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Cloning Blues

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"I am a clone, I am not alone...
If you had ever seen us you'd rejoice in your uniqueness
And consider every weakness something special of your own"
Robert Calvert (Hawkwind), "Spirit of the Age"

In Speculative Fiction, being a clone absolutely sucks. It's enough to make a clone sing the blues.

Though Real Life clones are simply the equivalent of identical twins produced artificially instead of naturally, have to start at conception and go through childhood at the usual speed to reach adulthood, and can even have phenotypes that vary from their genetic source, Speculative Fiction clones are like perfect meta-xerox copies of the cloned person. They are exactly like the target at the moment of cloning (possibly excused by age acceleration), with all their forebears' memories and skills, although their personalities can develop from there.

As a result, many clones brood about how they're not "real," just hollow imitations of the original. The clones tend to deal with this rather badly. Some make desperate attempts to act different. Others go mad and try to murder the original to take their place. (Emphasis on "try" — hardly any succeed.) If the clone is a main character, they will spend the whole show angsting about how they're the Tomato in the Mirror. Occasionally they will have powers just like the Artificial Human. This often just ups their feelings of alienation, though. This, of course, only works with artificial clones that are identical to the original; natural identical twins are clones as well, the difference is that twins don't have the exact same memories, personality and relationships as the other (and neither do artificial clones in Real Life).

That's for the lucky clones who are created properly. In many shows, cloning is an imprecise science, so there is a high probability that any clone will turn out to be an Evil Twin — almost as high as the probability of creating an evil computer (because everyone knows that Science Is Bad). Other unlucky clones will just have birth defects, Resurrection Sickness, or be increasingly inexact duplicates.

And that's for the clones who are just unlucky. The really unlucky clones have malevolent creators who can make custom clones grown in a vat, sometimes in bulk — which are exact meta-xerox copies of the original except that they have fanatical loyalty to the creators. You can expect all that tinkering to make something Go Horribly Wrong, too. A clone like this is always considered highly expendable by their creator, except in rare cases where said Evilutionary Biologist has developed an attachment to it.

Because of all this (or possibly as a cause of all this), clones get very little respect. Heroes who hesitate at killing intelligent life might still kill their evil clone. In the question of What Measure Is a Non-Human?, most clones rank somewhere between the Big Creepy-Crawlies and the Mecha-Mooks. Interestingly, on the question of What Measure Is a Non-Unique? the only clone that matters is the last one... provided the original is dead.

This assumes the clone ever had a mind of its own, of course. Sometimes a clone is an Empty Shell without the original's soul, and exists only so that the creator can overwrite their mind and personality onto it in case of accident. In this case, it's more like coming Back from the Dead — although if the clone has a mind of its own at the start, this is yet another reason its life sucks. And let's not debate how Our Souls Are Different, in which case clones (especially of the deceased) will be soulless abominations before God and nature.

Some clones aren't biological clones at all — they're robot doubles, or copies created by the good old transporter. These have more reason to be exact xerox copies — but they get even less respect.

Sometimes a story resolves the issue by having the original and the clone(s) fuse "back" into a single being. This is seen as a way to solve their problem without anybody dying. How much logical sense it makes that this would be possible depends on what flavor of Applied Phlebotinum was used to make the clones, but it's common to see this solution used even when the clone was clearly not physically "split" off of the original.

Note that all instances of actual cloning in Real Life require a live animal of the same or similar species with a womb to carry the cloned animal to term. Science fiction tends to ignore this requirement competely, which only enforces the Trope.

See also Scale of Scientific Sins, Creating Life and Existential Horror. Closely related to Expendable Clone. Contrast with Clones Are People, Too, where they do get to live their own lives. One of the most common sub-tropes to Supernatural Angst.

