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"Your mind is software. Program it. Your body is a shell. Change it. Death is a disease. Cure it. Extinction is approaching. Fight it."

Transhumans are people who have been artificially enhanced with mental and/or physical abilities beyond what is considered normal for the species from an evolutionary standpoint. Despite the name, species-wide artificial improvement is not actually limited to humans — other species or entities that are enhanced count as well. The means used for this augmentation can be anything from magic to science.

Transhumanism as a movement and a philosophy implies that people can, and should, become transhuman en masse rather than be restricted to a select few who came across such abilities through extraordinary circumstances. By implying that scientific progress may grant superhuman powers to anyone with appropriate knowledge and resources, and without any regard for predestination, luck or hard work, transhumanism is notoriously opposed to narrative exceptionalism. A positive portrayal of transhumanism generally places a work on the Enlightenment side of the Romanticism Versus Enlightenment spectrum while a negative portrayal or conspicuous absence of it does the opposite.

Proponents argue that transhumanism is an essential part of our future lives, because...

  • Improving the nature of mankind is an inevitable extension of the scientific progress. Earth has already been altered greatly by civilization, and we're more likely to fail if we try to halt progress in its tracks rather than explore all of its possibilities.
  • The physiology and mental capability of a human have not changed drastically in 100,000 years, while technology keeps advancing at an exponential pace. Improvements to the human condition are mandatory in order for humanity to avoid becoming the weakest link in the system it has created, otherwise it would be deemed irrelevant at best or simply unable to comprehend the state of the world around it.
  • Humans are capable of surviving under extremely limited conditions on a fraction of the surface of one planet. Spreading the human civilization beyond the confines of Earth would likely require adapting the human organism to survive both prolonged space travel and hostile environments of other planets. The only alternative, Terraforming, is slow and requires tremendous effort and investment.
  • Disease, old age, and accidents take a tremendous toll from both economical and ethical standpoint, which is why we ought to alleviate as much of this suffering as we can.
  • Humans have been altering themselves with whatever technology provided since the earliest days of civilization. Tools, clothing, armor, and weapons are all ways that mankind has altered itself to be better suited to its environment. Just because our tools now allow us to modify the most fundamental part of our being permanently does not make these tools any less useful or any less ethical.
  • Transhumanism can provide very useful tools for improving the human condition across the board, and it already has. Increasingly advanced prosthetics have provided enormous quality-of-life improvements to many people; technologies already exist that allow couples who either can't or would have an extremely hard time conceiving children now have a much better chance. Organ transplants, pacemakers, birth control, all of these and more are tools/technologies that transcend what is naturally possible with humanity while saving and greatly improving lives. In essence, transhumanism is already here to stay, and has been for quite some time. We're just getting better at it and developing new ways to do it.

The opponents also have many arguments to support their views.

  • Some claim that ethics and empathy are a direct consequence of individual weakness, and thus improving humankind would mean that an essential part of human nature will be lost in the process.
  • Others worry about human alteration being a tool for the authoritarian regimes, similarly to Eugenics, and thus the destiny of mankind could potentially end up being directed by an Evilutionary Biologist with a superiority complex.
  • Others still are afraid of potential radical alterations to human psychology courtesy of augmenting the brain, especially if it means integrating it with Artificial Intelligence.
  • While natural evolution has its limits, it has "refined" its "designs" (given the nature of evolution, ascribing it "design" is something of a misnomer, but the practical point stands) over millions of years while artificial, human-induced evolution would occur much quicker. Any useful augmentations without apparent drawbacks would soon be extremely commonplace, potentially creating a disastrous outcome for the entire species if a critical flaw is suddenly discovered.
  • If the current economical system persists into the future or is replaced with something worse, social and economic inequality will increase on a drastic scale. As only those with the money, power, or connection will be granted access to the technology, as the haves and the have-nots potentially become physiologically distinct subspecies. Tremendous riots and even wars are likely to happen if death itself is no longer the great equalizer.
  • Ludd Was Right. The argument that transhumanism is merely the logical extension of technological progress does nothing to assuage those who believe that technological progress has already gone too far, and see an ideal society as one that existed at a more "primitive" level of development. For them, the argument is turned upside down: transhumanism is just the culmination of a long process of humanity turning its back on natural living.
  • Alternatively and more mundanely, transhumanism may simply be poised to suffer the same fate as the jetpack. Sure, you can engineer resistance to several diseases, slow down aging, and so on, but giving yourself superpowered cybernetic enhancements is impossible if there's no Applied Phlebotinum to power them. Similarly, Brain Uploading may be a redundant effort if — thanks to Moore's Law's untimely death — the only supercomputers powerful enough to host a human mind with any practicality turn out to be Wetware CPUs.

Media has often not been kind to transhumanists. For a long time, desiring for human improvement has been the province of dictatorial dystopian societies or a Mad Scientist with a God complex. Anarcho-Cyber Punk writers focused on how cybernetic augmentation could be abused to the detriment of society, as well as how it eats people's souls. Many religious folk object to the idea on the ground of tampering with God's creation (though, somewhat ironically, many religions center around ascending to a higher plane of existence, which could be easily interpreted as transhuman). And, particularly with the rise of far right and Neo-Nazi movements in recent years, there is the concern that transhumanism can serve as a rebranding of the old Eugenics Movement designed to make it seem more palatable. In fiction, upgrading a human being through science was usually portrayed as a bad idea, if only due to the Squick factor, and even when it wasn't, it was either shown as a Deadly Upgrade with significant disadvantages or a part of an Utopia Justifies the Means plan objectionable on moral grounds.

While very few people today view the idea of upgrading a human being through science as inherently bad, there are many who are not completely on board with transhumanism; even if these criticisms are mainly aimed towards how and to what to degree the idea should be practiced, and the potential pitfalls and dangers it could lead too, than the idea itself.

The word "transhuman" is now found in legitimate scientific and political debates.

For some of the abilities a Transhuman might have, see the Stock Superpowers Index; related to How to Give a Character Superpowers. See also No Transhumanism Allowed. This may be used as an aspect of a Cyberpunk or Post-Cyberpunk setting.

Compare the Übermensch,note  whose transcendency is psychological and moral in nature rather than physical.

Sub-Trope of Trans Nature. Mutants and Human Subspecies may or may not be a result of this, and they may be crippled instead of "enhanced". Contrast Formerly Sapient Species. Not to be confused with Transgender people, though medically transitioning is a mild form of real life transhumanist modification.

Related tropes:


