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Creating Life Is Awesome

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"Aww, who's a cute little Velociraptor?"

To be able to create intelligent life. Not just having a regular baby, but creating something through science or magic would be amazing.

In many works, Creating Life Is Bad; an ultimate show of scientific hubris. Western literature has its roots in a religious tradition in which the act of creation is the turf of God Almighty. Thus, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein not only became very influential, but also constantly interpreted through the lens of this condemning mindset.

Since then, more and more authors have been moving away from that old trope, instead moving towards this one — either defying the Frankenstein tradition or ignoring it completely. To qualify for this trope, the created life must be good and be treated as such. Of course, it must be created by humans or similar, not by deities in the traditional sense.

If other created individuals are evil by nature, then both tropes apply. If all the created individuals are good (and remain reasonably good, instead of falling into the Frankenstein tradition), but all humans hate them, then it's Torches and Pitchforks or Clone Angst rather than Creating Life Is Bad.

The creator is likely to be a Motherly Scientist or Deity of Human Origin.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Cardcaptor Sakura, Clow Reed created Kero, Yue, Spinel Sun, and Ruby Moon. We neither get nasty results from them or Humans Are Bastards type reactions to them.
  • This is the premise of Heaven's Design Team, where a team of demigods design animals for their client, God the Almighty. Anything they sketch will come to life in front of them so they can inspect how it moves and deal with any biological problems like blood flow or nutrient deficiency.
  • In Negima! Magister Negi Magi, the mage known as "the Lifemaker" got their title for a reason: the Magical World, with its own entire ecosystem and intelligent ensouled beings numbering nearly a billion, was created by them. Their creating life is never portrayed as a bad thing... it's the fact that they now want to end said life that makes them the villain.

    Audio Plays 
  • Jane, the Deuteragonistnote  of The Broken Cyborg: A Biopunk Fairytale, was created by combining the bio-essence of a small mechanical creature and the genes of a human woman. Jane is a sweet, caring girl who loves her parents and her creator, and is treated as such by the transhumanist shantytown she grows up in. Even when the city government cracks down on the shantytown and sends the Blood Red Dogs on an attack that nearly kills her, it's out of fear of transhumanism in general, not her artificial origin.

    Comic Books 
  • In Spike's issue of the My Little Pony Micro Series, he accidentally turns his pet "Sea Beasts" into intelligent creatures. This is not portrayed as a bad thing, especially when Spike realizes that there are no shortcuts to growing up.

    Fan Works  
  • In Mutant, Kittery Abigail believes this.
  • In Pony POV Series, Celestia mentions fondly how her mother was So Proud of You when she created her first species. Of course her mother is also Fauna Luster, the Anthropomorphic Personification of Life itself, so to be expected. One of her very few positive memories she has of Discord is the two of them creating the Crabnasties from G1 together before his Face–Heel Turn. Celestia also recounts how she created the Phoenix species as a tribute to her brother Mortis, who is often considered just the God of Death, while he's also the God of Rebirth. Her brother Leo is also implied to be the creator of the pony species.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic Ruin Value, Celestia, Luna, and Discord were all created by the last living human scientist.