Warning: This trope is often introduced as a Plot Twist, so expect spoilers.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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    Comic Strips 
  • Calvin and Hobbes:
    • Calvin creates a bunch of clones of himself. Predictably, they grow disgruntled at his self-serving leadership and more or less rebel until he is able to transmogrify them into worms (which they're actually not that unhappy about). But they aren't doing anything unnatural — they act exactly as Calvin would.
    • In another story arc, Calvin thinks he solves the problem by cloning only his good half. The "Good Calvin" promptly openly crushes on Susie and pursues her, but is rejected thinking it's another one of Calvin's tricks. The Good Calvin gets into a fight with regular Calvin, angry that his original is such a lowlife that Susie won't give him the time of day, and then disappears in a puff of logic when he realizes he had an evil thought.

    Fan Works 
  • BlazBlue Alternative: Remnant: Noel goes through this after she learns she's a Murakumo Unit and a clone of Saya. When Ruby discovers her poetry journal, she sees that her poems have gone from cheesy and goofy, to existential and nihilistic, questioning her existence and if it's all a lie, which itself eventually devolves into scratched out repeating of "clone", "fake", and "monster" over and over again. She also expresses a lot of self-loathing that her existence came at Saya's expense.
  • Kodachi Kuno of Divine Blood doesn't quite clone herself, but fertilizes her own eggs with genetic material gathered from psychics so that she can produces daughters that have superpowers and look like her. She then eats their mind which leaves fragments of their identity behind and their soul bound up with hers so that she can utilize their life force to increase her personal power and be almost impossible to kill.
  • In Shinji And Warhammer 40 K, one of Shinji's first Batman Gambits involves manipulating Gendo to kill the current Rei and activate one of her replacement clones. It isn't until after the scheme is complete that Shinji realises he got Rei killed, and suffers a severe My God, What Have I Done? moment until Rei reminds him that not only was it merely one of her bodies that was destroyed, her soul unharmed, but also that she agreed to do it, and Shinji calms down. He nevertheless resolves to never use someone in such a way, to deliberately kill them even if it can be fixed, because that's how his father thinks.
  • In Meredith Bronwen Mallory's rather disturbing little Star Wars fan fic Deep As You Go, Darth Vader has utilized the cloning facilities at Kamino to clone his late wife Padmé. This goes about as well as one would expect.
    "Are you an angel?" his voice is the sound of leaves brushing over a tombstone. This the awful question, because if he hadn't asked it, he would still love her. His eyes are so blue, so strange set into the roped scars on his head.
    "I don't know," she says, and as soon as her voice sounds, she knows it is the wrong answer. The first time he asked, when she was five, she said she was whatever he wanted her to be. Her left arm had never mended right.
  • The Pony POV Series has Fluttercruel, who while not a physical clone, is a separate soul created by Discord when he couldn't break Fluttershy and based off her, making her Fluttershy's spiritual (and possibly Discord's, since she got some traits that didn't come from her 'mother') clone. After his defeat, they're left Sharing a Body. While Fluttershy genuinely cares about her as a daughter, Fluttercruel sees herself as nothing more than a 'rip off' of her. She eventually overcomes this.
  • From The Longingverse Scootaloo was cloned from Rainbow Dash's DNA in order to learn how to make an alicorn. And while not a clone, per se, Spike is revealed to be just a stuffed toy dragon that Twilight accidentally gave life to. Both eventually get over it.
  • "Blink", and it's many, many continuations all revolve around this as Twilight Sparkle discovers that Teleporting doesn't take you from one place to your destination. Instead the Teleportation spell just takes the Teleporter to a formless void dimension with no food, water or Magic in it while the Magic used in the teleportation spell creates a perfect duplicate of the Teleporter and anything and anybody they were teleporting with that has all of the previous copies thoughts, memories, and abilities from before they had Teleported: the copy then winds up in the place the original was teleporting to; while the original is simply left behind and trapped in the pocket universe forever... and Twilight had found herself surrounded by the corpses of the previous versions of herself that died from starvation, dehydration, or were killed by other previous versions of Twilight Sparkle that had gone insane and cannibalistic trying to survive in this hellscape.
  • In "I Forgot I Was There", Twilight Sparkle unwittingly brings her own reflection to life while trying out one of Starswirl the Bearded's hidden spells. It takes a while for everyone to adjust to the situation, but eventually they accept the duplicate as her own pony. Then it's revealed why Starswirl hid all knowledge of the spell: it's not permanent.
  • In Shatterheart Syaoran suffers a lot of grief from the group for not being his clone and the horrific circumstances the clone left them. Kurogane is the first to realize that Syaoran is seperate person from his clone and the others grow to accept it. An odd variant where the original is not seen as a individual from the clone.
  • In Lonely Souls, Demon/Rogue AI Moloch uploads Willow's mind to Cyberspace. This clone survives Moloch's death and is convinced that her family is shunning her because no one has staged an Orphean Rescue. She's shocked to find that her original is walking around normally. Eventually the confusion is cleared up and she basically becomes a new member of the family, developing traits separate from Willow. Turns out she's inherited the soul of Rowan, one of Willow's harvested sisters.
