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- Scrapped Princess.
- Earl in Mai-Otome, while otherwise fitting this trope, at least remembers that the people and the Lost Technology came from Earth.
- Trigun is set on one.
- It's unclear whether Simoun is set on a Lost Colony populated by genetically altered humans, or whether they're humanoid aliens on their homeworld After the End.
- Last Exile.
- Super Dimension Fortress Macross reveals that Earth itself is a lost colony of the Protoculture. Accounts vary as to why Earth was forgotten and why humanity (a genetically-engineered offshoot of the Protoculture) was left there, some saying it was a long-term colonization plan and others saying humanity was an experiment. Since the Protoculture is long dead, though, their original plans for Earth are effectively moot.
- Rakuin No Monshou is set on a colony where most of the technology brought from Earth either degraded over time or was expended while subjugating the natives.
- Earth in Tenchi Muyo! is a colony of Jurai, officially known as Colony World 0315. This is an odd mix as the colony's existence is known but Jurai has left it alone aside from maintaining contact with a few governments.
- The Titanian Eternals of the Marvel Universe were an offshoot of the Eternals of Earth (a Human Subspecies engineered by the Celestials) who left the planet in the aftermath of a civil war hundreds of thousands of years ago and settled on Saturn's moon Titan. The most infamous member of the race is the Mad Titan Thanos. Meaning Thanos is technically human.
- The Transformers: Windblade has its protagonist hail from Caminus, an ancient Transformer colony cut off from Cybertron from millennia. The sequel miniseries introduced more Transformer colonies, including Velocitron note , Devisiun note Eukaris note and Carcer/Tempo, note .
- In The Swarm of War, the first story arc takes place on a planet ruled by the descendants of a crashed warship's crew. It is mentioned a couple of times that they have conquered some locals.
- Not another planet, but the trope naming Utopia is apparently a lost Ancient Greek colony. This makes the trope Older Than Steam.
- Dragonriders of Pern: The series is set on a Lost Colony, with the original colonists having used what remained of their technology to genetically engineer the telepathic, teleporting dragons which guard the world from the bicentennial rain of alien parasites. It should be noted here that the rest of humanity DID send a ship to check it out, which found a small group who convinced the crew that everyone else had perished. The captain of the ship then quarantined Pern's system because of the Thread. Also, Pern was intended from the start to be cut off from the rest of Humanity. the Pern colonists wanted to get away from the politics and war suffusing the rest of the Galaxy, and live a simple agrarian life with limited technology. Thread turned life on Pern into a struggle for survival, and caused them to lose the little bit of technology they intended to keep. The loss of knowledge of life before Pern was gradual; a book set in the Second Pass (roughly 150 years after the colonists arrived) mentions that computers still exist, but are becoming less practical as power and repairs get harder to come by. A book set in the Fourth Pass shows that the idea of Man coming to Pern from space is a one of two competing hypotheses rather than a plain historical fact, and by the Seventh Pass (when the "main" series takes place, 2500 years after Landing), even said ideas are completely forgotten.
- There are few hints that Dragaera is a Lost Colony. If true, the colonists had landed at least 150,000 years before the start of the story, with all trace of the old technology long gone, making the use of the trope nothing more than a bit of flavoring.
- Has happened at least twice, and very likely at least three times, to the planet on which The Saga Of Recluce is set. Something about the planet acts like a magnet towards spaceships which have undergone malfunctioning hyperspace jumps.
- In Larry Niven's Protector, Earth is actually a Lost Colony of a species called the Pak, who start life as a larval form (unintelligent hominids) and, in their thirties, are irresistibly drawn to eat a certain tuber which is host to a virus that transforms them into ageless hyper-intelligent killing machines (Protectors of their descendants). The colony failed because the tuber can't incubate the virus in soil deficient in thallium oxide (A later protector finds that the virus will grow in a sweet potato), and the humans developed intelligence on their own. One Pak comes looking for the lost colony, kidnaps a human and turns him into a Protector, who is even smarter than the original variety (and acts very different). Eventually we learn that the Ringworld was built by Pak.
- Niven's The Integral Trees series has a lost colony without a planet.
- In Ursula K. Le Guin's Hainish sequence, Earth (and probably Gethen, too) were lost colonies of the oldest known inhabited world, Hain. Both may have started off as rather ethically suspect experiments, although the Hainish are very ethical these days. It's subtly implied that all the inhabited worlds may be Hainish in origin.
- Erna in the Coldfire Trilogy is a colony from Earth, which they do know but are much too far from to take advantage of. In the third book, we learn that it's also a colony of an unnamed alien race. Also, the original colony has its own Lost Colony, although that was founded in a more low-tech manner (putting lots of people on ocean-going vessels). It turns out that this colony has been actively staying lost by killing the expeditions sent to re-establish contact with it.
