Who Wants to Live Forever?
"Like a fool, I still have hope that I will meet my Creator again. And if I do, I will tell her just one thing: I wish you had created me so that I could die."
Put your hand down. This is not a vote.
— The Bag, Plastic Bag
The worst fate possible
might well be immortality
. Sure, you might like the idea that you get to live forever and see what the world's like hundreds of years from now, but what's eternal life compared to the pain of life in general? From eventual boredom to eternal entrapment and torture
to the emotional anguish
of seeing your loved ones
die, one by one, as you stay fixed in time.
When done Anviliciously
, this can seem like Sour Grapes
on the part of the very much mortal writers
. May be used as a Fantastic Aesop
This attitude toward immortality is Older Than Feudalism
, going back at least as far as the Greek myths about Tithonos's Age Without Youth
and Prometheus's punishment and of course the appeal behind He
- why is your hand still up!?
Compare Blessed with Suck
for those that angst as well as And I Must Scream
for the mindset this can create.
Contrast Living Forever Is Awesome
for those who like it, and Immortality Seeker
for those who seek it, and Eternal Love
where immortals fall in love.
See also Immortality Hurts
, which is a subtrope. Immunity Disability
is a supertrope (here, the "immunity" is of death).
for more horrifying details.
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Anime and Manga
- Noblesse: Rai is an incredibly powerful being known as the Noblesse who has lived for millennia. Despite being very kind, he was feared for his incredible power and only received visitors every few decades or so. He was alone. Until the start of the series, when he's found happiness in the practice of masquerading as an Ordinary High-School Student in the modern day.
- Rumbling Hearts references this trope. In the last episode, when Haruka decides she cannot live with Takayuki after the coma, she explains the book "Mayal's Gift," about an immortal fairy who plays with human friends. After a few years of playing, the kids grow up, and Mayal is still as lively as ever. The kids become too old for Mayal, and leave the forest.
- This is a possible scenario with Death the Kid from Soul Eater, who is a Shinigami, while the rest of his closest friends are human, therefore he will probably live centuries longer than them. He'll eventually have to watch all of them grow old and die, even his weapons.
- In Rumiko Takahashi's Mermaid Saga, eating mermaid flesh almost always makes the eater insane or turns him/her into a monster, but there is a very small chance that the eater will gain immortality instead. The travels of the main character, one of the "lucky" ones, reinforce this property as only a step above insanity or deformity.
- Rulers in the world of The Twelve Kingdoms automatically gain immortality upon gaining the throne. (Rulers can also grant immortality to their servants and officials). Very few people who've been granted immortality ever come to regret it (even those who were very old when they became immortal). About the only one who saw it as something of a curse was Suzu, but that's only because she spent 100 years of her life being abused by a cruel master. Once free of her employer, she pretty much picked up her former life where it had left off, (and despite the large amount of time that had passed, she still considered herself a teenager). In one of the short stories, however, it is mentioned that some rulers cannot cope with what would have been the end of their natural life.
- Hohenheim in Fullmetal Alchemist. This was why he abandoned his wife and sons; he didn't want the neighbors to notice he wasn't aging. Trisha and their closest neighbor Pinaco however, knew all about it, and one of the reasons he left was to find a way to lose his immortality. He didn't want to outlive Trisha, Ed and Al.
- Though for the way the storyline and by extension this world is, it's somewhat deconstructed. Hohenheim makes it clear that immortality isn't a great thing to go through, but he'd be lying if he said that it never came in handy.
- In the 2003 anime version, his reason for leaving is slightly different. He didn't want Trisha to see his body deteriorating due to too many soul transfers. Also, his ex-girlfriend (wife?) Dante used the same method and ended up insane - or just really, really cold hearted. She was willing to sacrifice millions of lives just so she could look young and beautiful for a little bit longer, and nearly succeeded.
- The anime Homunculi just want to be human and thus are willing to swallow Dante's fairly obvious lies because she's the only chance they have. The exception among the Homunculi is Greed, who wants to achieve true immortality (because he's, you know, Greed) and Envy, who is just around to see everyone suffer.
- C.C. in Code Geass, whose disconnected, sarcastic attitude and disdain for humans are shown to be the result of several centuries of life while being persecuted as a witch; at one point she even remarks "I've been alive so long that I can't even remember who loves me and who hates me."
- It's revealed in the second season that this is the goal of practically every "Geass Witch," since they were tricked into gaining their powers and immortality by their predecessors; the "practically" comes from the strong implication that C.C.'s real wish is to be loved honestly and truthfully.
- In Dragon Ball Z's first movie, Dead Zone, the villain Garlic Jr. is granted immortality through a wish. He then makes the mistake of messing with Gohan and is blasted into the void he opened to trap everyone else in.
- In Hellsing, Integra's father reveals to her that he believes that vampires hate their immortality, and seek battle and conflict because they wish for an end to their curse. It is implied that Alucard himself wishes to die in battle, seeking a Worthy Opponent and almost finding it in Anderson.
- This is elaborated upon in moments where Alucard shows value for human life, seeing death as a necessary event to make life sacred. He expresses disgust when a policeman in Rio shoots himself in the head rather than die by Alucard's hands, showing that he believes suicide is the easy way out, as is succumbing to vampirism. This is why he is dismayed by Anderson's decision to make himself into a monster in order to fight Alucard.
- In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, the Wolkenritter lost their Rejuvenation program when Reinforce separated them from her. They considered this to be a gift from Reinforce. No longer bound by the prison of immortality, they can now spend their first and last lives with their beloved master, Hayate, and follow her in death, if they wish.
- The hermit in Tail of the Moon, as he's literally watched everyone he's ever loved die around him.
- Count Magnus Lee's speech in Vampire Hunter D perfectly sums up this trope:
"I have lived for 10,000 years. Believe me, you have no idea what that means for me: boredom. Everlasting, hideous boredom. A never ending search for ways to pass the time, and mating with a human woman is one of the few I enjoy."
- One of the main themes of Tsukihime is the inevitability of death, despite the fact that every supernatural character has (at least) immortality. The protagonist understands this well, as his eyes can see the fated destruction of everything. In fact, in Melty Blood a character explicitly says, "You can't avoid your destined end."
- Although it may not appear one of the central themes in Kiddy Grade, it apparently was intended as such. Since all ES members are technically immortal, they have to face all the problems (the least of which are old enemies and their descendants) that pile up during their lives.
- Played straight and inverted in Baccano!:
"The harshness of having to live for eternity... of all people, I gave it to you..."
"What are you saying?! We don't mind it one bit! On the contrary, we're glad we won't die! I feel like going 'Yahoo!'"
- Played straight in Flame of Recca in form of Kagerou/Kagehoshi. After turning immortal in order to save her son, Recca, felt like hell, wandering in eternity to have her son kill her. On the other hand, the villains of the series, Mori Kouran and Kaima, have limitless lust for humanity's evils, greed and desire (Kouran wants to continue to gain money and possession forever, while Kaima wants to kill forever). They are thus Immortality Seekers.
- In Osamu Tezuka's Phoenix, most characters that seek to drink the eponymous bird's blood fail to do so or change their mind because of this trope. However, in the second volume we get to see a character go on to live forever, to the point of becoming a godlike figure. He isn't truly happy until he is allowed to become a part of the Phoenix so he could be with his long-deceased lover. In other words, he died happily.
- Fruits Basket, chapter 131. In the true Zodiac legend, the animals regularly meet with the god until finally the cat is the first to start dying. The god creates some sort of reincarnation elixir and gives it to the cat. When the cat realizes what happened, it immediately condemns this action. This only pisses off everyone else, who miss the cat's point and drink the elixir themselves.
I don't want eternity. I don't want 'unchanging'. Even though you're afraid, let's accept that things end. Even though it's lonely, let's accept that lives come to an end. Even though it was only for a short while, I was so happy to be by your side. If we both die and are reborn, and we are able to meet once again, next time, rather than only during the moonlit nights, I want to meet you as you smile in the light of the sun. Next time, rather than only by ourselves, I want to meet you as you smile among people.
- In Alive: The Final Evolution, it is revealed that the Happening-meets-X-Men events of the series was caused by an alien race that escaped the destruction of their planet by turning into living energy. The boredom of travelling through space and their inability to die left them completely insane, eventually concluding that the ultimate form of evolution is death. When they reached Earth, in their desperation to "evolve," they body jumped into several people, and had their hosts gleefully commit suicide just so they could die. Those watching the suicides and are able to resist the command themselves aren't sure if they should be terrified or jealous.
- In Photon, it turns out the Emperor of the galaxy, having achieved immortality and near-omnipotence, has orchestrated most of the events of the OVA, causing a mutiny to rise up against himself simply because he was bored of being uncontested for thousands of years. This plot eventually leads to his destruction. He doesn't mind (or, possibly, notice, as he's quite mad).
- What is revealed about Evangeline McDowell's back story in Mahou Sensei Negima! contains hints of this, especially the eternal wanderer aspects. Mainly because she is stuck at age 10, considered an undead abomination by those aware of the masquerade, and apparently cannot maintain illusions indefinitely.
- Also discussed and debated once Negi ends up becoming the same type of being as Eva. Either pre-pubescent or early puberty for eternity, near-impossible to have children, will outlive all loved ones, etc.
- In Negima!'s Stealth Sequel, UQ Holder, this was discussed. Yukihime/Evangeline isn't too thrilled with the fact that she eventually outlived everyone she cared about.◊
- Touta has his first realization that immortality isn't 100% awesome, though it's played for laughs in that the realization that drives him over the edge is that he'll never go bald or put on weight. And also because it's his dream to sing like Louis Armstrong, which is now impossible as his voice will never change.
- In The Tower of Druaga, King Gilgamesh's immortality was a curse by Druaga. He had to live through all of Uruk's hard times while a shadow eats away at his soul.
- In Rebirth - which is really a manhwa series - Rett Butler, the best friend of the main character, was cursed with immortality by the the villain 300 years ago. Why? So he can watch the world be destroyed by said villain.
- Hiroaki Samura's Blade of the Immortal (think Highlander meets Samurai Champloo), in which the title character - thanks to an infusion of 'kessen chu' or 'sacred blood worms' which instantly repair virtually any injury which he sustains - is, to all intents and purposes, incapable of dying (and quickly comes to the realization that effective immortality sucks). When it's suggested that he simply decapitate himself, he protests that he wants to die a *normal* death and suggests that he slay 1000 evil men in return for the "cure" for his immortality (and partially to redeem himself for killing 100 men when he was an outlaw).
- Cowboy Bebop has "Sympathy for the Devil" where the bounty leads them to a child who at the time is actually over 80 and apparently can neither age nor sustain permanent damage until Spike shoots him with a MacGuffin that causes him to age rapidly and die in seconds. He was pretty crazy by the time we met him, likely from watching his family die and being experimented upon for decades by scientists hoping to figure out how to replicate the freak accident that made him the way he was.
- Yuko Ichihara from xxxHOLiC and Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle. A Reality Warper with Power Incontinence accidentally turned her into a zombie-ish thing centuries ago because while she was dying, he wished for her to open her eyes again. The entire plot of both series, encompassing the death and suffering of millions as well as the warping of the entire space-time continuum, actually revolves around her wanting to finally RIP, and someone else disagreeing.
- Baku in Nightmare Inspector are immortal and... The original Hiruko let Azusa become his vessel because it was the closest he could get to dying. Then Azusa got sick of immortality and looked for a dream frightening enough to swallow him up and destroy him. The current Hiruko averts this.
- Magic Knight Rayearth: Emeraude. 'Nuff said.
- In King of Bandit Jing the title character is given the elixir of immortality, and, while his sidekick encourages him to drink it, instead pours it off a cliff into the ocean. This causes a rainbow to appear, which Jing references by saying "Catching these 7 colors, even for an instant, is more beautiful then a thousand years of gray."
- Played with in Axis Powers Hetalia fandom, as the characters cannot die until their nation dies (and sometimes not even then, *cough*Prussia*cough*) but they also have to suffer as their nation's do and watch their citizens die.
- A good example of the above would be Jean de Arc and France's relationship.
- This was discussed here when a young French soldier meets France (who his grandfather had met when he was younger) and muses to his cute wife how wonderful it must be to live forever. Only for his wife to interrupt him and ask him if it really was a wonderful thing.
The Soldier's Wife
: "Are you sure you want that? It means to go on with your life and spend time with a different tempo than everybody else. Even though we would laugh together, even though we would lead the same life. Had children that would grow up. Even when my hand would grow all wrinkled and I wouldn't respond to your voice. Even when I would die.
And after I wouldn't be here any more, you would watch over so many people. Something like that would a normal human being never withstand. No matter how many people you would fall in love with, they would always leave you behind. And like that, you would be always alone. If you would have to bare such fate, it would be so cruel, I couldn't stand it! To live forever isn't such a good thing after all."
- Played straight in Nabari No Ou with Shijima and Kouichi's jealousy of other people's ability to die and stay dead. Eventually, they manage to convince Miharu to free them of their immortality.
- In Karakuri Circus, a 200+ old woman's last words...are that she regretted making the choice that allowed her to live so long.
- Vampire Knight has pure-blood vampires, who could theoretically live forever, as they have eternal youth, don't suffer from disease, and heal nearly instantaneously from wounds, but every pureblood vampire yet seems to either die from their own hand or that of another.
- Tabris of Neon Genesis Evangelion is immortal and will live forever if he merges with Adam... but that's not his desire. He's driven by the instinct of all Angels, denying him the free will he envies in humanity. He sees death as complete freedom, and so welcomes his defeat.
- Rei has this view, explicitly stating it throughout the series. Once she does die, but is brought Back from the Dead and is pissed off enough with Gendou for doing so that she betrays him.
- Played with in the anime Highlander: The Search for Vengeance,
- Colin wants to avenge the murder of his wife, and he has been hunting Marcus for two millennia. He has nothing to show for his life because he has focused on revenge for so long. This makes him angry, bitter, and depressed.
- Like Colin, Marcus lives in the past by pining for Rome but unlike Colin he has one eye on the future because he believes he can recreate it. He knows things die, but you move on and helped build civilizations.
- Invoked in Dance in the Vampire Bund, when Single Mom Stripper Jessica Harlin shelters the fugitive Princess Mina in her apartment and begins to openly wonder if undeath would be a solution to her worries about illness or age keeping her from caring for her young daughter. Mina tells her she would turn her if she were serious; then spells out how she would watch Suzie grow up, then watch her wither and die, before asking if she could truly bear it.
- The major reason Ojamajo Doremi's Big Bad Majo Tourbillion became so bitter towards humanity is because she had to watch all of her human family grow old and — in the case of her husband — die before her.
- Discussed in Mnemosyne, where Rin and Mimi, who are immortal, discuss their immortality with another character who they hired. Rin's past aside, the two are really good friends and find odd jobs to do to pass time.
- Zeref from Fairy Tail somehow achieved immortality in the past. After spending four centuries witnessing the worst humanity had to offer while being isolated from them by his own cursed power, he's had enough. He's sick of immortality and he's sick of humanity, so he decides to wipe out the latter. Either he succeeds, or his enemies find a way to kill him. Either way he gets what he wants.
- In the A Certain Magical Index movie Miracle of Endymion, Ladylee Tangleroad has been around since The Crusades, and is now so weary of life that she'll do anything to die and doesn't care who gets hurt in the process. She attempts to destroy the world, believing she will finally die in the process. She is stopped by the heroes and falls into despair when Index tells her not even destroying the world will be enough to kill her.
- In the Chinese animated short Miss Daizi, the protagonist is a plastic bag that can't die, as she doesn't biodegrade, and because she is constantly harming the environment and out of loneliness of missing her beloved (who is a paper cup), she does countless failed suicide attempts.
- The Avengers fanfic Lazarus' Daughter, about a girl whose father gives her a serum that provides immortality. In chapter 16 she gets access to a vial that could cure her and questions all the things she misses out on as an immortal
- Shocker in The Lion King Adventures is cursed with immortality. He wants to die more than anything. However, his wish is never fulfilled. The Interceptor buries him alive in The Interceptor's Challenge, leaving him in a permanent cycle of death and resurrection.
- The Azumanga fanfic Forevergreen, is a Tear Jerker that dives into this in detail.
- There is a Ranma ˝ fanfic in which Cologne thinks to herself about her long life. Pretty much it boils down to 1: After the first three centuries it starts to get rather boring. Two: Everyone finds a clutch. Cologne has managing her village, Happosai has liquor and women, and another one that she heard about is trying to play every Go match he can find. And finally Three: That Clutch cannot turn into your only reason for living. Happosai is unbearable and the Go player has only been seen out of his cave once in the last century because he needed a new Go board.
- The Yu-Gi-Oh! fic What Do You Think. Sniff.
- Bag Enders doesn't really explore this much, but since the Fellowship are now over six thousand years old and have been having embarrassing misadventures together for most of that time, one wonders if their immortality is really a reward for saving Middle-earth or a punishment.
- The Wicked fic Never Die explores the real meaning of Elphaba's spell on Fiyero, specifically the never die part and the fact spells cannot be reversed, it sets this troper off in hysterical tears every time.
- The The Legend of Zelda fic Eternity features a Big Bad who achieved immortality and is trying desperately to die, even if it means destroying all of Hyrule in the process.
- One Ecco The Dolphin fanfiction had the eponymous dolphin endure immortality, outliving his family and friends, watching species pass into and out of existence, and even getting to see the sun swell tremendously within the span of his long, long life. He eventually attempts to kill himself with the incredible pressure of the deep ocean, ending in something of a Mind Screw in that he somehow finds the surface of his youth, friends and all. It then cuts to Ecco's dead body, very old by dolphin standards but hardly immortal, and two young dolphins commenting that he'd been off in his own world for most of his old age.
