Cloning Blues

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"I am a clone, I am not alone...
If you had ever seen us you'd rejoice in your uniqueness

And consider every weakness something special of your own"
Robert Calvert (Hawkwind), Spirit of the Age

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

Though real artificial clones have to start at conception and go through childhood all over again, and can even have phenotypes that vary from their parent, Speculative Fiction clones are like perfect meta-xerox copies of the cloned person. They are exactly like the target at the moment of cloning, (possibly excused by age acceleration) with all their forebearers' memories and skills, although their personalities can develop from there.

As a result, many clones brood about how they're not "real," just hollow imitations of the original. The clones tend to deal with this rather badly. Some make desperate attempts to act different. Others go mad and try to murder the original to take their place. (Emphasis on "try"—hardly any succeed.) If the clone is a main character, they will spend the whole show angsting about how they're the Tomato in the Mirror. Occasionally they will have powers just like the Artificial Human. This often just ups their feelings of alienation, though.

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

And that's for the clones who are just unlucky. The really unlucky clones have malevolent creators who can make custom clones grown in a vat, sometimes in bulk—which are exact meta-xerox copies of the original except that they have fanatical loyalty to the creators. Or the innate skills of a ninja assassin. Or superpowers. Or just add some alien DNA to create Half-Human Hybrids, or even a different set of reproductive organs. Or all five at once—and those clones will still look, act, and think exactly like the original in every other way. You can expect all that tinkering to make something Go Horribly Wrong, too. A clone like this is always considered highly expendable by their creator, except in rare cases where said Evilutionary Biologist has developed an attachment to it.

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

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

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

Unrelated to Something Blues. See also Scale of Scientific Sins and Creating Life. Closely related to Expendable Clone. Contrast with Clones Are People, Too, where they do get to live their own lives.


Examples of Cloning Blues include:

