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Pictured: A Bug-Facer (center) and two of his Gravital-engineered descendants
"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
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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 overpowered humanity; as punishment, these aliens decide to genetically modify the survivors, turning most of them into mindless, animalistic creatures before departing.

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Then things get really weird.

The Book can be read online here. The original PDF version can be found via the Wayback Machine. The author's DeviantArt is here.

Compare Last and First Men, to which it is in many ways the Spiritual Successor.


The book provides examples of:

  • Abnormal Ammo: The Tool Breeders carry organic guns that fire modified teeth instead of bullets.
  • Absolute Xenophobe:
    • Arguably, the Qu. They felt that is was their right to take living creatures of all stripes and reshape them into things the Qu saw as pleasing or as proper. When they encountered humanity, they exterminated the baseline Star Men, and punished the survivors for resistance and replacing the native ecosystems by leaving humanity's survivors as animalistic or otherwise primitive new species.
    • The Gravitals saw themselves as the true heirs of humanity. As such, they didn't see their cousins in the other Human Subspecies as equals. The author goes out of his way to humanize the Gravitals, noting that this wasn't out of hatred or malice, they just didn't see their cousins as peers or as worth keeping around. So, they waged a genocidal war to cull the leftovers of a past age. The only ones who were spared from this genocidal war were the Bug Facers, who were kept for experimentation and modification on far greater levels than even the Qu did to humanity; and the Asteromorphs, who were even more technologically advanced and uninterested in their planetbound cousins so not considered worth the effort until the Gravital leadership needed an external force to unify their empire.
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    • The Bug Facers themselves also count. Having survived an invasion of another, unspecified alien species, they refused to make contact with any other species in the galaxy until the Gravitals attacked them.
  • Absurdly Huge Population: The Spacers, a species of Space Nomads, are described as "painfully rare", at a population of "only" 100 billion in several dozen arks spread across the galaxy after the Gravital invasion. Keep in mind that beforehand, the population of non-Gravital humans in the galaxy numbered in the trillions.
  • Abusing the Kardashev Scale for Fun and Profit: The first galactic empire was a borderline type II civilization, possibly even type II itself: They had a mass arsenal of weapons capable of blowing up stars and had started colonizing the entire galaxy. The Qu, meanwhile, had almost a billion of years of experience, and with a few thousands of years they easily crushed humanity even with above weapons, putting them into Solid Type III, with the text mentioning that they were capable of "traveling from one spiral arm to another", with their civilization possibly spanning multiple galaxies.
    • Lastly, the post-war empire of the Asteromorphs were a Solid Type III, probably even Borderline Type IV, with the narration mentioning how their civilization and union with Amphicephali spanned multiple galaxies, were able to defeat The Qu, negated the problems related to interestellar space travel through the use of wormholes and made their entire species immortal through the use of rejuvenating tech. If the "mass migration to another plane of existence" that the author suggests is true, the empire also underwent a process where they Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence, with their final place in the scale left unknown.
  • Abusive Precursors:
    • The Qu transformed humans into beasts (and in some cases genetic abominations for groups the Qu took a particular dislike to, such as those who would become the Colonials), 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.
    • While the Star People were mostly benevolent, it is noted that they did wipe out alien ecosystems to replace them with their terraformed ones. This is one of the many reasons the Qu took extreme offense to them and warped them to fill vacant niches in some cases.
  • 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 the Terrestrials preferred to be treated as Gods instead. The book even says that this was tolerated since it resulted in stability.
  • Aliens Are Bastards: The Qu certainly are, given that they committed genocide on almost the entirety of the Star People, and turned the survivors into their own playthings and experiments, then left them to fend for themselves.
  • Alien Invasion:
    • The war with the Qu was this on a massive scale. The entire human empire that spanned many star systems came under invasion if not simultaneously, then in quick succession. Note that in the time scales that the book is dealing with, "quick succession" means a thousand years.