  • The Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers fic "The Clone War: A Retelling" is based around the idea that during the events of "Blue Ranger Gone Bad", when the Blue Ranger was impersonated by a clone of himself, the clone wasn't destroyed, but in reality everyone confused the clone and the original, with the villains keeping the original Billy as an abused servant in the belief that he was just the clone while the clone took on Billy's personality after the two morphed while Billy and the clone were in contact. The clone is left bitter when the other Rangers immediately judge him as 'evil' after realising his true nature even though he hasn't done anything beyond be a clone, but Billy and Zordon agree to give him a chance to make a new life as Billy refuses to condemn his clone to the same fate he endured as Zedd and Rita's prisoner.
  • The Arrow fic "Happy Accident" features an interesting variation of this when Black Siren is killed and Oliver's attempt to resurrect her in a Lazarus Pit results in Earth-1 Laurel Lance being brought back to life in her counterpart's body. While Constantine confirms that it is the soul of the original Laurel in Black Siren's body, Laurel is uncomfortable when she lets herself think about the implications of the fact that her "new" body has scars and tattoos she doesn't remember receiving or getting, to say nothing of the idea that the body she was born in is decaying in a grave somewhere.
  • In the Farscape fic Left Behind, after Crichton and Chiana are left behind on Rohvu, Chiana freaks out when Crichton reveals that he knows for a fact there were at least two D’Argos left behind on Rohvu that are now dead, and he’s sure that he saw another Chiana in the escape pod before it left.
  • The Naruto fanfic In the Blood (justplainrii) revolves around a handful of clones assumed to be made by Orochimaru. Most of them aren't aware of their genetic source, but the ones that do have severe identity issues. The clone of Orochimaru himself probably has the worst time of it.
  • One of the several reveals of Sonic X: Dark Chaos is that Sonic, Shadow, and Eric are failed "clones" of Maledict himself, which he made to create an "Ultimate Weapon". Because of this, all three of them can use the Chaos Emeralds (and Rings) to power themselves up. He thought they were failures and disposed of them many decades before the story. None of the hedgehogs are happy with this truth, even though Maledict admits he treated them wrongly and is glad they grew up into fine hedgehogs.
  • Tok'ra Apocalypse includes the revelation that a clone of Steven Caldwell had its own soul before the clone was basically possessed by the spirit of Samuel Campbell as part of a plan to take control of Purgatory.
  • I Against I, Me Against You has the unfortunate magical A.I. copied from Rainbow Dash's mind. In short, Sunset Shimmer creates an M.I. (Magical Intelligence) copy of Rainbow Dash to help Tex purge O'Malley from Pinkie Pie's mind. Unfortunately, M.I.s are illegal in Equestria and the construct had to be erased after completing its purpose. Combine that with the fact that the M.I. possessed all of the real Rainbow Dash's memories, and the Mane 6 essentially got to watch Sunset murder their friend.
  • "Sunsplit" has this be mentioned by Sunset Shimmer in regards to being Sunburst's Opposite-Sex Clone:
    Celestia was ticked, let me tell you. I mean, just creating life like that, kind of a big deal. Didn't help that I was in the middle of a breakdown, you know, the usual 'am I real' kinda thing you read in sci-fi, but the gala went pretty good despite all that.
  • The Justice League: The Spider sequel Web of Cadmus focuses on several clones feeling the burden of their origins, although the clones of Superman, Hawkgirl, the Martian Manhunter, Supergirl and Spider-Man eventually decide to find their own way with their templates, although the Flash's clone rebels against the heroes to be a villain.
  • In Fate/Parallel Fantasia, this is briefly contemplated by False Caster when she realizes that Servants are only copies based on information recorded in the Akashic Records; meaning that if she found a way to return to her own world, she might find another version of herself still there, one with a better claim on being the "real" her. She ultimately decides to carry on and try not to worry about it.
  • In Riding the Dragon Michael Hasek-Davion is replaced by a programmed clone who suffers a severe mental breakdown due to being programmed with the original's PTSD.
  • Shed 17, a fanmade eerie deconstuction of Thomas & Friends lore, has a particularly gruesome one. During the course of the video it is stated that Thomas was a son of the original owner of the railway station. He died in an accident and was later rebuild as a Bio-fusion of human organs with mechanical parts. At the climax, he visits the titular Shed 17, to find out that he's not the real Thomas, but merely one of the many clones that were made in order to recreate the boy, albeit the most successful one. Seeing the remains of the failed experiments, and one of them even still alive and trying to get out of its containment capsule, Thomas is shocked so much by the revelation that his organic spinal cord pops out of his body shell and his human face falls off, revealing a skeleton screaming in agony and despair.
  • In The Worm Atonement, Pandora's biggest motivation is to define herself as a real person and not just a bad copy of Panacea.
  • The Institute Saga: Galatea is cloned from Supergirl and used by Magneto as his weapon. And she is not happy about it.
  • Ryuji from Kamen Rider Days is technically a replication of another person (Ryuki). He struggles a lot with the feeling that he isn't a real person, something his closer allies have tried to disabuse him of.
  • Subverted in the FTL: Faster Than Light fic Look at Me. Brian is perfectly OK with being ressurected through cloning, but his shipmates, Pell and Xander, aren't. As far as they're concerned, the real Brian is dead and his clone's a slap in the face. If only because they had to watch their friend bleed to death, and then witness his clone lurch out of his tank like the Frankenstein's Monster from his slab.
  • The fan novelization Super Mario Sunshine: A Sprite of Light reveals that Bowser Jr. is actually a clone of Bowser created through magic. The revelation hits Jr. hard, since it means not only that Princess Peach is not his mother, but that there was never a mother for him to find in the first place.