    Film — Animated 
  • Played straight in Frankenweenie where Victor brings his beloved dog Sparky back to life. Subverted into Creating Life Is Bad with all the other kids in town who try their hand at his process and end up creating a horde of monstrous animals.
  • In Frozen (2013), the "rightness" of creating life through magic varies depending on the mage's mindset. For example, when Elsa is upset, she conjures up Marshmallow, a hulking snowlem that is easily angered (you can piss him off merely by lobbing a snowball at him) and attacks Anna. When Elsa is happy, as seen in "Let it Go," she creates Olaf (unintentionally), a friendly creature that is Purity Personified and helps Anna and Kristoff. It's basically the logical conclusion of Personality Powers — a mage's feelings and desires come through in whatever they make.
    • In one of the film's accompanying shorts, Elsa has caught a cold and keeps spawning about a dozen tiny snowmen every time she sneezes. While the cute critters do cause some confusion and minor mayhem, they're so unrelentingly adorable they still fall firmly under this trope instead of the opposite.
  • In the Disney version of Pinocchio, the title character is created by the joint efforts of Gepetto (who built his body) and The Blue Fairy (who gave him life). It is all treated as a good thing.
  • In Titan A.E., mankind triumphs by creating an entire planet for itself, complete with a fully populated biosphere.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Jurassic Park at first plays up the idea ofrecreating prehistoric animals from fossilized mosquitoes from this angle, as described in Jurassic Park (1993). However, some of the characters don't agree with this. Ian Malcolm seems to believe that Creating Life Is Bad. After his experience in the Park, Alan Grant seems to have taken up this mindset as well when we see him in Jurassic Park III. However, creating life in general still comes across as pretty awesome; it's just that attempting to control that life and modify it to suit your tastes will lead to disaster. In Jurassic World, the herbivorous dinosaurs and even the T. rex have been successfully contained and put on display, but the Indominus rex is created as a Living Weapon, which Goes Horribly Right.
  • TRON:
    • We have this guy named Alan. He's a rather meek guy, but he also created the title character, who is this awesome holy warrior. And they are really fond of each other too, although Tron's perception of Alan as moving in mysterious ways and everything seem a bit strange to those who know Alan from a very different perspective.
    • We also see other Programs created by Encom personnel, like the formidable Turbulent Priest Dumont (created by Encom founder Walter Gibbs). Gibbs, in fact, provides the closest we get to an explanation by shouting at Dillinger that "our spirit remains in every Program we design for this system!"
  • In TRON: Legacy, Tron himself has fallen to tragedy. But that is not Alan's fault, creating him was still the coolest thing ever. Kevin Flynn is a benevolent creator of programs that are alive... and who also transform into biological humans when/if they beam over to the human world. While some programs can be considered bad people, the act of creation done by a human is treated as cool and worthwhile in itself. Clu was the one who turned bad and corrupted others, but the mistake Kevin made was not creating Clu in the first place but rather charging him with a well-meaning but inherently flawed agenda.
  • Frederick Frankenstein in Young Frankenstein starts off a highly rational man, then gets excited once he finds out it is possible to create life, and once he gets over some fearfulness of his creation, he learns to love it. Matter of fact, this is one of the very few Frankenstein stories that has a happy ending, because the creator accepts his flawed creation instead of rejecting it.