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Attack on Titan has the Titan Shifters, humans who have gained fleshy conservation-of-mass-violating abilities from contact with a mysterious 'co-ordinate.' The how and why of their abilities drives the story, but the fact of their existence is enough to distort the world's military politics around themselves.
  • Biomega: The very first chapter features pretty much everybody who wasn't a robot, cyborg or mutant of some sort being wiped out by a full-blown Zombie Apocalypse.
  • In the entirety of Blame, we do not see a single purely biological human. Everyone is heavily modified, be they cyborgs, human-descended androids, or gene-modded superhumans. The closest to "pure" human we get is Seu, and he's an eight-foot giant with enough enhancements to fight in hand-to-hand combat with advanced Silicon Life warriors, who has been reconstructed and had his personality restored from backup countless times. Most "normal" humans were exterminated by either the Silicon Creatures or the Safeguard, given the events of NOiSE, Blame!'s prequel.
  • Similar to the below-mentioned Kamen Rider, Cyborg 009 had nine people kidnapped and forcibly turned into cyborgs by a sinister weapons-dealing organization called the Black Ghost. While the Black Ghost's intentions were evil (they wanted to make cyborgs to be used as living weapons, so war could be continued in space after the planet was destroyed), the cyborgs themselves kept their original personalities and were good people. The Black Ghost would go on to make more cyborgs, most of them to kill or recapture the first nine, who ranged from being sadistic killers to being good-hearted but forced to fight for various reasons.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, humans have various degrees of self-enhancement. Some become walking armor, some get artificial limbs, and still others get transmuted into chimeras with new functional abilities. They have various degrees of acceptance of these transformations, as none of them was by choice. There are also the homunculi, who consider themselves an evolved form of humans.
  • Ghost in the Shell: Cybernetics are extremely common, with nearly everyone possessing at least a cyberbrain and some people going so far as to replace everything but their brains. Artificial Intelligence is highly advanced, but not quite human-level yet. And in the original manga and the films, the Major fuses with an emergent intelligence.
  • Gundam:
    • Newtypes from the Universal Century timeline have superhuman spatial awareness and some empathic or predictive abilities. They are suspected/considered to be the next stage of humanity, a result of man's move into space.
    • Gundam SEED additionally had Coordinators, transhumans of the Bio-Augmentation variety, (a pair of) Ultimate Coordinators of the Designer Baby variety, and Extendeds of the Super Psycho Serum variety.
    • Gundam 00 decides to fully embrace the concept of transhumanism by the end of its second season, positing that humanity needs to change and evolve if it is to have a future.
      Setsuna: That's right, in order to create the future we have to reform. WE HAVE TO CHANGE!!
    • The Witch from Mercury features Permet, a mineral that allows information to be shared between pieces, allowing for nearly-instant communication even across the Solar System. In particular, advancements have been made to use Permet for bio-augmentation and survival in space in the form of the GUND Format. Of course, it's also been co-opted for military use via the Gundams; that and a Gundam's tendency to kill its user has resulted in the GUND Format being made illegal. Part of the narrative involves Prospera Mercury's attempts to revitalize Gundam technology, with protagonists Suletta and Miorine starting a company to push Gundams for use in medicine. Prospera's actual goal, however, is far more extreme, as she used the GUND Format to upload her daughter Ericht Samaya into the Gundam Aerial, and plans on raising Aerial's Permet Score to a level that would allow Eri to basically become a living, independent Gundam.
  • ID-0 has the "Mind Trance System", which allows humans to control Humongous Mecha called I-Machines by transferring their consciousness into the machine, allowing them to use the machines as naturally as they would their flesh-and-blood bodies. I-Machines are ideal for work in extreme conditions such as space, and even if the machine is destroyed while a person's consciousness is inside, death is a non-issue so long as the pilot backs up their consciousness data before activating the system: the only negative effect is the loss of one's memories during their time controlling the I-Machine. And then there are the "Evertrancers": people who, for whatever reason, transferred their consciousness into an I-Machine on a more permanent basis. Most of the protagonists, the members of the Excavate Company, are Evertrancers: Rick Ayers, for example, suffered a severe injury that left him paralyzed before becoming an Evertrancer. However, becoming an Evertrancer is considered a felony and gravely immoral besides.
  • Knights of Sidonia, by Tsutomu Nihei, the creator of the above mentioned Blame and Biomega, still has transhumanism running through it. None of the characters are a baseline human. All but one of the characters have been modified to get at least part of their energy from a form of photosynthesis, Tanikaze (the only non-photosynthesising character) has enhanced healing, the Honoka sisters are a batch of clones with Super-Strength, Lala is a human mind in a bear body with a cybernetic arm and Izana is an example of a "third" gender with both male and female characteristics that gradually shifts to either male of female after they develop an attraction to a person of the other gender. And that's just at the start. Things only ramp up from there in later chapters.
  • The philosophy of SEELE in Neon Genesis Evangelion believes that all human individuals are inherently weak and fragile, which is why they want to alter mankind to a higher existence of life using the power of the Angels.
  • In One Piece, there are the Vinsmoke Family princes (and princess) who are Modified Humans artificially altered in-utero to surpass the limits of humanity through augmented superhuman physicals and corruption of their mental sense of empathy through DNA tampering. These royals were also given exoskeletons that require the likes of hammers and hydraulic presses to fix when damaged. Something similar also applies to the clone soldiers of Germa 66, who the Vinsmoke Family command.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica presents this theme in a Magical Girl setting, with a catch. To the beings behind the magical girls' transformation, bodies and souls are just more things to study and souls can be preserved much more safely by removing them to a more durable container. The characters do not take it well. The series' finale presents a more positive take on the trope, however, as Madoka finally makes her wish.
  • Tokyo Ghoul:Re presents us with two flavors of this, achieved through very questionable medical methods.
    • Dr. Kanou states that his experiments are intended to elevate humanity and save them... through forcefully turning humans into Half-Ghouls. His Kakuhou Implant Surgery might be ground-breaking, but the success rate is so insanely low that over a thousand people have died in his efforts to produce five surviving subjects.
    • The Quinx Project, an attempt to create superior Ghoul Investigators through implanting a modified ghoul organ into a human host. Insistent Terminology is used to separate the Quinx from normal Half-Ghouls, though there is very little difference between them.
    • The mysterious Tyke Bomb project being run at the Sunlit Garden, which produces young Investigators of exceptional ability bordering on superhuman. This is because they are all Half-Human Hybrids, bred with enhanced physical abilities but otherwise nearly identical to their human parents. They can consume human food, do not require human flesh to survive, and lack a kagune or kakugan. In exchange, however, they suffer from a significantly shortened lifespan and begin to break down internally by the time they reach their 30s. Arima, Hairu, Furuta, and Rize are all stated to have been bred by the Garden.

    Comic Books 
  • Captain America would have been the first of an army of Super Soldiers if the formula hadn't been lost immediately afterward. It's worth noting that the existence of a few other, far less successful supersoldiers like USAgent stand as proof that it's not just Cap's powers that make him Captain America, it's his personality. However, Captain America is constantly described as peak human, regardless of some of his more exaggerated feats.
  • It's notable that only a small percentage of superheroes gained their powers deliberately; usually it was a Freak Accident. This is arguably a necessary component of a superhero universe; if super-powers were easily reproducible, then the heroes themselves would stop being special.
    Syndrome: And when everyone's super, no one will be.
    • Marvel's Earth X series subverts this nicely. When everybody on Earth gains superpowers, there are still heroes — people who are heroes not because they're super but because they're heroic, just like in the real world. On the other hand, they're heroes in a hideous worldwide dystopia that came about because of everyone in the world gaining powers.
    • The corollary is that every Superhero who gave themselves superhuman abilities through technology which could work on other human beings and yet chose to keep it all to themselves (even via a You Are Not Ready justification) is a massive Jerkass who could be helping humanity on a global scale but chooses not to. Tony Stark springs to mind, but Reed Richards Is Useless too.
      • In-Universe, Tony has repeatedly tried to farm out parts of his armor tech to the government, and it invariably winds up getting used for evil and stupid purposes that make him regret the decision. As for Reed, he probably could find ways to empower someone if he wanted (and did during Spider-Island as a sort of vaccination against the Spider-Virus. The power, however, was the ability to know which way is north and the uselessness of this is lampshaded, to which he responded that it was the easiest and quickest one to reproduce), but his own powers came from a standard-issue "freak accident."
    • Over at Marvel, Dr. Karl Malus is a Mad Scientist fascinated with super-powers, who will find ways to give someone powers for a fee. The powers he gives them generally wind up with horrible drawbacks or side-effects.
  • Hulk villain the Leader seems preoccupied with creating more Gamma-powered mutates like himself.
  • The Inhumans, Eternals, and Deviants (as well as the mutants, in a roundabout way) are humans genetically modified by aliens.
  • Iron Man has been doing everything he can to transhumanize himself, ranging from cyborg parts to a Super Serum. Of course, it's debatable how much of this is symbolic of the lack of humanity in his behavior during Civil War (2006) and its aftermath. Many fans theorize that the Extremis Formula caused a lot of his erratic, high-handed behavior, either by directly affecting his mind or just giving him a superiority complex.
  • The short-lived DC Comics series The New Guardians (unrelated to the later Green Lantern spinoff) involved a Gambit Roulette by the Guardians of the Universe to turn humanity into a race of transhumans. Unfortunately, the series' execution was lacking, and it's been forgotten. The method for spreading super-genes through the population was to have sex with as many people as possible by picking people up in singles bars specifically to get them pregnant — despite one member of The Team being an apparently sterile cyborg and another being gay.
  • The Dark Legion from the Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) are a group of echidnas who are so pro-technology that they willingly augment themselves with cybernetic implants. As time goes by they begin forcibly augmenting other people against their will.
  • Right from the beginning Superman is a demonstration of this trope juxtaposed into a contemporary setting by way of technically otherworldly origin. Yet most of his works ultimate end up presenting him not as an alien but as an exemplar of humanity and its ultimate potential. Even Krypton tends to get similar treatment as "Earth's future" if one digs into enough comics, particular older ones, and at least one work (Superman: Red Son) made Kryton literally Earth's future and Superman a Stable Time Loop. And while he personally averts it is no coincidence Beware the Superman shares his name and several Captain Ersatz of him are used to play it out. It's really all right there in the name.
  • The Surrogates: Everyone uses remote bodies.
  • In the appropriately named Transhuman by Jonathan Hickman medical advances make it possible to give people super powers. However there is a one power limit so everybody opts for Healing Factor.
  • Transmetropolitan: People buy "traits" in bulk ranging from cancer cures to implanted cellphones to alien genes. A few people upload their brains into clouds of Nanomachines called foglets.
  • Wonder Woman's Amazons were originally human women who attained their supernatural feats through years of meditation and martial arts training, which they were able to achive by living on Paradise Island where they were immortal due to the ceremony through which they became Amazons. This is part of why flight was not one of her original abilities, but Jedi Mind Tricks were. Post-Crisis the Amazons were reimagined as reincarnated abused women given new bodies made out of clay and tied much more closely with the Greek Pantheon.