  • Fear Factory's "Replica".
  • The Who's song "905" features a clone, who is presumably the 905th iteration of the line, lamenting his inability to do anything original whatsoever.
  • Alice Cooper's "Clones (We're All)" (6 has similar problems to the Who's 905).
  • "My Clone Sleeps Alone" by Pat Benatar. Her clone lives in a sterile sexless future.
  • The Leo Kottke/Mike Gordon song "Clone" (from the album of the same name) has fun with this idea.
  • The parody song "I Think I'm a Clone Now" by "Weird Al" Yankovic:
    • The song details a transition; for one of the clones, it starts with embarassment:
      "...What would people say
      If only they knew that I was
      Part of some geneticist's plan..."
    • ...and ends with enjoyment.
      "...I've been on Oprah Winfrey — I'm world renowned..."
  • Voivod has a track on Katorz called Silly Clones. It deals with the creation of someone's clones, Yes, eventually a "desirable" result is obtained... but then there's the interim clones.
    In the valley of silly clones, where the people turn to stone
    In the valley of silly clones, people made of styrofoam
    In the valley of silly clones, where the people die alone
  • Mutter by Rammstein is about a cloned child who is angry about never having a mother-or even a name, for that matter.
  • The page quote is provided by Hawkwind from the song Spirit of the Age, about a clone with angst.