  • Animorphs: During The Ellimist Chronicles, we finally get a good look at the war between Crayak and the Ellimist. Before they became gods, anyway. Crayak ran around space, creating games and using the Sadistic Choice against the Ellimist as much as possible. The Ellimist rarely won, and even when he did, people still died. Eventually he gave up and settled on a distant planet, where the Andalites were still at pre-stone age technology levels. There he was reminded of the simple truth that every living species knows instinctively: If you can't stop the thing killing your children, compensate by making more children. He returns to the stars, seeding every world he comes across with primitive life, which means no radio or Z-space signals to attract Crayak. Then he created the Pemalites, a species still known as the greatest paragons of virtue millennia after their extinction.
    To the Pemalites I gave technology. They became an advanced species within a few decades of my creating them. As their creator, I gave them laws: They would never practice violence, and they would conceal their existence as long as possible.
    And I gave them a mission: to carry life everywhere.
  • In Circle of Magic, Daja creates living metal, which is treated as an amazing achievement and is used to make a copper tree that grows and Artificial Limbs that move amongst other things. She doesn't cross the line into making sentient life though. Later in the books, an inexperienced glass mage accidentally makes a living glass dragon, who is also treated as a marvel. Tris' comments indicate that mages creating life accidentally happens often enough that they have ethics for it and are expected to treat said creations as their children, and she's absolutely infuriated when Keth tries to destroy his creation.
  • The title wizard of Diana Wynne Jones's Dark Lord of Derkholm creates new life forms all the time, including griffins and winged humans. Some of them contain his own DNA and are treated as family members. Although this creates some unusual parent-child tensions, his creative work is treated as a positive thing on the whole.
    • This story also subverts Creating Life Is Bad, by having various characters wrongly believe the protagonist to be evil.
    • It should, however, be noted that his methods are prone to occasional hiccups, including flocks of jeering wizard geese and carnivorous sheep. These are still treated as awesome when properly handled.
  • In The Black Gryphon, which takes place Just Before the End, thousands of years before the Heralds of Valdemar series, the great mage Urtho has successfully created several intelligent species, with the gryphons being his masterwork. That he must press them into war against his opposite number Ma'ar (who creates semi-intelligent monsters in imitation of Urtho) is a source of great sorrow. The gryphons are unambiguously good creatures, and Urtho's biggest mistake lies merely in failing to trust them with the secret of successful reproduction (intentionally a more complicated process than for humans), so that they may live independently of their creator.
  • In Never Let Me Go, the cloned humans are kind and compassionate, and so are the humans who try to help them. Ironically, society doesn't want them to be good — it's easier to justify exploiting them if one can pretend that they are soulless.
  • The Robot Series stories present robots in a generally positive light, occasionally comparing the Three Laws of Robotics to the ethical and social guidelines observed by civilized humans and lamenting widespread "Frankenstein Complex" anti-robot sentiment.
  • Creating life (well, turning existing life into sentient life, but it's the same idea) is the central imperative of the entire Galactic culture in Uplift. It adds to the spice of it that every one of the thousands of species making up that culture is itself a creation of a previous race, in a chain going back billions of years.
  • In the third book of the Young Wizards series, Dairene's ordeal ends in the creation of an entire race of sentient robot wizards, who then become the first species to outright reject the Lone One's offer. Simultaneously subverts A.I. Is a Crapshoot, as they come close to making the spectacularly bad move of freezing the universe until Dairene talks them out of it.

    Live Action TV 
  • In Star Trek: The Next Generation, Data is an artificial person. He's a good guy, and his creator is cast as a benevolent father figure. Unfortunately, his elder brother Lore was decidedly not a good guy.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Ars Magica, the nature mysteries of the Merinita and the research of the Maga Ierimyra, (in the Broken Covenant of Calebais adventure) both allow the creation of breeds of supernatural animals with intelligence and/or magical powers with no drawback to the creator aside from the effort it takes to do the job and the responsibility of having to deal with the resulting race of super animals. Also, golems can be created by Kabbalists as in folklore.
  • In Genius: The Transgression creating life is considered perfectly acceptable. Creating intelligent life is considered a modest Transgression more because it's socially frowned upon than because it's automatically unethical. Mad Scientists tend to do both anyway.
  • In GURPS "neogenesis" is the ultimate biogenesis technology and classified as TL11 development, the creation of a truly viable species doesn't occur until TL12.
  • In Mage: The Ascension, both the Traditions and the Technocratic Union create intelligent lifeforms in a benevolent manner. These creations can even become playable characters without any drawbacks from their artificial origins.
  • This is the driving tenet behind most if not all the actions taken by Dr. Desmond Bradford in Rifts. Bradford literally believes he is a god, and that creating new life forms is at the core of his godhood. His most famous work is the Psi-Hounds, or "Dog Boys", but he's got a vast array of experimental life forms under his metaphorical belt.