- In Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone by Greg Keyes, a part of the American colony of Virginia appears to be the ancestors of some of the characters.
- Darkover by Marion Zimmer Bradley is born from the settlement by a lost ship from Earth.
- Vorkosigan Saga:
- Barrayar was a Lost Colony at a point of its history when the wormhole leading to it suddenly closed. However at the time when the series takes place, it's already been rediscovered through another route for three generations. It does still bear the barbaric mark of that time, however.
- Alpha Colony, one of America's first attempts at space colonization by using sublight drives, was forgotten after a world war brought other concerns into play. When the war was over and wormhole technology had been discovered, a path was found to Alpha Colony, where all of the colonists had died out.
- Interestingly, Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony does not contain a traditional lost colony. In fact, the "colony" has forgotten magic in favour of technology, and possesses full knowledge of the outside world though it is later revealed that the colony's leader made up most of his stories about it so the other inhabitants would be easier to manipulate.
- Christopher Stasheff's Warlock of Gramarye series:
- Gramarye, a colony founded by the Society for Creative Anachronism. In this case the loss of technology was deliberate.
- Considering that the government of Earth became isolationist around the time Gramarye was settled, it is not surprising that they were not found for a long time. This same isolationist policy cut off all of earths colonies from the technological goods of the homeworld, leading many of them to lose all tech. They were not exactly lost colonies, since earth knew where they were in most cases, but it was practically the same thing. Although there were a few that earth had lost the paperwork for, come to think of it.
- Before he settled down on Gramarye, the protagonist's job was to search out lost colonies and steer them towards democracy; in the Wizard sequel series, his son takes up the job.
- The setting of Mercedes Lackey's Bardic Voices books is implied to be a lost colony for at least one of the non-human species, the technologically advanced Deliambrens, and After the End for everyone else.
- Part of the backstory of the Ea Cycle is that the planet Ea is a lost colony of the magitech-using "Star People". Ea later turns out to be Earth in the far future.
- The Last Colony, though it was deliberately lost and recovered.
- Vernor Vinge's Zones of Thought novels touch on Lost Colonies a great deal - in A Deepness In The Sky in particular, due to technological limitations and no Faster-Than-Light Travel, colonies tend to self-destruct on a regular basis.
- L. Sprague de Camp's The Great Fetish is set on the distant planet Kforri (K-40), a world in the Mesozoic stage of evolution colonized by humans generations before, their technology lost as the result of a mutiny before landing (or crashing). The established religions of the roughly Bronze Age-technology, Medieval European-culture nations that have developed all embrace the doctrine of Evolution, which states that mankind arose from lesser native forms, while the emergent scientists have brought forth the heretical concept of Descensionism, maintaining that the lack of creatures similar to humanity indicates their ancestors came from elsewhere. Hilarity ensues when the protagonist (a schoolteacher with Conanesque thews) runs afoul of the church by espousing the latter.
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Humanity comes from a ship whose inhabitants thought they were to be a colony...their people were just annoyed with them and sent them off to an unknown fate. Things happened.
- In David Brin's Uplift series, it is hotly debated whether humanity (uniquely among living peoples) developed intelligence independently or was created by some folk that abandoned the job incomplete. The second trilogy take place largely on Jijo, a planet hosting lost colonies of almost a dozen species, including humans.
- In Virgin Planet by Poul Anderson, a shipload of women goes off course and, by necessity, founds a parthenogenetic society. Generations later, a male scout lands and is denounced as a monster, partly because he threatens the power of those who control the reproductive technology.
- In Spartan Planet by A. Bertram Chandler, the lost colony is founded by a raging misogynist. Again, reproduction is artificial. As in ancient Sparta, babies with birth defects are left in the wilderness to die; here, lack of male parts is considered a defect.
- A fairly common occurance in Chandler's novels; in his Verse FTL travel used to be accomplished by "gaussjammers" which were vulnerable to space magnetic storms, which could throw them severely off course and force them to land at the nearest possible planet with a permanently disabled spaceship (such storms would also wreck their power plants and they would have to limp to a refuge on emergency diesel power.) As a result, any gaussjammer could find itself forced to found a lost colony and they all carried rudimentary equipment for founding a colony in case of such an emergency. By the time of the novels, however, the gaussjammers have been replaced by the far more reliable (though not without its quirks) Mannschenn Drive (timejammers, as they're sometimes called).
- Harry Harrison's novel Deathworld 2 is a Giving Radio to the Romans story set on a Lost Colony. The third part is about trying to mine ores on a planet inhabited by nomadic tribes which forbid permanent structures.
- There are several examples in The Stainless Steel Rat series. Makes sense, considering it occurs at a time when a collapsed Empire is being reassembled.