Anime & Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Tenchi Muyo!: in the manga, a villain grows a Ryoko clone named Minagi who has a nearly opposite personality from the original, being very sweet and kind (though no less brave than Ryoko). Minagi suffers the requisite existential angst in the beginning, but gets over it and goes off to live her own life, reappearing in the manga occasionally as Ryoko's "sister." Her biggest problem is being a dead ringer for a notorious Space Pirate.
  • Gundam Seed had direct cloning be highly illegal, in contrast to simple genetic modification, though it didn't stop a powerful politician from cloning himself several times, believing the clones would be superior successors to his biological son. At least three have been seen, and of those one became a manipulative nihilist that attempted to wipe out the human race, and another became a pawn of the secret Big Bad of the sequel. All of them apparently suffer from birth defects that prematurely accelerate their aging and cause intense pain if not treated with medication.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha and its sequels have Fate Testarossa. Near the end of the first season, she's a Tomato in the Mirror when Precia reveals that she's a clone; Fate, though treated as an equal by her new employers, who know she's a clone, and her classmates, who don't, once briefly wonders if she even counts as a person once during A's. In later seasons she's surrounded by people who care for her individually, though, and this is quickly refuted. In StrikerS, she adopts children similar to her to be raised in a loving environment so that they will not have to ask the same question.
    • In fact, Nanoha takes this trope to the extremes, as number of clones begin to outnumber the natural born characters. At least ten of the characters in the series are clones. In StrikerS, most of the villain party are made out of cyborg clones, even Jail himself is revealed to be a clone of a true Al Hazardian.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Rei Ayanami is a tragic cocktail. She's a Half-Human Hybrid with Easy Amnesia. Her isolated upbringing with Gendō Ikari left her with No Social Skills. Her Male Counterpart, Kaworu Nagisa is a mysterious cocktail of Dissonant Serenity, Ambiguous Innocence, and Half-Human Hybrid. Then again, everybody in that mess of a show a tragic cocktail of at least three different tropes, clone or no clone. And she hates it to boot. After being cloned (again) she is just pissed off and tired, wanting to die. But she isn't allowed to.
    • The second Rebuild of Evangelion film even has a scene of Rei floating in an LCL tank, wearing a collar engraved with "REI-02".
  • Pokémon the First Movie features an angry, bitter clone who became a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds. He returns in a TV special, though he's mellowed down.
  • RahXephon has Isshiki Makoto, who, in both flashbacks and his final breakdown, is shown to take the fact that he's an inferior clone...rather hard, to say the least. Indeed, he almost directly causes humanity to lose the Human-Mu war out of a need to prove that he was more than an imperfect copy of his "father"
  • In a truly staggering example of the clone inferiority complex, after the villain of first season of Slayers, Rezo the Red Priest, makes a Heroic Sacrifice and dies on the apocalyptic magics of the protagonists to allow the destruction of the demon he was host to, the clone created by his spurned former lover becomes obsessed with convincing the same protagonists to use the exact same potentially world-ending spell on him so that, in the unlikely event of his survival, he can claim to have achieved something the original had not. The dubiousness of trying to one-up a self-sacrificing gesture by surviving your own is apparently lost on the mind of a megalomaniac.
  • Turns up in xxxHolic, where it is eventually revealed that Watanuki is a time-travel duplicate of "Syaoran", and was so depressed about being a clone that his suicidal thoughts and desires turned on his Weirdness Magnetness- he's only being haunted because he wants the ghosts and demons to kill him. The character in question had Laser-Guided Amnesia the entire time. That's right, he was so depressed about being a clone that it attracted ghosts, even though he didn't remember that he was depressed about it, or that he was a time travel duplicate in the first place.
  • The contestants in Gantz were all clones created at the time of death of their originals, with all memories intact. Sometimes Gantz makes mistakes, and so sometimes the 'dead' originals get better.
  • Ukiyo in Samurai 7 is the 49th clone of the Omanushi, while the fetus Sanae carries is the 50th. Whether Ukiyo's nasty Magnificent Bastard nature is In the Blood or his own character is an exercise for the viewer.
  • Christmas in Kurau Phantom Memory is Kurau's "pair". As a Rynax, she is an energy being and has to borrow Kurau's genetic material to form her human body, making her technically her clone. Kurau loves her immensely and will do anything to protect her "little sister", but Christmas still gets her share of grief when Kurau loses her Rynax, causing Christmas to be terribly lonely for many years.
  • The Zentradi of the Macross universe (and the Macross part of Robotech) are initially all artificially-generated beings. Some cloning remains in practice, even if it's strongly hinted that many are reproducing biologically by the time of Macross Frontier. They don't seem to suffer any angst about it, even the ones who are obvious clones of important characters from the original series.
    • There's an apparent plot hole between the original Super Dimension Fortress Macross and its sequels, particularly Macross 7. The official sources state that about one million people survived the Zentraedi planetary bombardment in 2010 AD. Macross 7 is set in 2045 AD, featuring the 37th immigration fleet, 7th (hence the title) to have a main colony vessel capable of carrying about one million people. Official source materials include a book with a more detailed timeline, mentioning the start of mass cloning of the surviving population and its end when mutations (due to the procedure's strain on DNA) started appearing. No mention of how many copies of each individual were made, but presumably they were loaded onto the immigration fleets to spread the seeds of humanity across the stars.
  • In To Aru Majutsu no Index, Mikoto feels sorry for the clones that have been created using her genetic material, referring to them as her sisters. She goes to great lengths to try to save their lives. It's not a total subversion though, since the clones suffer immensely as victims of a cruel experiment.
    • In another interesting development, the only ones who view them as less than human are the scientists who created them and the clones themselves, possibly linked to identity crisis with shared memory/perceptions. Even the bad guy of that arc would always try to talk to them as individuals (unsuccessfully) before deciding to kill them.
  • This comes up towards the end of King of Thorn, since by that point both Marco and Kasumi have died and been resurrected as Medusa constructs; essentially, they are just copies of their original selves. Marco, not being one prone to angst, simply recommends they live on as normal.

Marco: Your worth hasn't changed. And it never will.