    Fan Fiction 
  • Child of the Storm has the Super Soldier serum that empowered Steve, and the attempts to replicate it (on more than one occasion, from the genetic material of his descendants) as frequent sources of this, with results including the Infinity Formula as created by both the Red Room and SHIELD (though only in very limited quantities), and the Hulk formula. Additionally, later in the first book, HYDRA successfully create the comic-book version of Extremis, which allows one to reprogram the body with superpowers... but like the film version (here, the basic version that HYDRA refined), it has a nasty habit of exploding if the process isn't judged carefully/is made too complicated.
    • In the second book, it is revealed that Grey Court (Dracula style) vampires were originally created as this — or rather, as super soldiers — by the Atlantean Empire during their war with the Deviants, when they got desperate. Since they turned to a Tome of Eldritch Lore, the Darkhold, for the answers, it is not remotely surprising that it turned out badly.
    • The Eternals, Deviants, and to an extent, humans (or at least, their capacity for genetic mutation in the form of the 'm-gene' and 'x-gene') are a product of Celestial Experimentation, with varying results — the Eternals are immortal psychic gods who breed about as fast as some species evolve, the Deviants are like mutants and apparently redefined both Superdickery and Fantastic Racism, and humans have the potential to produce all sorts of genetic surprises, either through direct evolution into mutants and witches and wizards, or outside influence (e.g. the Super Soldier Serum, the Hulk formula).
      • However, the human part might not be entirely due to Celestial intervention, with it being plainly stated that the inhabitants of every world that was incorporated into Yggdrasil were altered somehow: the Aesir and Vanir became gods with lifespans that averaged five thousand years, the Alfar and Svartalfar (elves) became immortal unless thye were killed and physically enhanced to a lesser degree, while the Frost Giants and Dwarves became elemental beings with similar lifespans to Asgardians. In humans, no one's entirely sure what it changed, but the going theory is that it enhanced their ability to incorporate outside DNA — among other things, meaning that they can breed outside their species... which might relate to the X-Gene.
      • The Inhumans were the result of the Kree further meddling with humanity, though Word of God is that Inhumans are basically just mutants who require a specific chemical trigger.
  • Contraptionology!: Twilight's grand Mad Scientist plan revolves around the conclusion that natural flesh is unacceptably weak and mortal, which she decides to resolve by creating an artificial body out of liquid metal into which she can then upload her mind so as to live forever as an immortal, shapeshifting transequine.
  • The Conversion Bureau Transhumanism is a Recursive Fan Fiction of The Conversion Bureau where a new version of the conversion potion was made, called the ‘Transhuman Potion’ that allows humans to remain human while making immune to the magic emerging from the awakened leylines that were dormant underneath the surface of the Earth before Equestria was teleported onto the planet.
  • Friendship is Optimal revolves around humans uploading to Equestria. While Immortality comes as a standard part of the package, an uploaded human can also have their mental abilities significantly increased if they desire.
  • Knight Of The Republic has the Spracian Union, a race of seemingly normal humans that live in an arm of the Galaxy that is slowly separating into its own body. They're normal enough for being what they are, if Knight and Bishop are any indication Spracians are generally taller, stockier, and have better than average reflexes compared to humans. Then we learn about their Sentinel program the human government in their original galaxy that took their naturally occurring abilities and gave them superior stamina and strength, better low-light vision and an average IQ rating that's higher than some physicists. And don't even get started on their tenacity. This is further compounded during the Dantooine arc when Bastila learns that Revan's strategy was almost entirely based on the thirty-chapters long dissertation Knight wrote to be promoted to Lieutenant Commander, detailing the exact military strategy and resources necessary for total war with the Republic should diplomacy with the greater Galaxy turn sour. If things went according to plan, the Spracians would win with less than 20% casualties across all fronts.
  • Nobledark Imperium: This is common to varying degrees — life-extending treatments, for instance, are routine in the Imperium's upper classes — but some examples deserve special mention:
    • The Adeptus Mechanicus, as in canon, make a religious doctrine out of steadily improving themselves through technological upgrades such as multifunction or additional limbs, ocular arrays capable of perceiving wider spectra and fields of vision than normal, memory and cognitive upgrades, and so on. The Adeptus Biologicus, an order formed from Old Earth's various genetic tinkerer societies and loosely folded into the AdMech proper, have a similar policy centered around biological upgrades. Belisarius Cawl is noted to still look remarkably human for an AdBio Magus of his age, and he has a visible mottling of photosynthetic patches on his skin, cephalopod-like eyes, and a variety of low-grade copies of Astartes organs worked into his body, including some straight upgrades to a lung and a kidney, a second heart, and blood modified to clot more readily when exposed to air.
    • The inhabitants of Fenris and the Fenrisian Colonies. One of the odder aspects of the Canis Helix (who make up the Space Wolves) in this canon is that, unlike the Adeptus Astartes, they aren't sterile and their traits can be (admittedly rarely) passed down to their children. This may not sound like a lot, but roughly ten millennia's worth of intermarriage between the Space Wolves and the peoples of Fenris and her colonies has resulted in them all being fairly resistant to the cold and Hot-Blooded.
    • In the later days of the Great and Bountiful Human Dominion, the line between humanity and machine became very blurred. Between purely organic humans and their various genetic offshoots and the Iron Men there were cyborgs of various degrees, positronic brains inhabiting vat-grown bodies, human minds uploaded into computers, and everything in between. Ruling over all this were the transsapient Iron Minds and the Men of Gold, artificial humans created with genetically-perfect tailored bodies interlaced with grown components of metal and plastic, undying and pysichically powerful.
  • Significant Digits: The Tower was founded with the goal of overcoming death. One of their departments is the Advancement Agency, whose job it is to "improve homo sapiens."
  • Transcendent Humanity: The human race has gone down this path in the absence of Element Zero. The average person can freely switch from body to body, and even minimally augmented humans possess vast physical capabilities.
  • Transition: The Martian Manhunter more or less calls Jinx and Raven this after they are teleported into space and come back six months later as, essentially, Cosmic Entities.
  • Vigil uses transhumanism as a central theme, taking place in the XCOM: Enemy Unknown future where Meld is used to transform humanity, using a lot of the technology from Eclipse Phase such as Brain Uploading, cortical stacks, augmented bodies, fully synthetic bodies, and uplifted animals. Its also notable for the aliens embracing the same technology, with the turians and salarians embracing "Exo" bodies.

    Film — Animated 
  • The future space scene of The Tragedy of Man, similar to the 1860s play it was based on, shows the disillusioned Adam trying to escape Mother Earth as Lucifer gradually dismembers Adam's spacebound body and turns him into a cold, metallic space vessel. Due to Earth's urging however, Adam realizes space only holds nothingness for him and finally opts to reject transhumanism.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Blade Runner: The eponymous character hunts down renegade Artificial Humans.
  • Captain America: The First Avenger: Bonus points for explicitly portraying the morality and 'heart' of the Super Soldier as being just as important as physical (and possibly mental) improvements. There's no Psycho Serum either — they both got the same Super Serum, but Schmidt's corrupt mentality resulted in him being transformed into a monster while Steve's goodness made him a true superhuman.
  • Gattaca: Prenatal genetic testing is routine, non-Designer Babies are discriminated against.
  • Johnny Mnemonic: The cyborg street preacher. Details about this are explored more in the film's Japanese release (the "director's cut"), which includes an additional scene where this character preaches about God's plan for people to reject their organic bodies and embrace bio-mechanics and cybernetics, especially to save oneself from the NAS plague. He refers to himself as a "post-human". In the American release, the most that's hinted about these views comes in a passing reference to the name of the church that the preacher is aligned with—The Church of the Retransfiguration.
  • Lucy: The protagonist is accidentally exposed to a Super Serum (through being a drug mule), and finds her mental powers rapidly expanding. She quickly realizes that this will end badly for her, and shows herself to be a Pro-Human Transhuman by searching for a way to preserve and transmit her new knowledge.
  • Repo! The Genetic Opera has nearly everyone using artificial organs produced by GeneCo, and cosmetic surgery is even more common thanks to an addictive painkiller.
  • The Singularity Is Near portrays a future where everyone will be able to have their normal human capabilities enhanced with technology.
  • Star Trek Into Darkness: Notable because of the franchise's attitude towards this subject in the past that a heavily-augmented human (named Science Officer 0718) appears as a member of the Enterprise crew. Possibly as a minor counterexample to Khan, since he doesn't have any major significance beyond calling out a couple of lines. Although in the comics he turns out to be an Artificial Human created by mistake. But still, he's allowed to join the crew rather than being seen as science gone mad.
  • Tetsuo: The Iron Man: The protagonists. Sure, they become grotesque walking lumps of scrap metal, but as the films go on, they can sprout guns from their bodies, become giant tank things and crawl on walls.