    • The Gravital when they attempt to exterminate all other humans. However, the Gravital themselves are not aliens, but post-human robots.
    • 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.
  • The Alliance: There is a post-human alliance where the majority of evolved post-Qu humans, while didn't meet directly, but communicated and supported each other with different means, the only ones who didn't participate were the Bug Facers, the Gravitals and the Asteromorphs.
  • All There in the Manual: By creator admission the Qu were not very fleshed out, being a plot device more than anything. However, Kosemen has since revealed a few factoids:
    • They are apparently a Hive Mind who believes in "cosmic forces" and has strict religious beliefs against sentience itself. Their pyramids are actually beacons of some sort that punish emerging civilizations.
    • Their ships are basically giant versions of themselves.
  • 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.
    • Living for abstract goals about the future and grand narratives about the past, rather than enjoying the present, are so often what leads to atrocities.
  • 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 pets 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.
  • Anthropomorphized Anatomy: The Modular People are a version of this-they're an entire race of sentient, hyper-specialized "organs" that perform one specific function. Individual Modulars pile themselves together to form a single mobile entity, which can swap individual organs with any other Modular to fulfill a specific task or function.
  • Apocalypse How: Class 3A. Technically their descendants live on in horribly modified Body Horror forms, but most human-colonized planets experienced this via the Qu invasion. Millions of years later, the Gravital fully exterminate nearly all these species' descendants.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Pterosapiens are short lived alledgedly because flight and sapience cannot be balanced. But in real life highly intelligent birds like corvids and parrots have lifespans comaprable to humans, and birds and bats generally live longer on average than similar sized flightless mammals, likely due to metabolic quirks precisely because they need extra juice to fly.
  • Artistic License – Physics: The Lopsiders live on a planet with thirty-six times normal gravity. If we assume "normal" is equivalent to earth's surface gravity of 9.81 m/s squared, means their world has a downward pull of at least 353 m/s squared. Not only is that a stronger surface gravity than every planet including Jupiter, it's more than the surface gravity of the Sun. Needless to say, whatever they're living on can't possibly be a terrestrial planet.
  • Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence: This is one of the possibilities the narrator suggests for what ultimately happened to humanity.
  • 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 defeated and subdued them in a Great Offscreen War. 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 sympathy 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.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: The Spacers can't breathe in space, but their pressurized circulatory and digestive systems make them able to navigate through the void with jets of air from their anuses.
  • Bat People: The Flyers are these, albeit with wings more akin to those of pterosaurs. The Hand Flappers have batlike hands, but are flightless.
  • The Beastmaster: The Tool Breeders, to the point where they even have a creature counterpart for every human product and appliance.
  • 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.
    • The Narrator seems to believe this, and the book follows this theme heavily, as he states near the end that having a strong conviction in an abstract, intangible destiny for you to fulfill can only do you a disservice, because the nature of the universe is that everything is finite and that, even if you reach that ill-defined goal, it could easily be taken from you by the forces of nature itself, just like it does to the people you step over on your way there. The Qu were so obsessed with being the sole masters of organic life that they never considered the mutated humans would evolve past what they had wanted them to be, and eventually died off like the countless specieses they mutilated, and, given that humanity had died out billions of years ago by the time the Narrator wrote the book, the Qu ultimately had no lasting impact on the universe. The Gravitals were under the impression that they should be the sole inheritors of humanity, and were driven to galactic genocide as a result when they could have easily reached out to other planets peacefully, and eventually die off in a war like the dozens of human strains they killed off, and since humanity is long gone by the end of the story, their goals of inheriting the universe were All for Nothing.
  • 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.
    • The Asteromorph's direct ancestors, the Star People, were just as benevolent, having only ever intended to explore the galaxy, create new human colonies on other planets, discover extraterrerstrial life on said planets, and fight against alien threats and invasions threatening their existence rather than against one another.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: While the Qu are the main antagonists for most of the story, being the ones responsible for the genocide of most of the Star People and the creators of the numerous new human races, the Gravital end up becoming another major threat to the other Post Humans once they go on a similar and even more brutal campaign of genocide and conquest.