- Keithland in The Cycle of Fire was founded when a ship was forced down on an uncharted world. All post-medieval technology was deliberately abandoned so their escaped alien prisoners wouldn't try to capture it.
- The History of the Galaxy:
- Happens a lot. After the discovery of the Hypersphere anomaly, hundreds of colony ships were sent out to colonize other worlds. Many got lost due to the poorly-understood nature of the anomaly and lack of navigation equipment that works in another dimention. Throughout the series, many lost colonies are being rediscovered, many of which have regressed to barbarism and forgotten their origins. One short story details a demonstration of a new type of Space Fighter that involves dropping a cluster bomb onto a planet thought to be devoid of life. However, during the demonstration, a sensor on the planetary surface detects the presence of a human child, making the testers realize what a horrible mistake they've made. Luckily, a daring pilot manages to save the colony.
- The First Galactic War started when the corrupt government of the overpopulated Earth decided to look outside the Solar System for habitable worlds to offload extra people. They sent scount ships, which returned with disturbing news. Nearly all nearby star systems already had colonies from ships sent centuries before. Realizing the colonists would object to an influx of unwanted rabble from Earth, Earth's president decides to launch a pre-emptive strike in order to put the upstart colonies in their place. What follows is a 30-year war that Earth eventually loses.
- Word of God is that over 7000 colony ships left Earth in the 50-year period following the invention of the hyperdrive. Only a few hundred have been re-discovered.
- In Robert A. Heinlein's Time Enough for Love, brief mention is made of the discovery of a Lost Colony... founded by the surviving characters of Orphans Of The Sky.
- Donald Westlake wrote a series of humorous short stories about the small starship Hopeful, crewed by a Ragtag Bunch of Misfitsnote and given the task of contacting the colonies in an entire sector — many of which had become Planets of Hats. From the prologue of the very first story:
Nearly 500 years before, a clerical error had erased from the computer's memory more than 1000 colonies, all in Sector F.U.B.A.R.3.
For half a millennium, those colonies, young and struggling when last heard from, had had no contact with the rest of Humanity. The Galactic Patrol Interstellar Ship Hopeful, Captain Gregory Standforth commanding, was at once dispatched to reestablish contact with the Thousand Lost Colonies and return them to the bosom of Mankind.
- Donald Kingsbury's Courtship Rite takes place on a lost colony so hostile to human life that over the centuries, times of famine have made cannibalism socially acceptable to varying degrees.
- The planet He, in James Blish's Cities in Flight.
- Margolia from Alex Benedict. The founder said he was going to travel so far away that not even God would be able to find them; and since no one heard from the colony over the next nine thousand years, he apparently succeeded.
- S.M. Stirling's The Lords of Creation series features Venus and Mars as homes to lost colonies of both Homo sapiens and Neanderthals (the two worlds having been terraformed and seeded by Sufficiently Advanced Aliens millions of years before).
- The Worthing Saga concerns a Lost Colony, odd due to the fact that the Colony actually (re)discovers the rest of the human race before being found themselves due to their development of Psychic Powers.
- Due to the prevalence of Psychic Powers, some of the Dune sequels are largely concerned with finding ways to block Psychic Powers, so that colonies CAN be lost. Of course, the colonies later come back and start a war, but...
- Adumar, in the X-Wing Series, has elements of this. Their technology collapsed, then was rebuilt, they re-developed spaceflight and were rediscovered by mainstream galactic society before Starfighters of Adumar. They hold to some social customs that the rest of the galaxy finds weird, like still having many drastically different countries.
- The Children in Galaxy of Fear are like a very small scale of this. Their parents crashed on Dagobah and died when the oldest of the Children was seven. They were malnourished and poorly educated, having no concept of places beyond the swamp, so came off as some kind of weird tribe which revered a parent's Apocalyptic Log.
- In Sergey Lukyanenko's The Stars Are Cold Toys duology, Earth and the Geometers' homeworld are revealed to be lost colonies of humans from the galactic core. Ditto for most of the Conclave races.