  • The Spirit Cultivation Genre is transhumanism by means of Taoist Alchemy.
  • Aeon14 includes mutants ('L2' humans), genetic engineering, cyborgization, implanted sentient A.I.s, nanotech, and transcendent ascended A.I.s, humans, and human/A.I. fusions.
  • In Angel Station, both protagonists are genetically engineered for best performance in space. This seems to be rather normal in their culture.
  • In Aristoi, everyone has perfect health, Bio-Augmentation, and a Brain/Computer Interface. And the Aristoi themselves are even better.
  • Alterien has this in the form of the Altered Homo sapiens aka the Alteriens. The Alteriens are the result of directed and advanced evolution that was the focus of an experiment. The result is a new human-like species with abilities far beyond ordinary humans and even well beyond enhanced humans.
  • Beggars in Spain is about the rise of a new breed of transhuman, the "Sleepless".
  • Tom Kratman's novel Caliphate portrays an incipiently posthuman future in rather dystopian terms, against the backdrop of an escalating "clash of civilizations" between reactionary and modernizing cultures. The titular Caliphate is completely opposed to transhumanism, and doesn't have the infrastructure to develop the science even if they wanted to (though they still import some technology for unofficial use). By contrast, the Celestial Kingdom of the Han (i.e., China) seems to be the most transhumanist power in the setting (though India is said to be not very far behind, and there are hints that Japan might also be in the race): they have a number of science fiction technologies in more or less wide use, including Electronic Telepathy, Neural Implanting, Body Backup Drives and the ability to create tailor-made fully Artificial Humans for a given assignment. The Imperial States of America also has at least some of this technology, but theirs is seemingly less advanced, and their attitude toward it is also quite different: they regulate it tightly, use it as a last resort when nothing else works and generally view it with horror, whereas the Chinese rather seem to embrace it.
  • Childhood's End: Aliens guide humanity into ascending into a galactic superconsciousness.
  • Oleg Makushkin's Crystal Lattice takes place several centuries from now, where the world is constantly torn by the conflict between the Cyberempire (also known as the Cybercity and is implied to take up North America) and the Gaian Republic (dominates Eurasia). Both are totalitarian regimes supposedly focused on the betterment of humankind, except the former seeks to do it through cyborgization (all too frequently, unwilling) and the latter through Bio-Augmentation. They have already fought three wars and are currently fighting a fourth. There are fewer and fewer neutral areas remaining in the world, one of which is the isle of Skjeld. Neither side is portrayed as sympathetic, perfectly willing to torture and kill innocents for their goals. The novel focuses on several defectors, who seek to find a quiet place and wait out the war. The problem? He is a Cybernetic (although wishing to escape that life), and she is a Gaian (but far too idealistic for the grim realities of war), both having been taught to hate one another. As expected, they become Star-Crossed Lovers.
  • Most citizens of The Culture are semi-immortal posthumans who can change sex at will, have drug-producing glands in their brains, and can download their backups into clones if killed.
  • The Deathstalker series gets a few different variants of transhumanism, ranging from cybernetic implants to drugs to a madness-inducing alien maze which directly unlocks humanity's potential (if it doesn't kill you first). Most of these don't work out very well.
  • Digitesque: Before the Fall, humans modified themselves to have strange powers and abilities. A thousand years later, people are randomly born with "gifts" that they use to help their villages survive. Ancient humans also created an artificial afterlife that all minds are uploaded to on death, even now. Most of the immediate problems in the series are caused by glitches that have arisen in the afterlife.
  • In Diving Blood, the Demoness Lilitu mentions that former humans outnumber individuals that are half-God and half-Demon.
  • Domina:
    • Due to the use of the toy maker, an easy Bio-Augmentation device, the city slides closer and closer to this every day. Nearly every single person is enhanced, from physical strength and enhanced senses to disease resistance. Sickness is mostly eliminated, and easy replacement organs are perfected over the course of the story. Even starvation is mostly a thing of the past, as plants and food animals can be altered, combined with humans who need less food and can eat absolutely anything. The problem is that most of the people of the city use these incredible advancements to kill each other.
    • The fey are quite a bit farther up the scale than anyone else in the city. In addition to being responsible for most of the monstrous animals running around, they keep their bodies in tubes where they are constantly being fixed and healed by the toy maker, while they use remote-control clone bodies called homunculi to interact with the world.
  • Almost everyone in Duumvirate is either born transhuman, becomes transhuman, or desperately wants to be transhuman. When your regeneratively immortal friends can play Bullet Hell games at maximum difficulty without breaking a sweat, and dodge actual bullets for that matter, you tend to get a deep appreciation for genetic superiority.
  • Greg Egan often uses this trope in his novels.
  • Eight Worlds is filled with transhumanism. Even though human genetic experimentation is technically illegal there's always surgery, symbionts, cybernetics and nanotechnology so it's not unusual for people to modify their bodies (sometimes radically) to suit a specific environment, fad, fetish, or job. While the people who go for the most radical physical modifications tend to be professional spacers (who tend to discard things like legs and feet that are not very useful in zero gravity), most people are so cyberized the lunar central computer admits to tapping the unused portions of their brains for additional processing power.
  • The Elder Empire: The Imperial Guard are improved by the Alchemist's Guild, given kameira parts to enhance their capabilities. Meira is a far more extreme example; under the Emperor's orders, the guild used horrific and painful procedures to turn her into an amalgam of a dozen different kameira, making her strong enough to fight a Champion.
    The Emperor: Since this body cannot do the job, we will have to build you a new one.
  • Mentally challenged Charlie Gordon from Flowers for Algernon had his intelligence surgically enhanced to superhuman levels, but the change was only temporary. Worse, as most of the lab animals who received the operation eventually died, Charlie probably doesn't have that long to live either.
  • Isaac Asimov's Foundation Series:
  • Honor Harrington:
    • The Mesan Alignment has been practicing the biological form of this in secret for quite some time and believe they should share it with the rest of the galaxy... by force.
    • There's also a brief mention in on of the early books that there are a handful of planets in the galaxy where cybernetic transhumanism is a common practice but they're fairly isolated incidents.
    • At the less radical end, Honor herself and a number of other characters are genetically engineered for living on high-gravity worlds. And the relatively recently-introduced prolong treatments have vastly expanded the life expectancy of anyone who can get them. It isn't actually known whether later-generation prolong recipients will ever experience old age. In wealthy star nations, the treatment is nearly universal.
  • In Human Resources (2018) a deformed, paralyzed scientist uses his mastery of Bio-Augmentation to breed a race of transhumans that wind up wiping out the (original) human race.
  • Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons has altered humans in the form of the Ousters.
  • Journey to Chaos: Zettai used to be perfectly human but the addition of Bladi blood to her system made her more than human. It gave her access to a rare branch of magic and the ability to survive her soul being removed from her body.
  • Lilith's Brood: The alien Oankali modify the human species to be Long-Lived and resistant to disease; a few, like Lilith, also get Super-Strength, a Healing Factor, and a limited ability to interface with Oankali Organic Technology. Terms and conditions apply.
  • MARZENA The title of the first book says it all. A Quantum PC in everybody's pocket and two Bremen Chips in everyone's head, all hail Homo Animus. In the future everyone will merge minds with the machines.
  • Richard K. Morgan likes this trope.
    • In the Takeshi Kovacs series, all humans have their identities backed up in "cortical stacks" that can be transferred to any body (aka "sleeve") they wish. Many sleeves are artificially created to have a range of nonhuman enhancements. They can also upload themselves into non-organic robot bodies or simply into computer programs.
    • There are several experimental engineered human species in Black Man... the bonobos, designed to be sexy and submissive (and exclusively female), hibernoids who go from frenzied sleepness workaholism to extended hibernation sleep (useful on a slow-travelling spacecraft) and of course the 'Variant Thirteens', scary pre-civilisation throwbacks who are incredible badasses combined with a complete disregard for hierarchial authority structures and no need to feel a sense of belonging.
  • Neuromancer: Cybernetics and bioengineered organs are used by a number of characters, and the protagonists' employer is an AI seeking to merge with another.
  • The Nexus Series outright references transhumanism and posthumanism by name from the first chapter. The main characters are living during the advent of Bio-Augmentation, Brain/Computer Interface, Brain Uploading, and other revolutionary technologies. The Emerging Risks Directorate (ERD) was created in the United states specifically to stamp out such technology.
  • Oryx and Crake: Crake designs a new species of human who mature quickly, eat only plants, turn blue when they go into heat, can heal wounds by purring, and keel over at the age of thirty. It's made pretty clear that he was insane.
  • The Quantum Thief. Notably the society of Oubliette on Mars is resistant to most transhuman technologies, being built on the ideals of privacy and individuality, yet from the reader's perspective it's still filled to the brim with transhuman technology designed to ensure this state of affairs. For starters the citizens all have a specialized privacy sensory organ called Gevulot through which the majority of their communication takes place.
  • Many of Robert Reed's novels and short stories deal with transhumanism and effective immortality.
    • Sister Alice follows the life of a young boy, part of a Great Family of transhumanist gods created to rule over the immortal galaxy.
    • The Great Ship universe goes into a bit more depth. So long as the ceramic brain is intact, the individual can be revived. And in this case, "intact" is pretty broad. One man shoots himself in the head to stow away on a ship (life signs detectors can't find you if you're dead!), and the captain is so impressed that she makes him a lieutenant. Humanity has had some pretty significant biological changes, as well — every human has artificial constructs in their bloodstream called "emergency genes" which make them absurdly durable, and will regenerate tissue and limbs if given enough mass. Human blood flows so thickly with engineered cells and Nanomachines that it has become almost black. The Captains of the Great Ship have extensive augmentations, usually data stores that allow them to have almost perfect recall for their the hundreds of thousands of years of duty to the Ship.
    • The Winemaster had a significant portion of the United States population download their brains into tiny, fantastically fast robotic bodies, who are isolated into enclaves which use magnetic fields to protect their fragile minds from heavy particles and radiation. By the time the story takes place, most of the posthumans were never even human to begin with — instead being the artificially created "children" of the original posthumans.
  • Alastair Reynolds' work is full of this, especially the Revelation Space universe.
  • Schismatrix explores the concept in great depth.
  • In Star Trek: Ex Machina, it's revealed that Will Decker was essentially a 23rd century transhumanist, with a personal spirituality deeply concerned with "unexplored potentials of the human mind". His particular dream was an All Your Powers Combined scenario whereby different species could transcend their limits by uniting their psyches and spiritual essence. This, he hoped, would let them sense or reach new levels of existence. For this reason, he was strongly drawn to species with telepathic abilities.
  • Charles Stross uses it quite a bit, particularly in Accelerando, Glasshouse, and The Eschaton Series.
  • In Nietzsche's Thus Spake Zarathustra, Zarathustra preaches that mankind's future lies into the Übermensch, a form of spiritual/mental transcendence into an existence that does not need God.
  • Discussed towards the end of Vernor Vinge's novella "True Names", when Slip and Ery finally meet face-to-face. Not too surprising, since Vinge is generally credited with popularizing the idea of The Singularity.
  • The Turing Option by Harry Harrison and Marvin Minsky.
  • Military science fiction Victoria has Azania, a technologically advanced Lady Land which seeks to overcome the limits of human biology and sex roles through science, abolishing the male sex entirely and creating an entirely new species and system of social organization. By the time of the story, they remain human biologically, but effectively a One-Gender Race of androgynous Amazons through assisted reproduction technologies that eliminate the need for conception and pregnancy.
  • The Way Series by Greg Bear touches heavily on this. The multiverse-traveling inhabitants of The Way are humans from another timeline who have completely transcended the limitations of the flesh. Their bodies are more or less artificial, usually designed personally by their inhabitants — examples include floating crystal fish, spheres, and for the nostalgic, improved versions of the basic humanoid body. They've perfected mind-uploading, and while they are physically mortal, they are long-lived and each citizen is granted two extra bodies after their first one dies. When the third body dies, they still have mental immortality in cyberspace and, if they're useful, may be granted even more bodies by the government. In addition to all of this, they can send partial copies of their personalities (which do not have full sentience or legal person-hood, apparently) to attend meetings or carry out tasks they cannot fulfill in person. Enough of these copies and you can even mostly reconstruct a person whose mind was deleted from the net.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Calvin Zabo concocted a Super Serum for himself after HYDRA mutilated his wife and separated him from his daughter. Holden Radcliffe is a transhumanist scientist who replaced his right eye with a synthetic prosthesis based on a bird's, granting him an enhanced vision
  • Alien Worlds (2020): The Terrans are transaliens, technically, but the themes are otherwise the same. They are an incredibly ancient, incredibly advanced civilization, and have developed to the point where each Terran is essentially a giant, diffuse brain in a life-support vat and connected to all other Terrans in a Hive Mind. They do not age and do not die, and possess the technology necessary to create strong AI, terraform other worlds and move their entire civilization from one planet to the next.
  • Andromeda: The crew includes three genetically enhanced humans, a cyborg, and an android who is a semi-autonomous avatar of the ship herself.
  • Choujuu Sentai Liveman has some fun with this trope — all the members of Volt manage to play out this trope in different ways, with the exception of Guardroid Gash. And all of them die less than pleasantly for it, save one.
  • Kamen Rider features this as a theme often. Shotaro Ishinomori had a thing for the trope, in the sense of how one can find or lose their humanity through it.
    • The first Kamen Rider series had the terrorist organization Shocker, formed by a group of Nazis who decided to take their Party's beliefs a step further and convert themselves into a new Master Race by Playing with Syringes. The main character, Takeshi Hongo, was kidnapped by them to be remodeled, but escaped and decided to be pro human instead.
    • The Sengoku Driver in Kamen Rider Gaim was designed to enable this, as its creator was a Mad Scientist seeking to transcend humanity and become a god. After using his Driver for a prolonged period of time, Kouta stops eating and starts to lose grip on his humanity. Eventually, both he and Kaito achieve this through different means Kaito eats the fruit of Helheim and internalizes it through sheer willpower to become an Overlord, while Kouta defeats Kaito and claims the Forbidden Fruit to become the next "Man of the Beginning", effectively elevating him to Physical God.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    • Star Trek: The Original Series:
      • Gary Mitchell and Dr. Elizabeth Dehner from "Where No Man Has Gone Before" both acquire psi-powers from the galactic energy barrier — within a few hours, Mitchell can read the entire library of the Enterprise, use telekinesis, create small objects, and project energy from his fingers, with Dr. Dehner just a short way behind him. It's impossible to be sure, but they might have hit Q power levels a few days later if they had lived. Unfortunately, Gary becomes a psychopath. Spock believes Transhuman Treachery in such a situation to be inevitable, as the transformed would come to view mere humans as a petty annoyance. In one ST novel, it was Q, beaten in a fight by Trelane, reduced to mere essence, and tossed back in time a million or so years, who provided the power to Mitchell and Dehner.
      • Khan Noonien Singh and his followers from "Space Seed" have genius-level intelligence and five times the strength of a normal man.
      • The Organians from "Errand of Mercy" state that they were once as human as Kirk and his crew, but had evolved into creatures of pure thought and energy. This is at least implied to be the origin of most Energy Beings in the Trek universe, like the Companion, Sargon, the Zetars, possibly the Bajoran Prophets in a Timey-Wimey Ball manner, etc.; probably even the Q, since they seem to think humans are on the path to becoming like them.
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
      • Julian Bashir is transhuman thanks to his genetic enhancement. He puts it to good use. Other genetically enhanced people, however, tend to end up having various drawbacks, including mental instability or evil-inducing levels of ambition. However, due to genetic modification of this type being illegal, it's carried out by doctors with restricted resources and no support, mainly on children who are already "damaged". The Star Trek universe is kept from full-scale transhumanism primarily by editorial dictates.
      • Also, the Vorta, who were uplifted from ape-like beings into what they are now by the Changelings. The other main Dominion race, the Jem'Hadar, are also genetically tailored by the Changelings into loyal super-soldiers.
      • The Changelings themselves were once "solid" humanoids, and it's implied they reached their current form through some kind of technological means.
  • Supernatural: The Special Children are humans who were fed demon blood at 6 months of age, so that they would grow up to have psychic abilities.