  • 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.
  • Bookends:
  • Brain Uploading: How the Ruin Haunters became the mechanical Gravitals.
  • Bullying a Dragon: The Gravitals' declaration of war against the Asteromorphs turns out to be this for the former, who ultimately get their asses handed to them, their Machine Empire utterly defeated, and the surviving Gravital made into a Slave Race for the Asteromorphs and other human survivors.
  • Cast from Lifespan: A more realistic version of this trope: the Pterosapiens get to enjoy the benefits of flight and intelligence, but the stress of having to power their flight muscles and big brains means that the average Pterosapien lifespan is less than thirty years.
  • 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.
  • Colonized Solar System: Humanity terraformed and then colonized Mars, followed by the rest of the Solar system, long before the Qu arrived.
  • 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.
  • Creepily Long Arms: The Blind Folk and the space-dwelling species have long, spindly limbs.
  • Creepy Long Fingers:
    • The Blind Folk, living underground where sound and touch are more useful than sight, evolved Creepily Long Arms and fingers to sense their surroundings.
    • The Finger Fishers have elongated middle fingers with fishhooks on the ends.
    • The Spacers develop long, spindly fingers that gradually evolve into the multiple thin, versatile limbs of the Asteromorphs.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Played with the Gravitals. Their atrocities certainly escalated after they became fully synthetic, but their evil is noted as human in nature.
  • Designer Babies: The Star People are the result of artificial interbreeding between surviving Earthlings and Martians. Their purpose, as their names suggested, was to explore the greater galaxy and populate other Earth-like planets.
  • Distant Finale: The story is told a billion years after the fact, where humanity is long gone, either dead or having moved on to some other plane of existence, and the Narrator is trying to piece their history together from surviving records.
  • Double Meaning: The only survivors of the Machine Invasion was the Bug Facers, which had been "spared" but irrevocably changed into the varied species of the Subjects. They initially under the definition in the scientific sense (an experimental subject), but also the political sense (being the political underlings to Gravital citizens). The descendants of the Subjects served as both, but in a much more benevolent sense in the New Empire, where they were both the common citizenry to newer, generally benevolent overlords, and as the template which the Asteromorphs used to reseed the galaxy after the fall of the Machine Empire.
  • Dyson Sphere:
    • Great, star-encompassing shells of this type were one of the many achievements of New Empire.
    • In a brutal inversion of this trope, the favored method of the Gravitals for eradicating organic life was to block out the sun with massive solar sails.
  • The Empire: The Machine Empire run by the Gravital, who see themselves as the only "true" descendants of humanity and see everyone else as beneath them. True to this trope, they began a campaign of conquest and genocide against anyone they considered inferior.
    • The union between the galactic species is also called The Second Galactic Empire, but they act less like an empire and more like The Alliance.
  • Everybody Has Lots of Sex: The Hedonists are biologically incapable of reproducing until they've mated with a huge number of partners over a period of decades. Fortunately, that's pretty much all they do besides eating and sleeping.
  • 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.
  • Exotic Equipment: The female Temptors have long, pit-like vaginas that the much smaller males descend into to breed.
  • Exposed Extraterrestrials: Many of the early post-humans have their genitals on full display.
  • Eyeless Face: The Blind Folk, who spend their entire lives in continent-sized caves.
  • Fantastic Racism: Both the Qu and later the Gravitals saw humanity and its descendants as beneath them, resulting in both causing the near-extinction of humanity and its descendants and the enslavement of the few survivors.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel: Averted. Travel and communication across the stars takes millions of years even for advanced species like the Qu or the Asteromorphs. There's a brief mention near the end of wormholes allowing instantaneous travel across interstellar and intergalactic distances after hundreds of millions of years.
  • 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 animal-level intelligence — 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.