- Francis Carsac's Terre En Fuite (Fleeing Earth) reveals that, at some point in the future, human civilization will be destroyed by a new Ice Age. After the Ice Age, the Second Civilization (slightly more evolved) will rebuild and make great strides in science and technology. Then they will be conquered by a race called Drums, only to be defeated by a biological weapon released by La Résistance. Their "space magnet" technology allows spaceships to reach 80% of the speed of light in short order, and humanity makes use of it to explore and settle other planets and planetoids in the Solar System. Then hyperdrive is discovered that is an extension of the space magnet technology. Colony ships are sent out, but only one manages to come back, revealing that the technology is horribly flawed. When a ship in hyperspace reaches the midpoint between two stars, it encounters a "gravity barrier" that throws it wildly off-course. The ship that returned found itself outside the galaxy after the first jump and only managed to return on the third try. Some time later, a scientist figures out that the Sun will emit an enormous solar flare that will fry anything in the inner system. The Second Civilization builds enormous space magnets on Earth and Venus in order to move the planets behind Jupiter to ride out the flare and then put them back. However, the Sun will no longer be able to support life after the flare, so the plan is amended to move the planets to another system. After reaching Alpha Centauri (it takes many years on sublight), they find it already inhabited by descendants of one of one the lost ships. They aren't blaming Earth humans for abandoning them but don't want them as neighbors. Many years later, the planets arrive to another system and find yet another Lost Colony, who are actively fighting them. These colonists claim that Earth lied to their ancestors, deliberately sending them into space knowing about the Blind Jump nature of hyperspace. It turns out that a race of aliens with Psychic Powers employs More Than Mind Control to keep the human colonists as slaves. After defeating (and freeing) them, the planets are put in proper orbits in the Goldilocks Zone.
- In Eater-Of-Bone, set in the Great Ship universe, a colony ship was catastrophically damaged and flung off of its trajectory, sending it towards one of the lone stars at the periphery of the Milky Way. The nigh-immortal Trans Human colonists are forced to settle on a world which is extremely metal-poor (particularly in salts and iron), making any kind of machinery precious beyond belief and every drop of blood lost a tragedy. One character laments that there's metal in the world, but so far below the ground that it is unreachable to the damaged machinery of the starship. The colonists cooperated with each other for a short time, but the strains of resource shortages fractured them into dozens of small groups, who often fight each other for resources. "Eater-of-bone" isn't meaningless, either, because even bone and marrow hold the metals required for metabolism.
- C. J. Cherryh's Forty Thousand in Gehenna has Gehenna. A planet colonized by the Union in secret (even from most of the Union government) in Alliance space, so that when the Alliance attempted to colonize 60 years later they'd find an entrenched population of Union citizens. In the ensuing diplomatic fiasco the planet is left to live under medieval conditions for centuries.
- And Cherryh did it again in her Shared Universe Merovingen Nights books where the setting is Merovin, a former Union colony that was abandoned to an alien species, the Sharrh. There was an evacuation, but some of the colonists hid from it and somehow survived the planetary bombardment the Sharrh performed to ensure no human presence remained. The Sharrh haven't tried to colonize Merovin themselves, so the descendants of those recalcitrant colonists are still there at a medieval stage of technology, cut off from the rest of human civilization.
- In Elena Senyavskaya's Star Wanderer, the first vision tells of a far-away world called Sevir settled by humans 300 years before the events described. However, shortly after the arrival of the colonists, all transmissions stopped. Sending another expedition was too expensive, and the colonists were written off as lost. However, they survived. Sevir is a bleak, dry world with a poisonous fauna and a green star. The colonists managed to survive and have even thrived. They themselves cut off all contact with Earth in order to save on energy but have always been afraid of someone from Earth arriving to claim their world. As such, they have formed the Silver Squadron and puts the Admiral in charge in order to protect them from the "evil Thors" (as they call Earthlings due to the symbol of the Earth Star Fleet being black lightning). For their part, Earth only wants to trade with Sevir and invite it to join the Galactic Union made up of Earth and twelve other settled worlds. Any encounters by the Star Fleet and the Silver Squadron have always ended bloody. Eventually, though, a young Sevir boy crash-lands on an uninhabited planet and is picked up by an Earth ship. He learns that Earthlings are not evil and that they have no intention of conquering Sevir. He realizes that the Admiral has been keeping himself in power through fearmongering. He returns home and is summoned to meet the Admiral. Before the Admiral can order his execution, the boy knocks him out and uses the Admiral's communication override to reveal the truth to his people before the Admiral's guards kill him.
- The world of Shadow by Dave Duncan. Not necessarily lost, but has no contacts with other planets, reverted to feudalism and a bicycle is the most complex device they can make. The planet is tidally locked and the only habitable area is a former island arc and a continental slope in a dried ocean, which means very steep mountains. The only reliable fast transport are the local giant "eagles", which led to formation of military aristocracy of people small enough to ride them.
- "Bitterblooms", one of George R.R. Martin's short stories from his "Thousand Worlds" universe, takes place on a planet that has regressed to pre-feudal levels. The heroine comes upon a self-proclaimed "witch" living in an ancient starship who seems to take her to distant worlds.
- Groom Of The Tyrannosaur Queen takes place in a lost time colony in which humans have spent the last five millenia coexisting with dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous period. They're a pretty weird bunch.