    Puppet Shows 

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Changeling: The Lost, a 'clone' is left so the original won't be missed. This clone must be killed for the original to reclaim their place in the real world. The "fetch" (as they're called) is often played for tragedy — the poor bastard doesn't even know what he is until some monstrous thing that looks exactly like him bursts down the door. But on the other hand, every fetch is missing a piece of the original's personality; sometimes this can be a good thing, like a fetch modeled on a bigot who lacks his original's racism, and then you get the ones that are missing their original's conscience...
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The original game included a spell called "Clone". It made a magical duplicate of someone, and when they became aware of each other's existence, each was filled with an unrelenting desire to kill the other. (Assuming the original was still alive; more than likely, the spell was not designed with this in mind.) As of Third Edition, the "Clone" spell now just creates a lifeless copy of the user's body. It needs to be preserved somehow or it will rot (a relatively simple spell takes care of that), but if it is still intact when the original dies, they reincarnate in that body (though the clone does not gain any knowledge — i.e. experience or abilities — that the original gained since the clone was created). However a similar effect is preserved in the expensive item "Mirror of Opposition". It creates a temporary clone whose only purpose is to kill the original.
    • Other ways of "cloning" — such as Simulacrum — don't have this problem, although such spells do not duplicate the original as well.
    • Not too surprisingly, the original psycho-jealous-killer-clone rule still applies in the Ravenloft setting, even in the 3E products.
    • In Forgotten Realms Manshoon invented a one-at-a-time cloning spell. When it eventually was broken, all remaining clones awakened and immediately went on a rampage against each other, but seem to have stabilized at three; they stay away from each other. And dwarves once used deepspawn to quickly churn out lots of adult and skilled troops during The Spawn Wars. This had more insidious side-effects, though.
  • Another New World of Darkness game, Promethean: The Created, states that lab-made human clones have not yet been created by conventional science. Unconventional science, however, has been able to create them since some point in the 20th century, by capturing Prometheans, stealing their internal fire (or Azoth), and using that to fuel the growth of a clone. In fact, this particular kind of clone can go from embryo to mature adult (about twenty-five years old) in a few days. These particular types of clones are definitely not seen as people, not having a soul (which, as might be expected in a supernatural horror setting, is a very real concern).
    • The Created themselves, being almost-people cobbled together by mad demiurges seeking to play god by creating life from nothing, tend to get this in spades. Their lives tend to be made even harder because they can't spend much time around regular humans without those humans subconsciously becoming freaked out about them, with effects ranging from minor distaste to blaming them for all the problems or thinking of them being nothing but uppity tools that need to be reminded of their place in things to outright exhorting others to grab the Torches and Pitchforks to destroy the monster in their midst.
  • In Paranoia, all PCs are clones, and on death are replaced with duplicate clones with the character's memories and personality. They have plenty of reason to get the bluesnote , as repeated cloning can lead to personality quirks and full-blown psychoses, not to mention Clone Degeneration. Oh, and being a mutant is treason — this leads to the situation of mutants executed by other clones for treason when discovered, but their replacement clone instantly arriving can't be executed again until it's proven to also be a mutant. Due to inherent problems with the cloning system, they may come back with a different mutation!
  • in Punk Rock Saves the World, there are multiple clones of Elvis Presley wandering through the timestream. One of the clones had Magic Plastic Surgery so he could go back in time and become Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis' manager, who "murdered the miserable, suicidal Elvis for taking too long to die".