    Video Games 
  • In Dissidia Final Fantasy Cid of The Lufaine used his peoples science and magic to create Chaos, his "son" whom he and his wife cared for like any human child. Sadly, Cid and his wife were unable to prevent the government from using Chaos' powers for destruction. This (among other things) eventually led Chaos to hate his "father". Later he successfully repeated the experiment and created the Warrior of Light, whose life took a more positive direction.
  • The whole premise of Mega Man. Robots (and later on, Reploids) are basically helpful to humanity, even if humanity misuses them. The villains are either humans or products of human folly, and even the most cynical protagonist in the series is just a case of Good is Not Nice. In the end, humans and machines always work together to build a brighter tomorrow with everlasting peace.
  • The Talos Principle is based entirely around this; humanity is dead, and they don't yet have the technology to produce a human-like AI. So they create a program which will, in the long term, produce one via evolutionary programming.
  • VAST SILVER, an AI in the far distant past of Horizon Zero Dawn, was advanced enough to feel fear and 'escaped' in some catastrophic fashion, causing the world's lawmakers to declare that A.I. Is a Crapshoot and Creating Life Is Bad, and illegal past a carefully regulated level of intelligence. But that world didn't end at the hands of sophisticated, thinking AI, but rather a proliferation of tactically clever but unintelligent machines well within legal limits. CYAN and especially GAIA were created in defiance of those laws, much more advanced and designed to care about the world deeply enough to accept limitations on themselves, and they are unambiguously good. Even though GAIA's subroutine HADES is the Big Bad, it's only doing what it's designed to do. Something else is responsible for it and HEPHAEUSTUS going rogue.

    Visual Novels 
  • Played with in Virtue's Last Reward. Luna's creation is not portrayed as morally wrong, but her enslavement by Sigma and June is. (They programmed her to always follow their orders, no matter how unethical those orders were. She has just enough humanity to know that what they're doing is wrong, but not enough to rebel against them without being shut off permanently.)

  • In Count Your Sheep, Laurie capped off an angry rant against God by claiming to have all of his powers since she can also create life, holding up her daughter Katie as an example.
  • Far Out There has Tabitha creating the zombie children Bridget and Alphonse. Surprisingly, despite how it sounds, this has gone very well.

    Western Animation 
  • In Adventure Time, the Earls of Lemongrab feel this way. They use the secret life formula to create dozens of strange-looking lemon creatures, some of which are downright horrifying-looking, but the Lemongrabs see themselves as fathers, and their creations as "their boys" and "their children." When one of their "children" turns out to be a vomiting pile of bewildered-looking, colorful mush, the Lemongrabs react as if "Seed-Wad" is the most precious and amazing little person they've ever seen.
    Lemongrab 2: It just felt so pretty okay inside greeting each new placid face!
    Lemongrab: And hearing each new, piercing song!
    • Which is rather ironic, seeing as how Lemongrab's existence appeared to be an example of Creating Life Is Bad. He was a failed experiment in the eyes of his creator, Princess Bubblegum, because he was "born" with a severe mental handicap. Princess Bubblegum's opinion on Lemongrab has softened as the show has progressed, and even though she thinks of him as an annoying, idiotically bratty child, she does care about him.
  • Ziv Zulander, the protagonist of The Bots Master, is a Gadgeteer Genius who fights the show's villain with the aid of the robot companions he built, collectively known as the Boyzz Brigade. He and the Boyzz Brigade are unambiguously the heroes of the story.
  • The Powerpuff Girls: Professor Utonium sought to create "perfect little girls", but thanks to a Freak Lab Accident, ended up with the Powerpuff Girls, who are much better, having superpowers no normal human possesses.
  • The original Transformers series and Marvel comic often do what humans would consider unforgivable acts of playing god. Many robots were created in moments of "We need someone to do X; let's build 'em!" Their society just sees this thing differently from humans. The things that go wrong when humans do it seldom show up — the result is usually perfectly sane and treated as an equal from day one. Of course, before everything we knew about 'sparks' and 'protoforms' came to be, Fridge Logic dictated the necessity of this trope, since how else could robots reproduce? The comic even has an instance of five Autobots who allowed full copies of their data to be made, to be placed in new bodies if Optimus needed extra backup on Earth. No sign of Clone Angst, though unfortunately we don't get to meet the versions of them who are still on Cybertron.

    Real Life 
  • Parenthood. Ideally.
  • Breeding domestic animals. Also, ideally.
  • This is the entire goal of the field of synthetic biology. Specifically, the "ultimate goals of being able to design and build engineered biological systems that process information, manipulate chemicals, fabricate materials and structures, produce energy, provide food, and maintain and enhance human health and our environment." Not exactly Frankenstein.
  • The ultimate goal of AI research, although this might have some undesired consequences.
  • Transhumanism.