"I plan to live forever of course, but barring that, I'd settle for a couple thousand years. Even five hundred would be pretty nice."
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 the reason for this 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
. Brain Uploading
counts when the brain is downloaded into a clone or other biological body, but not if into a machine.
- The Lazarus Pits used by Ra's Al-Ghul rejuvenate him every century or so.
- 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.
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- 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 300 years.
- The prequels reveal that the Old Empire had a treatment that could extend lifespans even longer, and without causing a drug dependency. When one of the characters receives it (allowing him to stick around for the next few books), it's mentioned to be extremely painful.
- The Red Mars Trilogy 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 were already in their 40s and 50s at the start of the series, are alive and active that entire time due to repeated use of the treatment.
- In Robert A. 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 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 75.
- 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. In the golden years of the queendom, everyone travels everywhere by fax, and so has their body reset to a healthy 25 on pretty much a daily basis.
- From 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. Its most blatant example is Honor's mother, Allison, who at 90 is still very attractive and capable of bearing children. And since Honor received a more advanced version of the treatment, she's likely to live even longer. Also, people not only look very young for decades, they also have the hormonal levels corresponding with the apparent age for decades. In the latter books, prolong becomes a key indicator of how socially and economically evolved a planet is: if you look old, it likely means you're poor. When the Star Empire of Manticore is created, receiving prolong is made a fundamental, inalienable right of every citizen.
- 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 note . The Priest-Kings, the Physical Gods of the setting, have a similar treatment, the oldest being about 5,000,000 years old.
- In Turnabout by Margaret Peterson Haddix, the government is working on a top-secret experiment in 2000 to reverse the aging process. And it works - the main characters, who were extremely elderly and would have died before long, are given the chance to grow young again. Unfortunately, they haven't figured out a working way to stop the un-aging.
- In Vernor Vinge's Rainbows End: the Venn-Kurasawa treatments. They only work for one in a thousand, but for those they do work for, they can restore the appearance of youth, and add many years of actual lifespan. Robert Gu is one of the lucky few who respond to the treatments.
- Poulsen treatments in the Hyperion series. It will extend one's life to a few centuries - one person lived close to a thousand, although it also included a lot of time as a Human Popsicle. However, after a few times, the skin starts literally glowing blue, and it is of limited use on old people. Androids are built with the process being constant in their bodies, and can live for six or more centuries without visible signs of aging.
- The same name was later used in Robert Reed's novel, The Remarkables. It can greatly expand one's life (beyond the already genetically enhanced ~150 year lifespan), though the treatment leaves visible marks - one of the characters who has had extensive treatments has an almost young face, but wrinkled hands and oddly colored skin.
- In the Children of Steel series it's mentioned that humans can take life extension treatments that make the age of some of the executives hard to discern. There's no indication whether it's possible to use those on animorphs.
- In Mikhail Akhmanov and Christopher Nicholas Gilmore's Captain French, or the Quest for Paradise, the Cellular Regeneration treatment available on most worlds has, effectively, turned humanity into The Ageless. People choose when to "freeze" their age with most picking sometime in their 20s, although some wait until 30 in order to look "more mature". The only people who die of old age are either criminals on worlds where capital crime is punished by aging (reversing the treatment) and on recently-settled worlds where CR machines have not yet been set up. It's mentioned by the titular protagonist that, even before CR, various treatments (including cloned organs and blood vessel cleansing) have extended expected lifespans to centuries.
- Stargate SG-1, several examples, all with severe side effects:
- The sarcophagus can extend the life of a human without a Goa'uld for 700 years or so, hosts for millennia. Unfortunately it makes the user megalomaniacal. Because reasons.
- A later episode eventually reveals that even a sarcophagus has its limits for a Goa'uld symbiote. Lord Yu is, apparently, one of the oldest symbiotes in existence. He spends most of his time in a sarcophagus, but still has fits of senility (such as ordering his fleet to a system half a galaxy away in order to fight a battle that was already fought years ago). His First Prime knows all this and covers it up, loyally following his master's orders even if they are the result of his senility.
- In the episode 2010 the Aschen give earth a life-extension drug that serves to explain why SG-1 hadn't aged at all in ten years. It also turned out to cause sterility, as part of an Aschen plot to depopulate earth so they could turn it into an agricultural colony. Necessitating Time Travel to prevent the earth-Aschen alliance.
- In Ars Magica, Hermetic Magi are able to create a longevity ritual that can drastically slow the aging process. The Mysteries sourcebook provides a significantly more powerful version in the form of an alchemical Elixir of Life.
- Anagathic drugs in Traveller, frequently banned or controlled. Require monthly doses or the character is forced to make an aging roll.
- 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 Warhammer 40,000 setting allow them to live a millennium or more. Unenhanced human nobles and dignitaries have "rejuvenat" or simply "juveant" treatments, enabling them to live several centuries longer than ordinary humans. Some sources imply that certain variants of these procedures use raw materials From Living 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.
- Shadowrun features a number of age rejuvenation treatments. Leonization, the most expensive, restores physical age to approximately 21, a life span extension is a one-time procedure that adds 10 years to your life, while physical vigor simply counters the physical side effects of aging.
- Longevity treatments exist in the Mutant Chronicles setting, but between the astronomic expense, the invasive surgery and the extremely strict regimen of diet and exercise required for the treatment to be effective, very few people bother.
- The Sims 2 features a carnivorous plant (the cowplant) that produces a substance that, when drunk, gives a Sim an extra day of life.
- The Sims 3 has a plant called life fruit, which expand at least one day of a sim's life.
- In the Mass Effect series, humans commonly live to 150 or so due to gene therapies and drugs. This puts 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 called 'Clinical Immortality'.
- It is mentioned that the player character goes through some sort of gene therapy on a regular basis to explain how he stays alive for the full five centuries of the game.
- One of the other characters is said to have kept a strict 'longevity regimen'.
- 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. The species from whose computer equipment carbosilicate amorphs has evolved already made themselves immortal and ran into several layers of problems. Still, there's a few remaining individuals alive and sane after their twelve million of Terran years, "give or take a little bit".
- 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 that of a human.
- In Escape From Terra, rejuvenation treatments are one of many examples of bio- and nanotechnology 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-grandfather who looks no older than 30.
- In Quantum Vibe, rejuvenation treatments are even more readily available. One of the main characters is reportedly in his third century, but there's evidence that he's over 500 years old.
- The Dragon Doctors: The effects of a Fountain of Youth were reverse-engineered about a century earlier. The Fountain itself is a deadly lake that regresses everything to nothing within its radius, but learning its magic has allowed other characters to get regular rejuvenation treatments. In Mori's backstory it is shown that she helped discover it and was rather old before someone tried to kill her by dunking her head in the lake, she went from about 60 to 20, she also adopted the sole survivor of the previous team to the area who had been regressed to a baby.
- In Genocide Man the titular Genocide Men had a variety of procedures done that allowed them to continue operating well into their 90s or 100s, Jacob Doe is 98. Artificial glands to stabilize hormones, nanotube-laced skeletons to prevent broken bones, and telomerase to prevent cancer. The former two sets of augmentations have other bonuses as well.
- In Orion's Arm most nearbaselines are genetically engineered to live about 500 years. But due to medical nanotechnology and brain uploading most in the Sephirotic Empires live to 3,000 before succumbing to ennui or transcending.
- In Batman: The Animated Series Poison Ivy under the guise of Dr. Demeter offers this treatment to rich industrialists but in reality is turning them into trees as karmic justice for their enviromental destruction. She has no qualms about going after their friends or loved ones as well.