  • Played for Laughs (naturally) in the Toon setting Transtoony Space, a pastiche of Transhuman Space. In the original game, biotech reviewer Chance Mackintosh is in her fifth consecutive clone body. Since Toon characters don't die, her counterpart is Chimps Mackenzie, five Funny Animal chimpanzees who generally act as Single-Minded Twins unless someone asks which is the original, at which point they all start squabbling about it.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Adeptus Mechanicus is leery of any sort of reproductive cloning (if they aren't the ones doing it) due to past incidents. When cloning is used in the setting, the results are unfailingly true to this trope.
    • Due to a ban on artificial intelligences following an ancient Robot War, the Imperium uses Servitors in place of automated workers. The lucky ones are mindless, vat-grown humans who were stuffed with useful cybernetics and "bio-programmed" to fulfill their primary function. The unlucky ones are political prisoners, invalid soldiers, and Space Marine washouts subjected to the same horrifying modifications.
    • The planet Krieg suffered five hundred years of nuclear war when its governor tried to secede from the Imperium, leaving the world so toxic that "Vitae Womb" devices are required to maintain a stable population. The AdMech doesn't like this, but is overruled by the Departmento Munitorum since the Death Korps of Krieg are such fanatically-loyal, fearless soldiers for the Imperium's armies — they consider themselves expendable as part of their world's martyrdom culture (Other regiments get commissars to execute men for cowardice. Kriegers have commissars to prevent them from making a Senseless Sacrifice every five minutes). Depending on the Writer they may or may not all be clones of the exact same guy. They wear gas masks all the time so that nobody will notice.
    • The Imperial government ran a shadowy cloning project combining the genetic material of its greatest heroes, such as legendary general Lord Solar Macharius, to produce the ultimate soldier. The so-called Afriel Strain was the result, albino warriors who are indeed superior to normal troops, but marred by an unexplainable tendency to provoke animosity in their fellow soldiers, as well as freakishly bad luck. Afriel deployments uniformly produce a brief period of incredible success followed by catastrophic failure. The Imperium, being the Imperium, keeps producing them in hopes of someday getting the process right.
    • When the Raven Guard legion was decimated during the Horus Heresy, its primarch, Corvus Corax, turned to a dangerous "replicae" process to mass-produce fully-grown Space Marines. The results were slavering brutes that had to be herded into battle with whips, only one in ten of which could even hold a boltgun. Corvus was so horrified by his creations that after the Heresy he locked himself in his chambers for a year, emerging only to personally Mercy Kill every last howling abomination before disappearing to parts unknown. Quoth the Raven Guard primarch, "Nevermore."
      • Unlike other examples, it's not detailed if these were actual clones or if they simply accelerated the traditional Space Marine "recruitment" process. Nonetheless, these modifications were so extensive that it managed to affect the geneseed of subsequent generations, causing them to lose some of the superhuman organs the geneseed was suppose to provide.
    • The Blood Angels were unintentionally inflicted with this when Horus slew Sanguinius. Being both psychic, the death of Sanguinius was so painful to his legion that it left a genetic imprint on the legion's very geneseed. This was the birth of the Black Rage; on the eve of battle random Blood Angels would be struck down by the mental illness and think he's actually Sanguinius during that fateful battle with Horus. This causes them to lose all semblance of rationality and fight like a frothing berserker due to feeling and seeing the last painful moments of his Primarch. Very few have fought the rage and survived, while most are simply herded into battle or given the Emperor's Peace after battle. They also serve as a cold reminder to the rest of the Blood Angels as all of the Sons of Sanguinius would eventually suffer the Rage; it's only a matter of when.