- A variation in Blindfold. Atlas is not technically lost, but since neither Faster-Than-Light Travel nor Subspace Ansible is possible in this 'verse (or, at least, hasn't been discovered yet), it's pretty much isolated from Earth and left to its own devices. The only news from the homeworld comes in the form of a rare ship that arrives with new settlers. The first ship (after the original colony ship) was full of prisoners, who assimilated into the population, the second ship was a warship that unsuccessfully attempted to subjugate Atlas under the boot of a tyrannical government back on Earth, and the third ship was fully of pilgrims who claimed that Earth has been destroyed because it was full of sinners (naturally, few believed them). At the time the novel takes place, a fourth ship is on the way.
- In Cała prawda o planecie Ksi by Janusz Zajdel a colony was not as much lost as snatched by terrorists. The protagonist's mission is to find out what happened to it.
- Parodied in Dave Barry Slept Here, which has Sir Walter Raleigh going to Virginia, founding a colony there, and then losing it out of carelessness.
"Think!" his friends would say. "Where did you see it last?" But it was no use, and this particular colony is still missing today. Sometimes you see its picture on milk cartons.
- Michael Cobley's Space Opera series Humanity's Fire (or the initial trilogy, at least) is based on this concept. As shown in the Distant Prologue, humanity was facing defeat and subsequent extinction in a Bug War that was devastating the solar system. In a desperate attempt to ensure survival of the species before Earth itself was overrun, several FTL sleeper ships containing cross-cultural selections of the global population were built and launched. Of the proposed fifteen, only three were completed in time. The series proper is kicked off when the planet one of those ships landed on is rediscovered in the border area between several alien Galactic Superpowers, starting a diplomatic and military crisis. The fates of the other two are revealed and become relevant as the series goes on.
- In Empire from the Ashes by David Weber Earth was settled over 50 000 years ago after a mutiny rendered a picket starship inoperable and armed mutineers took everything high-tech away from loyalists. The 1st novel Mutineer's Moon deals with overthrowing mutineers, who still secretly rule Earth. The 3rd novel Heirs of the Empire introduces another lost colony — Pardal. The rest of Imperium/Empire proves to have been killed by bio-weapon accident. Pardal survived, but outlawed science and technology. It still managed to progress from stone age to flintlock guns — in 45 000 years. By the way, other Earth animals turn out to have been transplanted from human homeworld in the distant past by aliens, hence the genetic similarity. Neanderthals and other primates evolved in parallel and are not closely related to humans.
Live Action TV
- Most planets of the week in Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis are like this, populated by humans seeded by either the Ancients or their successors as dominant galactic powers, the Goa'uld and Wraith.
- Atlantis itself was almost a lost colony during the first season as they were completely cut off from earth.
- In Stargate Universe some members of the expedition attempted to start one of these. Unfortunately they all (rather depressingly realistically) died from accidents or exposure.
- And "now" an alternate timeline version of the Destiny crew founded an entire civilization two thousand years ago, which advanced to the point where they began using the stargates and slowships to colonize other planets. Unfortunately the colonies were then cut off when a supervolcano destroyed their homeworld and drones attacked their stargates, becoming lost colonies of a lost colony.
- Played with in Babylon 5, where the rather human-looking Centauri originally claimed that Earth was a lost colony. When called on it, they excused it as a clerical error. "We thought your world was Beta 9, actually it was Beta 12." The truth was discovered when Humans got their hands on medical data regarding the Centauri and discovered that despite outward appearances, Centauri physiology is very different from Human physiology. According to the Psi Corps Trilogy, the humans were pretty skeptical of the claim to begin with, but decided not to press the issue while the Centauri were willing to do business with the humans and advance their technology base.
- Played straight with most of Earth space: Earth lies in the middle of what used to be the rimward marches of the Centauri Republic at their peak, and is surrounded by worlds the Centauri abandoned during a devastating civil war and didn't bother to retake before humanity claimed them.
- Also played straight with the Sh'lassen, only mentioned in the show but revealed in the Expanded Universe to be a group of humans who favored a feudal political system so procured a few spaceships with faulty jump drives and left, and found and settled another abandoned Centauri world, living in isolation for decades (and colonizing a nearby world) before being discovered.
- The expanded universe states that some Dilgar survive on one such colony, far away from the races the Dilgar tried to drive into extinction and preparing to launch another attack in the far future. Another group of Dilgar lives on another such colony hidden inside Earth Alliance space, and have progressively adopted human customs preparing for the day they will be able to rejoin the wider galaxy in peace.
- Used in spades in Battlestar Galactica. The Twelve Colonies are lost colonies of Kobol, whose civilization was destroyed by a civil war between humans and Cylons. The Colonists spend much of the series looking for Earth, Kobol's other lost colony, before discovering that it's a nuclear wasteland as the result of another human-Cylon conflict. Ultimately, our Earth is revealed to be their lost colony which they settled on 150,000 years ago.
- A couple Star Trek episodes featured the re-discovery of a Lost Colony or two.