    • The Hosts of the symbiotes become this as a result of the former basically taking over all their necessary mental functions.
  • Full-Conversion Cyborg: The Gravital, who started out as a race of post-human scavengers called the Ruin Haunters, and rebuilt their civilization using alien Lost Technology. As their sun expanded into a red giant, they prepared themselves for the apocalypse by upgrading their bodies with cyborg parts, ultimately becoming completely mechanical.
  • Generation Ship:
    • The Starmen discovered early on that extended periods aboard these led to Sanity Slippage, so they used AI seedships to colonize the stars instead.
    • The Spacers' ancestors escaped the Qu on these, and to avoid the problems discovered by their own ancestors heavily modified themselves to be better adapted to a weightless environment.
  • Genghis Gambit: The Machine empire was split into numerous factions which did not like each other and at least once descended into bloody civil war. In an attempt to unite the empire against a common enemy, the Machine people waged war against the Asteromorphs, which were tentatively neutral to them up to this point. It goes terribly, leading to an intergalactic war that lasts millions of years and causes the near extinction of the Machine people.
  • Genetic Abomination: The Qu's first encounter with mankind resulted in them turning basically all of humanity into these.
  • Genocide Backfire:
    • The Qu's genocidal campaign and enslavement of humanity costs them dearly in the long run, as the descendants of those who escaped their grasp eventually made it a point to wipe them out in return.
    • The Gravital's own campaign of conquest and genocide backfired when their latest attempt on the Asteromorph race resulted in them being soundly defeated and enslaved themselves by the latter.
  • Gravity Master: The Gravital propel themselves by manipulating gravity, though their descendants lose this ability.
  • Groin Attack: There's mention of one post-human species engineered by the Qu to become a parasite that infects the wombs of its host. It's thankfully never shown nor elaborated on, and died out due to infection sterilizing its hosts.
  • Handy Mouth: The Titans use a modified lower lip like an elephant trunk to grasp objects, and the Sail People use their tongues in a similar way.
  • 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.
  • Hero of Another Story: Near the end of the story, the New Empire makes contact with a vaguely snake-like alien race known as the Amphicephali, which the author notes surely underwent a similarly lengthy natural and artificial evolutionary history as humanity did, clear by their physical appearance alone.
  • History Repeats: A major running theme of the book.
    • Humans colonize Mars, but tensions between the two planets build until the Martians secede from Earth and spark a brutal civil war that ends in an uneasy stalemate. Forty million years later, the Lopsiders engineer the Asymmetrics to settle other worlds in their solar system; this time, however, the Asymmetrics win and promptly exterminate their progenitors.
    • The colonization methods employed by the Star People lead to a strange problem where some of the newly-created humans develop a romantic obsession with the autonomous machines used to germinate the first wave of colonists. During the reign of the Gravital a hundred million years later, the inverse occurs: some Gravitals eventually fall in love with their organic creations.
    • The Star Men seeded a galactic empire, which fell to a greater power, the Qu. Over the course of the next hundred million years, the mutated survivors that were fortunate enough to evolve back into isolated societies formed the Second Empire (though in practice more of a Federation) through dialogue and political unity. The Gravital came knocking and ended the Second Empire, starting the Machine Empire. During the Qu Invasion, scattered Star Men refugees who took to deep space as a means to evade the Qu, eventually evolving into the Spacers, and eventually the Asteromorph Empire, which was contemporaneous and coterminous with the Second and Machine Empires, though focused in deep space and outer systems while the latter two were focused more on planetary territory. Seeking a means to bandage over internal conflict, the Machine Empire declared war on the Asteromorph Empire, and the deadlock lasted up to a few million years, and ended with the Asteromorph's toppling the Machine Empire. Transfigured and unable to ignore the planets anymore, the Asteromorph Empire was now the New Empire, and even that faded away in time.