- In the Transformers fanfic Things We Don't Tell Humans, the Autobots think that Dana and Tom should be worried about this. They're not. Sam, on the other hand...
- Touhou Ibunshu, as a Dark Fic of Touhou, naturally has characters that were originally on the Living Forever Is Awesome side of things take a turn closer to this trope. Mokou is the most spectacular and insane example, having lost her mind completely a long time ago (she claims to have spent a decade or so experimenting on interesting ways to kill herself), but the most altered from the original is Yukari, who is so utterly bored of being confined to the same old Gensoukyou for centuries that she decides to obliterate Gensoukyou entirely, which would finally give her a chance at being free.
- The theme continues all the stronger into the last story of the series, featuring Kaguya, Eirin and Mokou, three immortals of a different variety than Yukari. The climax of the Final Battle with Mokou has the Phoenix appearing and offering the three the ability to die, either right then and there or after aging naturally. Mokou takes the first option, while Kaguya and Eirin opt to continue on together till the end of time.
- In Travels Through Azeroth And Outland, the undead narrator isn't worried about this, because he's pretty sure he'll be killed exploring some hellhole before the endless years get to him.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanworks:
- The fic Circle of Friends has this as the whole theme. Princesses Celestia and Luna abdicated to Twilight Sparkle so they could die, then she allowed her friends to live as long as they wished to, they lasted a couple centuries before they could no longer take it. At the end Princess Twilight is training her successor so she can join her friends.
- Princess Celestia reflects on this trope a bit in Whispers.
- Princess Celestia also goes through this in one episode of Doctor Whooves and Assistant, as a result of the cyberponies trying to break her will to convert her into a living battery for their planet.
- Played with in Merely A Mare. Celestia and Luna have been around for more than four hundred million years, created and witnessed the extinction of entire species, and have near perfect recollection of everything (except that Celestia can't remember ponies' faces and Luna can't remember ponies' names). Despair is a frequent threat to them, but ultimately they decide to soldier on because they have no choice.
- Played very straight with the original alicorns, and the reason for their extinction. They were immune to age or disease but still died from accidents or violence, except they didn't have the princesses' near perfect memories, meaning they eventually forgot their dead loved ones but still kept the pain and grief, now with no idea why they felt this way. It eventually drove them insane and they started slaughtering each other.
- Parodied in Celestia's Big Day (warning: sort of NSFW), where Princess Celestia holds this view, even as Cadence and Luna point out the common reasons for this trope (loved ones die around them, no one else understands immortality, is forced to remember every event of their lives, both good and bad, boredom, etc.) do not apply to alicorns. Does not stop Celestia from giving suicide the old college try though.
- It's also explained by both Luna and Cadence that this happens every few centuries and it's just better to let her get it out of her system.
- The Great Alicorn Hunt is a response to all the "immortality sucks" fics. According to Celestia and Luna the idea that one would get "bored with life" is ridiculous and Malthus was an idiot. The only thing that makes it heartbreakingly painful for them is the whole "outliving your loved ones" bit, and they're working on that by trying to make everypony else immortal.
- Nyx spends most of the first chapter of Alicornundrum angsting over the fact that, as an alicorn, she'll outlive all her friends and loved ones... and is naturally thrilled beyond words when Twilight becomes one too.
- In the Nuptialverse sidestory Metamorphosis, Celestia and Luna are revealed to despise being immortal because its a constant reminder to them of how Discord murdered their family and friends.
- Spike also suffers from this in some fanworks.
- A repeated theme in Diaries of a Madman:
- Discord desperately tries to find an outlet for his boredom having lived for billions of years.
- Celestia mentions she would rather have lived a normal life and died thousands of years ago, a sentiment it can be assumed Luna shares.
- When Navarone gains a much increased life expectency after his accidental Emergency Transformation, he's rather despondent.
- In Duties, Rarity and Applejack are saddened by the fact that due to them being immortal alicorn rulers now, they will see their family and loved ones die one day.
- In Fallout: Equestria - Project Horizons, Rampage doesn't. Apparently, several other Reapers (and many of the former Marauders) have this problem.
- In It Takes a Village, Spike is not happy about his projected lifespan, although Princess Luna did provide some perspective along an offer of friendship. On the whole mostly averted once Spike decides that by living as long as he will he can keep the memories of his friends alive for their descendants.
- Brought up in the cases of Spike and Celestia in Last One Standing, who are doomed to outlive everyone they know.
- Apple Bloom has a bit of this in Luna The Match Maker, especially seeing as everyone is finding their mates for life and cutie marks while she’s still lost and alone.
- Bon Bon's attitude toward her Fae heritage in Fan Fic/Mendacity.
- In Night Of The Shy, certainly not Birostris Oswaft after ten thousand years of being the Last of His Kind, so he convinces Twilight to Mercy Kill him.
- Discussed and averted in Pi. Not only does Penumbra not put any stock in this trope, it turns out that it isn't even applicable. Alicorns aren't actually immortal; they just "don't leave until they're ready to go."
- In The Best Night Ever, theoretically, should Blueblood desire to do so, he could stay, eternally youthful, within the "Groundhog Day" Loop forever. He instead tries his hardest to get out. After hundreds of repeats, he eventually does.
- In The Conversion Bureau: The Other Side of the Spectrum, Cadence is genuinely afraid of outliving everypony she has ever cared for. Celestia and Luna as well, to a much lesser extent.
- In The Great Slave King, Arch Duke Fifi le Yipya wishes for nothing more but to die and rejoin his old master. He does not take kindly to pity.
- In The Jewellery Box, Spike mourns the loss of his friends because they died hundreds of years ago. His desire to have them back is what triggers his greed growth again, but because he feels he can never really have them back he retains his rational mind.
- The beginning of Peggy Sue fic The Trouble With Time Travel features Twilight being bored of being the Element of Magic.
- The Dark Fic Twilight's Dollhouse deals with Twilight's insecurities about outliving her friends in a rather tragic way.
- In Twilight Then Twilight Now, Applejack has been immortal since the first fall of Tambelon. She continuously regrets that she ever became immortal. Admittedly, a large part of this is the fact she has lived through multiple Gotterdammerungs and watched her beloved home pushed to the brink of annihilation, only to survive by decaying into a Crapsack World, which has left her rather... broken.
- Explored with in Within And Without as Luna comes to terms with her past mistakes. It's also revealed that the Elements of Harmony grant their bearers the choice of immortality.
- This fancomic suggests that "Immortal Twilight" fics go one of two ways. If the author is 20, she gets all Wangsty. But if the author is 30:
- In Forever Young, Discord has cast an immortality spell on Fluttershy so he wouldn't have to outlive her. Problem is, Fluttershy doesn't want to outlive her friends either. Discord offers the same spell to any of her friends, but Fluttershy asks Rarity and realizes they all have friends and loved ones they wouldn't want to leave behind. Discord ends up secretly casting a mortality spell on himself - when Fluttershy ultimately dies of old age, he's not far behind.
- The 4everfreebrony song "Chant of Immortality" .
- In A Hero, a crossover between Doctor Who and Puella Magi Madoka Magica, after it is revealed that Puella Magi don't age, Madoka starts to worry immensely about Sayaka falling into this trope. Though Dalek Sec has been around for a quarter of a billion years from his perspective, and sees it as good thing, so he could give pointers as to how to deal with it.
- The Sailor Moon fic A Seedling Among The Ashes has Makoto deal with it since by the time the Sailor Senshi gain their immortality she is already married with two kids. It does have a happy end though.
- The Axis Powers Hetalia AU 1983: Doomsday Stories plays with the idea in the case of Austria. While he was eventually able to shrug off, albeit with difficulty, the chaos of Doomsday, his denial of Hungary's death until several years later proved to damage his sanity. Fortunately, things do get better. But had Hungary not shown up, he would have spent the rest of his life in perpetual grief, if not turn into a deranged Yandere.
- In Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality Dumbledore holds this position believing death is the start of the next big adventure and genuinely doesn't understand why anyone would even think about immortality. Harry explains that while Dumbledore believes in an afterlife, not everyone does and for them, death would be his equivalent of the destruction of a soul.
- The Naruto and One Piece crossover fic Shinobi Of The High Seas has Naruto's first line in the whole story being about how boring being immortal is.
- Explored in ex umbra in solem, a crossover fic between Warehouse13 and Sanctuary, where the various immortal characters have all become varying degrees of unstable. Helena G. Wells (while not immortal is over 100 years old via Human Popsicle note ) went went mad with grief and tried to end the world, John Druitt is an immortal Jack the Ripper, Helen Magnus is somewhat jaded and has an I Did What I Had to Do approach, Nikola Tesla is eccentric and a bit of a megalomaniac, and Adam Worth is a psychopath. Artie and Nigel Griffin talk about it:
Artie: How do you do it?
Griffin: Do what?
Artie: Live. With all the death and crazy and losing—well almost everyone. Why aren't you crazy like the rest of them?
Griffin: (long pause) I mourn, I suppose. I mourn for my wife everyday, and now for my child and my grandchild who I will never meet. But-what can I do? I can't change what has passed any more than I can stop the waves from comin' in on the seashore. I'm only a man.(brief pause, then he smiles faintly) I've made mistakes, Christ, we all 'ave. We tried to play at bein' God. It was arrogant and foolish and we thought we succeeded. We forgot that God is lonely. Why else would he have made man? Its not the age or the grief or the rage. Its the loneliness that has driven all of us mad. We cling to the people around us, to save us from ourselves. And when they die, we can't follow. After a while, the options become either cut yourself off totally or go completely insane.
Artie: What about you?.
Griffin: I've realized that I can't fight the tide. I'm just floatin', is all. Does that answer your questions Agent Nielson? Or do you want to listen to an old man reminisce some more?
- Timothy Neogene/Timmy Turner in the The Fairly OddParents fanfic series Burning Black. Timothy's immortality can let him survive anything, which isn't as cool once one thinks about what that really means.
- Most of C.C.’s actions in Code Geass: Mao of the Deliverance result from weariness of her immortality.
- In the AU Xiaolin Showdown fic Demon Of Wind, Guan and The Bird of Paradise discuss the implications of this. Guan's been around for 1500 years and The Bird of Paradise hinted to be at least a millennia.
- Kira and Righteous play dangerous games to keep their existence interesting in the Death Note Continuation Fic Depravare.
- The Legendaries in the Pokémon fanfic Forsaken.
- Miser in the Sonic the Hedgehog fic Future Generations, who is 'blessed' with immortality and looking for a way out of it.
- Certainly the case for Vivio of the Lyrical Nanoha AU fic The Bitter End, who has probably the longest lifespan of the cast, with projected lifetime outpacing everyone else's by as much as half a century.
- In the Naruto fanfic Gender Confusion, Hidan begs Jashin to set things right and remove his immortality so he could die with his beloved. Jashin obliges.
- The premise of the The Powerpuff Girls fanfic Immortality Syndrome.
- In the Touhou AU Imperfect Metamorphosis, it's stated by Yukari that one of the reasons why she's the jaded, cynical Manipulative Bitch she is is actually this.
- In the Katawa Shoujo Continuation Fic Lilly Epilogue Family Matters, Hisao has this thought as Hanako plays a video game with an immortal hero. He doesn’t want to outlive his loved ones, but wonders whether it would free him from worrying about his heart condition, which also discusses Required Secondary Powers.
- In the Death Note fanfic Low Light, Rem wants to die but the Shinigami King won't let her.
- In the Invader Zim fanfic My Hostage Not Yours, Zim warns Gaz about this when he gives her a pill that slows down her aging process so she would live as long as he does, but she doesn't really start thinking about the ramifications until afterwards. This then becomes a moot point when she gives Dib the pill as well, so she won't be outliving him.
- Rachel of the BlazBlue: Continuum Shift fanfic On Strange Wings briefly touches on this in an early conversation with Hakumen.
- Not Sakuya of the Castlevania/Touhou crossover Prince Of Darkness No More.
- This is what drives Kent Nelson in his search for a successor in the Superwomen of Eva fic Superwomen of Eva 2: The Hand of Fate.
- Orochimaru, of course, in the Naruto/One Piece crossover Souls Reborn, which is why Tsunade and Jiraiya burned the scroll with the jutsu that gave them immortality after using it.
- Discussed briefly by 419 and 426 in the Lilo & Stitch: The Series/Star Trek crossover Starlight. 426 postulates that perhaps mortality is for the best, so people don't get too cynical. 419, on the other hand, couldn't imagine such a thing because The World Is Just Awesome.
- In the Evangelion Peggy Sue fic Taking Sights, this happens to Original Asuka. She's literally lived to the end of the universe.
- The central theme of the Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann fanfic Matters of Time, in which Viral finds himself bestoed with immortality.
- In the Adventure Time fanfic The Last Human, while not a particularly prevalent theme in-story, as Marceline's attitude seems to lean more towards Living Forever Is Awesome, a rather nasty moment from her is revealed to be the result of her father trying to convince her that trying to romance Finn is a bad idea, alluding to his own time with her mother. She and Finn make up, but she implies a fair bit that her inevitable outliving of Finn and their friends is a source of a lot of grief for her.
- Ryouko's grandpa feels this way in the Puella Magi Madoka Magica fic To the Stars. Some of the "ancient" magical girls do, too; especially Homura, who may be stuck with Complete Immortality.
- In Transformers Alter Verse, a few of the Transformers feels this way, but most of them are pleased with their state of semi-immortality. The Seraphims have to live with it, as most of them are immortal or at the very least semi-immortal.
- Odd Cybertronians feel this way in Transformers Armada Revisited, but most are generally pleased with their state of semi-immortality.
- In the Warcraft fanfic Travels Through Azeroth And Outland, Destron's not worried about this, since he figures that his adventurous lifestyle will kill him before immortality gets too boring.
- The TRON: Legacy fic Old Habits Die Hard deals with this topic in relation to Sam.
- Subverted in the Dirty Pair fanfic Undocumented Features — his loved ones decide to get the immortality treatment as well. Then the people who care about them, until every single Wedge Rat is immortal. As are their descendants.
- Played somewhat straight in Aegis Florea 2 when Sumire is revealed to have, as a result of a combination of this Trope, Victory Is Boring and her own unrequited love for Gryphon, spent the previous forty years in the throes of a Heroic BSOD until Kei reboots her with a What the Hell, Hero?/"The Reason You Suck" Speech that is so scathing and insulting that she cannot help but to rouse from her self-imposed emotional stupor and get angry.
- Porky in the Super Smash Bros. fanfic What Goes On doesn't seem to have a problem with it, but everyone else can clearly see that it's not a great state to be in. And the only reason he bugs them is because he's bored, a major complication of this trope.
- In the Naruto fanfic Yetagain, the Oogakari suffer from this.
- The Twilight fanfic ''Revelations'' has Bella realize some time after Breaking Dawn that immortality and being a vampire is not what it's cracked up to be for the usual reasons of this trope (friends and family all die, boredom, etc) as well as come to realize how terrible she was towards her human friends and family and wishing desperately for a second chance to make things right. Carlisle himself also admits that he sometimes wishes he could pass on, only staying alive for the sake of helping others and being there for his family.
- In Forever is an Exceedingly Long Time Harry, unable to locate one of Voldemort's Horcruxes, fed him Draught of Living Death and left him under a stasis charm powered by his own magic. He woke up some two and a half billion years later on a wasteland of a planet with nothing recognizable as humanity, only to be faced with another two and a half billion or so until the sun went nova.
- Hinted at in the second Weasley Girl story, Secrets of the Past, where Veronica "Ronnie" Weasley overhears Dumbledore and Nicolas Flamel talking:
Dumbledore: I am glad you and Penerelle decided to remain among the living for a while longer. Your advice has always helped me greatly... and I do think that, with Voldemort still out there, the world might still need you.
Flamel: The world will always need us. Always there will be some new catastrophe, some new evil to be defeated, some new problem that needs to be solved. When will it end? When are we allowed to rest?
- In the Transcendence AU for Gravity Falls, Dipper becomes a demon, and his view on his immortality changes between this and Living Forever Is Awesome.
- Sailor Moon: Legends of Lightstorm: While Sailor Jupiter seems excited about living forever, Jason seems unenthused about it. Granted, it may or may not have something to do with losing his powers, since all Sailor Scouts and Justice Champions are biologically immortal whether or not they transform.
Films — Animated
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2007) has Winters, who was so happy to have his mortality back that he laughed and told the heroes how happy he was before the result of losing his immortality took place.
- Scamper the rabbit from Igor is immortal, to the extent that his body will rematerialize even if completely atomized by an explosion. He spends most of the movie attempting to kill himself in various ways, as he believes that life is meaningless and nothing matters. (He gets better, in part because Eva's obsession with acting leads him to discover his hidden passion and talent for costume design).
- Toy Story 2: Stinky Pete would rather spend the rest of his life in a museum, adored by fans, rather than to be a toy of a child. Understandable, as he was never taken off the shelf, watching toy after toy be sold and never got a chance to be played with by any children... until Woody curses Stinky Pete to be the toy of a girl who decorates her Barbies!
- An "interview" that used to be on the Toy Story 2 website suggested that Pete found being a child's toy was actually a pretty good life.
- Toy Story 3 is all about the toys being outgrown/forgotten by their owner, and the abandonment issues this entails.
- It's clear from Toy Story 3, however, that the toys enjoy only Biological Immortality; they can be burned to death.
- In the movie version of The Last Unicorn Mommy Fortuna, the old hag who captured the Unicorn, had also capture a harpy, another immortal creature. The unicorn points out that Mommy couldn't hold them forever, and the harpy will kill her for the indignity. Mommy Fortuna agrees that, yes eventually, she will slip up and the harpy will go free; but, the harpy will always remember Mommy Fortuna had captured her, forever. That is how Mommy Fortuna plans on "living forever," as a memory of the immortal harpy.
Films — Live-Action
- In the 1940s German adaptation of The Adventures of Baron von Munchhausen, the storyteller of the framing narrative is revealed to be the baron, who loves his present wife of fifty years so deeply that he decides to relinquish his immortality to die with her, aging to her exact age before his guests' eyes.
- This is the premise of Ryuuhei Kitamura's film Aragami, with the titular immortal war god having grown tired of his eternal life and seeking to meet the one who will kill him in battle. It wouldn't be that difficult if he wasn't Miyamoto Musashi
- In Bicentennial Man, the robot Andrew, (played by Robin Williams), accepts aging and death rather than let the love of his... er, life die of old age by herself.
Andrew Martin (on being told that he had violated the Third Law)
: "No. I have chosen between the death of my body and the death of my aspirations and desires. To have let my body live at the cost of the greater death is what would have violated the Third Law."
- Daybreakers has shades of this when a virus outbreak changes most of the populace to vampires. The opening of the film see a vampire girl committing suicide by sunlight having written a letter explaining how she'll never grow older. The protagonist of the film, Edward, is also weary of never growing old as well.
- In Death Becomes Her, the two female leads drink a potion that grants eternal youth, but it does not protect them from damage to their bodies. Accidents and attempted murders leave their bodies dead and permanently mutilated. On the other hand, Bruce Willis's character is offered the potion several times, but he refuses it, giving a speech about how eternal life would be a nightmare even if he didn't fall victim to accidents and mutilation (Furthermore, eternal life with only those two rather horrible women for company really would be a nightmare). He ultimately lives his life happily with a large family and dies peacefully, while the two women bitterly linger on, imprisoned in bodies that literally fall apart at the very end.
- In The Fountain, Tom Creo seeks to discover a medical means to immortality through experiments with the bark of a rare tree, but he ultimately learns to accept death as a necessary aspect of life. Though our bodies die, the material is recycled into new organisms, and so we live on through new life. Even planets and stars that die become new stars and bring new life to other worlds. Two parallel stories feature different versions of Tom achieving immortality and finding it fruitless. Tomas the Conquistador seeks and finds the Tree of Life, but ultimately the sap turns his body into flowers, in something of a Literal Genie ending. Spaceman Tom has apparently succeeded in becoming immortal by consuming bark from the rare tree that was grown from the body of his dead wife, but the tree dies before he can resurrect her in a supernova. A vision of his wife convinces him to accept death with joy, and he dies in the supernova, becoming part of a new star. Interestingly, the story also makes room for a very unsympathetic priest to prattle on about immortal souls, which the film seems to dismiss outright.
- Tom Hanks's character in The Green Mile ends up outliving all his family because he receives part of the life force of the death row inmate John's healing power. He believes this is punishment from God for executing John. He's not immortal, though. Death will catch up to him eventually, but not for a very, very long time as seen with the mouse Mr. Jingles.
- Groundhog Day involves a man forced to relive the same day over and over again. He commits suicide several times and that only makes the day start over again from his perspective. He doesn't let that get him down for long, but instead makes the most of his endless time and becomes a better person.
- Focused on in the Highlander film, with a montage set to Queen's "Who Wants to Live Forever." Connor MacLeod and his wife Heather pass a long and happy marriage together, but Connor must watch his beloved age and die while he lives on, ever youthful. Thus Connor first learns the loneliness of immortality. The upsides and downsides of immortality becomes a running theme in the franchise (see below).
- It sucks to be an immortal in the world of Highlander, you can't have any children and you have to watch your significant other die of old age, or in Duncan's case (in Highlander: Endgame) you can fall in love with and marry a potential Immortal, deliberately cause her violent death (see below) to activate her immortality (without bothering to explain your rationale for doing so), only to have her quite rightly freak out, run away and become the right hand woman to the guy that wants to kill you.
- Never mind the fact that many people will want to kill you. Some because they think the fact you're immortal in the first place means you've made a pact with Satan or are otherwise some sort of Humanoid Abomination; others, fellow immortals, want to kill you because doing so makes them more powerful, and the whole idea of your immortality is that "There Can Be Only One" so all of you will have to kill each other at some point, until only a single one is left. By the way, the only way to kill you is Off with His Head!- the former group probably don't know this, so prepare yourself for a lot of painful non-deaths. Which, it so happens, is how your immortality was activated in the first place - you died a violent death to get it. And you probably didn't know about it until that happened.
- Endgame really drives this nail deep with Connor. Due to all he's lost he's one step away from being a death seeker ans is all to willing to sacrifice himself to Duncan so he can use his power to defeat Jacob Kells.
- We've seen in the very beginning of the first movie how people react when someone mysteriously survives an horrible death.
- Not all immortals were like that, though. I mean, Kurgan quite obviously was pretty content with his lot in eternal life. I guess the secret to enjoying immortality is to become a psychopath who simply doesn't care... whch oddly enough kinda makes sense.
- Hocus Pocus has Thackery Binx cursed to live forever as a cat by the three witch antagonists, forcing him to live with his guilt of being unable to save his sister from them. Conversely, he three antagonists wish to be immortal (it was their goal when they were originally alive, but after being brought back to life, it was the only way to maintain it) by draining the youthful life forces of children.
- The premise of Hook is that Peter Pan realized the disadvantages of his eternal youth when he discovered Wendy had grown up and aged into an old woman. Which made him decide to give up his immortality, return to earth, and live a normal life.
- In The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Doctor Parnassus makes a wager with the Devil, with immortality as the prize. A thousand years later, Parnassus is a broken-down drunk and so miserable that he believes the Devil let him win just to torture him.
- In The Lord of the Rings Théoden's battle cry "DEAAATH!" seems a less ironic version of the above-mentioned "Do you want to live forever?" because it pretty much points out that death what is what they are all heading for. Points in favor: (1) Instead of being disheartened, the Rohirrim join in and throw themselves into battle, (2) Tolkien's idea of death as a gift (see below in literature).
- Arwen definitely has shades of this, because if she lives forever she will be parted from Aragorn, who is mortal.
- Pirates of the Caribbean:
- It seems ("Why are these things never clear?") that whoever stabs Davy Jones's heart will have to live forever, ferrying souls to the afterlife and being allowed to step on land only once in 10 years, or, if you don't ferry souls and skip out on your job, turn into a fishman. Davy Jones is depressed/angry, Will is willing to do it despite leaving his fiancee, and Jack Sparrow thinks it's freaking awesome, complete with an internal debate over whether one lifetime with unlimited rum access or an unlimited lifetime with rum every 10 years is more rum.
- Word of God however states that because Elizabeth waited the 10 years for Will, he is now released from it and gets to live with her and his son.
- The first movie, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, revolves around Barbossa and his crew trying to recollect all the cursed Aztec gold they stole. They're cursed with Immortality, except that food and drink is tasteless and they are constantly starving.
Barbossa: For too long I've been parched of thirst and unable to quench it. Too long I've been starving to death and haven't died. I feel nothing. Not the wind on my face nor the spray of the sea. Nor the warmth of a woman's flesh.
: It's not just about living forever, Jackie. It's about living with yourself
- In Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, it turns out that Blackbeard is the only character who honestly wants the Fountain's promised immortality for himself. Angelica wants it to prolong her time with her father; the Spanish want to destroy the Fountain, to protect God's exclusive right to dispense eternal life; King George's men, not realizing this, want to stop the Spanish king from claiming immortality; and Barbossa really only wants revenge on Blackbeard. Even Jack decides he'd really rather be remembered forever than become immortal due to Human Sacrifice.
Jack: "Oh, it's a pirate's life for me. Savvy?"
- In the film version of Queen of the Damned, this is the driving force behind Lestat's actions, and thus the entire movie.
"Immortality seems like a good idea, until you realize you're going to spend it alone."
- The 1985 film from New Zealand, The Quiet Earth, is about a man who finds himself the only man alive after an experiment he participated in to change the universal constants, except for two other survivors he later finds. He insists at one point that he can't die. And indeed he becomes the only one left alive, despite attempting at self-sacrifice, stranded in a universe which has had its physical laws rewritten.
- Razor Blade Smile has a common subtext about how a vampire can come to terms with living for centuries. By the end of the main plot it turns out that the entire conflict was exactly this, a game to while away the centuries with living pieces.
- Shadow of the Vampire. Count Orlock reads the book Dracula and is saddened by the scene where Dracula leaves a meal for Jonathan Harker, and remembers when he used to have servants to do such tasks for him, which reminds him of when he had a wife, family, estates etc, whereas as now he's just a scavenger living in a ruined castle.
- When the title character of Skellig is told he looks like a dead person, he very seriously replies, "I should be so lucky." He has completely given up on life, but says he is thousands of years old and is heavily implied to be an angel, so death is not even an option for him.
- In Troy, Achilles says that the gods envy humans "because we're mortal—because any moment might be our last."
- The angelic protagonist of Wings of Desire (and its American remake, City of Angels) gives up immortality for love as well.
- Exploited in The Wolverine by Ichirō Yashida to convince Logan to accept his "gift" of growing old and dying so he can live beyond his natural life span.
- The cult film Zardoz features a future Earth which has degenerated into two classes — a race of mortal slaves, and the immortal "Eternals." who live lives of purposeless luxury. Occasionally, an Eternal will develop a mental illness which makes them fall into a state of catatonia. (These people are called "The Apathetics"). If an Eternal commits a crime, they can be punished by being artificially aged (although they don't die — they just become permanently decrepit). The end of the movie has most of the Eternals joyously welcoming their own destruction at the hands of the "Exterminators," a primitive warrior class to whom the main character belongs.
- The 1990 short film 12:01 involves a man who encounters the destruction of the entire universe when it collides with another universe. But the process in fact sets the time back an hour. And there's nothing he can do to save the universe. So he lives the final hour of the universe, forever.
- In Vamps, this is one reason Goody and Stacy decide to give up vampirism and become human again. The other reason is that Stacy's unborn child won't survive unless Stacy becomes human. Goody and Stacy had fun as vampires, but admit that "being young is getting kinda old".
- In In Time, Henry Hamilton chooses to transfer his remaining lifespan to Will Salas, dying as a result, because he could no longer live with himself knowing that his rich compatriots hoard all the wealth to live forever and let the poor die.
- The Wandering Jew is a folklore character who is cursed with immortality after mocking Christ. He is consistently depicted as a decrepit old man who suffers for his sin.
- Cain, who is sometimes conflated with the Wandering Jew, may be considered an example. After killing his brother, the Lord promises that anyone who harms him (which may include Cain himself) will suffer God's wrath. He places a mark on Cain, so that everyone will know to leave him alone. Although not explicitly immortal, this guarantees that Cain will have a long time to suffer for his crime.
- In the Story of the Bamboo Cutter, an emperor is given the elixir of life by the beautiful Princess Kaguya as she departs, but refuses to drink it because if he won't be able to see said princess's beauty again, then he doesn't want to live forever.
- If you eat a Japanese mermaid you don't exactly live forever, but you live for a very long time, and your life will suck for the same reasons.
- Greek Mythology: Eos asked Zeus to grant her lover Tithonus immortality, but neglected to ask for eternal youth to go with it, and apparently Zeus was not in an especially giving mood when he granted her request. The result is that Tithonus shriveled away into increasing decrepitude. In some versions of the story, Eos eventually shut him up in a room with shining doors to babble endlessly in his senility, too weak to move; in other versions, he ultimately became a cicada, eternally living and begging for death.
- When Selene asked Zeus for Endymion's immortality, she carefully considered the consequences of her wish. Learning from the mistake of Eos, she phrased her request to keep Endymion perpetually in the state she had first met him in - as a handsome youth sleeping on a hillside.
- Prometheus's punishment was to live his immortal life as a torture. Every day, deadly wounds were inflicted upon him by an eagle sent to eat his liver. Every night, he would regenerate and heal to await the next assault from the bird.
- In Christianity this is considered to have been the fate of all humanity, if it weren't for the existence of Jesus Christ.
- This is the fate of Jack (of the Lantern). He was a evil man who tricked the Devil into being trapped in a tree by putting a holy symbol on the trunk whilst the Devil was in the tree. Jack would only allow the Devil down if he promised never to bring Jack into Hell. The Devil agreed. However, since Jack couldn't enter Heaven (remember, he was evil), he had no where to go after he died. The Devil gave him an ember of Hell to light his way, which Jack kept in a hollowed-out turnip. (Since pumpkins were more plentiful and easier to carve, they became the vessel in which the ember was kept.) Jack is now cursed to wander forever, carrying his lantern, a Jack-o-Lantern.
- Polgara, and to a lesser extent Belgarath and the other sorcerers, have shades of this in the Belgariad and Malloreon. Polgara gets to raise, live alongside and bury an entire succession of hidden royalty, as well as a lover and many many friends, while Belgarath has been mourning his dead wife for 5,000 years. At one point it is mentioned that the serenity of the Vale of Aldur and the continuity of the World Tree within it is all that keeps them sane.
- Jason and Anna in Finding Gaia get weary of their extended lives, and have different ways of coping with it.
- This defines the Nonmen in R.Scott Bakker's Second Apocalypse series. They gained immortality, but since they only evolved to deal with a couple hundred years' worth of memories, the millennia have driven many of them insane, some of them to the point where they commit major atrocities on purpose in order to so severely scar themselves emotionally and psychology that they can't forget it. Then add on the fact that most of those millennia have been defined by untold misery and suffering...
- Douglas Adams examples:
- Life The Universe And Everything: Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged, having seen and done everything there is to see and do, decides to dedicate the rest of his existence to insulting every single living being in the universe — in alphabetical order. It is interesting to note that the Guide points out that those who are naturally immortal are born with the psychological capacity to cope with immortality and would not suffer from this trope; Wowbagger's immortality was thrust upon him by accident, which is why he has such a hard time of it.
- Wowbagger makes a mistake, doing Arthur twice, which should mean he has to start over.
- Marvin has lived several times longer than the lifetime of the universe through various Time Travel mishaps. He hates it. He gets to die eventually.
- Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency: Professor Urban Chronotis, is, for no reason the book makes clear, an apparent immortal who is so old that he's forgotten most of his origins. He fears that his eventual fate will be to "sit alone in a darkened room, sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything but a little grey old head..." (Knowing the back story clears this up significantly: the story was originally going to be a Doctor Who story, with Reg as a fugitive Time Lord.)
- In Cordwainer Smith's Instrumentality stories, the Norstrilians have unlimited access to stroon and are potentially immortal. But stroon has "queer side-effects, so that most Norstrilians preferred to die in a thousand years or so."
- In Rick Riordan's fantasy series The Heroes of Olympus, Mars shows that he has this sentiment when speaking to his son Frank about Frank's dying grandmother.
Mars: "Life's only precious because it ends, kid. Take it from a god. You mortals don't know how lucky you are."
- Lloyd Alexander's short story, "The Stone", was about a man who found a stone that made him live forever - by stopping change, making everything on his farm exactly the same, day after day after day. He couldn't get rid of it easily, either - the stone was a Clingy MacGuffin.
- The Incarnations in Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality are indeed immortal, but most of them can voluntarily resign their positions and become mortal again. The only exceptions are War, who can die when there is no war on Earth; Time, who lives his life backwards until the moment of his birth, and Death, who must be killed by his successor, only possible if he goes without part of his "regalia".
- The protagonist from Isaac Asimov's Bicentennial Man is a robot, who can quite literally live forever by repairing himself whenever necessary. However, his wish is to be human. In an age of cybernetic prosthetics and replacement body parts, the boundary between man and machine blurs - and eventually, he gets himself legally declared human, but only after he introduces inevitable decay into his robotic brain, ensuring that he will eventually die like a human, rather than live forever as a robot.
- Also from Isaac Asimov, The Last Answer has God harnessing dead beings' inevitable desire to snuff it, in an effort to figure out how he himself can do the same.
- Natalie Babbitt's Tuck Everlasting. The main character sacrifices the chance to live forever with an immortal who loves her for a normal life. Note usually this kind of character has to choose between eternal life and a mortal love; here, she can get immortality and love... but gives up both. The Tucks are all, some more than others, unhappy about having to watch the world change around them and people they know (and sometimes love) pass away.
- In the Culture novels by Iain M. Banks, citizens of the Culture have the option of dying of old age (after several centuries of life), or having their age stabilized to become effectively immortal (assuming accidents don't happen). However, there's a cultural bias towards dying when your time is up, and choosing immortality is thought of as immature - although the Culture is all about IDIC and this bias is probably not a constant. Multiple other options are also present; you can Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence or store yourself to be revived at a later date (either physically or electronically). These options can be combined; not uncommonly, those who elect to die also upload a version of themselves (presumably with tweaks so it won't get tired of living) so that their memories and experiences are not lost. The machine citizens, and especially the Minds, are immortal by default (again, barring no accidents), but emotional trauma can very rarely lead to a machine mind committing suicide.
- In Stephen Baxter's Manifold: Space, Nemoto keeps herself alive with advanced medical treatments for well over a thousand years, so she can deal with the problem of the alien Gaijin (and whoever the Gaijin are fighting). She doesn't seem to enjoy it much, and becomes extremely crotchety — but she's too much of a control freak to leave things in anyone else's hands.
- In Baxter's Xeelee Sequence of novels, a group of people known as Jasofts gain immortality. However they suffer in that ultimately, they can only hold one thousand years' worth of experiences, and live many times that, sometimes able to vividly remember events, before seeing something which brings back other memories and pushes those away.
- A significant subplot in Peter S. Beagle's The Last Unicorn involves Schmendrick, whose mentor made him immortal until he could come into his real power. When his power transforms the unicorn into a human woman, he tries to tell her about the beauty of things that can die, a lesson she learns all too well before she regains her immortality (and he loses his).
- From halfway through the book, when the unicorn is first transformed (and freaks out about being in a mortal body):
I was born mortal, and I have been immortal
for a long, foolish time, and one day I will be mortal again; so I know something that a unicorn cannot know. Whatever can die is beautiful — more beautiful than the unicorn, who lives forever, and who is the most beautiful thing in the world.
- Later, Amalthea wishes to choose death rather than become immortal and fall out of love with Lir.
- In C. J. Cherryh 's Morgaine Cycle the gates can be programmed to provide a kind of immortality for their users. The user's physical condition can be scanned upon entering a gate for the first time, and subsequently each time they enter a gate they will emerge on the other side in that original condition, thus resetting their biological clock to its earlier state. This pisses Vanye the hell off when he learns he's been thus fixed a few years before his physical prime.
- also by her in the Fortress series, we have Tristen, who is a wizard's shaping and was around for centuries as Barraketh,as long as history knows anyway. His memories in Fortress of Dragons imply millennia It is also implied that his previous life never died exactly, there are no graves for any of the original five Sihhe
- All Men Are Mortal, by Simone de Beauvoir. Besides the usual miseries of the immortal, Fosca is tormented by unreliability of people. He chose to become immortal so that he could make a political difference, only to find out that it's not time you need, it's people.
- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's story "The Ring of Thoth" is about an Egyptian who discovers, and injects himself with, an elixir which grants near-immortality, only to have the one he loves die of the plague before he can give her the elixir. The story is about his four-thousand-year search for the only poison strong enough to overpower the elixir.
- Rather chillingly adapted in Lord Dunsany's The Gods of Pegana. "Shall a man curse a god?"
- In "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream" by Harlan Ellison, the God-like Master Computer AM has made the five human characters practically immortal. Since AM is a completely insane artificial intelligence consumed with a limitless, bottomless loathing for humanity and a psychopathic glee in sadistically torturing the characters, who are the last humans left on Earth, this is not a good thing.
- Lyndon Hardy's Master of the Five Magics series. In Riddle of the Seven Realms, it is revealed that demons adopt various hobbies to avoid succumbing to this trope. Palodad the Reckoner, under its influence, turns into a Chessmaster Omnicidal Maniac.
- In Time Enough for Love, by Robert A. Heinlein, the main character, after living about 2,000 years, decides it is time to die because he's done it all. He's convinced to stick around in a sort of reverse-Scheherezade Gambit, where he'll tell his life story if they can, by the end, manage to come up with something genuinely new for him to do. Eventually they find two things: Time Travel and Opposite Sex Clones.
- In Brian Jacques's Castaways of the Flying Dutchman series, the main characters are an immortal boy and dog. Leaving aside the fact that the boy is stuck at age 14 forever, they have to leave everyone they ever get close to before someone notices that they don't age.
- Mercedes Lackey's auto-racing elves who get involved with humans are in fact traumatized by the deaths of the people around them, especially lovers and spouses, but they live with it.
- One of the stories in Ursula K. Le Guin's Changing Planes discusses a plane where, it is rumored, immortals live. As it happens, there are a handful of them, the result of bites by a certain fly. They don't get eternal youth, and are condemned to endless agony. One of the plane's natives, who watches over one immortal in particular, notes that eventually the people bury their immortals, and over centuries their suffering apparently condenses them into a diamond. The narrator asks if the native is afraid of the flies because of this, and is told "There's only one"; as there are many flies on the plane, the narrator theorizes that there is one immortal fly that curses the bitten with immortality.
- In C. S. Lewis's The Magician's Nephew, a tree's fruit comes with the warning that it brings eternal life and despair. The White Witch eats it, and from her expression, the title nephew understands the warning. Narnia is then protected from her by a tree grown from one of the apples; she cannot stand to come near it afterward.
- The Witch tries to tempt Digory (the Nephew) into eating the apples and living forever as well, invoking We Can Rule Together. Digory promptly responds that he'd rather live a normal amount of time and go to heaven rather than stay living and watch all his friends die.
- In the Discworld book Lords and Ladies, the not-nice kind of The Fair Folk invade Lancre. Granny, who seems to be going senile (turns out she's not), is mocked by the ever-young elf Queen for growing old... and Granny turns the insult right around:
"What don't die can't live. What can't live don't change. The smallest creature that dies in the grass knows more than you ... you've lived longer'n me but I'm older'n you, and I'm better'n you."
- Also, in
Faust Eric, Eric's third wish is to live forever. The demon granting his wishes sends Eric back in time to the beginning of the universe. He's not too thrilled with the prospect of having to spend several billion years as the only living thing in it.
- Carrot uses the trope name in an inspirational speech in one of the Watch books. Sergeant Colon snarkily replies that he doesn't know, ask him again in a few centuries.
- In A Hat Full of Sky, the hiver. It has existed longer than existence itself, it is close to being omniscient and thus experiences every smell, sight, etc. along with having total recall. Simply put: it experiences everything there is and has been all at once, and this drives it to suicide. Death is the only thing it does not know though, so it possesses mortal creatures in an attempt to understand death and how to actually die.
- In Mort, Mort quickly realises that Death wants to lose their Duel to the Death, and also that he really doesn't want the Klingon Promotion that comes with winning (which doesn't stop either of them fighting to the best of their ability, until Death figures out the third option). In Soul Music Death explains that he couldn't extend Mort and Ysabell's lives, because granting them immortality wouldn't have been the same thing and they didn't want it. Albert, on the other hand, reckons an eternity of not-quite-life as Death's manservant suits him just fine, given what's waiting for him on the other side.
- In Strata, people working for "The Company" can get treatments to which make them effectively immortal. Despite this, most people don't live more than a few hundred years, because they grow tired of life where they have already done everything they can do. Not that they commit suicide as such; they just keep doing more and more dangerous things to get the same excitement, and eventually one of them goes wrong.
- There are similar themes in many Larry Niven short stories and novellas (unsurprisingly, since Strata is a blatant Niven pastiche) but this trope is subverted by Louis Wu in the Ringworld novels.
- A particularly disturbing twist on this trope is Claudia from Anne Rice's The Vampire Chronicles, a young girl who is made into a (theoretically immortal) vampire and matures mentally and emotionally, but not physically. This leaves her perpetually dependent on others, embittered and perhaps not entirely sane. It is later revealed that vampire law prohibits the making of child vampires for precisely this reason.
- Indeed, several characters appearing throughout the entire series decide to commit suicide because they are bored with eternal life or just tired of living in "The Savage Garden." The usual means is walking into a fire but later on, we learn that many senior, i.e. "powerful," vampires use their power of flight to ascend to high altitude to greet the morning sun.
- A similar variation can be found in the Anita Blake novels. One of the more disturbing vampires, called Valentina, was turned at the age of eight by a vampire pedophile who was bringing over children to be his permanent companions. The few vampires turned as children who survive a few centuries and described as twisted things. In Valentina's case, "(She) was taken before her body grew large enough for much physical pleasure. She has turned such energies into other avenues of interest," which in this case means torturing others.
- Harry Potter has many Immortality Seekers and many ways of achieving immortality so it runs the gamut of all views of immortality. Of the three known methods, two of which are evil: one is drinking unicorn blood (which will save its drinker at the cost of a "half life; cursed life") and the second involves murder. The bottom line is Don't Fear the Reaper.
- In Jeffrey Sackett's Mark of the Werewolf, the main character is cursed with immortality. This results in him forgetting anything beyond two hundred years past (including his own name), transforming into an Ax-Crazy werewolf every night of the full moon (unless outfitted with a Restraining Bolt beforehand), and being invulnerable to damage in any form. The book revolves around his attempts to figure out how to die.
- In Barry Sadler's Casca: The Eternal Mercenary, the titular character is a Roman legionnaire cursed by Jesus Christ to walk the world forever as a soldier. Amongst his challenges are his fear of being buried alive (briefly realized during one of his journeys in the Orient, and notably predating the Heroes episode with Adam being buried), and the problem with never being able to truly find love since he stays young forever while his various wives/girlfriends/lovers age and eventually die.
- In The Book of Mormon, the Three Nephites are granted the gift/curse to live until Christ returns, and (according to the BOM itself) were still going strong roughly 400 years later.
- Unusual use of an elf with this trope: Drizzt Do'Urden from R.A. Salvatore's Forgotten Realms books. He spends a number of books angsting over eventually losing his friends and loved ones and even debating whether or not to get into a relationship because of it. He gets over it by adopting a carpe diem mentality.
- In Flash Forward by Robert J. Sawyer, one of the main characters is approached by a man offering to increase his lifespan through new medical techniques. In the second "Flash," he had seen that if he accepts the offer he has the chance to live forever. He saw the future of mankind, with humans eventually dismantling the Earth and using the materials to build a Dyson Sphere, and then spreading throughout the galaxy. He saw himself on another world, in a new, mechanical body. The offer is made later, but we never learn whether he accepted it.
- The character Tithonus from Greek Mythology and the Struldbrugs from Jonathan Swift's novel Gullivers Travels both suffer the torment of eternal life without the benefit of eternal youth. Although they never die, they age at the normal rate, and so are condemned to an eternity in decrepit ancient bodies.
- In the third part of Gullivers Travels, there are people in Luggnagg who do live forever. However, they still age normally and suffer greatly from senility. The Luggnaggians thus do not particularly desire immortality.
- They consider the ones who became senile to be better off - at least they forgot their bodies were degrading, and what they had once been. Imagine being trapped in a body too weak to move, remembering how you would play, frolic, run, perhaps being too weak to talk but having all these thoughts in your head... it would be torture.
- Lord of the Rings. Death isn't called 'Eru's gift' for nothing. It is heavily suggested that fear of death is actually created by Morgoth to mess with humans. It's implied that for Men there is a possible life after death, outside Arda; while Elves, who are bound to Arda, may not survive when it is undone. The elves are bound to the world forever; even if they die, they are stuck in the halls of Mandos and can eventually become re-embodied in Valinor. Thus, they experience the entire lifetime of the world, and time weighs on them. The Silmarillion says that even the Valar will eventually envy humans' ability to die and leave the world.
- Naturally, immortality ceases to be all it's cracked up to be for elves who fall in love with mortal men, and are forced to contemplate a literal eternity of grieving for them.
- In LOTR, at one point Sam, when pondering Smeagol/Gollum (who is a Hobbit-like creature given, if not immortality, a lifetime extended centuries beyond his proper span), gets a little hint of what Gollum's existence has been like. Preserved out of his time by the Ring, far beyond kin, friends, and everything he knew, a stranger in a different world. Utterly alone, living endless days in the dark, entrapped by a Ring he can't escape and can't give up and loathes. When Bilbo does surrender the One Ring, unique in all its history, with the help of Gandalf, he feels an instant sense of relief as his natural state of being returns.
- Unique only up to that point. Sam later returns the Ring to Frodo after rescuing him from Cirith Ungol. Maybe Hobbits have an inherent resistance to the Ring's temptation.
- It is implied in LOTR that Men possess a limited amount of life, and the only way to achieve immortality is to spread their limited lifeforce increasingly thinly over longer periods of time until they are reduced to immaterial shades.
"'I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread."
- This is the entire premise behind the Tide Lords series.
- In Gaunt's Ghosts, the Tanith First and Only have a battlecry: "Men of Tanith! Do you want to live forever?"
- In the Ciaphas Cain (HERO OF THE IMPERIUM!) novels, this is made fun of, when Cain, upon hearing one of his sergeants yell this line to his men, remarks that nobody talks like that outside badly written combat novels.
- It was probably aimed directly at the above Gaunt's Ghosts example (Gaunt himself was mentioned in passing in one of Amberly's footnotes).
- In the story "Child of All Ages", the protagonist, having lived several hundred years as a permanent child, is quite happy to continue life. Even if she is stuck as a child. She does bemoan the fact that modern society makes it pretty hard to be independent as a child, but she still can't wait to see what life brings next.
- Wild Cards has Golden Boy who stopped aging at his early twenties and shows no signs of aging. Since he's also invulnerable as part of his Combo Platter Powers, it's unlikely anything else will kill him either. His situation is somewhat aggravated by the fact that he's already cut off from his peers, who despise him for rolling over and testifying at McCarthy's anti-Ace hearings. Thus he is presented with the possibility of an immortality of being reviled and hated by anyone who knows who he is.
- Even after risking his life by falling to his possible death - one of the few events in which he is uncertain to survive - to help foil the plot of a major super-villain to become President, he is still almost universally reviled and only grudgingly given credit for his help by a bare handful of people.
- Dr. Tachyon, a long-lived Human Alien, also has to deal with seeing humans age and die around him. To comfort himself, he drinks heavily and sleeps around. (Of course, it's implied he'd do those things anyway).
- There's also Demise, who had already died from the virus and had been resurrected by Tachyon and may well have been able to live forever had his corpse not been reduced to ashes after he'd been killed for the nth time.
- The Sleeper wakes up young and healthy (relatively) every time he sleeps, ever since the first outbreak in 1946. He lampshades this with the occasional "they sure didn't (X) like that when I was your age."
- The Misenchanted Sword by Lawrence Watt-Evans. The main character receives a sword which will not allow him to die until he has killed 100 men with it. He wisely decides to live forever and not kill people, but reverses this decision because of the other problems with the sword. It doesn't save him from age, and it doesn't protect him from injury. At one point he nearly "dies" because of blood loss but is still mysteriously alive the next day. When he discovers his eyesight is fading, he goes off to kill 100 men and rid himself of the sword before he becomes unable to do so. The end of the book reverses the trope once more: The main character discovers magic that will keep him young and can be added onto the immortality the sword already gives him. Once he does so, he's quite happy to be immortal.
- This becomes a vague plot point in Brisingr, when Eragon and Roran discuss Eragon's immortality. Eragon has concluded that this forces him to marry an elf, who are all immortal, rather than a human woman, and so thus his drooling over Arya (who refused him multiple times) is justified.
- Some fantasy fiction, such as R.A. Salvatore's Forgotten Realms novels and the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks published in the 1980s and 1990s, depicts demons as being horribly bored and depressed by their endless existence in Hell, the novelty of torturing their servants and fellow demons having long since worn off. Of course, their boredom and frustration make them all the more eager to torture humans and other mortal creatures when they find their way to our world.
- At first played straight with the Cullens (and maybe the other vampires). Later averted, since Edward finally gets to change Bella to be a vampire too.
- Aro of the Volturi is an example, according to Word of God: "After three thousand years, you start to go nuts. That is what was intended for Aro in the book, and I hope it's in the movie."
- Byron's closet drama Manfred is a melodramatic refashioning of the Faust legend. When he summons seven Spirits who swear to do his bidding, he asks not for power but for forgetfulness. The entire play is his search for death, since the star under which he was born cursed him to live forever.
- There are many immortal individuals and species in the Malazan Book of the Fallen, most of whom suffer from this trope. Examples include Kallor, who was cursed with immortality but not eternal youth for being a genocidal bastard (the punishment also preventing him from ascending - the usual method of obtaining near immortality for very powerful people[it's a complicated process]), and the T'lan Imass, zombie neanderthals who stripped themselves of their mortality to better cleanse the world from the Jaghut and now wish nothing more than to be freed from their Vow and just die already.
- Nathan Brazil, the immortal Guardian of the Well of Souls from Jack Chalker's Well World saga, suffers this from time to time because his role as the emergency repair man for the universe means he absolutely cannot die. The universe simply won't allow it. Every time he reboots the universe (it's happened at least five times so far) he's been forced re-live all of human history until the next time he's needed. Oh, and did I mention that rebooting the universe requires him to kill every living creature in creation? He's tried various coping strategies, from blanking his memories to recruiting another to be his immortal companion (they had a falling out after 15,000 years or so) to "accidentally" recreating himself as a woman during the latest reboot, probably in the hope that will make it all different this go-round.
- While the denizens of John Varley's Eight Worlds series may all be potentially immortal (due to really advanced medical technology), very few of them actually live much beyond 300 years, largely due to the effects of this trope.
- As Ijon Tichy finds in Stanislaw Lem's Observation on the Spot, most people who've tried immortality in a seemingly "everything-is-possible" society of Lusania, didn't really like it. It seems that mortals' psychology (the guys in question are aliens, but surprisingly humanlike psychologically) is simply ill-suited to immortality. There are just six immortals who finally learned to cope and hasn't ended it all in different ingenious ways, and all of them don't like to talk about it.
- In an another Ijon Tichy story, he meets with an inventor who created an immortal soul. However, for that, the body has to be destroyed, and the soul is kept in a box, without any external stimuli. Tichy realizes that this is a fate worse than death. He tells to the inventor that people don't want immortality; they just want to live.
- And in yet another one, "The Twenty-first Voyage" from The Star Diaries all of the people turned immortal by advanced technique were driven to suicide by the immense machinery that encircled them all the time. As to the example from Observations on the Spot the rub lies in the fact that the nanomachines, as they gradually replace the living tissues of the immortalized, cause biological cells to eventually die out, making the subject became something that's no longer a living organism.
- Almost the same story happened in Strugatsky Brothers Noon Universe (specifically, Far Rainbow), except this time immortality was brought not by nanomachines, as in Lem's case, but by full-body cyborgization (although, given the state of technology in Noonverse at the point, nanomachines still would play the role, at the very least). Only one among the subjects remained stable and sane in the end, and it's implied that it was only because he wanted to observe the society and snark at its failings.
- Night's Dawn. The Western Europe Supervisor, part of a council that has secretly controlled Earth for centuries, leaves Earth when it appears to be falling to the Possessed and exiles himself on a prison planet where he can live a rougher but more interesting life.
- His Pandora's Star/Judas Unchained and the later Void Trilogy has a range of attitudes to immortality - everything from I-can't-take-it-any-more boredom to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence (but keep your body so you can visit the material world) to "I will stay in the real world for a thousand years just to make a difference." It's implied that the race as a whole has been modifying itself to cope, though there are few true Methuselahs in the real world.
- Diana Wynne Jones's The Homeward Bounders, which features multiple characters (including a number of mythological figures) condemned to eternal existence bouncing from world to world by the whim of malevolent beings known only as Them. In the end, They are defeated, but the protagonist elects to keep wandering in order to keep Them away because he cannot accept the place his world has become in the intervening time as "home."
- In Mockingbird, by Walter Tevis of The Man Who Fell to Earth fame, the robot Spofforth — doomed to live forever — constantly fantasizes about committing suicide, but his programming prevents him from attempting it until the last page, when the protagonist helpfully pushes Spofforth off the edge of a tall building.
- In Turnabout by Margaret Peterson Haddix, in the year 2000, a group of elderly people participate in a top secret experiment to prolong lives. They receive the first treatment. However, the second treatment is deadly. Two participants, Melly and Annie Beth manage to escape before receiving the second treatment. The book starts in 2085. The main characters have de-aged to the age of 15 and don't know what will happen to them after they de-age to the point of being babies or embryos.
- In The League of Peoples Verse, Oar's race is unable to die. Their minds eventually become exhausted and shut down, but their bodies continue to live on and on. As a result, they view death as something sacred.
- The short story "Mortal Gods" by Orson Scott Card has an alien race venerating mortal humans because they all, eventually, die - something they are unable to do.
- Card addressed this again in The Worthing Saga, which has a particularly sub-par method of "immortality"—go into a comatose state for an indefinite amount of time, and you won't be any older when you come out of it. Just about everyone who can use this does so, but outsiders tend to realize this sort of extended life doesn't allow for any more time spent doing things, and does result in your poorer friends dying significantly before you. (Also, it messes up their society—all their greatest artists and scientists spend so much time sleeping that their rate of creation slows down significantly).
- In More Information Than You Require, Julius Robert Von Mayer is portrayed as immortal. He goes from regretting it to unregretting it to regretting it again to reconsidering his regret to really regretting it to forgetting it to remembering it again. But he is stuck in a hospital, doing little more pushing pieces of crumpled-up paper around on a tray, and thinking about his kids (which he has outlived), and his numerous suicide attempts. FOREVER.
- In Peter David's Knight Life trilogy, Percival drinks from the Holy Grail while healthy, and is thus doomed to eternal life. When Arthur returns in the present day, he finds Percival drunk out of his mind in a New York City slum. He quickly whips him back into shape and made into one of his advisors. (And a good thing, too, because the Holy Grail is a big plot point for the last two books in the trilogy).
- Coleridge's Ancient Mariner brings a curse upon his ship, and the crew spends weeks adrift at sea. Death appears to claim the crew, while the Mariner is claimed by a woman called the "Nightmare Life-In-Death." He lives through excruciating pain and horror, and considers death to be a relief. Although not explicitly immortal, he is seen as an old man who spends the rest of his life telling his cautionary tale to anyone who crosses his path.
- Tom Holt's Flying Dutch. Most of the main characters are Vanderdecken and his functionally indestructible crew, forced to sea by the horrible stench that hangs around nearly all the time thanks to a dodgy elixir of life. One of them has adopted a hobby of regularly throwing himself off the top of the mast in the hope that this time it'll work. (All it usually results in is extra work for the ship's carpenter.)
- Phil Plait, the Bad Astronomer, wrote a short-short story about the problem with living forever, titled "Deep". (The title is a reference to the cosmological concept of deep time.)
- In Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, good-vampire Henry Sturges gives Abe a lecture on the disadvantages of being immortal, to explain why so many of his kind commit suicide in their third centuries. "Without death, life (becomes) meaningless. It is a story that can never be told. A song that can never be sung. For how would one finish it?"
- Moral kind of broken at the end of the book, when Henry brings Lincoln back as a vampire after his assassination.
- In Brent Weeks's The Night Angel Trilogy, the character of Durzo Blint is given immortality - with a catch. Durzo can still be "killed" in battle, but he always resurrects - with the twist that for every "death" he comes back from, one of his loved ones will die in his place. Over the course of seven centuries he turns from a Knight in Sour Armor into a bitter, sociopathic assassin.
- This is discussed in Octavia Butler's Fledgling. In the book, vampires (or Ina) can prolong the life of humans they frequently bite (but they cannot turn them into vampires). Vampires themselves live long lives, but this is usually not a problem because they tend to keep to themselves. The humans often have problems, though, because they have to explain to their family why they look so young.
- The short story "Divided by Infinity" applies this to the entire human race—it uses the many worlds hypothesis, then asserts that the human soul/consciousness/what-have-you is not destroyed when a given version of a person dies, but is instead transferred to whatever versions remain alive. Nobody ever dies, no matter how much they Wangst about it—they simply become less and less probable. (Not even suicide works, since there's always one version that chickens out.)
- In German author Wolfgang Hohlbein's Die Prophezeiung (The Prophecy) an Egyptian pharao curses a traitor with immortality for killing him. We're not shown exactly what happened in the meantime, but 3300 years later all he wants is to finally die. As that would also mean death for all the Egyptian gods (being kept alive by the last person to believe in them), they are divided in those wanting to help him and those wanting to prevent this.
- In the first century Satyricon by Petronius, Trimalchio, a secondary character, tells of visiting the Sibyl of Cumae:
For I myself saw the Cumaean Sibyl with my own eyes, hanging in a basket, and when the boys asked her, "Sibyl, what do you want?", she answered, "I want to die."
- T.S. Eliot used the entire quote, in the original mix of Greek and Latin, as an epigraph to "The Waste Land".
- One of the major plot arcs of the Deverry novels is the life of the wizard Nevyn, who in his youth swore an oath that he would not rest until he had set right the mistakes that had lead to the deaths of three of his friends, and found that the gods decided to make him keep that promise. As part of this, he frequently has to encounter the reincarnations of people he had met decades before, watch them die, and then meet them again decades later. The original three people his extended life centered around he runs into rather frequently over the course of his roughly 500 year lifespan.
- One of the main characters of the Tide Lords tetralogy is an 8,000 year old immortal who is tired of eternity and wants to die.
- Rock of Warrior Cats has recently been revealed to be immortal, but unable to interfere with the world.
- Odysseus rejects immortality when Calypso offers it as an incentive to stay with her. (Somewhat ironically, in one of the non-Homeric continuations of his story, his wife Penelope and his sons Telemachus and Telegonos are all made immortal by Circe after Circe's son Telegonos accidentally kills his father).
- Succession has the 'pink' faction in the Senate, who want to stop use of the symbiant and let folks die naturally. Several different factions and parties exist within this group with differing reasons for wanting the symbiont gone. Notably, some want this because they think it's better for society, as well as thinking that immortality is bad for individuals.
- In the Old Norse "Tale of Norna-Gest" (c. 1300 AD), the immortal Norna-Gest decides to die voluntarily at the age of three hundred years by destroying his own Immortality Inducer.
- In the science fiction novella "Aqua Vitae," turning immortal is only the beginning of the protagonist's problems...mostly because if you don't have your life in order in the first place, expanding your lifespan indefinitely won't make things any better.
- In Robert Reed's short story "Finished", when you are "finished" (brain pattern and memories uploaded into an artificial body), the state of mind you had when you were finished will affect the state of mind you have for the rest of your life. If you are finished while in a good mood, Living Forever Is Awesome. If you are finished while terminally ill and in horrible pain, Who Wants to Live Forever?
- Discussed in Star Trek: The Buried Age. Data raises the issue with Ariel, a member of an immortal species. He points out that literature in many cultures explores the possibly unbearable tediousness of immortality. Ariel responds that to her people, life is too full of variety and opportunities to connect with others, and they have no issue with their non-aging status.
- The title character of the Mediochre Q Seth Series has an insane Healing Factor which renders him trapped with a fifteen-year-old body indefinitely - he's about 400 at the time of the series. He doesn't like being immortal much, and he certainly doesn't like spending his immortality in mid-puberty. He's also possibly a little bit insane, and it's implied that this eccentricity is a coping mechanism. Worse, however, is his friend Melz, whose lesser Healing Factor rendered her trapped in a slow-aging body that's approaching 100 and - despite being blind, deaf and wheelchair-bound, isn't dead yet.
- Firebird: The Katschei never seems to eat his magical fruit, or despoil his maidens (he more makes them dance and sing so he can prove he has power, not because he lusts for them), or even enjoy anything. It would appear that having his heart ripped out (selling his soul) removed his ability to enjoy anything other than power.
- In L. Jagi Lamplighter's Prospero's Daughter trilogy, Prospero and his children seem to handle their immortality on the whole. They do, however, suffer anguish at the loss of beloved spouses and children, and the issue of maintaining identities has recently grown much more difficult. Refusing Heaven is a burden to Cornelius; he must return to blindness and hard work.
- In Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus, while the two men who start the competition appear to have warded off the boredom issue with such games, the discovery that they do not age (except the twins) has a heavy impact on those involved in the circus, albeit mostly concentrated on hiding that they do not age.
- In Michael Flynn's Spiral Arm novel On the Razor's Edge, Dominic Tighe discovers that his Mayfly-December Romance has a nasty edge because the Technical Name has grown bored with ordinary relations.
- The fate of Jonathan Tulvey in The Book of Lost Things.
- Explored in Elantris. Ten years prior to the start of the book the Elantrians changed from virtually immortal magic-wielding gods to withered people who couldn't die and couldn't heal from any wound. Any injury they took would remain with them forever, including the pain. The accumulated pain and hunger from mere existence eventually becomes too much for their sanity, eventually lapsing into a catatonic state.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- In the third season, characters seem to take turns pointing out all of the above to Angel. Even Spike (although he mostly mocks the idea of him and Buffy being "friends"). Angel agrees; he would rather be human again.
- Sid the demon slayer, cursed to immortality in his puppet body, points out that his body is dust and bones, but all he wants is to be free of the damn thing. While the EU later shows that he may still be both alive and trapped in the puppet body.
- Poor Merrick in The Movie was also immortal (well, at leastbiologically so), and had to spend several centuries wandering the earth to find and train each new Slayer, only to have to start all over again after the girls all were killed or retired. And to think all he wanted was to be a bootmaker....
- The Mayor seems pretty happy with his Immortality but notes how horrible it was to see his wife age normally and grow to despise him for his eternal youth. He says that he doesn't want Angel and Buffy to go through the same thing that he did.
- The last season had an episode with a rather nightmare inducing ending. The gang manages to stop a malevolent spirit of a horrendous sociopathic killer who had been sacrificing other spirits to keep himself "undead" for nearly a century. Angel has the spirit given a physical body that cannot age so that he can no longer use his undead powers. Wolfram & Hart then lock him up in a little room indefinitely. The scariest part is that not only was this room already built for this purpose, there were dozens of rooms like this in the hall they walked through.
- Angel is an example of this; he wants to be human again.
- The main point of Forever Knight is that, after a long life as a vampire, Nick "wants to become mortal again" (which perplexes the other vampires in the series).
- 2000 year old Godric from True Blood becomes weary of his existence and chooses to expose himself to sunlight at dawn.
- Alias: Arvin Sloane solves Rembaldi's riddle while in an underground chamber, gaining immortality. Jack Bristow finds him and detonates a bomb. The explosion kills Jack and buries Sloane alive under tons of rubble, doomed to be alone and immobile, yet conscious, for the rest of time.
- In Doctor Who, Jack Harkness was made "a fixed moment in time" as a side effect of his resurrection by the empowered Rose in "The Parting of the Ways". He can be killed, but no matter what caused his death, his body eventually heals and he revives with full physical and mental function intact. He initially sought a "cure" for his condition, but gave up hope of finding one after learning that the Doctor couldn't help him. It is heavily implied that Jack is actually the Face of Boe, who dies in the year 5,000,000,053.
- Both the "Mawdryn Undead" and "The Five Doctors" are based around people who sought immortality, and it didn't end well for any of them.
- In "The Family of Blood" the Doctor was being pursued by creatures who wished to gain long-lived nigh-immortal bodies like that of the Doctor. The Doctor granted them immortality, but punished them severely. One was wrapped in unbreakable chains. One was thrown into a collapsing galaxy. One was trapped inside ALL the mirrors. One was suspended in time and posed as a scarecrow.
- The Fourth Doctor story, "The Brain of Morbius," is a direct articulation of the trope. The Doctor openly states that the Time Lords reject permanent immortality, even though they could theoretically extend their regeneration cycle indefinitely.
- Indeed, since the reboot, the Doctor himself has occasional moments of this, having advanced to the age of 1,200 (at least), been forced to destroy his entire race and home planet, and seen many of his human friends age and die.
Tenth Doctor: Sometimes I think Time Lords live too long.
- It's sentiment shared by the Eighth Doctor, moments before his death, ironically, when he meets the Sisters of Karn once again.
Eighth Doctor: You're the Sisterhood of Karn, keepers of the Flame of Utter Boredom.
Eighth Doctor: That's the one.
- As a contrast to Jack, in the second series of Torchwood, after Owen dies and is resurrected, there's an entire episode about how his life sucks now that he's super-undead. Great quotes include "You get to live forever... I get to die forever," and "I can't drink, I can't sleep, I can't shag... and those are three of my favorite things." Also, he doesn't heal anymore, leading to inconveniences when he slices his hand open with a scalpel. Admittedly this is more about the character having to live through being dead rather than having to live forever, but it's pretty close. Indeed, Jack's distaste for his own immortality means he probably regrets choosing to resurrect Owen, which he didn't know would last more than a few minutes.
- In Children of Earth viewers are frequently reminded how horrible it would be to have Jack's immortality. Despite seemingly coming to terms with his 'condition' in series three of the new Who, his weariness towards his immunity to death appears to be rekindling.
- The Miracle Day series shows us what happens when every human being gains immortality but without Jack's Super Healing Factor. People live on as heads with the rest of their bodies destroyed and some people engage in horrific processes to make sure their enemies are destroyed beyond any recovery. On top of that you have all the logistical, political and religious issues inherent with an undying population.
- An episode of Star Trek: Voyager centered around a member of the Q continuum, who wanted more than anything to kill himself after growing bored with eternal omnipotence, and who had been imprisoned by the continuum to prevent that from happening.
- In the episode "Time's Arrow" of Star Trek: The Next Generation (a episode that begins with Data discovering his own severed head from centuries in the past, implying that despite his agelessness, his death is still inevitable), Data said he took comfort in the idea of being mortal, since otherwise it would mean that he would likely outlive all of his friends, family, and everyone he's ever cared about. Then he would make new friends and people he cared about... and outlive them as well.
- Several episodes of The Twilight Zone. "Long Live Walter Jameson" focused on the "friends die, you don't" angle, with the added loophole of only being free of death-by-natural-causes but not invincible to lethal accidents. "Escape Clause" focused on the "everything is boring now" angle, to the point where the character killed his wife, expecting to get the death penalty and hoping the electric chair would be exciting enough. Too bad his lawyer managed to get him life in prison. He then pulled the escape clause (dying) in his Deal with the Devil.
- In the Lexx episode "Brigadoom," we find out that the Brunnen-G race had largely become effectively immortal toward the twilight of their existence. They could be killed by unfortunate circumstances, though, and most of the populace was absolutely batshit paranoid about not doing anything that could possibly have a remote chance of having that happen. But when they found out they were going to be wiped out by His Divine Shadow anyway, most decide to not bother putting up a fight and die like animals. A few young ones, born recently and not yet bored with life decide to fight. Their leader, Kai, was punished with the greatest sanction their society had for a prior incident, that punishment was mortality.
- Fate not being without a sense of irony, Kai was made a Divine Assassin, an immortal, nigh-unkillable warrior. Kai then comes to wish for mortality so he can experience death properly. This wish was granted by Prince, who's implied to be Satan. Prince being Prince, he chose to do it in the one way that would hurt his companions the most: moments before a suicide run he'd have otherwise survived as a Divine Assassin.
- It's implied that it was Kai and the other young ones who were partly responsible for the fate of the Brunnen-G. The planet was protected by an impenetrable shield. Supposedly, not even His Divine Shadow could pierce it. The young ones decide to leave the planet, and their actions result in the shield weakening.
- Heroes: Takezo Kensei/Adam Monroe is almost immortal, and because Humans Are Bastards he lives to witness centuries of cruelty and evil, goes quite mad (in both the "insane" and "angry" senses) and tries to kill off most of humanity.
- In New Amsterdam, John Amsterdam was given immortality by an ancient spell that will only end when he finds true love. True to this trope, after a few hundred years he wants to do just that.
- In one Supernatural episode, an increasingly desperate and unhinged Sam tries to get immortality for Dean (and for himself so Dean wouldn't be alone), to keep Dean from going to hell. Completely forgetting that this could be the worst thing he could ever come up with. In so many, many, many ways.
- Although, in that case it was less Dean was crazy about the immortality itself and more of the form that immortality would take.
- In "The Curious Case of Dean Winchester", a witch runs high-stakes Poker games for years of life instead of money. The witch is an expert player and has managed to extend both his life and that of his girlfriend for centuries beyond their natural limit. The witch himself thinks this is pretty swell, but his girlfriend, having watched her daughter die of old age, is sick of it. She ultimately decides to give her husband all of her remaining years and dies at the end of the episode.
- In the sixth season episode of The X-Files, "Tithonus," a photographer documents violent crime as soon as it happens in the hope that he will see death and allow death to finally come for him because he only wants to die after two hundred years, while specifically noting that he can't even remember his wife's name when Scully claims immortal life would allow infinite opportunities to love and learn-apparently not. As a result of the events of this episode, Scully is now immortal, but it seems like she hasn't realized it yet.
- That explains the psychic's answer in the episode "Clyde Bruckerman's Final Repose" when Scully asks him how she will die. (He says she doesn't.)
- "You know, there are worse ways to go, but I can't think of a more undignified way than autoerotic asphyxiation."
- LOST: due to Jacob's touch, Richard Alpert stops aging for about 140 years, serving as his go-between with Island's inhabitants. After Jacob's death, he's experiencing a mental breakdown due to loss of purpose in his life and asks Jack to kill him, because he can't even do that. However, he is eventually given a new purpose and when another person takes Jacob's place, Richard's gift/curse is lifted from him. Beginning to age again and spotting his first gray hair, Richard realizes that he still wants to live.
- A more straight example is the character known only as "Mother." Tired of being immortal protector of the Island, she uses the opportunity to talk Jacob into taking the job from her and then cons his brother into killing her. Her last words to her killer are "Thank you."
- On Smallville, it's implied several times by precognitive characters that Clark will have to deal with outliving his human loved ones. He's not looking forward to that.
- The character of Curtis Knox actually has had to deal with this multiple times, leading him to commit multiple murders to acquire meteor-infected body parts so his (current) wife can live forever with him, since he is immortal.
- He's like a possible future version of Clark. Made more pointed by the fact that Knox is played by Dean Cain, who played a previous incarnation of Superman.
- More likely he's an Expy of Vandal Savage. Dean Cain was simple Stunt Casting, as Smallville was happy to bring on ANY Guest star who'd in any way been attached to a Previous Superman Project
- Charmed had Cole go mad after getting immortality. At one point, he's about to put himself in a guillotine and gleefully saying "I can't wait to see how I survive this one!" only for Piper to save him before he teleports away to pursue another unrelated scheme.
- On Babylon 5 Lorien mentions that immortals cease to bother with anything because everything fades with time. Indeed, most of the immortals on the show have fared poorly-the Vorlons and Shadows are both almost universally insane. Some of the First Ones have ended up so insular they've never talked to anyone in centuries.
Lorien: At first we were kept in balance by birth rate. Few of us were ever born, less than a handful each year. Then I think the Universe decided that to appreciate life, for there to be change and growth, life had to be short. So, the generations that followed us grew old, infirm, and died. But those of us who were first, went on. We discovered the Vorlons and the Shadows when they were infant races and nourished them, helped them and all the other races you call the First Ones. In time, most of them died, or passed beyond the rim to whatever lies in the darkness between galaxies. We've lived too long, seen too much. To live on as we have is to leave behind joy and love and companionship, because we know it to be transitory, of the moment. We know it will turn to ash. Only those whose lives are brief can imagine that love is eternal. You should embrace that remarkable illusion-it may be the greatest gift your race has ever received.
: Good luck to you in your holy cause, Captain Sheridan. May your choices have better results than mine. Remembered not as a messenger, remembered not as a reformer, not as a prophet, not as a hero... not even as Sebastian. Remembered only...as Jack
- In the show Roar, Longinus is cursed with immortality after killing Jesus. He can change between his form where he looks how old he was when he killed Jesus, and when he looks his actual age.
- In Andromeda, the characters encounter a ship which murdered her crew along with an entire planet, and spent three centuries mad. She ends up pulling a Suicide by Cop.
- The inhabitants of the World of the Immortals suffers from this in Spellbinder: essentially a group of Georgian-era nobles made immortal by a botched cure for world-ending plague, all of them are infertile. Without children, their society is hopelessly stagnant, to the point that the only real creativity demonstrated by the Immortals is in the construction of robots- especially robots that can mimic children. And then Kathy shows up...
- Helen Magnus from Sanctuary feels this way after the death of her daughter. Her attempt to find a cure for her immortality does not end well.
- Actually, it does. The episode was a Reset Button showing what would happen if she had taken the cure.
- And then Helen had to jump 113 years back in time to stop Adam Worth from changing the past. After that was over, there was no way to get back to her own time. So, Helen had to live out 113 years in hiding, unable to contact anyone she ever knew and forced to watch horrible things happen without being able to do anything about it to prevent changing history herself, until finally she reached the point in time she first left. She was 147 when the series started. At the end, she was more than 270. It's no wonder she's jaded.
- In the British drama series Misfits, Deadpan Snarker Nathan Young is somewhat aggravated by his rather idiosyncratic brand of immortality, not so much because he finds the idea unappealing, but because it only causes him to be resurrected several days after his death. By which time he has been buried alive.
- Laura/Jade from The Outer Limits (1995) episode "Last Supper" doesn't age, is immune to all diseases and poisons, and has an incredible Healing Factor. She grows tired of the endless cycle of having to leave her lovers behind. When her boyfriend learns her secret, he's repulsed, until his father (one of her past lovers) lectures him on how she is a good person who deserves happiness, so stay and love her as long as possible.
- The Xena: Warrior Princess villainess Callisto eventually got sick of her godhood-induced immortality when she had nothing to live for and wanted Xena to kill her with the Hind's Blood Dagger, but Xena refused to give Callisto what she wanted until she saw Gabrielle perish, realizing that Callisto now had something worth living for.
- The Curiosity episode "Can You Live Forever?" plays with this concept, outlining the practical concerns of immortality-replacing lost limbs, rejuvenating dead tissue, increasing memory once the organic brain is full, etc. - and how they can be addressed through technological means. The "outliving your loved ones" issue is touched upon briefly, but the show does address a bigger problem in more detail: if your immortality is dependent on technology, what happens when that technology is wiped out by an Extinction-Level Event? Luckily the subject is Adam Savage, who is nothing if not resourceful.
- Highlander: The Series: Many immortals are shown to become psychopaths or devoted to the point of zealotry to some cause that gives meaning to their existence, whether it is "The game" or eliminating potential dictators. Some immortals-namely the good guys-are shown to avert the trope by balancing the loneliness of immortality by enjoying life to the fullest and using their immortality to develop new pastimes and experience the world like no humans can. For example, Methos-the oldest immortal-has written a journal chronicling most of his life and experiences (at least some of it-he is older than writing, so some stuff went undocumented). The episode "Stone of Scone" shows this very well. The show also explores some of the more tragic possibilities, such as a villain who spends 70 years in a jail cell before finally being released, or an immortal with mental handicaps.
- Some immortals (at least a couple of them seen in one episode) have solved the "significant other" problem by falling in love with another immortal. Which makes perfect sense and is a very good solution. Duncan himself tried this with Amanda and his wife, seen in Highlander: Endgame. It is a very good solution, until you remember that "There can be only one."
- In Warehouse 13 the Count of St. Germain was made immortal by his brother Paracelsus. He personally doesn't seem to mind but his wife and teenage son Nicholas were immortalized as well, and Nick in particular is a bit angsty about having all his girlfriends lose interest in a 15-year old boy then marry someone else, grow old, and die. So his mother busts his uncle out of the Warehouse's bronze sector thinking he can reverse it.
- In the Grand Finale of Alias, Arvin Sloane achieves Complete Immortality...just in time to be caught in a cave-in and buried for all eternity under a mountain of rubble.
- In the Sesame Street special Don't Eat the Pictures: Sesame Street at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Big Bird and Snuffy meet a young boy whose parents died thousands of years ago, but the boy was put under a curse where he must remain alive forever as a young boy and not join his parents, who have become stars in the sky, until he can correctly guess the answer to the riddle, "Where does today meet yesterday?" the answer is "in a museum"
- One storyline on Soap involved Burt being abducted by aliens, one of whom takes Burt's place on Earth. At one point Burt encounters his alien double, who points out to Burt that as long as he's in space, he'll live forever, which Burt actually doesn't want (and neither does the alien).
- On American Horror Story: Coven,Madame Delphine Lalaurie is given the "gift" of immortality by voodoo queen Marie Leveau, who then buries her alive. When Fiona digs her up 150 years later and she eventually winds up in the hands of Marie again, she chops off Delphine's head. Later on, when Delphine is put back together by Queenie, she gets revenge on Marie by chopping her up and placing her bodyparts all over the city.
- The first episode of Eerie Indiana involves a widow who uses 'Foreverware' (A tuperware that keeps things as eternally fresh as long as its tightly sealed inside) to keep herself and her sons at the age they were when her husband died- in 1964. The twins ask Marshall for help ending this as, in their words, "Thirty years in the 7th grade is Hell."
- The protagonist of Forever is a medical examiner named Henry Morgan, who is actually 200 years old after being shot aboard a ship and thrown overboard for trying to protect a slave. Now, every time he dies, his body disappears, and he surfaces in the nearest body of water... naked. The only one who knows the truth is his friend Abe (who is actually his adopted son, whom he saved as a baby from a Nazi concentration camp). Henry is intimately familiar with the many faces of death and keeps a detailed journal on the many ways to die and how much it hurts. He seeks to figure out how he was made the way he is and how to end it. Worse, as he finds out at the end of the pilot, he's not the only one, and the other guy isn't shy about killing random people for fun or to prove his theory. On a positive side, his experiences have made him a detective on par with Sherlock Holmes (in the pilot, he identifies that a fellow subway passenger is Russian by a smudge of chocolate on her lips-he even knows which brand of chocolate) and can often correctly guess the cause of a person's death without even opening up the body.
- Referenced in the Stargate SG-1 episode "Tin Man." A robot alien named Harlan makes robot duplicates of SG 1 because he's the last of his kind and he's lonely. Harlan explains that most of his companions chose to end their lives as immortality didn't suit them. At the end of the episode, robot!O'Neill tells Harlan "people weren't meant to live forever." Harlan, at least, falls squarely under Living Forever Is Awesome.
- A problem with human immortality in Ciel The Last Autumn Story, as unlike Arc Dragons, humans can't endure the experience of living so long. Even when Marion Everett becomes immortal for the specific purpose of saving the world, the centuries of life wear her down to a shell of her former self.
- "Across the Highlands" by Kamelot.
- The Ayreon universe is based on living beings called Forever, who, you guessed it, live forever, but have lost the ability to feel emotions.
- "Xanadu" by Rush:
A thousand years have come and gone, but time has passed me by
Stars stopped in the sky
Frozen in an everlasting view
Waiting for the world to end, weary of the night
Praying for the light
Prison of the lost Xanadu
- David Bowie - "Never Get Old".
And there's never gonna be enough money
And there's never gonna be drugs
And we're never gonna get old
And there's never gonna be enough bullets
And there's never gonna be sex
And we're never gonna get old
- The Flaming Lips' "Talkin' 'Bout the Smiling Deathporn Immortality Blues (Everyone Wants to Live Forever)":
If I've lived a thousand times before
And if I'm gonna live anymore
Always brings me down
Everyone wants to live forever
Thinkin' that it'd be a lot better...
Everyone wants to live forever
But no one ever gets it together
- "Ace of Spades" by Motorhead: You know I'm born to lose / And gambling's for fools / But that's the way I like it baby / I don't wanna live forever
- "The Curse" by Josh Ritter, about an ancient Egyptian cursed with immortality. Set to a waltz.
- The Boston indie rock band Hayley Jane and the Primates has a song called "Mabel" about a 380-something immortal who can't bring herself to love anyone because everyone she's ever cared about is dead.
- Queen just so happens to be the Trope Namer. "Who wants to live forever... when love must die?"
- "Forever Young" by Alphaville
- Van Der Graaf Generator covered the subject in their song "Still Life" from the eponymous album.
- The song "Heaven" by Frazier Chorus is about how heaven would really just be boring
- In a Dilbert cartoon, an android made in Dilbert's image boasts that he will live forever and lets out an Evil Laugh. Then, a few seconds later, he complains that he's bored.
- In both Vampire: The Masquerade and Vampire: The Requiem, immortality is never considered a blessing. The foremost problem is that one spends eternity wrestling the Beast, but there's the matter of boredom as well. The Masquerade didn't really address this, as the Jyhad kept everyone busy, but it's an important issue in The Requiem: ennui is so pervasive that vampires have constructed a massive political/social framework, the Danse Macabre, almost solely to keep themselves occupied.
- The main sourcebook for The Requiem also tries to prevent PCs from sitting around and moping about all of the things mentioned at the top of the page by pointing out that anyone who wasn't strong-willed enough to deal with all of the assorted nastinesses of vampire society or didn't have a long term goal in mind would probably have just killed themselves by staying outside during the next sunrise after they were Turned. ...except that the things capable of permanently destroying a vampire (fire and sunlight) are very likely to cause the aforementioned Beast to temporarily hijack control of their body and cause them to flee from the potential source of Final Death.
- In Promethean: The Created, Prometheans can, provided they take care to go to the wastes often enough, theoretically endure for centuries, if not forever. Too bad their lives consist of being Walking Wastelands with everything trying to kill them.
- In Mummy The Resurrection, Mummies are imagined as truly immortal beings. Every time they suffer a physical death, their souls go to the Wraith underworld where they wait for their bodies to regenerate. Some choose to stay in the underworld, on the belief that if they search long and hard enough they can find a magical way to end their lives.
- In Exalted, the Great Curse wears away at your sanity as time goes on. The only known Solar to live long enough to die of old age was something around 7-10,000 years old. Add massive boredom and near-invulnerability on top of that and it's no wonder they went insane.
- Dante, the Blood Angels Chapter Master, in Warhammer 40,000 is said to be around 1500 years old (or older) but after more than a millenia of fighting he is getting tired of his life, and the only thing that keeps him going is his suspicion that the prophesy of a warrior in golden armour standing between the darkness and the God Emperor in the final battle wasn't about their Primarch Sanguinus during the Horus Heresy, but is about him and he aims to fulfill that goal.
- In a way, the Dark Eldar themselves, due to boredom. However what they get for an afterlife sucks many times more(and it's their own fault), pushing them to fight boredom by any means to keep themselves alive.
- The Soulless in the GURPS supplement GURPS Fantasy II: Adventures in the Mad Lands are an ancient culture whose members neither age nor reproduce, so their civilization has been populated by the same few thousand individuals for millennia. They reached the limits of their creativity in the distant past, got tired of every possible form of entertainment during their culture's decadent period, and now are stuck in an eternity of boredom and repeating variations of the same old pastimes in an effort to discover something that would still interest them.
- Gamma World adventure GW6 Alpha Factor. The mutant flying squirrels known as Rakees are extremely difficult to kill. They've lived so long that that they're constantly trying to end their lives, such as by attacking adventurers in the hope that they'll be killed.
- Elves in Eon call themselves "The People of the Curse". Elves can live forever, and get a few other pretty nifty perks. However, as they become older, elves find it increasingly difficult to relate to people around them. This, coupled with the emotional traumas of the few friends they manage to keep dying and degradations of their innate magic inevitably leads to increasingly severe bouts of clinical depression and catatonia. Elves reaching 500 years of age without becoming complete hermits is the stuff of legend. Most open their veins long before then.
- Eclipse Phase has the "Immortality Blues" negative trait, for people who've lived at least a hundred years and have gotten incredibly bored with life and have trouble motivating themselves (receive half the normal XP award). Fortunately since life extension and Brain Uploading techs have been around for less than a century most transhumans still have a lot to live for.
- While Palladium Books games often present immortality as largely beneficial and without negative repercussions (in Heroes Unlimited it is both a Mega-Power and a Major Super Ability), in the Palladium Fantasy supplement "Dragons & Gods" one of the deific powers is named "Curse: Immortality". While it allows someone to live forever, it does not make them immune to disease or any form of illness or aging, so that eventually someone will end up a crippled geriatric unable to die. Although the aging process is reduced to about a year per century, so it doesn't exactly become a bad thing until much much later. Some other paths to immortality (Between the Shadows' Dream Maker and Shadows of Light's Reaper in Nightbane, Library of Bletherad's Shadow Self spell in PF, Mystic Russia's necromancy spell of vampirism "Return from the Grave" in Rifts) have inherent insanity-causing attributes (Russia's is only avoided if you feed on blood, like any good ol' Master Vampire), and some (Juicer Uprising's option of becoming a Murder Wraith, Federation of Magic's description of Alistair Dunscon) require you to become an evil monster addicted to killing people on a regular basis to survive.
- In Seasons of Fear happens to Sebastian Grayle, who is given immortality by the Nimon in 305. He ends up outliving 12 wives, becoming more bitter and evil over the years, and hating the Doctor more for stopping his plans to help his Masters invade. He hopes for a more ethereal immortality when his Masters invade the Earth. When he goes back in time from 1806 to just before he made the deal with the Nimon, this leads to Future Me Scares Me, as his past self kills him.
- The Makropulos Affair, a play written by Czech playwright Karel ?apek and subsequently adapted into an opera by Leos Janacek, concerns a woman who has been granted 300 years of life through a magic potion, with an option for renewal. She finds that such a long life is an ordeal that leaves her exhausted and numb to human emotions. She decides that death is better.
- An Ordinary Wonder by Russian Yevgenii Shvarts. There is a wizard in the play, who tells his wife near the end: "But alas, I am immortal, so I will spend the rest of eternity missing you."
- In Planescape: Torment, the player character cannot die (unless he pisses off a god or some other damn fool act), but instead returns to the starting point - the Mortuary, or sometimes some other location - every time his health drops to zero, and regenerates there. The catch is every time he cheats death, another person somewhere in the universe dies in his place. Plus there's the whole memory-loss thing—you start out the game with a case of complete amnesia, and eventually find out it's because if you die in the Fortress of Regrets, where The Transcendent One lives, he wipes your memory to stop you from trying to make yourself mortal again. In every past life you tried to uncover your identity, eventually wound up facing The Transcendent One, got your memory wiped, and started again from square one. The goal of the game is initially to recover the Nameless One's memory, and eventually to cure his immortality. The Nameless One's brand of immortality is so awful that explaining how it works will convince Vhailor to stop trying to bring the Nameless One to justice if he finds out his true identity, since he believes that the Nameless One is already being punished enough.
- In Soul Calibur III, one of the fighters and the main mover of the plot is Zasalamel, who discovered the secret to eternal Reincarnation but at this point is tired of life. He pulls a vaguely defined plan to use the combined power of Soul Edge and Soul Calibur in an attempt to end his endless cycle of lives. This is because he found out in one of his lives that getting Soul Edge wasn't enough. He was just corrupted and enslaved by the sword before being killed normally. His reincarnation is also coupled with a soul-rending agony that he is put through every time he comes back; which seems pretty often to a man of such advanced age. This is inverted in Soul Calibur IV, when while being resurrected, Zasalamel glimpses the future and the zenith of human civilization, and is now determined to see that day in person.
- In the Suikoden series, one of the side effects of possessing a True Rune is being preserved at the age at which you acquired the rune. Some people revel in their immortality, while others, (like Ted) view it as a curse. The mysterious Flame Champion, bearer of the True Fire Rune, decides to seal it away for 50 years so he can marry and grow old with his sweetheart, Sana. (The fact that the Rune had gotten out of control and blown up a large portion of the countryside might have had some part to play in that decision as well). This didn't work out so well for the Flame Champion, as he died while still young a few years later. Whether this was a result of sealing the Rune or natural causes is unspecified.
- Given that the True Runes are supposed to be aware and possess the nasty tendency of not only snaking on your OWN soul if you happen to get killed at some later point but many having unfortunate side effects as well. Like Soul Eater taking the souls of friends who die near you, Sun driving you insane, Punishment eating your soulnote , Blue Moon turning you into a vampire (though the current bearer is a fairly nice one), and so on. It's no wonder that some people come to view it as a curse.
- According to Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerberus, this also affects Vincent Valentine.
- Depending on your interpretation, Fran's relationship with Balthier may also be influenced by the fact that her lifespan as a Viera is much longer than Balthier's human lifespan in Final Fantasy XII.
- It is possible that Fran could be quite old in Hume years, but be close to Balthier's age in Viera years.
- In Drakengard, Seere's pact with Golem makes him lose his "time," meaning that he will never age. This wouldn't normally be a downside, except that Seere is six years old.
- Lost Odyssey may be the most well fleshed out video game example of this trope in recent memory. Main character Kaim Argonar (and supporting immortals Ming, Seth, and his wife Sarah), realize fully and consciously that living forever sucks, and the game is wholly capable through the many unlockable Dreams of a Thousand Years (essentially short stories with some aural assistance) of convincing the player that it sucks too. Kaim has lived for a thousand years, and he's watched hundreds of loved ones die, including his own children, and killed thousands of enemy soldiers in battle. Worse yet for him and the other three "good" immortals, the main villain is the only other immortal on the planet and a power-hungry maniac hell bent on using his eternal life to control the planet. Worse still for the 4 "good" immortals, he's pretty savvy as to how their immortality works: they cannot be killed. Period. Kaim survives a meteor impact at the beginning of the game, and the others have all survived one catastrophe or another. So the villain does something even worse: to each of them, he uses their most beloved friends and family, and his considerable power and, through a combination of mind control and supreme manipulative ability, inflicts psychological pain worse than death, after which he seals their memories, rendering them (in their own words) "walking corpses" who have no purpose in life and can only wander, fight, work, whatever, burdened by the knowledge that they'll never get to go to the afterlife and the emotional pain of the losses he inflicted on them. After all of this the game's ending subverts the theme, as Kaim and two of the other good immortals settle contentedly into their immortal lives, reasoning that eternity isn't so bad after all. It helps that two of them are married to one another, and the third, although her husband is mortal, is a queen with a whole country to keep herself busy with throughout the centuries to come. All this was enabled by the Heroic Sacrifice of the fourth immortal who pulled the aforementioned Big Bad back into their home dimension where they aren't immortal- their immortality in the main world is due to differences in physical laws.
- While technically ageless rather than immortal, Kratos Aurion from Tales of Symphonia doesn't seem too happy about the situation. To be fair, that's partially due to guilt over everything he and Cruxis have done with eternal youth, as well as grief over losing his family. The other ageless characters don't seem nearly as bothered by it. Interestingly, Tales of Symphonia also lacks the elf immunity clause, with Genis sadly reflecting in a skit how he's going to outlive all his friends.
- Sophie in the PS3 port of Tales of Graces. Her knowledge of the fact that's she's immortal, and will thus outlive the friends she's grown to cherish begins trouble her greatly during the f arc. She eventually finds peace in this fact once she adopts the view her friends will never truly die as long as she remembers them.
- In Diablo II, the mage Ormus gives a short speech that's similar to the one from Vampire Hunter D during a quest related to the lost treasure of a sage who sought immortality:
"What he [Ku Y'leh] did not realize is that there is no life beyond death. There is only life. Once it is prolonged unnaturally, it can become a living hell."
- Albedo from Xenosaga. His descent into madness starts the moment he realizes that he is special in his immortality and would outlive all his brothers.
- Albedo also displays well the problems of having immortality from birth, as he is unable to even comprehend such things as death and pain. This gave him a childishly sociopathic worldview, he seemed genuinely terrified when he learned that other people died when you tore their heads off.
- In Zork: Grand Inquisitor, Dalboz of Gurth casts an immortality spell on himself, but is forced to endure being immortal when the Zork Underground Empire becomes abandoned. The player can even find his diary, in which he writes about the ways he tried to kill himself, one being "Stabbed myself through the heart; just ended up with heartburn."
- Final Fantasy XI's Blue Mages probably have it the worst... for Final Fantasy at least. Blue Mages, being artificial super-soldiers developed by Aht Urghan alchemists to be employed in the 'Immortals' military unit, have to deal with soul-threating demons literally waiting to burst from their bodies for every waking moment of their career. Each member of the Immortals are ageless and able to live forever, with the only casualties belonging to Blue Mages that fail to restrain the beast within. Not to mention they're usually screwy in the head, save for important characters such as the Immortals leader, Raubahn, who is responsible for for the player character's transformation into a Blue Mage should he or she decide to become one. Still doesn't prevent the player from being K.O.'d by bunny rabbits sadly.
- Odin Sphere has the Pooka's Curse, which causes the afflicted individual to become a rabbit-like creature that never ages. The Pooka want to remove the curse so they can become normal mortal humans again. In the unlockable final scene of the game, this trope is part of a conversation between Cornelius and Velvet, when they are finally given the chance to return to human form. Cornelius notes that if they stay in Pooka form, they'll live forever. Velvet replies by explaining the reasons she wouldn't want to live forever, convincing Cornelius to return to human form as well. The curse is broken, and they embrace.
- Final Fantasy Tactics A2 has the Gifted, which apart from special powers also seem to live forever (and are immune to deadly illnesses, apparently). Lennart, the first Gifted you meet when Adelle starts to accept that, pretty much became an outcast because of the whole "seeing your friends die" deal. Adelle had a similar experience when her whole village was wiped out by a plague that didn't affect her.
- Fire Emblem Tellius features Lehran/Sephiran, one of the heroes of the war in which the goddess Yune was sealed away, still alive after all of these centuries but without any of his laguz abilities because he fathered a child with the beorc Altina. He responds by inciting a war that will wake up Yune and call down Ashera's judgement on the world, destroying everything, because he thought it was the only way he could die.
- To a certain degree in those two games, Branded/Parentless (the children of laguz/beorc unions) live far longer than beorc. Since the side they get this from can instinctively sense them (laguz), and they are pariahs in both societies, this trope ends up applying. Reference the relationship between Micaiah and Sothe once you've played through the entire game.
- In Awakening, Tiki and Nowi agree that outliving your friends sucks, to say the least. Tiki even outrights states, referring to her friends from 2000 years ago:
Tiki: That's why I feel a heaviness when I gaze up at night. I'm trapped down here on the earth, when all those I've loved are way up in the sky. So far way, beyond my reach... I wonder if they ever look down at me too.
- In Lunar: The Silver Star and its sequel Lunar: Eternal Blue, the character Nall, the White Dragon of Althena, is forced to deal with this trope. In the first game, Nall is a party member; he becomes good friends with all the heroes. He returns for the sequel as an NPC, eventually revealing that he misses his old friends deeply. He helps Ruby, the Red Dragon, face the fact that she will outlive her friends too.
- In Arcanum this is stated as a reason that mature elves do not live amongst human society, "In maturity, elves tend to settle down and keep to their own; it may be that burying several generations of short-lived friends and spouses causes them to lose the taste for human company." -Arcanum manual.
- Yggdra Union has poor Nessiah, a very sad example of this trope, who never wanted to live forever—his immortality is his punishment for not wanting to fight in Asgard's wars, despite the fact that his powers would have made a drastic difference in them. Even if he dies, he is painfully resurrected shortly afterward, and at the outset of the game, he's been trying to free himself from the nearly-unbreakable chains which control his immortality for over a thousand years. He never manages it.
- Sonic the Hedgehog proves to be a firm proponent of this theory at the end of Sonic and the Black Knight. It may or may not have more to do with the fact that the woman who brought him into the story wanted to twist it into a Hell on earth to do so than ideology, but still.
- This is a constant, omnipresent motif in LucasArts' adventure game The Dig: Stranded on a deserted alien planet, a group of astronauts discover crystals that can bring back the dead, and use it to resuscitate their fallen comrade, who turns insane and addicted to the crystals in the process. Meanwhile, they discover that the former residents of the desert planet found other means to make themselves immortal, but never found a way to undo this.
You've showed us all the pathway back to life, to reality... to a place where some day we will die yes, but where we'll have a life before we die!
- Defied in Final Fantasy III. The three immortal students received the gift of magic, the gift of dream, and the gift of mortality. Mr. Mortality is PISSED but the other two and their master firmly believe the ability to die was a great gift.
- Porky Minch, the main villain in Mother 3, is an odd, but particularly powerful, example of this. Screwing with time travel has aged him, previously a child no older than 13 or so, past the point where he can die naturally. For one reason or another he is stuck in the time period that the game takes place in, and although he pretty much rules what is left of the world, he's still, in the end, a little kid who wants his mom and the closest thing he had to a friend, Ness, giving the viewer sympathy towards a character one has been built up to loathe both for his actions in the previous game, and for the terrible atrocities the player experiences first hand in this game.
- The entire plot is also caused by a large and convoluted attempt to destroy the world, leaving Porky the only thing left alive in it, giving him the closest thing to death he can possibly achieve, but in the end he is trapped inside an inescapable capsule forever, which achieves essentially the same effect.
- This is The Punishment for Dr. Weil of the Mega Man Zero series, in addition to eternal exile to the wasteland that he created. Apparently, the ones who gave him this punishment weren't counting on him coming back, seeking revenge.
- The manual for the first Mega Man X game has a bit a Dr. Light's notes saying that X can function indefinitely as long as he can maintain his energy level.
- Ayano from Luminous Arc 2 considered immortality to be a cursed. Although she initially becomes one with the help of the Big Bad, Mage Queen Elicia, it doesn't take long for her to realised that life itself became pointless without death.
- In contrast, Elicia has a reason, which Althea points out that Elicia just want to stop suffering in the world, but what she do is wrong and make more people suffering.
- After they defeat her Shadows. Ayano finally feel the pace of time again.
- In the Shin Megami Tensei multiverse, there is one God and one Lucifer, but an infinite number of constantly-recycling worlds. Generally, denizens of the worlds are stuck in their home plane, as per God's design, and only demons defy His Will by moving among worlds through the interconnected Interdimensional Sewer System of Hell (Labyrinth of Amala or whatever). But there is one person that Lucifer knows about who is not a demon, but nonetheless moves throughout these multiple dimensions. This person is cursed by God to witness the destruction and rebirth of every world. He is immortal, but has no memory of his original life and is incapable of changing anyone's fate. Fanon, supported by a lot of in-game evidence, suggests that he is Aleph, the main character of the second game, who committed the ultimate sin by punching God in the face.
- Before you begin learning the truth, the initial prize of the tournament in Chaos Rings is Immortality. This is wrong in several ways: 1: You had to kill 5 other loving couples in order to get it. 2. NOBODY save one person wanted it, and were fighting for their lives, not for the prize. 3. In a rather surprising Mind Screw, even if you win the tournament, you will be given immortality, only to be sent back in time with your partner 10,000 years to the past to raise a human race that will be destined to fight a Time destroying being called the Qualia. And of course, 4: it was artificial Immortality that couldn't survive against fatal wounding.
- A sad, cruel example of this trope are the combatants Olgar and his wife Vahti. They were the previous winners of the tournament, and to win this "wonderful" prize, he had to kill his two best friends, who happened to be the parents of his partner and wife. Then AFTER they win, they live a sad, sad life where their children age and die while they don't, and have to endure this for 10,000 years until they are SUMMONED TO THE SAME TOURNAMENT AGAIN BECAUSE THE HUMAN RACE THEY CREATED WASN'T STRONG ENOUGH, so not only did they have to kill their friends/parents and watch their children grow up and die, they have to participate in this tournament once more, this time against THEIR DESCENDANTS, who they see almost as their children. The result? Two cold, tired, sad, Death Seekers.
Olgar: ...death is our only salvation.
- In Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, Gabriel aka Dracula is hit hard by this.
- In the second Inyouchuu game, Ouka and Kikuka have been cursed with agelessness and immortality by Meiouki, and are pursuing him to have the curse reversed. In the bad endings, they remain immortal and ageless but are kept as sex / breeding slaves by him.
- In Soul Blazer, the Big Bad Deathtoll is a believer of this and want to teach it to the hero apparently by killing him again and again. It might explain his actions in the game.
- In Dark Souls, anyone branded with the Dark Sign is turned into an immortal undead. All undead will slowly lose their humanity and go Hollow, becoming mindless zombies hellbent on attacking anything that isn't also Hollow.
- League of Legends has Urgot: "Eternal life, endless tourment."
- To elaborate on this; Urgot was an enthusiastic Noxian soldier who kept losing limbs and being hacked apart in combat. He was eventually killed by Garen during a kidnap attempt on Demacia's Crown Prince. Urgot was honored with the reward of reanimation, but his nation's doctors had to replace his limbs with various devices, such as a scythe and a cannon. This kept happening until he finally got cut in half by Garen again and was turned into a reanimated cyborg abomination. He's only alive due to his all-consuming hatred of Demacia. While he lives, he constantly suffers unending agony. Hardly a fun life.
- Meta Example: using god mode in any game removes any and all satisfaction from in-game achievements,
- In Portal 2, GLaDOS makes a comment about how after Chell dies, she will consider working on reanimation, implying that she will force Chell to be her test subject forever.
- Though on other occasions the insane computer gloats about how she'll outlive Chell.
- An alternate version of Cave Johnson underwent a similar version of the procedure that created GLaDOS, making him not only immortal but super-intelligent. He quickly becomes bored with living, especially because his conscious now working at CPU-speed means diversions such as reading a book now takes him mere seconds and so does re-writing said book to try and stay occupied. He's also upset that he can no longer scratch his nose, and ultimately turns homicidal out of frustration.
- Elh of Solatorobo wishes she could age like her friends. She gets her wish as a result of the final battle.
- In Sword of the Stars the Liir are immortal but grow continuously and eventually get so large that gravity can't support their bulk, and for some reason would rather commit suicide than live forever. It's because a group of very old Elders who became known as the Suul'ka (loosely translated: lord of winter/enemy/monster) enslaved their children and forced them through an industrial revolution to develop the technology needed to survive in space for eternity The living weapon the Liir created to fight them, The Black, is another example. It is another Liir Elder who uses the same technology as the Suul'ka to live in space. The Black has sworn itself to wiping out the Suul'ka before allowing itself to die.
- In The Exiled Prince, the second installment of the Dark Parables series for PC, the antagonist is The Frog Prince, who is still alive centuries after his fairy tale was said to have taken place. As it turns out, he's miserable because he keeps outliving the princesses he loves, and all he really wants is to die.
- In Guilty Gear, the protagonist is Sol Badguy, who was turned into a powerful, immortal Gear against his will. He has sought revenge for centuries against the Big Bad who did it to him.
- In Legacy of Kain, vampires were given a three-fold curse of bloodlust, sterility, and immortality by their enemies, the Hylden. Because they are no longer part of the natural cycle of birth, death and rebirth, the Elder God has come to regard them as unnatural and seeks their extinction. some of the more religious vampires are known to have committed suicide in an attempt to regain his favor.
- Talia in Dark Watch uses this as a Battle Cry to rally the other agents into battle.
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and its sequel The Old Republic both feature a Rakatan prisoner who spend millennia in a mind prison. His original body had long decayed, everyone he ever knew had died, his civilization collapsed and his species almost became extinct. He still desperately wishes to get out by occupying another body, since it will finally allow him to die.
- Final Fantasy XIII-2 has Caius, who was "gifted" by Etro the Heart of Chaos due to his devotion to the seeress, Yeul. However, seeing her constant deaths and rebirths from the visions she receives made him feel like immortality was a curse, and sought a timeless world as a result. No one would ever die because the timeless world is also the world of the dead. He used that curse to his advantage where, regardless of what the protagonists do to stop him, all his plans lead him to winning in the end.
- Touhou's cast contains plenty of immortals, but Fujiwara no Mokou is the only one who got hit with this trope. She impulsively drank the Hourai Elixir over a thousand years ago and was ostracized by society until she decided to live as a hermit. Then she completely snapped and mindlessly attacked anything that found her. Then she spent three hundred years in an apathetic depression. But Mokou shook it off when she made her way to Gensokyo, where she rediscovered her archenemy and fellow immortal Kaguya Horaisan. Now she and Kaguya pass the time by pointlessly murdering each other, which is probably a step up from the majority of her existence.
- The flash game known as Kill Me is about an immortal superhero who can resurrect after death. He has to navigate a warehouse containing an highly toxic elixir that will... well...
- The asari of Mass Effect 'only' live around a thousand years, which is considerably longer than most organic species in that setting. They are philosophical about outliving friends and lovers, saddened but not devastated by the experience, but there are two occasions where different asari express a little of this trope. Matriarch Aethyta talks about a millenium-long lifespan giving her a view of the galaxy as always violent and full of tragedies and failure, with good news being the rare exception, about suddenly finding that she's lived long enough that no one else remembers things she was there for. Liara, realizing that the previous cycle's Reaper invasion took centuries, says that she's only a hundred and nine and she could live to see this entire thing through. The Extended Cut's Refusal ending suggests that she does. Shepard can tease her for the 'only', and she'll admit that it's a strange thing to complain about. She used to feel sorry for shorter-lived species, but now she has come to believe that it's something of a mercy for them.
- Total Annihilation: Kingdoms: Garacaius was the immortal ruler of Darien, he grew tired of being immortal and gave up his immortality and sailed of to the land of Creon which he made it into a Steam Punk nation to build his crypt.
- In the Neverwinter Nights mod Shadowlords 5 one of the tests given by the villain, whose obsession was life at any cost, was to preserve or destroy the machine ensuring that everyone residing in a certain idyllic little hamlet had eternal life - whether they wanted it or not.
- This is the Underking's stance in The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall, at least for himself. Thanks to an accident (of vague details, but the Underking's fate doesn't seem to have been intended either way) the Underking is a lich-like being that cannot die unless reunited with his heart. His goal in Daggerfall is to do just that.
- The Holy Grail in Azrael's Tear is quite wonderful. The stuff of which it is composed (grailstone) heals wounds, cures sickness, and grants immortality. It even mutates the body and warps the mind, and if you're lucky enough to be injured beyond healing and do die, you still won't really die as long as your remains are exposed to grailstone, trapping your spirit nearby as a ghost. Possibly forever.
- In Pokémon X and Y, AZ is a Death Seeker who has been Walking the Earth for 3,000 years after killing hundreds of Pokémon just to revive his best friend. In X, After Lysandre's plan is foiled and AZ's machine is drained of energy, Lysandre declares that while he can no longer use it to kill everyone, it still has enough energy left to make someone immortal. He promptly decides to curse the player and their friends with immortality so they'll see what the world becomes without his plan to "save" it (in Y he threatens to kill them).
- In ''Crysis 2, Jacob Hargreave is in fact in a persistent vegetative state, effectively hooked up to a speaker and able to act through computers. His life sounds nothing short of hellish, as he cannot move, and can never sleep. It is heavily implied that his situation partially informs his desperation to get the suit, but he accepts the suit's rejection with relatively good grace. He commits suicide shortly thereafter.
- In Eastern Mind: The Lost Souls of Tong-Nou, reincarnation is a very important point, so dying is essential to do. However, at certian point someone offers you eternal life, if you accept you're treated to an endless loop of all the games movies and the only way to get out is to exit the game. This is the closest to a game over in the whole thing, too!
- Tsugumi of Ever17 has eternal youth, immunity from infection, high healing factor and possibly increased strength. On the downside, the handful of people who know about her really want to study her lots. Oh, and she gets sunburned really easily, but she can see in pitch blackness anything due to infravision. She can even pass the immortality on to whoever she pleases. Except two specific characters, one of whom is implied to be changing into a being that exists in the fourth dimension and is thus outside time and effectively immortal as well. Yet all she can do is whine and complain about how much it sucks. She gets better but never seems to see it as a good thing.
- Brought up in the visual novel Songs Of Araiah, where it is mentioned that most magicians (who can be immortal) revoke their own immortality after having lived about a thousand years. In addition, immortality works by "freezing" the state that the body is in, meaning that immortals do not age, women can not have children, and their bodies will get neither better nor worse (for example, the lead female, Melissa, will always have to wear glasses, despite the existence of spells which could fix her vision). Outliving loved ones is a minor issue, as a magician can grant immortality to anybody.
- Sort-of immortality is possible in the Nasuverse but most prominently for this trope, Fate/stay night has Heroic Spirits and Guardians. Archer, during his life, swore over his existence to the world so that he could continue to save people. Eventually, he died still believing in his ideals, but after that he, in his position as a Guardian, is sent back repeatedly to stop devastating conflicts by killing people instead of saving them. He doesn't even get to remember any of this, but he knows it happens and it affects his psyche. Small wonder he decides to wait until he can pulled into a time with Emiya Shirou so he can kill his past self and hopefully commit suicide that way and escape his current life, where he has no free will. Then again, that is a pretty sucky form of immortality and no one takes it up for that reason.
- Rune from Frozen Essence constantly regenerates and cannot die due to becoming the Life Hex Monument many years ago, and his life simply consists of a neverending cycle of being imprisoned and the painful process of charging the Life Sphere. It's such a miserable existence that he stops caring about anything anymore. In the True End he succeeds in finally being able to rest in peace with a smile on his face.
- While Iriana in Ilivais X may be suicidal for reasons unrelated to immortality, the result is the same. She wants to die, but can't no matter how hard she tries or how much she frappes herself.
- The SCP Foundation has SCP-910, which makes people essentially immortal. However, they continue to age well past the point where their body would ordinarily shut down and any wound, no matter how minor, never heals. Imagine every nick from shaving, every papercut, every bruise and scrap, raw and hurting for the rest of your life. Now imagine that life never ends.
- Same goes for SCP-138, who is in constant agony from his wounds.
- Thanks to his being bound to SCP-963, Dr. Bright can't actually die. Whenever he sleeps, he dreams about the deaths of every body he's inhabited, and when 963 is without a host, he is haunted by the minds of the people he's overwritten. When a camera that reveals its subjects' greatest desire was used to photograph Bright, it produced a photo of Bright's gravestone, with the epitaph "Jack Bright, Resting at Last."
- SCP-1520 is a 16th century Buddhist monk who attempted to die undergoing a self-mummification process to achieve Buddhahood, but failed and has been trapped in a shrivelled, mummified corpse for over four centuries.
- SCP-1440 is a kind old man who beat Death at cards, and cannot die. Even worse, he cannot even talk to people, as death kills everyone who goes near him, leaving him to wander the earth, alone. He does at least get a happy ending in Quiet Days.
- On everything2 user 'santo' treats us with Immortality Blows, a first person, tongue-in-cheek, exploration of this trope to a greater degree than most.
- Cracked's 5 Reasons Immortality Would be Worse than Death.
- Tales Of MU has one of the few cases of immortal elves who do not avert this. Many elves have spoken at their own funerals and "taking elven leave" is a dwarf euphemism for suicide.
- The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives in Your Home from Welcome to Night Vale holds this sentiment.
Nothing ever really happens to me. I am completely safe from harm, and this is a great burden... I think that one day, this world will simply talk itself to death, and I will be left to flit about in the void. I will be the Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives Nowhere.
- One of the many themes connected to immortality that get explored in AH.com Eternals.
- The chronologically last Global Guardians story is "The Last Man on Earth", featuring The Shield, whose power immunity to harm. Having lived for billions of years, he's the last human on Earth when the sun finally begins its expansion. The story ends with the Shield sitting on a cliff on Mount Everest, watching the sun get bigger and bigger and redder and redder in the sky, hoping that this time, he's finally found something that's powerful enough to overcome his power, and dreadfully fearful of what will happen if it isn't.
- Almost every cartoon, actually. Characters in cartoons don't really seem age... and sometimes even comment on it.
- In an episode of Justice League, Superman is sent into a barren future, seemingly devoid of humanity... Save for the lonely, less insane, immortal Vandal Savage.
- The fact that the reason the Earth is barren and ruined is because he destroyed it probably had something to do with it as well.
- Savage does acknowledge that if he didn't keep busy, he would go (more) insane with the boredom and loneliness. He occupies himself with many projects, from farming to restoring the ruins of Metropolis to dabbling in time travel (which he explicitly can't use to fix things, as he cannot coexist with his past self... Good thing Superman came along). The only thing that really seems to bother him is his guilt of destroying the planet, to the point where he has constructed a fully operational spaceship but doesn't use it because he feels that his isolation is a suitable punishment for his crimes.
- Has Demona and Macbeth, who become immortal at the same time, with the only way to break the spell that granted it being for one to slay the other, at which point both will die. Demona has no problems with immortality because she is too busy trying to eliminate the human race, whereas Macbeth, forced to leave his loved ones and homeland behind and face the fact he'll outlive anyone he truly cares for, has little worth living for. Demona thinks he wants to kill her out of vengeance for her betrayal years ago, but he's really just... tired. Eventually he finds other things to keep himself occupied. For instance, he tried to replace Arthur Pendragon as the One True King and wasn't too disappointed when he failed. Macbeth never really starts thinking that Living Forever Is Awesome, but he's no longer a Death Seeker either.
- The 1100-year-old Hudson gives the immortality-seeking Xanatos a lecture on the downfalls of living for so long. "Most of my clan is dead and dust, and I am a stranger in a strange land. Demona and Macbeth are immortal. Has it brought them happiness?"
- The Transformers don't seem to have a problem with their extremely long lifespans, although a race of sentient robots who can theoretically replace any body parts that become broken or worn out are obviously going to have different perspectives on life than humanity.
- As most transforms primarily have friends and loved-ones who are also transformers and will live as long as they do, lots of the problems individuals have outliving their social circle don't really apply.
- Quite a few of them don't reach whatever a Cybertronian's maximum life expectancy is anyway, since they have been fighting in a brutal civil war for millions of years.
- Somewhat mentioned on a much less emotional and spiritual scale in Jackie Chan Adventures - currently made immortal due to holding a magic object, Finn of the show's Quirky Miniboss Squad, hits a low-hanging bridge from being on top of a train as it goes under it. Indenting the bridge, he notes "Immortality... hurts."
- In Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, one episode involves Robotnik traveling to Mobius's equivalent of ancient Egypt to retrieve the Chaos Emerald of immortality, which turns out to be in his ancestor's pyramid. Said ancestor's animated mummy actually thanks Robotnik for taking the emerald from him, as he couldn't bear to spend an eternity with Sonic's ancestor who was also in the tomb.
- Played With on South Park with Kenny. In his case, he keeps dying, yet somehow spontaneously resurrects, without anyone around him even remembering afterwards. It's not so much the immortality that bothers him—it's having to die over and over again.
- Star Trek: The Animated Series episode "The Lorelei Signal." The women of the second planet of the Taurean system neither age nor die. However, any men on the planet die quickly. They must lure humanoid males to their planet once every 27 years and drain them of their Life Force in order to survive. They can't escape their planet and they can't even have children.
- A vlog in a series on Required Secondary Powers found here describes how Immortality can lead to Body Horror, We Are as Mayflies, And I Must Scream and multiple Fates Worse Than Death.
- In the X-Men cartoon, the immortal villain Apocalypse realizes in "Beyond Good and Evil" that he has been trying to exterminate mutants and humans alike for the thousands of years he has walked the earth and still hasn't won. He laments that he might be stuck for all eternity and instead sets out to annihilate the multiverse to remake it in his own image.
- The Halloween Episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy is a parody - of sorts - of the legend of Jack o'Lantern. On Halloween, Grim tells his two friends how the prankster Jack tricked him into making him immortal; however, Grim also cut off his head after doing so to teach him a lesson. Jack replaced his head with a pumpkin as he continued to "live in a world that doesn't understand him", only coming out on Halloween. Of course, in the present day, he gets ahold of Grim's scythe and goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, sending an army of demonic pumpkins out to destroy Endsville with the intent to cut Grim's head off. In the end, Jack no longer has to suffer this fate, but it's replaced by a worse one: Grim decides that he's overstayed his welcome and cancels the bargain, causing Jack to be Dragged Off to Hell.
- Mr. Freeze from Batman: The Animated Series has an extended lifespan (not immortal but a good few thousand years) due to his condition. Problem is, he can't survive outside of a subzero environment, and his inability to enjoy the day has driven him to vengeance. It gets a lot worse for him later on when when his condition destroys his entire body, leaving only his head. He spends almost fifty years like this before the start of Batman Beyond.
- Sergeant Major Daniel Joseph "Dan" Daly is commonly attributed as having yelled, "Come on, you sons of bitches! Do you want to live forever?" to the men in his company prior to charging the Germans during the Battle of Belleau Wood in World War I, though he was likely referring to immortality as being remembered for all time, which he's so far managed handily, as this entry proves.
- While the names of the soldiers he adressed are not recorded and they are collectively remembered as "sons of bitches". Daly may have been channeling Frederick The Great of Prussia, who angrily told his grenadiers the same thing (there are a few varying versions, usually "Hunde, wollt ihr ewig leben?" or "Racker, wollt ihr denn ewig leben?") when they turned to retreat during the battle of Torgau (1760). In Germany this quote is usually seen in a negative light, even by Frederick's admirers. Hunde, wollt ihr ewig leben? later became the title of a 1959 West German movie about the battle of Stalingrad.
- The anecdote is also told in a longer form (e. g. in a poem by Theodor Fontane), where Frederick is quoted as saying: "Rascals, do you want to live forever? Cheaters!" and the grenadiers reply: "Fritz, don't talk of cheating, for fifteen pfennigs it's enough for today."
- Some scientists argue that the longer you live, the faster time seems to flow. If you could live forever, then time would go faster and faster until everything was a blur. Eventually, years could pass in a blink of an eye. Your existence would be meaningless, and you wouldn't even remember it.
- This might be due to the perception of time past versus how long you lived. One year to a 10 year old boy is a significant portion of his life (10%), whereas one year to a 80 year old man is fairly insignificant (1.25%).
- People also tend to "lose" details as time passes, meaning that that one year may seem shorter because you only remember certain events from it rather than the entire stretch of time, and this gets "worse" as more time separates the present from the year in question.
- Of course, this is also assuming that it won't plateau after a certain point, after which the immortal person would simply have the effective memory and time-perception abilities of a (however long it takes for your memory to completely fill)-year-old while actually being much older. For instance, if a person's mind can hold eighty or so years of memories, with filtering, after which even important memories from the distant past begin to "disappear," a hundred-sixty-year-old would only remember as far back as their early eighties, so one year would be the same proportion of their memory to them as to their eighty-year-old grandchild, whose birth they just barely remember, as though from their childhood.
- Friedrich Nietzsche argued that Socrates's "defense" was specifically designed to make the jury condemn him to death, since he was tired of living, and perhaps suffered life as a disease (whether this is what Socrates himself actually thought is anybody's guess, though to be fair being a wise man in a world of phenomenal idiots could have one looking for the sleeping pills).
- If you assume the theories of universal entropy and the big crunch are true, then millions of years floating in completely empty space, eternally suffocating, only to to be eventually crushed into a singularity sounds like a very hard price to be for a (relatively) short amount of extra time doing things you enjoy. But you also have forever to get used to it.
- This. No, really.
- A survey all around Europe from Readers Digest asked the question "Do you want to live forever?" On average, only 30-40% of people said yes. Americans were asked the same question too, and the majority said yes. It's been used to demonstrate cultural differences.
- Susan Ertz sums it up in a pithy quote: "Millions long for immortality who don't know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon."
- Philosophers of the theological theory of Pandeism hypothesize this as one possible reason why an immortal deity would wish to cease to be one, and become the Universe instead. Expounded upon in God's Debris.
- Less conventional immortals: Henrietta Lacks and several other people, whose names are generally unknown, immortalized forever in HeLa, HEK239, SH-SY5Y and other cell lines. They're obviously not human anymore, but still distinct living entities that can grow and proliferate, sometimes even running out of control, as summarized here by The Other Wiki. Some even argue that HeLa should be considered a new species, due to its self-sufficiency as well as significant genetic and ecological differences from the human source.
- Brooke Greenberg stays young. Unfortunately, she is a 16-year-old who looks like and mentally (as far as anyone knows) is a baby, and thus cannot talk or take care of herself. But, she miraculously has survived through various illnesses such as stomach ulcers and brain tumors with no explanation.
- Buddhists, Hindus, and Jainists all believe that life is suffering, and that people are forced to repeatedly die and be reborn until they rid themselves of karma.
- Christian theology holds that human beings are inherently immortal, but whether this will be pleasant or agony depends on the life you lead in this mortal coil. Heaven is very much Living Forever Is Awesome, while Hell is very much this trope. The descriptions of Hell are: "They will be tormented day and night, forever and ever," and "Their worm will not die, nor will their fire be extinguished." It is a place full of despair and solitude, with no hope of any improvement, and the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus further implies that it is possible to see Heaven from Hell- see it, but never reach it. Christian theology also makes a point that life on Earth is a huge pain in the ass too, so eternal life on Earth wouldn't be very fun either.
- This video explains in great detail why you would not want to live forever.
- When asked if he would want to be immortal, computer-programmer Edsgar W. Dijkstra replied, "If 10 years from now, when you are doing something quick and dirty, you suddenly visualize that I am looking over your shoulders and say to yourself: 'Dijkstra would not have liked this', well that would be enough immortality for me."
Okay, seriously, PUT THAT HAND DOWN.