- Star Trek: Enterprise had the crew visiting one that was mysteriously lost, at the time Earth didn't have fast enough ships to check up on it and they didn't ask the Vulcans because of, um, reasons. A natural disaster occurred but the colonists assumed it was a revenge attack from Earth after they separated; only the children survived living a primitive life in caves shielded from the radiation. They believe themselves to be aliens, and that humans attacked them all those years ago, so are mistrustful when the Enterprise crew turn up.
- The Doctor Who arc "The Face of Evil" featured a lost colony of humans who were manipulated over generations by rogue AI Xoannon into becoming two enemy tribes; the Sevateem (a corruption of "survey team") and the Tesh ("technicians"). Leela, a Sevateem warrior, became the Doctor's companion for a time.
- US Heavy Metal band Iced Earth did a variant this with their Something Wicked arc. In it, humanity, a (very nearly) galaxy-spanning empire, came to Earth in order to conquer it. The natives, being at a clear disadvantage, decided to hide away a small fraction of their populace and initiate "The Clouding," completely wiping the memory of the entire human race, causing them to instantly revert back to the stone age. All of this in order to initiate a plan to wipe them all out 10,000 years later. How a galaxy-wide empire was contained on a single planet, or, alternatively, why the ''rest'' of the galaxy-spanning empire didn't come looking for their friends, is never adequately explained.
- In the Humongous Mecha roleplaying game Mekton, the default campaign setting is a planet called Algol, which turns out to be a Lost Colony of the interstellar Space Opera society presented in the worldbook Mekton Empire.
- Warhammer 40,000:
- The setting has these in abundance, sometimes simply because the massive bureaucracy that governs the Imperium loses records of worlds due to filing errors. In other cases, lost colonies that wound up on particularly challenging worlds are rediscovered and left in their primitive state because their inhabitants make such good soldiers, with the Imperium only occasionally popping in to recruit a company or two for the Imperial Guard. Others, such as Fenris, serve as Space Marine homeworlds, the recruits only learning of the existence of the wider galaxy after joining the Chapter.
- This was the case pre-imperium as well, after catastrophes such as the Robot War that ended the Dark Age of Technology, and the massive disturbance of Warp routes in the centuries preceding Slaanesh's birth. The Emperor revealed himself to mankind afterwards to end the Age of Strife, and launched the Great Crusade to unite all human-controlled worlds once again, by force when necessary.
- Moreover, it used to be implied rather heavily that the Warhammer setting was an example of a world that had been cut off from Imperium contact, with hints that Sigmar and Bel'hakor were the two missing Primarchs. GW have subsequently moved away from this attitude however, treating the two game settings as being completely independent.
- Deadlands: Lost Colony is, rather unsurprisingly, based on this trope - but with the notable difference that the colony has only been "lost" for a decade or so, because Earth had a slight apocalypse.
- The source of the "barbarians" in Fading Suns.
- In Eclipse Phase the Pandora Gates occasionally malfunction and cut off a planet for years. In one case the colonists formed a Hive Mind in the five years it took to re-establish contact.
- This was used in the Star Fleet Universe as a way to insert a small bastion of humans in a section of space outside the main Federation region by causing a colony planet (with sun and all) to be transported about 30 degrees around the edge of the galaxy. Later joined by a Klingon penal planet (and the task force trying to restore order there).
- Inverted in Star Realms. The Machine Cult started off as colonies caught behind an alien invasion and was cut off from the rest of human space. To survive, these world began to rapidly develop their technology.
- The Cynidecians in the Dungeons & Dragons module The Lost City.
- In BattleTech, systems without a hyperpulse generator aren't even shown on most ComStar maps. When the Succession Wars broke out, the three centuries of technological decline forced many colonies had to be abandoned, or outright died off from lack of shipments of vital technology or resources. During the Succession Wars, the various Great Houses competed in Archaeological Arms Races to find old Star League technology caches on abandoned worlds or hidden in uninhabited systems.
- Empire Of The Petal Throne's world Tékumel was colonized and Terraformed by a far-future spacefaring human civilization, then thrown into chaos when an unexpected Negative Space Wedgie shunted it and the entire Nu Ophiuchi star system into an isolated Pocket Dimension. After millennia of cultural drift, uprisings by the planet's native species, and the emergence of Sufficiently Advanced Alien "Gods" and "Demons", their origins are remembered only in priceless technological artifacts.
- The Argon Federation was formed after one Nathan R. Gunne lured the nigh-unstoppable malfunctioning Terraformer fleet away from Earth through its Jump Gate before destroying it behind his ship. Gunne's ship crash-lands on a habitable planet and the crew sets about rebuilding civilization while removing all references to Earth, as they think their gambit failed and the Earth was destroyed. Over seven hundred years go by before the Earth State is reunited with the Argon Federation in X3: Reunion, though it doesn't go well; Earth's paranoia about Argon AI research causes them to get involved in a Space Cold War that soon turns into a Guilt-Free Extermination War after the Argon blow up Earth's Torus Aeternal following the uncovering of an extensive Terran spy network in Argon space.