  • Hydraxon II in BIONICLE is the exact copy of the original Hydraxon jailer who died during a great prison break. He was created from the body of Dekar, a normal Matoran whose memories have been suppressed by Hydraxon's. Presenting him evidence of his true being just make him angrier and sink deeper into denial, causing him to think that everyone trying to explain that he's not the original is tricking him. Interestingly, the real Hydraxon is still alive on a Respawn Point, but the two never met since the series had been canceled.

    Web Original 
  • In The Gamer's Alliance, Shamshir, Venom and Rune are clones of Jemuel who are active during the Great War. Although being effective antagonists who get the job done, they're still seen by their creator Dante as nothing more than failed experiments to resurrect the real Jemuel. Although the first two clones are content being relegated to assassins, Rune is much more bitter and ambitious and eventually ends up dedicating his life to surpassing Jemuel in power and cunning.
  • The idea of a stereotypical, perfect-copy clone is used in a fantastically original manner in the John Dies at the End. In this case the blues aren't about being a clone so much as they are that he killed the original main character and took his place without knowing. His best friend and girlfriend forgive him, but now his biggest worry is Villain Override.
  • Mahu: Averted in "Second Chance". The Galactic Commonwealth creates whole armies of clone soldiers whose only objective in life is to serve the nation.They are biologically engineered for war and thus it seems they have no emotions which may get in the way of their duties. Only one of every thousand happens to inherit some of the memories of the person who was cloned. They are immediately "disposed off" though, before they get a chance to brood.
  • In The Nostalgia Critic "The Sixth Day" crossover with The Sci Fi Guy, a clone of Critic is made and he has to be original Critic's Sex Slave or the latter's maid.
  • Cloning can be done fairly easily for people in the civilized regions of Orion's Arm, memory transfer optional. This isn't commonly done, since property laws get all iffy when cloning comes into the picture: most of the time, the copies can own property but have no property to begin with. Other times, if the clone is given the original's memories, property can be split down the middle if a disagreement arises. It varies A LOT depending on region. Nonetheless, one person cloned himself hundreds of times and is in the process of making a documentary on the myriad ways his copies have gone. On the net or in virches (virtual environments), copying is done very frequently. These are not usually included in population counts for this reason. The notes on population suggests that if you count virtual clones, 90% of the population would consist of five people.
  • In A Rake by Starlight, Stebil Tanz admits to being a little bit defensive about not being the original, even though, legally, he is the same person.
  • Something Awful: Dungeons & Dragons: In trying to appease both her party leader and her evil god, Minerelle decides to make an evil clone of Joey, who can fulfill her evil god's plans, while the real Joey fulfills his own. Needless to say, it does not go well. Made even worse when an evil shape-shifter also decides to get in on the action.
  • After Spoony's death at the end of his Final Fantasy VIII review, Linkara brought him back as a clone, who is indistinguishable from the original Spoony and doesn't seem too conflicted about not being the original one. And considering what came of the original...
  • Aurora from Trinton Chronicles is technically one of many failed clone of the mysterious Messianic figure known only as 'Jade'. It's also very strange as she has the power of Me's a Crowd on top of being a genetic copy.
  • In Twig, Mary is a clone of a student of a minor politician who is designed to commit Murder-Suicide against her parents, and she struggles with differentiating herself from the actual Mary who she replaced, as well as the fact that her creator views her as basically disposable. This eventually drives her to make a Heel–Face Turn when the Lambsbridge Gang offers her the family she really wants.
  • Belphoebe of the Whateley Universe is a forced-aged clone made with Jobe's Drow-transformation serum as the genetic base, and initially had no memories or awareness. She was created by Belphegor (a fat, neurotic Devisor student) with the intention of transferring Phobos'note  mind into it, hoping she would show him a rather intimate sort of gratitude; however, he accidentally copied his own mind into the new body instead. It takes Belphoebe a while to get her act together after waking up unexpectedly in a very different body, but most people treat her as an otherwise ordinary teen (albeit one with pointy ears, white hair, and matte-black skin darker than any naturally occurring skin tone).
  • Why Not Janice? has them as her trademark, with Fun with Subtitles. The cloning blues is a Hinted Trope until the Jerkass Servile Snarker clone starts complaining about having to work for the poor Fan Girl.