    • The Star Men are utterly defeated by the Qu and their descendants are transformed into strange, inhuman creatures. Eighty million years later, the Gravital exterminate the other posthuman races except for a small handful, which they artificially engineer into all kinds of bizarre forms. When the Machines pick a fight with the Asteromorphs, however, they're on the receiving end of this process; compared to the Qu and the Gravitals themselves, however, the Astermorphs are comparatively merciful. The remaining Gravitals were simply too useful to simply discard into the trash bin of history, and had their gravity-manipulation powers taken away, their imaginations "slightly blunted", and had their lifespans reduced. Their eventual descendants were often discriminated against for their ancestors' actions, but they remained the most versatile and hardy member species of the New Empire, the author noting that they were the "most splendorous of all human species".
    • The first part of the book ends with the Qu defeating the Star Men. The final chapter of the book notes that humanity eventually found the Qu and returned the favor.
  • Holiday Pardon: The Killer Folk have a tradition similar to The Purge, where one night a year is designated for "an orgy of death, sex, and prayer".
  • 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. Averted for plenty of other human strains, though, who successfully get back into space.
  • Hopeless War:
    • Humanity never stood a chance against the Qu. The first time.
    • 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.
  • Horse of a Different Color:
    • The Saurosapients are shown riding around on the ape-like posthumans who inhabit their world.
    • The Symbiotes evolved this kind of relationship with the larger post-humans who inhabited their planet back during their parasitic days, though by the time they redeveloped civilization their mounts had largely become Meat Puppets.
  • 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 ancestors of the Bone Crushers were novelty pets bred for the colours of their beaks.
    • The Temptors were used as decoration by the Qu.
    • The Saurosapients use the brain-dead descendants of local humans (who themselves had originally kept the Saurosapients' lizard ancestors as pets) 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.
  • Humans Are Survivors: The Spacers/Asteromorph exemplify this in spades. Unlike other human species, who fell to the Qu and had to rebuild their civilization, the ancestors of the Spacers successfully evaded the Qu and never got changed into beasts. They did divert significantly from the human form later on, but it was done out of willing genetic-engineering rather than forced modification. After the Qu left and the Machine Empire replaced them as the resident genocidal threat, it was the Asteromorph who made a stand and destroyed them, saving the remaining organic humans in the process. In the aftermath, they took on an active role in the recovery effort and created god-like entities to rule over the remaining humans, thus achieving galactic unity. The civilization they built was so powerful that it eventually managed to catch up to and destroy the Qu.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Averted for most of the story. The aversion is most apparent with the Bone Crushers, monstrous-looking posthumans, which the author points out that despite looking inhuman and horrifying, it might as well be your own grandchild and the last hope for humanity. The closest we get to this trope being played straight are with the Killer Folk, who were described as a warlike race in their hunter-gatherer era; the Sail People, for the same reasons as the Killer Folk; and the Gravitals, whom believed were the only worthy inheritors of the Star People and wiped out the Second Human Empire. But in all these cases, the aforementioned posthumans had families and loved ones.
  • 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.
  • Irony: Despite being the Spacers being the only post-Qu humans able to escape the Qu's clutches, these species evolved into the Asteromorphs, looking more alien than human.
  • Karmic Death: The Qu were ultimately defeated and seemingly driven to extinction by the very same civilization they mutated beyond any recognition.
  • Knight Templar: A thematic motif is that higher ideals lead to atrocities and suffering in name of the greater good.
    • The Qu are religious fanatics who see all other sapient life as heretics who need to be severily punished for their "evil" (i.e. just existing).
    • The Gravitals believed themselves the sole inheritors of the Star People ad while they didn't hate other posthumans outright their extinction was righteous from their perspective.
  • 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.
  • Living Gasbag: One is seen in the background of the Bug Facer image.
  • 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 archaeologist can piece together their history a billion years later.