  • The goal and ideal of the (admittedly loopy) narrator of Jonathan Coulton's "The Future Soon".
    'Cause it's gonna be the future soon, I won't always be this way/As the things that make me weak and strange get engineered away...
  • Swedish trance/metal band Amaranthe has a good few songs about transhumanism, most notably Invincible, Digital World, and, well, Transhuman.
  • One of the themes of Avenged Sevenfold's album The Stage, particularly in the song "Paradigm", whose protagonist is saved from death and rendered immortal by technology, and wonders if he has lost his humanity.

    Tabletop Games 
  • A number of examples in Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The 4th edition features Epic Destinies, a kind of high-level Prestige Class designed to provide an endgame for your character. Most of these result in your character gaining powers beyond those of mere mortals before ultimately becoming a god or passing to another plane of existence.
    • Also, the Elan Race in 3.5e's Expanded Psionics Handbook and the bloodline feat chain of the same name in 4e D&D's Psionic Power is essentially this: humans who underwent body modification to turn themselves into an immortal being powered by thought.
    • The Dragon Disciple Prestige Class is a magic user who taps into the latent power of a Draconic ancestor to take a Dragon-like form.
    • In the Dark Sun campaign settings, high-level mages and clerics can transform into dragons, elementals or avangions.
    • The late 3.5 base class Dragonfire Adept centred around the power of dragons. While some of this came out in the form of a kind of spellcasting, they also got the ability to breathe fire (and potentially several other things) and grew scales (and got a free bonus feat that allowed access to otherwise sorcerer-specific dragon-themed transhuman feats).
  • Eclipse Phase, due to ubiquitous Brain Uploading technology most people jump from one genetically enhanced or synthetic "morph" to another fairly regularly. Eclipse Phase underlying theme is specifically transhumanism and exploring both the technological and psychological aspects of it. All the rule books use transhumanity instead of "humanity" (except where bio-conservatives are concerned), and wants you thinking about it.
  • Exalted: The Exalted are Puny Earthlings who Exalted, thus becoming enhanced to the point of surpassing the gods in ability. However, going too far into transhuman paradigms generally leads to The Dark Side in some form or another.
    • Several Exalted types are quite literally transhuman. The Alchemicals start as cyborgs with human souls, and eventually turn into giant robots and even living cities as their permanent Essence rating increases. The Infernals have the ability to become like their Yozi patrons, the many-souled, world-like beings that first made the world. You've even got cases among the other Exalted, like the First Age Solar Queen Ktula, who experimented with her body so much that a bunch of her Charms shut down because her Exaltation no longer recognized her as human.
    • Abyssals too. Except that rather than become something more than human, they become something less — something hollow and malignant, a walking conduit to Oblivion. The ultimate destiny of the Abyssals could be Deathlords Mark Two — or something greater and more terrible than even the Deathlords can imagine. Or, y'know, they could kick the Void in the face and powerload hope and light into their Shards until they can achieve redemption and become Solars. One of the nice things about Exalted is that there's always a choice.
    • Absolutely all Alchemicals are transhumans of the cyborg variety, and over their lifetimes extensively upgrade themselves with mechanical implants, armored skin replacements, prosthetic or entirely additional limbs bristling with tools and weapons, complex arrays of sensory scanners and filters, and the like. Elder Alchemicals rarely look more than roughly humanoid anymore. They even have special meter that indicates how far removed they are from the thought processes of normal humans, called Clarity. They have charms with cyberpunk names such as Man-Machine Interface and God-Machine Interface, which achieves what sorcery does by hacking reality itself. Their personal growth ultimately culminates in them transforming into immense, living cities. And then there is Voidtech, which is a path of organic transhumanism...
  • GURPS: Transhuman Space has multiple levels of human genetic modification, artificial humans, artificial intelligence, nanosymbionts, brain uploading (albeit one-way) and uplifted animals. Very few cybernetics though, they're considered outdated.
  • Magic: The Gathering has New Phyrexia, where normal organisms get transformed into more dangerous Phyrexian ones by the oil and Phyrexian bioengineering, while native Phyrexians are born as naked "newts" that can be perfected into a number of general templates based on role through surgery.
    • It also applies to old Phyrexia; the process of Phyresis in The Thran is very akin to transhumanism, since Yawgmoth not only cures the afflicted of their phthisis, but also transforms them into war machines and then explains that they are the future heroes of the Thran (heh).
    • Urza also dabbled in transhumanism with his genetic experimentation and the creation of the Metathran.
  • Nova Praxis has Synthesis and Apotheosis. Synthesis is a bodily upgrade that merges you with nanotechnology to make people stronger, faster and tougher, while Apotheosis involves having your brain turned into nanotech and your mind into a program running on that nanotech, so smoothly that there's no obvious changes to that actual mind. People who've undergone Apotheosis can upload themselves to computers or install themselves into new bodies, and some can figure out how to "hack" their own code, becoming Savants.
  • In Pathfinder, this is a theme of Sorcerers. As they advance in power, the supernatural bloodlines that give them their natural magic also begin transforming their bodies in subtle, then overt ways.
  • In Shadowrun, many people have some degree of mechanical alteration — cybereyes are the most common bit of cyberware in the world. Mages on the other hand can't use them with out messing up their Essence/magic. Also, the metahuman races are humans who have been altered by the return of magic.
  • In Strike Legion, transhumanism is ubiquitous. The average human in either the Imperium or the Star Republic is already genetically enhanced to the point that they make modern humanity look like degenerate apes. This is before factoring in extensive bio-augmentation, cybernetic implants, and nanotech enhancements which are commercially available to civilians and military. And that is before one gets into the Imperium's countless supersoldier programs (cybernetic modification, genetic modification, extradimensional modification, genetically-enhanced Reality Warper powers....) and the Republic's Legion Process.
  • Warhammer 40,000 has mechanicum Cyborgs, augmented Super-Soldier Space Marines, as well as their psychic, Chaotically powered, and Cyborg versions, genetically engineered Super-Soldier Orks who also come with crude cyborknetic and psychic versions, and undead full-body Cyborg conversions that come in Eldar and Terminator rip-off versions. There are undoubtedly countless more examples, all of them trying to kill you.

  • The inhabitants on planet Bara Magna of BIONICLE, are born organic but augment themselves with mechanical implants over their several hundred thousand year-long lives. Their general buildup is 85% organic and 15% robotic, as opposed to the beings of the Matoran Universe for whom the percentages are reversed. The Great Beings also liked to experiment with grafting weapons to animals, like the giant monster Skopio. This is of course not apparent on the toys which look fully robotic because they're made of LEGO pieces.

    Video Games 
  • ANNO: Mutationem: Cults around the Mechanika Virus sprung up before the vaccines were developed, and even up til now there are some individuals who praise the virus and bemoan the proliferation of the virus as preventing humanity from "ascending" to a higher form of existence. A poster at Freeway 42 lambasts this, with a picture of a horrific victim of the virus and the caption asking if it was worth losing his sanity.
  • "Human Plus" cybernetic enhancements have been part of the Armored Core series since the beginning. Usually aimed at making better mech pilots.
    • In the first game the player character only gets access to Human Plus parts after failing multiple missions.
    • In Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon the player character is an augmented human from the beginning, but barely able to move outside of their mech and looking like a potato wrapped in saran-wrap in the story trailer. In the Golden Ending they attempt to start a Singularity event by merging humanity with the Coral.
  • All of the demigods in Asura's Wrath are transhuman, as well as descended from transhuman beings.
  • BioShock: The city of Rapture developed "plasmids" that give people superpowers. And hideously deform them and drive them insane.
  • In Civilization: Beyond Earth, each of the three Affinities represents a different level of Transhumanism. Purity factions stay recognizably human, but seek to eliminate disease and weakness through genetic manipulation, Harmony factions also stay recognizably human, but they splice themselves with alien lifeforms to allow them to breath the planet's air and integrate with its ecosystem, and Supremacy factions go all the way, replacing their bodies with machinery and becoming sentient computers.
    • The expansion pack Rising Tide adds some additional takes on it with their "Hybrid Affinities". Purity-Harmony are the most explicitly transhumanist, using genetic engineering and lessons learned from the new planets biology to create better (at least in their minds) humans. Meanwhile Supremacy-Harmony results in rather disturbing mixes of cybernetics and bio-technology, though their driving philosophy is more "power at any cost". Purity-Supremacy eschews the transhumanism for baseline humans backed up advanced robotic drone technology but keeping the two parts distinct.
  • Command & Conquer: Transhumanism forms one of the core tenets of the Brotherhood of Nod's religion. They seek to use the power of Tiberium and technologies derived from it to alter humanity as preparation for Ascension. Nod also place massive investments in cybernetics research and combining the machine with biology and Tiberium (regenerating cyborgs as shock troops, the Mark of Kane, and the CABAL and LEGION A.I.s).
  • Crysis:
    • This is the ultimate goal of Jacob Hargreave. He has been working for more than a century to prepare mankind for war with the Ceph, using their own stolen technology to enhance human technology, and it culminates in the Nanosuits, which are hyper-advanced Powered Armor designed to turn their wearers into "post-human warriors". They go so far as to literally replace entire organs, co-opt brain functions, and generally turn their wearers into full-on nanotech cyborg supersoldiers, and are capable of sustaining a person even after death, and on top of that, they contain internal machinery and advanced computers that can sample, analyze, and adapt to Ceph environmental weapons.
    • In Crysis 3, you go even further: "Prophet" is no longer human at all, but a walking mass of nanosuit muscle with the memory fragments of Laurence Barnes and Alcatraz knocking around in his/its databanks. He/it even gains the ability to morph into human appearances at the very end.
  • In Destiny, Golden Age humanity was this thanks to the Traveler's technology, with enhanced bodies that did not suffer from disease and possessing triple the normal human lifespan. They even developed sentient humanlike machines called Exos, which are theorized by the current human society to have been an effort at true immortality via Brain Uploading.
  • The driving background element for the entire Deus Ex Universe:
    • In Deus Ex itself, heavily augmented humans are commonplace. The primary motivation of the villains seems to be to establish themselves as posthuman overlords, ascending to godhood while ruling over a population of unaugmented minions.
    • Deus Ex: Invisible War has several factions, some who are against transhumanism, like the Purists, and others who are all for it, like the Omar, who radically alter themselves to the point that they no longer look human and are in the early stages of a being a Hive Mind. There are several possible endings, portraying either a pseudo-religious backlash against all transhuman technology, the peaceful integration of trans- and normal humans, or the complete (but involuntary) ascension of the species to a new plane, depending on player choices.
    • Transhumanism is a major theme in Deus Ex: Human Revolution. There are people in support of it, people against it, lots of reasons for both pitted against each other in several debate scenes, and Adam Jensen himself has lots of cybernetic upgrades, also called augmentations.
  • In The Elder Scrolls, this is one of the theories about what the Dwemer were trying to do when they mysteriously disappeared. They were a highly technologically advanced race whose creations are still unmatched by any other race even in the thousands of years since their disappearance. A major part of their outlook was the idea of refuting everything as real, including themselves. When they discovered the heart of a dead god, they attempted to tap into its power, likely hoping to reforge themselves as ascended god-like beings. Whatever happened, it caused every member of their race to blink out of all known planes of existence in an instant.
  • EVE Online:
    • All the capsuleers are transhuman. Just watch the intro movie.
    • The Jove used to be human, but have biologically modified their bodies to such an extent that they can't really be considered human anymore.
  • Fawkes in Fallout 3 refers to his fellow supermutants as "meta-human" but even he admits most of them are mentally inferior to unaugmented humans. A small minority however are mentally equal and physically superior (not counting their sterility, of course), exactly how the Master intended them to be. The Virus causing all this was intended to create superior human beings but their research was interrupted by a nuclear war.
    • It also seems to be what version of the virus, Fawkes and the DC mutants were made with an early version. The Master's army was the "newest" resulting is most being at least human level mentally. The Enclave's mutants updated the Master's but due to their racist views they designed it to make them dumb.
  • In the F.E.A.R. games, creating transhumans was part of Armacham's goal in initiating Projects Origin, Harbinger, and Perseus. They succeeded. Hoo boy, did they succeed at that.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy VII and its Compilation works have numerous biologically enhanced Super Soldiers, as well as several people with cybernetic components.
    • Final Fantasy XIII and its trilogy have humans that are transformed into L'Cie, making them stronger and giving them the ability to use Magic. After the end of XIII, some people begin to learn to use Magic normally without becoming a L'Cie, and by the time Noel Kreiss is born 700 years in the future, this is the norm for everyone.
      • Taken even further with the main protagonist, Lightning. In XIII, she goes from a human to a L'Cie. After XIII, she goes from a L'Cie to a human possessing the magic of a L'Cie (according to "The Fragments After"). Just before the events of XIII-2, she goes from a human possessing the magic of a L'Cie to being given immense power by the Goddess Etro and being called a "Warrior Goddess" at one point, the manual stating she's "something more than human... almost a Goddess herself." During Lightning Returns, she will now serve as "The Soul Liberator" and has been said to be even more powerful than before. Now, she even begins to question whether or not she's even human anymore at this point.
    • Final Fantasy Type-0: On top of normal people knowing magic like in XIII-2, it also features L'Cie being essentially Gods. and most of the named ones are willing to help the humans. Two of whom even empower Class Zero to take on the Final boss, albeit at a personal cost.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • In Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War, and Fire Emblem: Thracia 776, in the ancient past of the continent of Jugdral, a group of 12 heroes who became known as the 12 Crusaders made magical pacts with immensely powerful, godlike dragons, getting blessed with physical or magical abilities beyond those of normal humans as well as a powerful magic weapon. They passed on the power to their descendants in the form of Holy Blood. Holy Blood exists in a major and minor variant; both give a unit stat boosts that give them an edge in combat over those without it, but the major variant gains more significant stat boosts and grants the unique ability for a carrier to wield their lineage’s immensely powerful Ancestral Weapon.
    • In Fire Emblem: Three Houses, special powers called Crests exist on the continent of Fódlan. They are the result of the human heroes of the distant past, the 10 Elites and Four Saints, being magically infused with the blood of Sothis, the goddess of the Church of Seiros, though the Four Saints are non-human Nabateans, dragons who were created by the goddess and received her blood voluntarily, while the human 10 Elites took it forcibly after their leader Nemesis killed her. The original bearers of these Crests passed down their Crests to their descendants. Humans who inherit Crests or have Crests forcibly implanted into them gain special abilities those without don’t have that have a chance of activating in combat, from life draining enemies, to dealing extra damage with attacks, to increasing healing done with healing spells, to negating an enemy’s counterattack. Like the Holy Blood of Jugdral, Crests come in both major and minor variants; major Crests activate more often than minor.
  • This ideology, brought to reality by means of magic and genetic engineering, is the reason the world of Guilty Gear eventually goes completely to shit. The Gears that ended up ravaging the world were intended to be the next step in human evolution, which is why the first game was subtitled "The Missing Link." While Gears can be created from a variety of living organisms by simply introducing a patchwork of animal genes to the subject, three of the playable Gears (Sol, Justice, and Testament) were originally human. In fact, Sol, the series' namesake, spearheaded the Gear Project alongside his lover and fellow scientist Aria, who is all but outright stated to be the woman who was converted into Commander Gear Justice.
  • "Transhuman" is a politically loaded word in the Half-Life 2 universe. Any human who volunteers to join the Overwatch is brainwashed, gutted, dismembered, and rebuilt as a cyborg. The augmentations make them entirely dependent on the Combine.
  • The Spartans in Halo, although in the games they're portrayed more as soldiers wearing Powered Armor. The EU goes a great deal further into explaining that they biologically and cybernetically enhanced the bejeezus out of them before putting them into their really fancy armored suits. As such, the in-game physical strength and stamina of the Spartans comes from a combination of their biological enhancements and their powersuits. The biological enhancements are also portrayed as necessary to wear the suits; one of the novels has a regular human in the armor shattering his bones just by trying to move normally.
  • The NESTS Cartel in The King of Fighters is big on body enhancements, whether genetic tampering (K', Kula, Nameless etc) or cybernetic modifications (Maxima). The son of its leader, Igniz, particularly claims himself as a god for being highly enhanced.
  • Mass Effect has humans that are enhanced both through gene therapy and cybernetic enhancements. Furthermore, in utero exposure to the substance "Element Zero", the Applied Phlebotinum responsible for the titular Mass Effect, has caused a small percentage of the population, known as biotics, to gain powerful telekinetic abilities by projecting mass effect fields from their bodies. To make practical use of their abilities, biotics require a piece of wetware to regulate their nervous system called a "biotic amplifier". The amps themselves are modular, the sockets implanted in the biotic's head are not so much.
    • In the sequel, Shepard's resurrection necessitated "Bio-synthetic fusion" where Shepard was given extensive cybernetic implants wired throughout their body that serves to reinforce their skeletal structure, enhance strength, improve organ function and supplement their central nervous system. The Project Overlord DLC reveals that Shepard is just about machine enough to briefly be taken over by the Overlord "Virus", while the Citadel DLC from the third game has EDI comment that Shepard is roughly 30% synthetic.
    • All organic beings become transhuman in the "Synthetic" ending of Mass Effect 3.
      • It also applies to the Geth in the same game, if Commander Shepard so chooses, as each Geth program becomes a sentient entity in and of itself.
    • Out of concerns that species might lose their biological uniqueness, genetic enhancements are regulated by interstellar accords. The general rule of thumb about this is that enhancing existing traits through genetic modification is okay but adding new traits that the original would never naturally possess is forbidden. So for example, a human could be made smarter, stronger, and quicker, but could not be given a tail or the ability to digest cellulose. This seems to only apply to genetics though (as those are passed down to children.) Cybernetics (which are not) seem to be acceptable.
    • Mass Effect: Andromeda revisits this with the human Pathfinder, Alec Ryder (and later, one of his children): he conceived the Simulated Adaptive Matrix, SAM, as a new type of artificial intelligence that could co-exist with a human host. Everything Ryder experiences, SAM also experiences, their relationship one of symbiosis that expands on the potential of both human and AI. This is because the implants that connect Ryder and SAM go further than those for just biotics, connecting to not only the host's nervous system, but their circulation, endocrine functions, and all five of their senses.
  • In the series that follow on from Mega Man X, this becomes the third option solution to the Robot War that has plagued human — and Reploidkind for hundreds of years. By the beginning of Mega Man ZX, humans and Reploids have become so alike that it's become difficult to distinguish between the two. In fact, ZX's Big Bad intends to evolve "beyond the mere fusion of man and machine" as the ultimate Mega Man via the Artifact of Doom.
  • Hub Hikari, aka MegaMan.EXE in Mega Man Battle Network and (possibly) Dr. Light in Mega Man X are this via Brain Uploading.
  • Metal Gear Solid, primarily through Nanomachines.note 
  • In Metroid, protagonist Samus Aran has had durability, agility, strength, poison resistance, and parasite resistance enhanced via addition of alien DNA, and has been shown to have her Powered Armor literally attached to her nervous system, to the point where she can make it suddenly appear by concentrating (although taking it off again is a bit more complicated, as the doctors found out in Metroid Fusion). It's entirely possible she's also got a menagerie of superpowers in her DNA from Fusion, but it's never made quite clear if those powers are DNA-based or not (and the issue is debated heatedly).
  • Namco's Numan Athletics and its sequel Mach Breakers plays this for fun. In the future, yeah Kaiju are commonplace, but increasingly so are a new breed of superhumans - to the point that both are incorporated in a bombastic annual athetics competition. The Numans have high levels of superhuman strength, speed and endurance. Additionally, they have a Hand Blast that will One-Hit Kill a Kaiju and are Nigh-Invulnerable (in a skeet shoot equivalent, a Numan failing to shoot down a battleship cannon shell will just have their clothes blown off in a direct hit).
  • Overwatch takes place in a future where cybernetics have become increasingly commonplace, with many characters such as McCree and Torbjörn having some of their body parts replaced with prosthetics. And then there's Genji, who was on the brink of death after a duel with his brother Hanzo until Overwatch rescued him and replaced most of his body with cybernetics. After the fall of Overwatch, Genji suffered an identity crisis over whether he was still human or more machine than man, until he met Zenyatta, who taught him that he is both machine and man, and that there is virtue in such an existence. Genji eventually came to terms with his existence, believing that while his body may be machine, his soul is still human.
  • Albert Wesker in the Resident Evil games and Marvel vs. Capcom 3 aims for enhancing his body with biological weapon projects, as well as experimenting them on various people to try to improve them as well (usually with disastrous results).
  • In Rimworld, by the late game many of your colonists can become this, replacing many of their body parts with cybernetics, including archeotech-engineered components. As of the Royalty update they can go even further, installing everything from elbow blades, skin armor glands, learning processors, and even psionic implants. There's even a colonist trait, Transhumanist, which gives them a mood boost for every cybernetic component they have installed.
  • Racter from Shadowrun Returns: Hong Kong is a transhumanist and you can spend a lot of discussions with him discussing its implications in a universe where Cybernetics Eat Your Humanity is written into its foundations due to people's personal mana fields being disrupted by replacements. Racter himself believes that the essence limit is just due to Insufficiently Analyzed Magic and that it will be overcome by sociopaths such as himself, who are immune to the mental effects of cyberization.
  • The Advent from Sins of a Solar Empire, in contrast to the No Transhumanism Allowed Traders. Part of the reason why the Traders exiled them in the first place. The alien race present in the game, the Vasari, are as of their in-game state, also technologically improved to varying degrees from their biological baseline.
  • StarCraft:
    • Terran Ghosts, both thanks to their inherent psychic abilities and the technology and training that helps them harness it (and keep it under control).
    • Protoss Dragoons, Immortals and Stalkers are mildly Trans-Protoss by virtue of their mechanical bodies.
    • The goal of the Zerg Overmind was to assimilate new races, becoming more Trans-Zerg each time. The Overmind's finest creation was Kerrigan, the first Zerg to wield psionic powers.
  • Stellaris refers to that concept as Ascension, and comes in four flavour: Transcendent Ascension, Biological Ascension, Synthetic Ascension and Cybernetic Ascension
  • Touhou:
    • Alice Margatroid used to be human, but transformed into a magician youkai. This seems to be the ultimate fate of magic-users — lapping so far around they become supernatural creatures with some human traits rather than humans with some supernatural traits.
    • Byakuren Hijiri is very big in surpassing human limitation, and got banished to the aforementioned Pandemonium by humans who weren't pleased with her becoming a youkai. She has an arsenal of body-enhancing spells, for beauty and for combat. One of her spellcard is titled Superhuman Byakuren Hijiri.
    • Ironically, Byakuren's major ideological rival Toyosatomimi no Miko is also a big proponent of transhumanism, claiming that her own transformation into a hermit was "overcoming her humanity". The main difference between them is whether they would consider being a youkai acceptable.
  • Warframe: Absolutely everyone. The Grineer are expendable clones who make up for their failing genetics with extensive cybernetics, the Corpus have enough genetic engineering that a hundred years is considered barely a teenager and also use plenty of cybernetics, and even the primitive human tribes scattered around the Origin System have inherited enough enhanced genetics that they are far superior to modern humanity. The Tenno, the Player Characters, are the biggest transhumans of them all, but also the most horrible: The warframes were originally humans mutated by the Technocyte Plague, but the process drove them insane with rage and pain. The Operators were normal children (though they had all the genetic and cybernetic enhancements typical of their time) who suffered a Void-jump accident and gained strange Void powers that made them something more than human. The children were able to tame the warframes by showing them basic empathy and compassion, and together they became the Tenno.
  • The ethical ramifications of transhuman engineering are touched upon in XCOM: Enemy Unknown once you come across the cybernetically-altered aliens, particularly the Floaters, who are essentially Mutons whose lower bodies have been hacked off and have had jet engines integrated into their backs. Dr. Shen, in particular, is horrified by the idea, and even moreso that that humanity might end up following the aliens' path. He also expresses both apprehension and awe when XCOM figures out how to develop Psychic Powers. Goes even further with the Enemy Within expansion, where the player is able to apply the aliens' own "Meld" technology with their soldiers, enabling them to create genetically-boosted and/or cybernetically-enhanced supersoldiers piloting Mini-Mecha.
  • This is a major plot point in Xenoblade Chronicles X: it is revealed that every human you've met, including yourself, is actually a "mimeosome", an android controlled by the consciousness of humanity trapped in the core of the White Whale's Lifehold. BLADE's mission is to find the Lifehold so they can revive the humans inside before it runs out of power and they all die. By the end of the game, the Lifehold's computer has been destroyed; as a result, humanity as we know it is extinct, and the only remnants of it now are the mimeosomes on Mira.

  • Among the Chosen most of the cast fits into one type or another, though there are a few unmodified humans.
  • The Valkyries of Cwynhild's Loom are cyborg Super Soldiers.
  • Kimiko of Dresden Codak is all for transhumanism. In the Hob storyline, an alternate universe version of her didn't do a terribly good job of carrying humanity through its Singularity and apparently came to a sticky end. The human remnant of that reality did make the step into trans-humanity in the end though.
  • A Miracle of Science: The colonists on Mars have become a super-advanced Hive Mind.
  • Schlock Mercenary is loaded with the stuff. Cyborgs, nanomachine-based boosts, genetically engineered sophonts (including uplifted animals), and that's just for humans. Interestingly Schlock Mercenary approaches the the concept from the other side as well. Haban II and The Fleetmind/Petey started out as pure A.I.s residing in computer systems but both have since have partially migrated into organic vessels. Haban started as the AI half of the human/AI team of DoytHaban but after his gate clone suffered a severe head injury, functionally killing Doyt, leaving one version with Haban as the sole intelligence. Petey on the other hand created multiple 'blank' clones and use hypernode communicators to wire them into the Fleetmind Gestalt to act as physical representatives. Note that Petey did this specifically to loophole his creators' version of the Second Law of Robotics, by giving himself orders from an Ob'enn body.
  • A major underlying theme of Serix. By the time the series starts, humanity has already embraced genetic augmentation and cybernetic enhancements for so long and to such an extent that vanilla Homo Sapiens are technically considered an extinct species. Even somebody as normal-looking as Rees can actually be a disembodied consciousness projected into an enhanced artificial clone body, and that's before you get into the weird stuff.
  • Yuri of Spacetrawler. When she lost her limbs, she obtained robotic replacements. And she went the extra step of BioAugmenting herself with part of an Eeb brain... and cat ears.
  • A few of the characters in We Are The Wyrecats would fit the description, ranging from minor upgrades to outright Brain Uploading. It's a shared theme from the comic's predecessor, Ruby Nation.

    Web Originals 
  • explores this trope in some detail (2045, 2080, 2100, 2200, 2300).
  • The H+ digital series on YouTube shows what happens in a world when transhumanism in the form of a microscopic computer implanted into a person's brain goes wrong.
  • Very deeply explored in Orion's Arm, to the point that baselines (regular non-modified humans) are something of an endangered species by 10600 AT. It's also not limited to humans; several xenosophont species have also embraced self-enhancement, and animals both terragen and alien have been provolved to sophonce.
  • Discussed in Ready Set Think , arguing that not only is it a perfectly valid way of surviving as individuals and as a species, but also sometimes described as our only real chance to survive the rise of Artificial Intelligence.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time: In the episode "Preboot", Finn, Jake, and Susan meet a human scientist named Dr. Gross who has augmented her whole body with all manner of cybernetic enhancements. However, she believes all humans should become "human-plus" like her, whether they want to or not. The same episode reveals that Susan is also an augmented human, although not quite to the same extent.
    Dr. Gross: Humans have relied on mods for thousands of years. Glasses to let us see better, artificial hearts to replace bum tickers, and the next logical step ‐‐ scissor hands and telescopic spider-legs!
  • Certain humans in My Little Pony: Equestria Girls, after Equestrian magic has been introduced to the human world by Sunset Shimmer in the first movie. The human equivalent to the Mane Six "pony up", that is gain magic abilities equatable to their pony counterparts, while nearly all the antagonists are humans (or in a couple of cases, plants) who have managed to become (at worst) Humanoid Abominations. No really, Sunset, thanks for that. Spike's human world counterpart, who's a regular dog, also eventually becomes much smarter and even begins talking.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM): Robotnik and Bunnie are both cyborgs by partial roboticization. Bunnie gained Super-Strength, while Robotnik gained hidden weapons and robotic eyes.

    Real Life 
  • The Transhumanist movement would like to promote research into science and technology that would make it possible. The Grinder subculture of Biohackers, as an example, could be said to have "exceeded the normal mental and physical abilities" by adding a new sense. By implanting rare-earth magnets into finger tips they can sense electromagnetic fields. This lets users sense things like the electrical wiring in walls, or the 60hz hum of a microwave. Basic yes, but still transhuman.
  • People who have undergone gene therapy or use electronic prostheses, cochlear implants, and the like are the start of what the Transhumanist movement hopes to accomplish. These bits of tech are examples of human enhancement technology that is traditionally used for people with disabilities to bring them to roughly the same as a perfectly healthy human, and the same technologies could conceivably be used to elevate anybody to have greater-than-human attributes.
  • The US military is developing an eye implant code-named "Luke's Binoculars", which is designed to augment a person's own ability to distinguish Friend or Foe? by amplifying certain brain signals they should be paying more attention to.
  • Nootropics are basically brain boosting pills. The good ones don't necessarily push you into superhuman territory so much as they allow you to function closer to your optimal level with greater consistency and, in some cases, in spite of age. Some prescription medications act as nootropics, especially when they're taken by someone who doesn't need them. Why do you think many colleges have a thriving black market for stimulant-based ADHD medication?note 
  • Smartphones are small computers that are capable of doing anything their desktop counterparts can do, with their owner at all times (or at least as long as their owner chooses). The only difference between the characters in Ghost in the Shell and a person with a smart phone is that the former has a more seamless interface than the latter. It may be only a matter of time before they become a luxury implant, and then, much like cellphones, cease to be luxury in very short order.
  • Man-machine interfaces exist to let users tap into computing power without becoming cyborgs themselves. However every Brain/Computer Interface currently used, invasive or not, is too difficult to use for anyone who can manipulate a mouse and keyboard to bother with. Invasive interfaces have better resolution but are prone to infections. Occasionally, the connection degrades, although there are means to stabilize it. Considering the field is new, there is no telling how nerve-connected prosthetics will perform over the course of many years. However, they are wonderful if the person is paralyzed, letting them operate a computer, their wheelchair, and open or close doors remotely. Naturally, some have proposed networking neural implants, perhaps rising to a level of artificial telepathy.
    • Advances in wireless technology show promise in addressing the essential problem inherent in plugs and sockets: any mechanical connection that penetrates the skin is essentially a permanent wound.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Transhumanism, Posthuman



The Transhumanist if the anthropomorphic personification of the ideology of Transhumanism. He is a member of the Council of Wacky Ideologies and is otherwise fairly harmless.

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