genius: The Transgression creating life is considered perfectly acceptable. Creating intelligent life is considered a modest Transgression more because it's socially frowned upon than because it's automatically unethical. Mad Scientists tend to do both anyway.
- In Ars Magica The nature mysteries of the Merinita and the research of the Maga Ierimyra, (in the Broken Covenant of Calebais adventure) both allow the creation of breeds of supernatural animals with intelligence and/or magical powers with no drawback to the creator aside from the effort it takes to do the job and the responsibility of having to deal with the resulting race of super animals. Also, golems can be created by Kabbalists as in folklore.
- Far Out There has Tabitha creating the zombie children Bridget and Alphonse. Surprisingly, despite how it sounds, this◊ has◊ gone very well◊.
- In Count Your Sheep, Laurie capped off an angry rant against God by claiming to have all of his powers since she can also create life, holding up her daughter Katie as an example.
- The original Transformers series and Marvel comic often do what humans would consider unforgivable acts of playing god. Many robots were created in moments of "We need someone to do X; let's build 'em!" Their society just sees this thing differently from humans. The things that go wrong when humans do it seldom show up - the result is usually perfectly sane and treated as an equal from day one. Fridge Logic dictates the necessity of this trope, since how else could robots reproduce? The comic even has an instance of five Autobots who allowed full copies of their data to be made, to be placed in new bodies if Optimus needed extra backup on Earth. No sign of Cloning Blues, though unfortunately we don't get to meet the versions of them who are still on Cybertron.
- In Adventure Time, the Earls of Lemongrab feel this way. They use the secret life formula to create dozens of strange-looking lemon creatures, some of which are downright horrifying-looking, but the Lemongrabs see themselves as fathers, and their creations as "their boys" and "their children." When one of their "children" turns out to be a vomiting pile of bewildered-looking, colorful mush, the Lemongrabs react as if "Seed-Wad" is the most precious and amazing little person they've ever seen.
Lemongrab 2: It just felt so pretty okay inside greeting each new placid face!
Lemongrab: And hearing each new, piercing song!
- Which is rather ironic, seeing as how Lemongrab's existence appeared to be an example of Creating Life Is Bad. He was a failed experiment in the eyes of his creator, Princess Bubblegum, because he was "born" with a severe mental handicap. Princess Bubblegum's opinion on Lemongrab has softened as the show has progressed, and even though she thinks of him as an annoying, idiotically bratty child, she does care about him.
- Played with in Virtue's Last Reward. Luna's creation is not portrayed as morally wrong, but her enslavement by Sigma and June is. (They programmed her to always follow their orders, no matter how unethical those orders were. She has just enough humanity to know that what they're doing is wrong, but not enough to rebel against them without being shut off permanently.)
- This is the entire goal of the field of synthetic biology. Specifically, the "ultimate goals of being able to design and build engineered biological systems that process information, manipulate chemicals, fabricate materials and structures, produce energy, provide food, and maintain and enhance human health and our environment." Not exactly Frankenstein.
- Snark aside, it might add perspective to remember that ordinary people of all types are Creating Life every day. The "horizontal mambo" has (often desired) consequences. The issues above of pride and playing god are not absent in this example, only less dramatized.
- The ultimate goal of AI research, although this might have some undesired consequences.