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Creating Life

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Sawtooth: Do you think it's possible that the only reason humans exist was to create robots?
Florence: Maybe. And maybe the only reason robots exist is to create the lifeform that comes after you. And when that lifeform asks, "where are your creators?", what do you plan to tell it?
Sawtooth: Probably something like "let's go meet the neighbors."
Florence: Better be careful. The moment humans find out they've become grand creators, they're going to spoil your kid rotten.

The act of creating life is a central part of many works. This goes for creating life in general and for intelligent life, biological or otherwise, in particular. The act can be portrayed in many ways, such as:

Examples that fit squarely in one of these subtropes go on that page only.

The Frankenstein genre of this trope family usually fall squarely in the Creating Life Is Bad camp. Usually, but not always.

Note that this trope only comes into effect when creating new life in a manner other than the old-fashioned way; for that, see Pregnancy Tropes. For a downright archaic way, see Spontaneous Generation.

Supertrope of Green Thumb (specific to plants).


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    Anime and Manga 
  • A Certain Magical Index: Magicians are able to conjure living, intelligent beings (though they typically have fairly short lifespans). The act of creating a magical life form is treated as morally neutral. However, the practice has become unpopular among magicians in the modern age because, all things considered, making a nonsentient magical item to increase your own power is simpler and more convenient than creating a servant.
  • Doraemon have a number of the titular robot cat's gadgets capable of creating artificial life-forms. One of them, the Life Creation Kit, plays a key role in Doraemon: Nobita and the Birth of Japan when Nobita uses it to create three mythical "pets" for himself - a pegasus, a gryphon and an oriental dragon.
  • Overlord (2012): The main reason the guardians (formerly player-customized NPCs) are so loyal to Ainz as the last remaining member of the guild is that they refer to the other guild members as their creators. Technically this is true, but it was done through a game mechanic to set their physical and mental attributes, the players never thought of it as creating life. Ainz has no more clue as to why the guardians became sentient beings as to how he ended up incarnated into his game character. One of his last acts as a player was to jokingly rewrite a core aspect of a guardian's personality, and they believe he still has this level of power.
  • One of the most notorious things the Black Wizard Zeref of Fairy Tail is known for his creation of an entire race of demons that have wrecked havoc across the world for hundreds of years. It turns out Zeref perfected the art as both a method of creating something strong enough to kill him and as the latest in his attempts to raise the dead. The final result of said project, the ultimate demon and the reason he started down his path in the first place, is Natsu Dragneel, his revived younger brother.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind: Giorno Giovanna's Stand, Gold Experience, has the ability to create lifeforms out of nonliving objects. He's usually limited to only plants and small animals. He can also morph the lifeforms back into the original objects. His additional abilities are turning objects into functional flesh, up to whole organs and body parts, as well as sensing lifeforms in a certain area.
  • The main character of Gushing over Magical Girls can imbue life into inanimate object with a strike of her wand, turning them into monsters to do her bidding.
  • Naruto: The Sage of the Six Paths possessed a godlike technique called the Creation of All Things, which can create a life out of nothing. It's actually a combination of Yin (creating something) and Yang (imbuing something with life) chakra releases. The Sage used this technique to divide the Ten Tails into the nine tailed beasts, all of whom have personality of their own despite originally being a mindless creature. Izanagi (a reality-warping Sharingan technique which allows the user to cheat death) is said to be a pale imitation of the Sage's technique.

    Comic Books 
  • Absolutely downplayed in Fantastic Four. Reed Richards has created a unicellular form of life that lived for some seconds, in his free time... but let's not give it a second thought, because the police just informed about the villain of the week.
  • In Superman story How Luthor Met Superboy, young Lex Luthor manages to create an artificial, protoplasmic lifeform. However, his artificial being gets accidentally destroyed when Superboy puts out a fire consuming his laboratory, Lex convinces himself that Superboy ruined his discovery deliberately, and swears revenge.
    Lex Luthor: Wouldn't Superboy be surprised if he knew I am on the verge of discovering the very secret of life itself?!! [...] It's alive! And formula created it... out of chemicals! It's crude protoplasm, but who knows what this stupendous experiment may lead to?!

    Fan Works 
  • Ruin Value sees the small band of survivors creating more ponies to replace the people who died in The End of the World as We Know It. However, they are not meant to replace ponies; they're meant to replace humans.
  • In With Strings Attached, on a quest to restore monsters to Baravada, Brox discovers a spell that will transform inorganic items into living creatures. Later, Paul is unwillingly taught the spell.
    • The "Legendary Life Spell" turns out to be a valuable trade good when the four return to C'hou in The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World, so Paul casts it a few times to make sure he remembers how, then dumps the resultant little creations into the sewer to (hopefully) thrive there. Also, simply mentioning it intrigues the skahs enough that they actually have a long conversation with the four.
  • "Transition" has Raven and Jinx gaining godlike power and experimenting with it. Ironically Jinx decides Creating Life Is Bad after her first attempt didn't last very long while Raven thinks Creating Life Is Awesome.

    Film — Animation 
  • Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence has an intro sequence detailing the semi-organic creation of a cybernetic organism.

    Film — Live Action 
  • In Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Chancellor Palpatine makes a claim that the Sith Lord Darth Plagueis had the ability to create life.

  • In the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the ur-viles and waynhim were artificial living beings created by the Demondim, who were themselves created by the Viles. Their motivations for doing so are explained in detail in the Last Chronicles- the Viles (incorporeal spirits) were manipulated into self-loathing by Lord Foul, and so determined to create the Demondim to be something totally different from themselves (undead beings). The Demondim in turn inherited their progenitors self-loathing, and decided to create creatures entirely different from themselves, with the result being ur-viles and waynhim (corporeal living beings). The two races are physically almost identical, but took radically different approaches to dealing with their artificial nature, something about themselves which they found repellant- the waynhim dedicated themselves to the service of the Land and its people, while the ur-viles teamed up with Lord Foul and dedicated themselves to sharing their misery with the rest of the world (in the hopes that if they did well enough, Foul would destroy them). However, after Foul's defeat in the First Chronicles, the ur-viles decided that this was a poor strategy, and became Wild Cards (in the Second Chronicles) and eventually allies (in the Third).
  • In the novel Frankenstein: A Modern Prometheus from 1818 and 1831, it is left ambiguous whether creating the creature was actually a bad thing or not. The creature suffers (and subsequently causes suffering to his creator), not because it was created but because the creator abandoned it afterwards. The story can be read in in many ways, unlike most of the (usually extremely heavy-handed) genre it spawned.
    • Is Doctor Frankenstein a bad scientist (who did a bad experiment), a bad father (who abandoned the son he had created), or a bad God (who cast out his creation at first provocation... Just like the Yahveh of The Bible, but unlike the Allah of The Qur'an - who instead forgave Adam and sent him out as a prophet rather than an outcast)? Well, that's something you'll just have to decide for yourself. Most re-tellings of the story will make the choice for you, however, by simply declaring that Science Is Bad, period, and putting Always Chaotic Evil stamps all over the place.
  • In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, an alien civilization created at least one sentient supercomputer, Deep Thought, for the purpose of answering philosophical questions regarding the meaning of life, the universe and everything.
  • In Black Legion, Fabious Bile creates dozens upon dozens of forms of life, mostly fusions of xeno, human and daemonic. His crowning achievement is successfully cloning the Primarchs themselves.
  • In Stephen Baxter's Titan, NASA ends up doing this. When humanity self inflected Earth with Class 6 extinction, the crew on Saturn's moon Titan, the last humans left, drop a tube of bacterium before their death. Those bacterium developed into insect-like life and escaped out of the solar system when the sun exploded- like what NASA is supposed to do. Stephen Baxter has gotten quite a lot of flare for this.

    Live Action TV 
  • Averted in the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Dead Stop". The Artificial Intelligence controlling a Space Station abducts a crewmember and leaves a replicated corpse in his place to hide this. The ship's doctor however realises something is wrong because the microbiotic organisms in the bloodstream, which take a while to die out, are also dead.
    Phlox: It's ironic, in a way. The station can duplicate a dead human body in all its exquisite detail, but a living, simple one-celled organism is beyond its capability.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Space 1889 has artificial life as a possible invention. It is unexpectedly undramatic and is described as having applications for agriculture and simple labour.

    Video Games 
  • In Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, your civilization will create intelligent life (unless you actively avoid those tech trees), and this is not part of the characterization of your faction. You may be awesome or horrible, honest or hypocrite, religious or unproblematically secular... In either case, you will create sentient life.
  • This is the point of Evolve Idle. Evolve from primordial ooze to a fully sentient race that grows and evolves and advances technologically. Eventually (likely after a few MAD resets) the players race can build a bioseeder ship to seed a new planet with life of their design to leave behind a lasting legacy.
  • In Luminous Arc 2, the reason Mage Queen Elicia was cast to Arthania is because she attempted to create life to replace the children that she couldn't save while she was working as a nurse.
  • SimLife is all about creating life. The player plays the role of Gaia herself, guiding the force of evolution from single cell organisms to various kinds of civilizations.
  • Spore Takes the concept of Sim Life and gives it a personal touch, allowing players to literally create life in all sorts of weird and wonderful forms, both recognisable and completely eldritch in nature, with all created creatures procedurally animated and usable in game. Seeminingly fitting, given that it was originally called Sim Everything.
  • In Quest for Glory IV and Quest for Glory V, we have Scientists creating life, Frankenstein style. While the ones in the fifth game falls squarely in the traditional Creating Life Is Bad camp, the one in the fourth game is portrayed as morally neutral. Trying to do the right thing in ways that are sometimes misguided but not overly so.
  • Several species of Pokémon were artificially created by humans.
    • The Porygon line are Artificial Intelligence created to do a number of tasks. (Which they don't do very well)
    • Mewtwo is an altered clone of Mew.
    • Castform were engineered to help forecast the weather.
    • The Golett Line were made by an ancient society to be their protectors.
    • Faba genetically engineered Type: Null to be the ultimate weapon against Ultra Beasts.
  • This forms the very core of the Geneforge series. Shaping is a branch of magic based entirely on creating and altering life, and the majority of the known lands are ruled over those with the knowledge to Shape, known as the Shapers. As the player, you too have the ability to Shape, creating new party members with more and more creation types opening up as your expand your Shaping skills.

    Web Comics 
  • In Devil's Candy The story starts when Kazu creates a living, breathing girl for his biology project.
  • Played for Laughs in El Goonish Shive: "Our goo kinda came to life...," but later revealed to be a monster sent on purpose from an Alternate Universe. Also, in a filler strip soap bubbles came to life as Pacman-like critters... and promptly attacked Tedd.
  • Discussion of this and its logical consequences is one of the central themes in Freefall. One comic has two characters (a terraforming robot and a bio-engineered sapient wolf) take the discussion to the next level, discussing the purpose of life.
  • Tower of God: Two characters have the ability to create life, especially intelligent life. One is the sage and blacksmith Macseth, who created one of the three Rulers and his four sons, the other is Enryu, a legendary and rarely seen existence with in the Tower.
  • Follower: The Chio are a new species created by the U.S. military for use as soldiers.
  • A major component of Earthsong, where planets are sentient and create sentient lifeforms out of the stuff of their cores to populate the surface with "children". The first creation, an "Eve", is awake and sentient immediately after formation and helps the planet in guiding the new people.
  • Hex and Zeno create Remote Beast out of dead cats and dogs and other things in Charby the Vampirate.

    Web Original 
  • Mage Life, It is possible in Mage Life for someone of sufficient knowledge to create feeling, thinking life.
  • Nilbog, a background villain in Worm, has this as his superpower, being capable of generating bizarre new life. He uses these to kill everyone in his hometown and take it over, where he creates an Alice in Wonderland like fantasy kingdom, which the government avoids destroying because he's created monsters that replicate when exposed to fire and they're terrified of what he could do with nuclear weaponry.
  • Doctor Whooves Adventures has its Doctor, at an unspecified time and place, rescue a filly from a robot that apparently created her to study life.
  • This is common practice in Twig, where a great mind (implied to be Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley) unlocked the secrets of genetic manipulation in the early nineteenth century and radically altered the course of history. Helen, one of the main members of the Lambsbridge Gang, was created artificially by being grown in a vat.
  • DSBT InsaniT: Koden was created by 2 robots in a factory, as explained in the Special Info Episode.
  • Parodied in The Demented Cartoon Movie: whenever a Romeo or Damsel in Distress dies, they just take out the Auto Romeo/Generic Damsel Maker, press a Big Red Button, and poof, a new Blah!

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time:
    • Princess Bubblegum invokes this trope when she tries to create an heir to the kingdom. Despite her mild intentions, her son Lemongrab basically ends up as a brain-damaged stress-case with anger management issues and an inability to read social cues. Although he's not evil, she refers to him as a failed experiment because of his serious mental issues. However, she doesn't seem very willing to treat him with any sort of respect or kindness, so the direct cause of all of his problems remains ambiguous.
    • Lemongrab's creation was a complete and wonderful success compared to Princess Bubblegum's next one. Goliad started off as everything Lemongrab was not- mild-mannered, calm, eloquent, intelligent, polite, respectful, sane... But she was corrupted beyond repair, and took advantage of her God-like powers, trying to mind control everyone in the name of Social Darwinism, the weak bowing to the strong.
      • However, Bubblegum did have one success: Stormo. Created out of Finn's strand of hair (while Goliad was created from one of PB's baby teeth), he was a griffin-like being who inherited Finn's heroic nature. Goliad offered the chance to rule together, but Stormo refused and locked himself in eternal psychic battle with his sister to protect everyone.
    • Throughout the show's run it has been implied a few times that nearly all of the Candy Kingdom citizens were created by Princess Bubblegum and she views them at times as her children. It's eventually outright confirmed that this is true, and that the relatives she mentioned in the past were also created by her.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: In The Magic Book of Spells, which was released between season 3 and 4, we see Glossaryk's bucket list. One of the items is "create life," which is checked off. Below it is "create competent life," which is not checked off. In season 4, it is revealed that Glossaryk created all the members of the Magical High Commission. They view him as their father, but they rarely listen to him and have caused a lot of problems with their Black-and-White Morality.
    Glossaryk: [to Meteora] Here's a free extra lesson for you—don't have children.
  • Xavier: Renegade Angel: The episode "Weapons Grade Life" has a Child Prodigy create life against the wishes of his father.

Alternative Title(s): Create Life