    Real Life 
  • A different kind of Cloning Blues occurs in Real Life, with creatures that reproduce asexually — by dividing their cells into two, creating an identical clone. Studies have indicated that it's way easier for parasites to optimally adapt to a strain of creatures with identical DNA than to a species whose biology is based on the genetic lottery of sexual reproduction, and there's evidence that that might be the reason sexual reproduction evolved in the first place. (Go read Carl Zimmer's book Parasite Rex to find out more.)
  • Fruit:
    • Most fruit bought in today's grocery stores are in fact clones, a practice much simpler than "cloning" depicted on TV and a practice that goes all the way back to ancient China — in essence it's an artificially induced botanical form of asexual reproduction. These clones are typically called Cultivars and are usually registered and well documented. For example, all "Grape Juice" is made from the Concord Grape (white grape juice is typically from the "Niagara Grape"); every single Concord Grape vine is genetically identical to every other Concord Grape vine. For decades, these grapes have been cloned naturally by taking a cutting off one of their branches, shoving it in the ground, and waiting for roots to appear. Sometimes the growers get creative, using a cloned top of the plant and a cloned root system (called rootstock) stuck on for good measure — for plants that are really tasty or grow really well except for their roots.
    • Some cultivars have had mutations in their clones — meaning that there are actual variations within the cultivar, called "sports." The table on this page of The Other Wiki lists sports of the Gala apple cultivar — clones that look & taste different from the "parent" & have become their own cultivars in effect. Until they mutate again, sometimes back to the original phenotype!
    • This is a common practice with fruit trees as well. In the Yakima Valley in Washington State, USA, where most of the country's apples are grown, it would be difficult to find an orchard tree whose seeds had the same genetics as its root cells.
    • Pygmy Sundews, a type of Carnivorous Plant, take this one stage further. They grow a special type of growth called a "gemmae" — a seed without a shell. These gemmae, when ready, explode off the plant and land nearby, where they grow into a perfect clone of the original plant if the conditions are right. It makes growing hybrids very easy, as once you have a plant you like, you can simply wait and in the fall, it will clone itself a few dozen times over.
    • Seedless grapes and domestic bananas are in fact no longer able to reproduce sexually, having adapted to being cloned by humans instead. Going back to the original point that spawned all this talk of cloned plants, one strain of banana was made completely extinct in Panama (though not worldwide) about a century ago due to a parasite that evolved to only feed on that strain, and sadly that variety was said to have a better flavor than the most common variety of banana used nowadays, which itself is at risk of the same fate. There are no reports of wild bananas having this trouble.
    • Most seedless varieties of any type of fruit are clones of the original mutation, otherwise it wouldn't have lasted past one generation (a few are infertile hybrids of fertile varieties).
    • Navel Oranges are another type of clone. A mutation in a single tree resulted in seedless fruits that attempt to bud off a second orange in place of the seeds. Thus the only way to reproduce are to graft branches of Navel Orange type onto other trees.
    • Ornamental trees suffer from the same problem too. For example, the ever-popular "Somei-Yoshino" variety of the sakura tree (the common "white foam" type, planted all over the world) are essentially clones of the single mutant tree from the Somei village in the outskirts of the old Edo (now part of Toshima ward, Tokyo), where the gardeners has long worked on crossing the hardy local trees with the more elegant Kyoto varieties from Yoshino area. One of these hybrids produced the characteristic dense crown of almost purely white flowers, which were, however, virtually fruitless. Thus it still reproduced by grafting the cuttings of somei-yoshino cultivar onto the suitable local rootstocks.
    • All this has raised quite a few concerns for agricultural experts, namely (as what has happened many times before) that entire types of plants can be destroyed because of a single parasitic strain capitalising on its lack of genetic diversity. Efforts to prevent this mostly revolve around quarantine measures to prevent the spread of such parasites and the creation of "seed banks" (vast vaults storing an equally vast variety of plants) instead of attempts to reduce this genetic homogenisation, as using cloned plants is too cheap and easy to ever effectively be stopped.
  • The horror associated with this trope is a major reason why (fake) news of cloned humans gets people very excited, and many places have already passed laws making human cloning illegal. When they bother to make the distinction, it's reproductive cloning (artificial twinning) that is outlawed, while tissue cloning (for replacement organs and such) is not, as the potential is far too great to throw away.
  • So far, the process of cloning animals is imperfect and introduces a wide number of mutations due to how genetic material is inserted into the egg. Because of this, the majority of clones are known to have health issues and live generally shorter lives.
  • Identical twins, triplets, etc. are technically naturally occurring clones, produced when a single fertilized egg splits into two or more (which, as far as scientists can tell, happens randomly - Hereditary Twinhood doesn't apply to identicals, contrary to many TV shows). Most seem fine with it. Except for cases when the two are constantly compared to each other, and worse, forced by their parents to wear identical clothes. Still, that's the result of social pressure, not anything inherent to the fact they're biologically identical. Though this certainly wasn't the case in the less enlightened periods in human history, when twins were considered an ill omen or a sign of outright demonic taint.


Video Example(s):


Dean is a clone

Dean freaks out after being told he and Hank are clones while Ben casually tells him why he shouldn't worry.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (17 votes)

Example of:

Main / CloningBlues

Media sources: