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Society of Immortals

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From that moment no one in Oz ever died. Those who were old remained old; those who were young and strong did not change as years passed them by; the children remained children always, and played and romped to their hearts' content, while all the babies lived in their cradles and were tenderly cared for and never grew up. So people in Oz stopped counting how old they were in years for years made no difference in their appearance and could not alter their station.

This is when immortality is granted on a large scale: to an entire civilization, or a village. Species that are naturally immortal such as elves fall under this as well. This can sidestep some of the problems inherent to immortality because when everyone is immortal then no one is alone and the general culture and mindset is that immortality is 'normal' and death is not.

Their source of immortality may be a large or mass-produced Immortality Inducer. If their immortality involves Immortality Immorality it may overlap with Town with a Dark Secret. There's also the question of what type of Immortality the civilization has; a society whose members can respawn quickly after death will be different from one whose members never die from old age and both will be different from one whose members never die, period. Regardless, Immortal Procreation Clause is likely to be in effect and little attention will be paid to the traditional gender roles.

Compare and contrast Long-Lived.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Digimon never really die naturally, and in some continuities don't die at all so long as the world is in-tact.
  • In Sunday Without God, no one in the entire world can truly die, which was caused by God's disappearance. When a person is killed, they turn into an undead and have to be given peace by a gravekeeper.
  • Mnemosyne features a few glimpses into the immortals' secret society. However, by the time it becomes important, it is already considerably dwindled by the Big Bad's efforts. One of its characteristic traits is widespread lesbianism and bisexuality, presumably because only women can become immortals in the setting.
  • The titular organisation in UQ Holder!. All the members are immortal, though most of them achieve it in different ways. Protagonist Touta and Karin are stated to have the strongest immortality, to the point where even if all of humanity, including the rest of UQ Holder, were to be wiped out, they'd would still survive.
  • Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms: Maquia's tribe, the Iorph. The story itself is partly about Maquia learning to live among ordinary humans after escaping an attack on her homeland.

    Comic Books 
  • The Eternals and most of Earth's mythological gods in Marvel Comics. Eternals have historically maintained their own secret cities but sometimes hang around with mortal humans for kicks. The various gods live in pocket dimensions that are homes to their respective pantheons. To illustrate the difference this trope creates in mindset, there was a dialogue in an issue of The Avengers where the Eternal Sersi was asked by one of her (mortal) teammates what the Eternals' beliefs regarding ghosts were. Sersi responded that the topic does not get discussed much in their culture — because they don't die.
  • In Death Vigil, Bernadette grants immortality upon initiation into the Vigil among various other superpowers. The Vigil's goal is to fight another Society of Immortals—necromancers and the Pale Court—over the fate of Earth.
  • Wonder Woman: The Amazons of Paradise Island are immortal, which is part of what makes the place a "paradise". If they leave the island or revoke their obligations as an Amazon this immortality can be revoked or fade depending on the continuity.
  • Green Lantern: The Green Lantern Corps' founders and mentors, the Guardians of the Universe, evolved from the male humanoid inhabitants of the planet Malthus to become immortal and invulnerable. The female equivalents of the Guardians were later revealed to be the Zamarons, warrior women who empowered the women known Star Sapphire to act as their queen.

    Fan Works 
  • According to Jason in Sailor Moon: Legends of Lightstorm, the entire universe used to be this way during the Silver Millennium. In a way, a society of immortals still exists, because all Sailor Scouts and Justice Champions can live forever unless something kills them.
  • This is the goal of "The Great Plan" in the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic, The Great Alicorn Hunt. The plan is to, basically, cure old age by turning anyone and everyone they can into immortal alicorns, and also find a way to grant immortality to those who can't be "alicornified". Problems that could come with this are addressed in early chapters. In the case of overpopulation, they'll start colonizing other planets (traveling to the moon was possible a thousand years pre-series so this is also possible).

  • Elves in J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings stories.
  • The people of The Culture can become genetically immortal if they so choose to, it is just not commonly done since becoming immortal is considered gauche. They can also be resurrected at will via brain uploading.
  • In Altered Carbon everyone is implanted with a cortical stack at birth that records their brain activity so they can be "re-sleeved" in a new body when they die. Though most people only choose to be re-sleeved a couple times, except for some rich eccentrics referred to as Methuselahs.
  • Before the Saudar enticed the Marra into the physical world and made them forget how to return home via The Fog of Ages in The Madness Season, the Marra had an eternal civilization somewhere in hyperspace.
  • In Mikhail Akhmanov and Christopher Nicholas Gilmore's Captain French, or the Quest for Paradise, humanity has long ago figured out how to stop the ageing process using a one-time gene therapy called Cell Regeneration (or just CR), which most people do in their mid-20s. While this doesn't grant true immortality (i.e. you can still die a violent death or get sick), enormous advances in medicine also mean that most diseases are treatable (in fact, the titular protagonist had himself sterilized, so that he can have as much sex as he wants without the risk of having children, knowing perfectly well that it can be reversed). Of course, this would be a major problem on a single world. Luckily, humanity has also discovered interstellar travel (but not FTL travel) and has settled thousands of worlds. Due to the incredible population growth, planets reaching a certain population density institute child licenses.
    • It's mentioned that many planets punish capital offenders not with death but with something even worse — ageing, as CR is reversible. On the planet Murphy, however, which is currently controlled by a cult of religious fanatics following a comet strike, everybody gets CR without exception and no one is ever deprived, as CR is seen as God's gift to humanity.
    • At the time of the events of the novel, the protagonist is well over 2000 years old. Subjective years, that is, as his constant near-light interstellar travels mean that he was born over 20,000 years ago (he was the first NASA astronaut to reach another star). When he meets his latest wife, she is in her 40s (but looks 24) and is still a virgin due to being raised in a convent.
  • The Empirium Trilogy: Angels are a race of immortals who existed long before humans did.
  • In Robert Reed's Great Ship universe, most of humanity is effectively immortal because of their genetic modifications and emergency genes. One character remarks at how young a hull repairman is, at the ripe young age of 50,000 years old. It's also remarkably difficult to actually kill a human short of blasting their head with a Plasma Cannon courtesy of their Healing Factor; most wounds can be healed given enough time and raw materials. The majority of alien species seen on the Greatship are likewise ageless, as space travel without any Faster-Than-Light Travel is very slow, to say the least.
  • Robert A. Heinlein's "Future History" 'verse, starting with the novel Methuselah's Children and continuing with Time Enough for Love, postulates a society of extremely long-lived humans who achieved this goal via applied eugenics. Specifically, beginning in the 19th century, they paid people with long-lived ancestors to mate with one another, thus producing a breed of humans with unusually long lifespans. Jump forward a few dozen centuries and it is not abnormal for a "Howard" (named after the society's founder) to live for several hundred years naturally. Combine this with medical rejuvenation technology and you have an entire society of human beings who only die through mischance or when they wish to.
  • In the Halo novel series The Forerunner Saga, the Forerunners are all shown to wear armor which give them lifespans that are millennia in length.
  • On Riverworld, no one looks older than the beginning of adulthood and anyone who dies appears somewhere else in a new body.
  • In Andrey Livadny's The History of the Galaxy series, the Logrians have invented extremely powerful but tiny computers called logrs. Each logr is a small crystal that can store a living being's personality. The Logrians, being wary of Immortality Immorality, have forbidden themselves from using logrs to copy their minds into new cloned bodies after death. Instead, they live inside the tiny computers in a virtual world and contemplate the nature of things. Naturally, not every being is content to eternity of contemplation. When the Logrians were enslaved by the Harammins, their ruling caste used the logrs to make themselves effectively immortal. Naming their caste the Immortal Quota, they continued to rule over the rest of their race, as well as the enslaved Logrians and Insects, for 3 million years until they started (and lost) a short war with humanity. Their Immortality Immorality brought about a status quo, resulting in zero technological progress (in fact, the progress was actually negative). So, when the relatively young humans showed up with Humongous Mecha, the Immortal Quota was wiped out. After this, humans began to use logrs to store personalities of the deceased, although their new Logrian allies frowned upon using the same method as the Harammins to extend life. Humans went around this by sending willing personalities to remote star systems in order to settle new worlds (logrs are actually capable of independent space flight). Thus, they are effectively starting new lives in younger bodies far from what they know.
    • A Lost Colony called Doom is later found, whose inhabitants are human colonists whose bodies were mutated shortly after landing by nanites left over from an ancient Harammin project to create immortality. While the mutations were different, all had their ageing process stopped. The Immortal Procreation Clause applies as well, as very few children are born to the colonists. In fact, when the colony is re-discovered, there has not been a new birth in 200 years. Anyone under 500 years old is treated as a child. The protagonist of the novel decides to have the Confederate fleet blockade the colony, as the nanites in the atmosphere could spread havoc through the galaxy.
  • In the Eldraeverse, both the eldrae and the galari are naturally The Ageless, and they've used their technology to add Body Backup Drives and gift other sophonts with immortality as well.
  • The immortal Griffin family from the Nightside made a practice of throwing parties for other immortals, which attracted everything from demigods to fey to vampires. As the Griffins were snobs and only the upper-crust attendees were likely to be invited more than once, such parties were effectively a High Society of Immortals.
  • Edgar Rice Burroughs:
    • In John Carter of Mars, the Martian peoples are either ageless or least very Long-Lived, being capable of living hundreds of years, thanks to their advanced technology diseases and injury are easily recovered. Only a violent death can keep their population in check, and given the planet they live on, it happens a lot. However, by religious edict, those past 1000 years are required to take a sacred pilgrimage to Valley Dor, where it's believed that they will find paradise.
    • In the Amtor series, the Vepajans from planet Venus become immortal thanks to a life-extending drug that slows down aging indefinitely.
  • The culture of Saturn City in Aeon Legion: Labyrinth thanks to technology that can restore the user to a youthful state. Population growth is stagnant to prevent overcrowding and what few new Saturnians are born are a result of a lottery with the rest coming from immigrants to serve in the Aeon Legion. Their culture considers ambition taboo.
  • Journey to Chaos: Towns such as Dnnac Ledo are populated by elves and much of their culture is about making productive use of eternal life. Adults teach their children to find their "Eternal Hobby", walk the Earth, and regularly visit their immortal relatives.
  • The country of Oz in Land of Oz was turned into this centuries ago by a fairy named Lurline. No one can age in Oz, no one can die of natural causes in Oz, and no one gets sick in Oz. If people can die at all is unclear, as Glinda of Oz and Ozma of Oz state that people survive even after being blown to pieces or having their heads cut off.
  • In Mogworld, the world the protagonist inhabits is a typical MMORPG where everything killed simply respawns at appropriate locations after a short time. However, from the perspective of the NPCs, their world suddenly experienced a supernatural event that granted everyone Resurrective Immortality and agelessness, and civilization has undergone dramatic changes to accommodate this new status-quo (chapels, for instance, have made a killing on charging a small fee whenever someone respawns at them, while monsters cooperate with quest vendors and adventuring guilds to profit from the eerie, compulsive behaviour of Player Characters). It isn't long before a general malaise sets in, beyond the zombie protagonist's own quest to die — At one point, attention is drawn to the rise of businesses geared towards offering people unusual and exotic ways to off themselves, just for the sake of experiencing them. One half of a villainous duo, meanwhile, is a serial killer heartbroken by the fact that his murders are now meaningless.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: The Time Lords have near-immortality; if not killed, their natural lifespan, including regenerations, lasts thousands of years.
  • The Elves of Valinor from The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power are immortal creatures, and is emphasized by Galadriel, who narrates that until the War of Wrath, they didn't even have words for death.
  • The Q Continuum from Star Trek has a bunch of immortal people, all (but one) pretty satisfied with it. Most of them can't, or won't have kids, but some of them do.
  • The Land of Immortals in the second Spellbinder series. The immortality was an unintended side effect of a drug meant to cure a devastating plague. Unfortunately, it also kicked in the Immortal Procreation Clause. Among the survivors, no one can ever have children. Instead, they build clockwork automatons to "play" and entertain them. When the protagonists (a man and a teenage girl) end up in that world, the scientist who created the original drug kidnaps them and plans to set up People Farms to repopulate his world... or at least provide few new faces around.
  • In Torchwood: Miracle Day everyone on earth suddenly becomes incapable of dying (except Jack). Unfortunately, they don't heal. The ramifications include many countries instituting concentration camps for people who become disabled beyond medicine's ability to repair them. They also continue aging normally.

    Myths & Religion 
  • This is what happens in the afterlife, according to some religions.
  • Gnosticism: Aeons have the Pleroma.
  • Hinduism and Buddhism-style reincarnation could be seen as a zig-zag of this trope, with even "immortal" gods being just extremely long-lived; yet everyone is technically immortal, making just about any society one of immortals.
  • Spiritualism holds that human incarnation is like a temporary version of this trope.
  • Virtually any pantheon.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The campaign world of Mystara had the Immortals, who filled the role in that world that the gods filled in other campaign worlds. They were numerous enough, however, to qualify for this trope.
    • The githyanki are Scary Dogmatic Aliens from the Astral Plane who technically have a lifespan similar to that of humans, but since time doesn't flow in the Astral Plane they're functionally immortal in their homeland.
  • The Rolemaster setting Shadow World had immortal elves, fauns, Lennai, titans and K'ta'viiri.
  • In Eclipse Phase nearly all biomorphs are largely immune to aging, and anyone who can afford decent backup insurance is pretty much safe against accidents or murder too.

  • As a species of hardy Humongous Mecha, Transformers never die of old age, are affected by only a couple very rare diseases, and usually require a lot of physical damage to die from injuries. Many of them are millions of years old, and some are outright Time Abysses.

    Video Games 
  • Every single character you meet in I Miss the Sunrise, including the Player Character, is The Ageless, thanks to a mass-produced Immortality Inducer. Furthermore, combat is extremely unlikely to be fatal, since craft will disengage long before the pilot is killed.
  • Until the end of Warcraft III, the Night Elves were a nation blessed with immortality by the Dragon Aspects. They sacrifice this immortality to stop The Legions of Hell at the end of the game.
  • The Dalish elves of Dragon Age think their people were like this at one time, centuries ago. It's debatable if they ever were, however.
    • Supposedly, being among humans resulted in them having short lifespans (by their standards).
    • Only the nobility of the Elven Empire were immortal, while the lower/slave castes were mortal. Modern Elves are likely descendants of the slaves, meaning they were never immortal in the first place.
  • For reasons that aren't entirely clear but have something to do with the place being 'downstream of Hell', inhabitants of Fallen London all have Resurrective Immortality. Disease and old age can still kill them, though, and apparently, they can't come back if someone desecrates them really thoroughly, either. And dying a lot of times can result in coming back wrong and being shipped off to the Tomb-Colonies.
  • In Battleborn, those who have attained immortality via the Jennerit's Sustainment process are called the Sustained and within the Fantastic Caste System of the Jennerit culture, they are at the top. Because of the huge energy consumption required to just make a single Sustained, there is but a select number of these Sustained consisting only of those who been deemed worthy enough to be granted the privilege of immortality. Furthermore, due to things such as the Jennerit's view of most other races, Sustained are typically of the Jennerit race and it's a rather rare and quite unusual case when a Sustained happens to be a non-Jennerit.
  • In Stellaris, empires which complete the path to synthetic ascension turn into this, as its citizens upload their minds into robots that never die of old age, though they can still be destroyed. This applies in a smaller scale to synthetic colonies as well. Since robots can't procreate naturally, an artificial Immortal Procreation Clause is not needed. New citizens are instead built by the state.
  • Touhou Project has the Lunarians, a race of people who live on the Moon. They all seem to be unageing and distance themselves from any form of life or death as they consider such concepts "impure", remaining eternally unchanging. They're very reclusive as a result and usually hostile to outsiders. Funnily enough, they exiled Princess Kaguya for drinking an elixir that made her truly immortal, as they consider Complete Immortality to be "impure" as well.
  • Horizon Forbidden West: The Far Zenith colonists, who left for a planet in the Sirius system shortly before the Faro Plague ate the Earth, only for the same people to come back a thousand years later. Deconstructed as they don't really have a society. Once they figured out biological immortality they had no use for children and Virtual Reality meant they didn't really have to interact with each other. Even in the face of their own potential deaths, the best they can manage is Teeth-Clenched Teamwork. This all means that while they did accomplish wonders it's far short of what they could have done, as Tilda points out.
    Tilda: We could have done more... after all, we had eternity.

  • Errant Story has a society of immortal elves as well as an extinct race of immortal (ageless) dwarves, never seen.
  • Schlock Mercenary has the society that created the Amorphs exist as a very late stage of this — most of its members had died off and the remainder were content with living in a cave and observing their Amorph "children" evolve over the billions of years since their own society collapsed under the weight of biological and sociological side-effects of transitioning from mortal to immortal.
    • In Book 14, the company discovers the ruins of another ancient civilization whose members were essentially immortal. After a few of them are reanimated, they introduce nanotech that can prolong life indefinitely and make one very difficult to kill to the present galactic society. Much of Book 16 muses on the ramifications of a society of immortals.
  • El Goonish Shive has two types of immortals: one with their own society; the other covertly living in human society. The former is made up of capital "I" Immortals who mostly live on the spiritual plane where they mostly observe humans and occasionally visit the material plane to interact with certain humans in certain ways. The latter is made up of elves which are the children of Immortals and humans. They move every few decades so that their agelessness doesn't attract attention. The only mentioned restrictions on them are that they are forbidden to serve in life-threatening jobs (since surviving the unsurvivable would break The Masquerade) or to use their magic except in exceptional situations.
  • Deep Rise has the Nobles, who do not wear out with age.

    Web Original 
  • In 17776, all humans mysteriously stopped aging, dying, and being born in 2026.
  • In most of the Terragen sphere of Orion's Arm life extension nano and Brain Uploading are so ubiquitous that most people live for 1,500 years before getting tired of living forever or Transcending. One alien race known as the Silent Ones have discovered how to completely halt the aging process, and the ruling class of their society is made up of said "immortals". They keep some regularly aging members of their race around for breeding purposes though (the immortality treatment causes severe birth defects in the offspring of immortals).
  • The Federation of the Para Imperium universe has ubiquitous Nanomachines that halt aging. As the Outworlds are barred access to nanotech the inhabitants are mortal and exile to those worlds is essentially a death sentence.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Certain species of jellyfish potentially are The Ageless.
  • As do all amoebae, who do not die from age but essentially stop existing as the same individual when they divide to reproduce.

Alternative Title(s): Race Of Immortals