  • Lovecraft Lite: At first it has some Cosmic Horror Story tropes played straight: Humanity seems to advance swiftly into space before being easily beaten by beings beyond our understanding, who regards us as little more than heretics to be experimented on and punished for our "mistakes" that we aren't even capable of comprehending. Later down the line though, it turns out Humans Are Survivors and not even millions of years can stop us from resurfacing again and again, with the story taking on a much more documentary tone, if a surreal one. Eventually, humanity overcomes The Qu and their defeat is nothing more than a footnote in the story.
  • Low Culture, High Tech: The Ruin Haunters built up their civilization by re-creating the Qu's and Star People's technology, but they rarely had any idea how any of it worked.
  • Mechanical Abomination: The Gravitals, eerie metal spheres that could manipulate gravity and wiped out the majority of posthuman life.
  • Medieval Stasis: Discussed in the case of the Bone Crushers: their dependence on carrion as a primary food source severely limited their population, and as a result they couldn't progress past a medieval level of society before their civilization collapsed.
  • Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness: About a 2. While it does focus on evolution and speculative biology, it is clear this is more of a spiritual text than a scientific one. While The Author is trying to utilize science, the gaps in his knowledge are simply handwaved.
  • 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.
  • My Brain Is Big:
    • The Asteromorphs, who are the direct descendants of the Star People and Spacers, have a notably large brain compared to other post-humans, which reflects their very high intelligence and extraterrestrial nature.
    • Their ancestor, the Star People are also an example, although a less extreme one.
    • The Terrestrials, created by the Asteromorphs to govern their Bug Facer-derived subjects, have brains as big as is possible in gravity.
  • No Ending: All Tomorrows is a brief overview of the grand history of humanity. All the species and their histories, the achievements and failures, the brotherhood and and the arrogance between peers, the scouring and building of entire worlds, the great revolving cycle of empires after empires. And at some point, human history just appears to cease altogether. The archeologist writing the record admits that they're looking, but the answer just isn't there. Humanity might have gone elsewhere, transfigured to something or someplace else, or humanity might have gone into the long night through conflict, or possibly simply fracturing and leaving each of its disparate strands to face their own private extinction. Ultimately, its just not known, there's just no clear ending point to human history, and in many ways, it didn't need one.
    The Author: Many throughout history were unaware of this most basic fact. [...] Even now, it is sickeningly easy for beings to get lost in false grand narratives, living out completely driven lives in pursuit of non-existent codes, ideals, climaxes and golden ages. In blindly thinking that their stories serve absolute ends, such creatures almost always end up harming themselves, if not those around them. To those like the misguided; look at the story of Man, and come to your senses! It is not the destination, but the trip that matters. What you do today influences tomorrow, not the other way around. Love Today, and seize All Tomorrows!
  • Noodle Incident: Not much is recorded about the first invasion of the Bug-Facers, only that it made them more wary of extraterrestrial contact.
  • 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.
  • Parasites Are Evil: Invoked but ultimately averted. The Qu transformed many humans into species of parasites designed to torment the other post-humans that inhabited their world. While most of these died out when the Qu left, some parasites formed a much more symbiotic relationship with their hosts. Ultimately, while the hosts are basically transformed into mindless puppets, this is the result of natural selection thanks to the symbiotes serving most of the essential roles and not malicious intervention. The symbiote civilization also becomes a member of the Second Galactic Empire, allied with the other Post-Qu humans.
  • Pointy Ears: Many of the human-derived species have these.
  • Posthuman Nudism: Overlapping with Exposed Extraterrestrials, most of the Transhuman Aliens don't wear clothes, except the species that regain sapience and form the Second Empire. Notably, the one lineage that never loses sapience appear to lose their concept of modesty as they evolve, the Spacer wears a jumpsuit of some sort but his Asteromorph descendants are naked.
  • 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.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality:
    • At one point, the narrator reflects on this with the Bone Crushers, pointing out that the reader probably feels at least some twinge of hope after hearing about how they're a posthuman race that rose to some level of civilization quickly... even though, objectively speaking, they're some of the most monstrous and disgusting of all the posthuman races, being carrion-eating brutes that use feces as a form of communication, and were they not connected to humanity, the reader would likely have no interest in them.
    • The Gravitals saw the world this way. The biological species, though being their taxonomic cousins, were seen in a much more mechanistic view; they were seen not as equals, but more akin to animals and a mess to be cleaned up. The author warns the reader that while it would be easy to see the Gravitals as evil, they were people first, with their own families and circles of friends, and they just saw biological life as an unneeded luxury. Their entire crusade to clean the galaxy of most organic life wasn't borne out of malice, but they saw it the same way an engineer tears down an abandoned building.
  • 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.
  • Ptero Soarer: The Sail People bear a strange resemblance to Pteranodon, although they do not fly. The Pterosapiens are a more straight example, as they look the part and can fly.
  • 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.
  • The Reveal: Arguably: humanity is long gone either somehow all dead or transcended into something or somewhere else by the time the book was written. The author Nemo Ramjet is an alien from an unrelated species, documenting what he has learned about our extinct species some billion ears in the future.
  • 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.
  • Riddle for the Ages: Who were the aliens that visited Mesozoic Earth and why did they abduct the ancestors of Panderavis? Who were the aliens that invaded the Bugfacer homeworld? What caused the end of humanity's third and final interstellar civilization?
  • Robosexual: Inverted. Several Gravitals are noted to have fallen in love with their organic subjects.
  • Robot War: The Gravitals started one of these, wiping out the post-human alliance, subjecting the Bugfacers to horrific genetic manipulation, and attempting to destroy the Asteromorphs. Ironically the Gravitals were posthumans themselves rather than AI, being Ruin Haunters who uploaded their brains into machines.
  • 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.
  • Scavengers Are Scum: Zigzagged with the Bone Crushers: they're ugly, ogre-like post-humans who smell bad, eat nothing but carrion, and communicate by defecating on others, but the narration notes that they were also one of the first groups of posthumans to redevelop sentience and that their strange habits only seem disgusting to us because of our prejudices.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale:
    • Averted with distance, as Generation Ships are used and the Second Galactic Empire is made up of worlds which only communicate with each other, more practical than interstellar travel.
    • Downplayed with time. Kosemen gives the human-derived species many millions of years to evolve, but sometimes they seem to evolve less than one would expect in tens of millions of years. The Second Galactic Empire is stated to last 80 million years.
  • Sinister Geometry: The Qu deliberately planted kilometer-high pyramids to mark their subject worlds, which persisted for many millions of years after their departure. Later on, the Ruin Haunters evolve into the Gravital, who resemble ominous floating spheres; their starships are nothing more than enormous rectangular slabs.
  • 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.
    • The Hosts are little more than vehicles for the Symbiotes.
    • The surviving Gravitals are turned into these by the Asteromorphs following the conclusion of their war with one another, becoming known as the "New Machines" after they're forcibly disarmed and are pacified.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Ultimately, and despite what it may initially seem, the work leans into idealism both as a Speculative Fiction book and as an In-Universe Fictional Document. After spending the entire work chronicling countless wars and atrocities over the course of endless eons, the author emphasizes that the lesson that should be taken away from all this is that blind pursuit of nonexistent ideals and dogmas leads to destruction of both the self and other species, as was the case with both humanity and the Qu, and that the important, immortal evidence of these species' existences are ultimately the individual daily lives of each of its members. It's not clear what civilization is like by the time of the document's writing billions of years into the future, and whether or not the author's views are common, but the fact that there is someone around to say them and spread the message that one should "Love Today, and seize All Tomorrows" is at the very least a comforting ray of hope.
  • Smell Phone: An "olfactory television" is mentioned as an invention of the Symbiote civilization.
  • 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.
  • Standard Sci-Fi History: A war between Earth and Mars leads to the radical restructuring of humanity into the Star People, who colonize much of the galaxy. Then their empire falls to the Qu, their posthuman descendants build a new empire which falls to the Gravitals, the Gravital empire is conquered by the Asteromorphs...
  • Starfish Aliens:
    • The Qu are dragonfly-like creatures the size of a man, with thick eyestalks and mandibles and what appears to be four flippers in place of wings, and a long, tentacular prehensile tail for manipulation.
    • 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.
    • Later post-humans look nothing like their ancestors. The Terrestrials take much more after the Asteromorphs with their multiple limbs, for example.
  • Starfish Language: In a way. The Bone Crushers communicated with each other through feces and showed affection by defecating on each other.
  • The Symbiote: The descendants of the Parasites are small, fist-sized creatures who utilize mindless host bodies for different tasks.
  • Terraform: All planets colonized by the Star People were terraformed, in some cases eradicating the native ecosystems, which is implied to have offended the Qu as they intended to take useful genetic material from those life forms.
  • Time Abyss: The story itself is a short history of humanity, from space to fall, and back again, and back again, and the lengthy golden age up to humanity's quiet exit from the galactic stage. It covers nearly 560 million years, and is written as a record that was recorded at least a billion years in the future.
  • Token Non-Human: Played with. Despite having human-like sentience, the Saurosapients are the only species in The Alliance between the majority of post-humans to not have, well, human ancestors, since the Lizard Herders are stunted, never reachieving their sentience and the lizards that co-existed with them evolved into what they are. Still, they are still considered "human" enough to be counted alongside the other evolved Post-Qu humans.
  • Transhuman Aliens:
    • Though the term "post-human" is thrown around, it really does mean the literal "after humans" sense, rather than the in "transcending humanity" sense that Transhumanist philosophy refers to. Most of the races in the Book are humanity's descendants.
    • It does become more literal however, with the Gravitals and the Asteromorphs. Gavitals transcended biological existence by becoming machines, though in many ways they still had very human patterns of thinking and the apparent ability to multiply in family groups. The Asteromorphs, after millions of years of experimentation and genetic engineering, became truly alien and superintelligent creatures.
  • Transhuman Abomination: Many of the posthumans created by the Qu and the Gravitals are horrific in appearance, yes, but it's the Asteromorphs descended from those who escaped the Qu who become inscrutable gods silently wandering the void.
  • Transhuman Treachery: The Ruin Haunters had already decided they were the only true heirs to humanity when they became the Gravitals, but afterwards they decided to wipe out all other posthumans save the Bug Facers, whom they enslaved.
  • Unreliable Narrator: The author himself. Since he narrates the history of humanity a billion years after the fact, the information can only be so accurate, like any historical analysis. Many gaps in chronology and awkward timelines for human evolution are speculation. The fact he holds a modern human skull upside-down show how little he knows, and also how little he has to work off of.
  • The War of Earthly Aggression:
    • The Martian colonists had an animosity towards their Earthly overlords practically from the start, leading to an embargo that became a centuries-long shooting war which led to the extinction of both the Terran and nascent Martian subspecies of humanity, replaced by a single race of Star People.
    • The Lopsiders and the Asymmetric People they created to colonize the lower-gravity planets in their star system had a similar war, only the Asymmetrics were able to utterly exterminate their progenitors.
  • What Measure Is a Humanoid?: Several of the Gravitals 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.
  • Unspecified Apocalypse: The story is being told by an alien paleontologist a billion years after humanity is finally and completely extinct through some uncertain event. They ponder if it was by a final interstellar war of cataclysmic fury or they Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence, but they don't really know.
  • 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.
  • We All Die Someday: Part of the story's theme of the journey mattering more than the destination. Humanity eventually disappears from the cosmos, but it still accomplishes great things beforehand.
  • We Are as Mayflies: The Pterosapiens are noted to hit puberty at two years old, middle age at thirteen, and die before they're twenty-three.
  • World War Whatever: The Ruin Haunters had five consecutive world wars, two of which involved thermonuclear weapons.

Love Today, and seize All Tomorrows!
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