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Literature / All Tomorrows

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Humanity, once the ruler of the stars, was now extinct. However, humans were not.

Ultimately, however, what happened to Humanity does not matter. Like every other story, it was a temporary one; indeed long but ultimately ephemeral. It did not have a coherent ending, but then again it did not need to. The tale of Humanity was never its ultimate domination of a thousand galaxies, or its mysterious exit into the unknown. The essence of being human was none of that. Instead, it lay in the radio conversations of the still-human Machines, in the daily lives of the bizarrely twisted Bug Facers, in the endless love-songs of the carefree Hedonists, the rebellious demonstrations of the first true Martians, and in a way, the very life you lead at the moment.
The Author

All Tomorrows: A Billion Year Chronicle of the Myriad Species and Varying Fortunes of Man is a 2006 science-fiction book by C. M. Kosemen (a.k.a. Nemo Ramjet), with a heavy focus on speculative evolution. The story begins in the near future, as burgeoning population pressures force humanity to terraform and colonize Mars. After a brief but violent civil war between the two planets, the genetically engineered survivors begin a new wave of colonization, spreading across the galaxy. Everything is looking up for the human race... until the colonies encounter the Qu, technologically advanced aliens on a religious mission to remake the universe. Although humans fight valiantly, the Qu easily overpower humanity; as punishment, the aliens decide to genetically modify the survivors, turning most of them into mindless, animalistic creatures before departing.


Then things get really weird.

The original PDF version can be found via the Wayback Machine. The author's deviantart is here.

Compare All Yesterdays, for which Kosemen is one of the illustrators.

The book provides examples of:

  • Abusive Precursors:
    • The Qu transformed humans into beasts, and then left the galaxy.
    • The Machines took this to an even greater extreme, modifying their victims to a far greater degree and reigning much longer than the Qu.
  • A God Am I:
    • The Qu's technology was so advanced that they were absolute masters of the material world. They deliberately nurtured this worldview to serve as a sort of check on their power, but it only made them monsters in the end.
    • The Asteromorphs left the Terrestrials to guide the post-war humans to a better future. Some of them preferred to be treated as Gods instead. The book even says that it was easier that way.
  • Alien Invasion:
    • The war with the Qu.
    • The Gravital when they attempt to exterminate all other humans.
    • The Bug Facer World was invaded by an unknown alien race, making them an isolationist species. It worked in their favor when the Gravital decided to keep them around.
  • And I Must Scream: Plenty to go around.
    • The Mantelopes were transformed into quadrupeds but were left with human minds, used as singers and scribes by the Qu. When the Qu left, the Mantelopes were unable to control their environment in any way. They built a culture of pain around their impotence and ennui before devolving into dumb animals.
    • The ancestors of the Colonials put up particularly stiff resistance against the Qu, and were given an extremely cruel punishment as a result, being transformed into limbless, boneless slabs of flesh to act as living filtration systems for the waste of Qu civilization, reproducing both sexually and asexually and spreading like mats of cancer cells. The most sadistic part of the punishment was that the Colonials' eyes and minds were left intact, leaving them perfectly able to understand what was happening to them but unable to do anything about it. Unlike the Mantelopes, they at least managed to adapt and re-develop into prosperity after the Qu left.
  • An Aesop: It is not your ultimate destination in life, but what you do along the way, that matters.
  • Animal Is the New Man: On one of the human worlds conquered by the Qu, the posthuman descendants were genetically stunted to never be able to achieve true sapience ever again. Instead, a species of lizard which were previously the posthuman's livestock grows intelligent enough to develop civilizations, becoming the Saurosapients. Despite originating from a completely different species, they are considered just as human as all the other "true" human-descended races and for all intents and purposes were honorary humans.
  • Asshole Victim: After making contact with the more benevolent Amphicephali, the author mentions mankind's descendants managed to ultimately get revenge on the Qu and destroyed them in a Great Offscreen War, driving them to extinction. However, given the Qu were an entire civilization of remorseless, sociopathic monsters who perceived themselves as the center of the Universe, no one can feel any simpathy whatsoever for them.
  • Baleful Polymorph: As punishment for terraforming different planets, killing off the native life and taking the Qu's self-perceived role as masters of organic life, the Qu decide to modify humans into various animal-like creatures.
  • Bee People: The Temptors are a race of giant, immobile females who command hordes of small, obedient males.
  • Belief Makes You Stupid: Some of the Terrestrials stunted the growth of the Newborn races to be treated as Gods.
  • Beneath the Earth: The people of one world tried to hide from the Qu in continent-sized bunker complexes. The Qu found them anyway, and filled the bunkers with a complex troglodytic ecology, including the humans’ blind, almost batlike descendants.
  • Benevolent Precursors: The Asteromorphs repopulated the galaxy after the war by the machines with the Machine's Subjects and nurtured them so none of them would go insane like the Gravital. Didn't mean they wouldn't stoop to genocide, though.
  • Bio Punk: The Tool Breeders live underwater, so they could never invent fire. Instead, they began selectively breeding and genetically engineering other life forms into tools and weapons. The Qu count too, given the genetic experimentation they performed on their human subjects.
  • Bizarre Alien Locomotion: The Sail People, who used wing-like arms to catch the wind as they drifted across the water.
  • Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism: The Temptors. Their males were beaked, brainless little imps, while their females were intelligent, immobile and two meters tall.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality:
    • The Qu believed that they should remake the universe as they saw fit. Humanity was just a particularly resistant part of that universe.
    • The Gravital wiped out all but two of the post-Qu human species because they believed that they were humanity's only true heir to the universe.
  • Body Horror: All of the post-Qu humans to some degree, but some really stand out.
  • Book-Ends: The book begins with humans leaving earth in the near future, and ends with their much-changed descendants landing on Earth, a billion years later.
  • Cat Folk: The Killer Folk have muzzle-like jaws, saber teeth, pointed ears, yellow eyes, spotted body hair, and possibly paw-like feet that make them resemble these. Their ancestors looked like a goblin crossed with a serval.
  • Character Narrator: The book is presented as having been written by an alien archaeologist a billion years or more in the future, long after the extinction of humanity and its galactic empires.
  • Colony Drop: A comet hits the Temptor homeworld, killing most life on that particular planet. Multiple examples are mentioned happening as part of the Qu and Gravital invasions.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: The Gravital were once organic, although they became more and more detached only after integrating their bodies into cyborg interfaces.
  • Dyson Sphere: Great, star-encompassing shells of this type were one of the many achievements of New Empire.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs:
    • Humans find a fossil of derived earth dinosaur on an alien world, which was their first clue to the existence of intelligent aliens.
    • For some reason, the Satyriacs resemble theropod dinosaurs, even having long horizontally held tails.
  • Excuse Plot: The invasion of the sociopathic and technologically advanced Qu is more or less just an excuse for the author to draw lots of grotesque, Body Horror posthumans and other weird creatures.
  • Eyeless Face: The Blind Folk, who spend their entire lives in continent-sized caves.
  • Feathered Fiend: The Striders were hunted to extinction by vicious raptor-like predators descended from chickens.
  • Formerly Sapient Species: After the Qu conquer humanity, they transform the surviving humans into beasts as a grotesque punishment for their perceived crimes. The results are tremendously varied, including titanic elephant-like creatures, bat- and pterosaur-like fliers, various aquatic strains, ferocious predators and tick-like parasites. Many died out after the departure of the Qu, but others survived to form complex ecologies. Some of these post-humans eventually re-evolve sapience and rebuild a new galactic civilization, but others do not:
    • One population was genetically modified to never be able to develop sapience again and became domesticated pack animals to their own former livestock, a species of large lizards which independently developed sapience.
    • The mantelopes were unique in being left their sapience, but were modified to be essentially human ungulates with no grasping limbs. This left them entirely unable to manipulate their environment and their sapience largely useless. Natural selection eventually caused them to regress to animosity — there was no use in growing large brains if they couldn't do anything with them — which the book treats as being largely a merciful end to their sorry lot.
    • Many strains simply never happen to redevelop sapience, and fade into animalistic obscurity.
  • Humans Are Survivors: The Spacers/Asteromorph exemplify this in spades. Unlike other human species, who fell to the Qu and had to regain their civilization, the ancestors of the Spacers successfully escaped and retained all their humanity. They did divert significantly from the ancestral human form later on, but it was done out of willing genetic-engineering and a bit of natural evolution. For millions of years, they waited out the Qu and kept improving themselves. When the Machine Empire went on a genocidal campaign to rival the Qu, it was the Asteromorph who made a stand and beat them back, saving the remaining organic humans in the process. Afterwards, the Asteromorph took on an active role in the recovery of mankind and put their own god-like children to rule over the surviving human species, achieving galactic unity. The subsequent civilization they created was so powerful that it outstripped the Qu and wiped them out.
  • A Head at Each End: The Amphicephali are named for this feature, which (along with Nested Mouths) is cited as evidence that their ancestors had undergone as much genetic manipulation and symbiosis as humanity's descendants.
  • Heavyworlder: The Lopsiders were an... unusual take on this trope, having been adapted for high gravity by being made flat and flounder-like, crawling along on paddle-like limbs and with their sensory organs crowded on one side of their face.
  • The Hedonist: The Hedonists are pampered, genetically engineered humans who were kept as pets by the Qu. Their sapient descendants, the Satyriacs, are just as decadent, and apparently spend most of their time attending festivals and concerts.
  • Honorable Elephant: The Titan species strongly resembled elephants and were described as one of the best candidates for the reemergence of civilization. Sadly, they were wiped out by an ice age before that could happen.
  • Hope Spot: Various post-Qu humans are described as being on the brink of re-evolving intelligence and civilization... only for random factors like ice ages and asteroid impacts to drive them completely extinct.
  • Hopeless War:
    • Humanity never stood a chance against the Qu.
    • The Gravital's war on the rest of the Post-Qu humans was so efficient it took only ten thousand years for them to completely eradicate organic life from the galaxy while traveling at sub-light speeds.
  • Human Pet:
    • Some humans were changed by the Qu into a slow breeding, mindless ape called Hedons, and given a paradise world to live in, which stunted the re-emergence of intelligence.
    • The Temptors were used as decoration by the Qu.
    • The Saurosapients use the brain-dead descendants of local humans for food and labour purposes.
    • The Subjects of the Gravital were modified into many different forms for their civilization. Like works of Art, backup dancers, and Blood Sacrifices.
  • Human Subspecies: Almost every race in the book are descended from humans in one way or another. The only exception are the Saurosapients, who are descended from lizards imported from Earth and turned feral. There are only three, possibly four truly extraterrestrial intelligent lifeforms in the book. The Qu, the Amphicephali, the Author, whatever invaded the Bugfacers' planet and possibly whatever brought that dinosaur to that planet.
  • Insectoid Aliens: The Qu. They have four wings, beetle-like mandibles, stalked eyes, and an aquatic larval stage.
  • Karmic Death: The Qu were ultimately defeated and seemingly driven to extinction by the very same civilization they mutated beyond any recognition.
  • Lightworlder: The Striders were genetically modified by the Qu for life on a moon with one-fifth Earth gravity, being given grotesquely elongated limbs and necks, becoming giraffe-like browsers of their world's skyscraper-high trees. They currently provide the Image Source.
  • Lizard Folk: The Saurosapients, descended from lizards brought to space by pre-Qu humans.
  • Look on My Works, Ye Mighty, and Despair!: Played with. At the end of the book, it is revealed that humans have been extinct. Despite this, enough of their works have survived that an alien archeologist can piece together their history a billion years later.
  • Low Culture, High Tech: The Ruin Haunters built up their civilization by re-creating the Qu's technology, but they rarely had any idea how any of it worked.
  • Multipurpose Tongue: The Sail People used forked tongues instead of hands, their arms having been re-shaped into wing-like forms. The Titans were a variant with multi-purpose lower lips, which hung down like elephant trunks and were dexterous enough to manipulate objects.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: A bunch are mentioned in the final chapter, but special mention goes to the defeat of the Qu.
  • Old Shame: In-Universe example. After the War with the Asteromorphs, the Machine race completely accepted their role as the despised lower class. They were ''that'' bad.
  • Organic Technology:
    • The Tool Breeders were an aquatic race that had to breed their technology as they couldn't smelt metal or build complex tools.
    • The Qu used genetically modified creatures in their civilization. Some of them used to be human.
    • The Gravital are an odd example. Despite being entirely mechanical, they used the modified Bug-facers as pets, livestock and transport
  • Panspermia: Inversion: almost all intelligent life in outer space came from earth. The variety of intelligent life in the galaxy all originated on earth, having been twisted into new creatures by the Qu.
  • Precursors:
    The Author: Mankind, the very species which I've been chronicling from its terrestrial infancy to its domination of the galaxies, is extinct. All of the beings which you saw on the preceding pages; from the lowly Worm to the wind-riding Sail People, from the megalomaniac Gravital to the ultimate Galactic citizens, lie a billion years dead. We are only beginning to piece the story together. What you read was our best approximation of the truth. Why did they disappear? Perhaps it was a final, unimaginable war of annihilation, one that transcended the very meaning of conflict. Perhaps it was a gradual break-up of the united galaxies, and every race facing their private end slowly afterwards. Or perhaps, the wildest theories suggest, it was a mass migration to another plane of existence. A journey into somewhere, sometime, something else. But the bottom line is; we honestly don't know.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: The Killer Folk and the Sail People are both described as having long periods of violent conflict in their recent past.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: The narration mentions that the Gravital, destructive as they were, didn't really bear any malice toward organic life forms; they just didn't see them as equals. In fact, some even wanted to preserve organic life, in the same way the humans want to preserve wildlife.
  • Puppeteer Parasite: The aforementioned parasitic humans eventually evolve a deeper relationship with their hosts, directly controlling their bodies. By this point, though, the two post-human species are so connected that it's more of a symbiosis.
  • Ptero Soarer: The Sail People bear a strange resemblance to Pteranodon, although they do not fly.
  • The Reveal: Arguably: humanity is long dead by the time the book was written, and the author is a completely different type of alien documenting what he has learned about our extinct species.
  • Revenge: The author mentions in passing that after first contact with the Amphicephali, humanity re-encounter and annihilate the Qu. There's a lot of emphasis throughout the book that even hundreds of millions of years after the war between the Qu and the Star People, the descendants of humanity never forgot what the Qu did to them.
  • Scary Dogmatic Aliens:
    • The Qu, who believed themselves the rightful masters of the material universe. The annihilation of the starfaring human civilization and the various cruel fates of their descendants were the Qu's idea of appropriate punishment for mankind's perceived presumption at taking what the Qu felt was their rightful place.
    • The Gravital saw themselves as the only true heirs to humanity, and so wiped out most of the descendants from other planets. They kept the Bug Facers alive, to serve as livestock and pets.
  • Slave Race:
    • All of the humans that the Qu transformed.
    • The Bugfacers are twisted into a variety of forms collectively called the subjects by the Gravital.
  • Snake People: The, uh, Snake People. The Amphicephali too.
  • Space Nomads:
    • The Qu, who wandered between galaxies in vast migrations on a quest to reshape the universe. This is what brought them to the worlds of men, and why they later left.
    • The Spaceborn, descended from those few humans who escaped the Qu invasion by creating hollow, moon-sized Generation Ships and adapting themselves for a life in zero gravity. They spent forty million years hiding in deep space, and after the Qu left they found themselves too specialized to re-adapt to planetary life.
  • Space People: The Starborn, who went into deep space to escape the Qu, heavily adapted themselves for their new home, developing extremely spindly limbs and digits for movement in zero-G, as well as pressurized guts and circulatory systems (which allowed them to develop a form of jet propulsion in the bargain). Their Asteromorph descendants took this to even greater lengths.
  • Starfish Aliens:
    • The Modular People are walking colonies of smaller organisms, all of which carry out a specific task.
    • The Amphicephali are snakes with heads on both ends. They don't get in arguments though, because it's the smaller body inside the gullet that does the talking. Bonus Points for actually being an alien, instead of a human descendant.
  • The Symbiote: The descendants of the Parasites are small, fist-sized creatures who utilize mindless host bodies for different tasks.
  • Transhuman Aliens: Most of the races in the Book are humanity's descendants. See Human Subspecies above.
  • What Measure Is a Humanoid?: Several of the Gravital fall in love with their subjects (the ones they engineered to be sentient.) It doesn't end well.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Averted: the Mechanical Gravital, the brutal Killer Folk, the godlike Asteromorphs, all were human, and all were important. Even the Saurosapients, who were descended from lizards, were considered just as human as any of the other post-Qu races.
  • Winged Humanoid: Several of the post-Qu humans are re-engineered into flying forms. One group, the Pterosapiens, manages to redevelop sapience and keep their wings, thanks to an efficient circulatory system. Other groups aren't so lucky — the Hand Flappers eventually return to the ground, but their useless atrophied wings mean they can never re-develop tools or a civilization.
  • Utopia:
    • The Summer of Mankind was a culture which got pretty close.
    • The Modular Men all lived in perfect contentment with their roles in life. This was mainly because their constant exchange of "human cells" meant that they never developed much in the way of individual personalities, which in turn prevented true conflict in their society-individual.
    • The Second Galactic Empire during which its member species attained previously unimaginable levels of culture, welfare and technology.
    • The Pterosapiens managed to achieve a global civilization in one step, without having to unite many feuding nations, because their aerial mobility meant that "borders" never really became a concept. Granted, they had shorter lifespans than other human breeds, but they presumably didn't realize that dying of heart failure before you're thirty was something to complain about until after making interstellar contact.

Love Today, and seize All Tomorrows!

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