- The Free State of Aldrin is also a lost Terran colony, presumed destroyed when the Terraformers went rogue and the jump gates went haywire. It is reconnected in X3: Terran Conflict, and is the only system which has non-corrupted Terraformers.
- Both the Teladi and the Split are also cut off from their homeworlds by jump gates rearranging themselves. The Teladi rediscover their homeworld in X2: The Threat (which integrates peacefully with the space society they've built), while the Split are unsure if their original homeworld even exists anymore... or, for that matter, if it even existed at all.
- At the end of X3: Albion Prelude, the entire jumpgate network is shut down, leaving individual star systems completely cut off from each other, and resulting in dozens upon dozens of new Lost Colonies (though they keep in touch, slowly, via near-lightspeed messenger drones). In X:Rebirth, centuries later, a few jumpgates are reactivated and the colonies begin opening travel and trade with each other again.
- Karak, the starting point for the player's fleet in Homeworld. The construction of the Mothership started when archaeologists discovered the remains of the colony's landing site, and with it a hyperdrive module. By this point, the colony had spent a few thousand years re-developing sub-light space travel and a modern society, but they had lost all their history prior to the landing. The distant genesis theory had been heretical, but the remains of the ship proved it. The rather important detail that they missed was that they were the exiled losers of a galactic war, and using a hyperdrive will mark them for death by the all-encompassing Taiidan empire. Turns out to be a subversion. The Taiidan knew all about the colony and, even after four thousand years, still monitored it. They just didn't announce their presence.
- A select few in the world are aware of this; others, not so much. It was an accident to begin with, set ten thousand years prior to the start of the actual story, where mankind's creation crash-landed on the planet and respawned humanity through a fabricated "mother" entity. Furthermore, Xenosaga, the game's "spiritual" prequel, implies that the planet depicted at the end of the third game is the actual planet that Xenogears takes place on—though if they were to make a formal attempt to validate this (through sequels or otherwise), it would involve a fairly heavy retcon.
- Other interpretations state that the planet in both the ending of Xenosaga and beginning of Xenogears is in fact Earth, which was lost to mankind in in 2510 AD. Mind you, in both cases humanity is in the far flung future. Xenosaga as a series ends in 7020 AD. whilst Xenogears starts in 17,230 AD if the math is right. Either way, you have a ultra civilization dealing with "just still getting there."
- Xenoblade Chronicles X takes place on a Lost Colony called Mira, which was established when a colony ship from Earth crash-landed on the planet. The reason the colony ship launched at all is because Earth itself was destroyed in a clash between two warring alien civilizations. It's speculated that other colony ships may have survived and founded their own colonies, but there's no way to confirm this.
- The entire Koprulu Sector is a lost colony. Originally, Earth was dabbling with the concept of interstellar colonization, and already had success within the Solar System. One enterprising scientist built a fleet of colony ships, rounded up thousands of "colonists" (in reality convicted criminals because they were easy to obtain), and promptly shot them toward the nearest habitable planet. However, a freak accident caused the fleet to lose the coordinates of both their destination and Earth. They eventually were forced to stop in the Koprulu Sector. Eventually, the various human factions developed into small spacefaring empires. In the expansion, the United Earth Directorate finally discovers the lost colony and attempts to subjugate it. It doesn't end well.
- We eventually find out that the UED knew about the colonies and was just monitoring them from afar, content to let events take their course. Then they found out about the Zerg and the Protoss and decided to step in.
- In Master of Orion 2, lucky exploration can net you with these. Finding a Splinter Colony effectively means instant colonization of a random, agriculture-supporting planet in the solar system. The iOS port Starbase Orion also has this mechanic.
- Wild ARMs 3
- A popular theory was that Sera was a Lost Colony and that the humans were alien invaders, though Gears of War 3 more or less Jossed this one.
- In Ys VI, Port Rimorge was founded by survivors of the Great Vortex who washed up on the islands over the years.
- Large swathes of the Galaxy is, by in-game statements of sapients that would know, this in (old verse) Might and Magic, although we only get to see three of them (Enroth, Axeoth and the world of the novels) — the four settings of the first five games were not lost, but deliberately retarded (they were part of Ancient experiments). Unusually, at least the inhabitants of Enroth do maintain knowledge that they came from another world (in fact, their dating system starts from the year off-world contact was lost), it just never comes up in the Heroes games.
- The village of Haven in Dragon Age: Origins is a form of this trope. It was established centuries ago by followers of the prophet Andraste, who created the village just outside of an elaborate temple they built to house her ashes. The village residents were charged with the perpetual guardianship of the ashes. While the rest of Ferelden sprang up around the village and changed with the passing of time, Haven remained in complete isolation - it doesn't even appear on any maps of the country and most people don't know it exists. Although its inhabitants are essentially of the same religion as the rest of Ferelden, they're unaware of the Chantry (Ferelden's church) or certain laws and regulations. Worse, in the last several generations, they've come to the erroneous conclusion that a dragon is the reincarnation of the prophet, and the village has evolved into a murderous Ax-Crazy cult.
- The Forgotten colonists in Lost Planet 3 were abandoned by NEVEC and left to fend for their own on E.D.N. III for 36 years until NEVEC returns to the planet and accidentally rediscovers them.
- Mass Effect
- The series has a throw-away reference to a human colony being found in Alpha Centauri; the colonists set off before the discovery of the setting's FTL travel and had no knowledge that aliens existed.
- In Mass Effect 2 the Hugo Gernsback crashes onto a planet with plants that degrade the human mind. The crew decides that only those able to repair the ship/get a message out are allowed to eat the food they brought with them with the rest forced to eat and become "like children". Shortly afterwards the guys in charge decide this colony life isn't that bad and decide to stay. Wehn Shepard and his/her fire team make landfall they quickly learn that while plant life makes human women "like children" it makes the men who eat it turn extremely violent and what happened to the guys in charge including Jacob's dad.
- This is the backstory of the pregenerated "Commonwealth of Man" empire in Stellaris: humans have dabbled in wormhole research before they settled on warp, and sent a colony to Deneb that was presumed to be lost.
- Mars: War Logs: The entirety of Mars believes they are a lost colony, because after an unexpected cataclysm caused a polar shift that changed Mars forever (making the air breathable, turning martian sunlight into a near-lethal mutagen), Earth stopped sending calls. Most martians believe that the cataclysm was so colossal that Earth has written it off as a dead planet (the fact that Mars has regressed technologically and can't send their own signals doesn't help matters). The truth is, the cataclysm was COSMIC, and it destroyed Earth.
- Orion's Arm: The exodus from Old Earth following the nanodisaster resulted in many Lost Colonies, though most were re-contacted when the First Federation was formed or sometime later in the next 10,000 years. The Metasoft Version Tree maintains "baseline preserves" that are essentially intentional lost colonies. The original colonists were baseline humans who wanted to leave Sephirotic civilization and paid Metasoft for worlds where they could preserve their culture undisturbed, although at least one preserve world has rediscovered space travel and rejoined interstellar civilization.
- In Jonny Quest: The Real Adventures, an interesting variation appeared in the season one episode "Ice Will Burn". The story deals with a people descended from 17th/18th century Siberian Russians, whose ancestors had to fled their town and got trapped by accident in an inescapable deep gorge/icy cavern. They managed to survive and thrive thanks to the heat produced by a small local volcano (Truth in Television if it's supposed to be set somewhere in the Kamchatka peninsula).
- The Adventurer Archaeologist Aurel Stein found a Chinese outpost dating to the end of the Han dynasty that had been cut off by the collapse of the dynasty (as detailed in Romance of the Three Kingdoms). Ancient Bureaucratic red-tape indicated that the outpost continued to function after it had been cut off, still keeping up Imperial forms as if the dynasty still held the throne.
- In 1843, German settlers in Venezuela founded Tovar. A few years later the jungle reclaimed the only way to them and everyone assumed they were all dead. Well, until they were rediscovered in 1953. They still spoke their German dialect and built their houses like 19th century Germans.
- DNA analysis has recently suggested that not one but four or five African and Indian groups may be (as they claim) Lost Tribes of Israel. Besides the famous Ethiopian and Ugandan Jews who got airlifted by Israel in the 70s, a full-blown tribe in Tanzania recently got themselves tested to prove their claim that the tribe itself were a lost tribe of Hebrews, since the Roman era. (Being cut off, they didn't know any other Jews existed, so they adopted local language and customs.)
- There is a group of people in southern Egypt known as Magyarabs who are supposedly descendants of Hungarians brought there by the Turks in 15th century. They were first encountered in 1930s by Europeans (Ironically, László Almásy, himself a Hungarian—who became famous via the movie The English Patient—and his colleagues).
- On a smaller scale is The Lost Colony Of Roanoke, NC. A small English colony was founded on Roanoke island in 1584, but vanished by 1589 under mysterious circumstances. Since the 1930s, it's been celebrated in an outdoor drama near the original colony site, and figures heavily in various conspiracy themed Role-Playing Games. In modern times the general consensus is that after various setbacks the colonists gave up waiting for the promised resupply ships and moved in with the Croatoan tribe.