  • In the second season of Darker than Black, it turns out that Suou is actually an Opposite Gender Clone of her "brother" Shion; since she was created the same age as him, her past is all Fake Memories. She angsts about it until Hei hears her and points out that as far as he's concerned, she's still the same person he's been dragging all over Russia and Japan and it doesn't matter where she came from. Unfortunately, despite the "d'awww" moment, it does matter, as those Fake Memories are only being held in place because of the Meteor Shard in her necklace. Which is breakable...
  • The premise of Afterschool Charisma is a lot like Clone High if that was done seriously; that is, a school in the near future is populated by teenage clones of historical figures as a research/social experiment. And yes, they cloned Hitler (Who, surprisingly enough, is actually one of the most kind-hearted clones; go figure). There is enormous pressure on the clones to live up to their originals. Marie Curie, who wants to study music, transfers out, while Mozart, who embraces his fate and looks down on non-clones can't handle the pressure and attempts suicide.
  • In Appleseed Ex Machina Briareos and Tereus, a bioroid made from his genetic material are identical right down to birthmarks (though since Bri is a cyborg now, it's not immediately obvious to anyone who didn't know him before the fact), and share quirks and tendencies to a ridiculous degree. Genetics Do Not Work That Way! Naturally Tereus feels angsty about his lack of uniqueness, even though millions of other bioroids demonstrate no such issues, and are treated as fully equal to humans - to the point that the government mostly consists of bioroids!
    • 80% of the population are bioroids. They are mostly there to give the human inhabitants the illusion of living in a large city instead of having the entire infrastructure run by cold mechanical robots. Since bioroids lack the capacity for strong bursts of emotion and are indistinguishable from normal humans, it greatly reduces the chance for riots because of human group behavior.
    • Tereus might be unusual because he is the single prototype unit of his genetic template and personally knows his "original". He also seems to have at least some attraction to Briareos girlfriend that carried over from the cloning, but knows that he can't have her, since he is only the copy. At the same time Briareos gets angsty because he's afraid that Tereus might replace him in both his positions at work and as Deunans boyfriend, as Tereus has a fully biological body and he is a giant mechanical hulk.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • In the DC Comics Vertigo title The Books of Magic, Sir Timothy Hunter, a possible future for main character Tim Hunter, was so amoral by the deeds done to become Sir Timothy that he used his magic to create clones of his lost love Molly despite being pretty well unrecognisable as ever having been Tim. It didn't go well for anyone involved.
  • In Fred Perry's Gold Digger, Brianna, the third Digger sister, is actually a clone/BiologicalMashUp of Gina and Brittany. After her accidental creation, she quickly goes nuts and tries to eliminate her "sisters" (due to a curse that was the reason for the process that created her), though they eventually manage to talk her down. Even then, for several issues afterward, Brianna has something of an identity crisis. By "several issues", about fifty or so, on and off. Oddly enough, it is practically never referenced that, technically speaking, she is Brittany and Gina's biological daughter.
    • The character Array from Gold Digger avoids most of the usual clone problems; she's able to create new versions of herself, complete with suitable personalities, apparently at will and dismiss them later with the only side effect being that any new identity created is permanent—any of her personae whose body is currently not in use instead ends up sharing her brainspace. Since they're all still aspects of "her" (and seem to share a telepathic link even over long distances), they actually get along rather well.
  • X-Men has Jean Grey being copied by the Phoenix Force, and a direct clone with Madelyne Pryor, the latter of whom would Go Mad from the Revelation.
    • Stryfe is a clone of Cable, who's the son of Cyclops and Madelyne Pryor. As a baby, Cable got infected with a techno-organic virus and sent to the future to be cured. Well that turned out to be a lie. The future doctors didn't think he could be saved, so they cloned him. The clone was then kidnapped by Apocalypse. This classic villain wanted to raise the boy as his heir, then take over his body. When he found out Stryfe was a clone, he got discarded. Well...to make a long story slightly less long, Stryfe went nuts, traveled back in time to before he was even born, and began playing at being an ineffectual mutant terrorist, running an organization staffed with losers. Turned out the whole thing was a Xanatos Gambit to turn X-Men on each other, frame Cable for murder, and Mr. Sinister and Apocalypse as the masterminds behind it all, while he kidnapped his own mother and father, beat the snot out of the Big-A, and finally unveiled himself to the cast. The reason for all his Machiavellian manipulation and tomfoolery? To avenge himself on his parents, both physical (Cyclops & Phoenix) and spiritual (Sinister & Apocalypse). The kicker? It's technically subverted because Stryfe believed he was the original and that Cable was the clone who stole his life.
    • X-23, a Tyke Bomb Opposite Gender Clone of Wolverine. Her psychological issues could fill a whole storyline themselves. And that's in the X-Men: Evolution original. In the comics it gets even worse: after escaping from the lab she was created in (and being triggered to kill her 'mother' along the way), then is held and interrogated by S.H.I.E.L.D. When she gets away from them, she ends up as a streetwalker (specializing in cutting and/or being cut by her clients) for a time. In this case however, they managed to avoid the whole clone-is-immediately-of-DNA-donor-age, having to go through childhood and developed and born from within a real womb, and discarded the 'I'm not real!' aspect of this trope approximately an issue after first feeling a twinge of it.
  • This trope is what the plot of the Spirou and Fantasio album "Machine qui rêve" is revealed to be about at the end.
  • Marika Utika of Twin Spica. Not only is human cloning illegal by international treaty, the whole Replacement Goldfish status doesn't help.
  • The Mauler Twins of Invincible are a mutated mad scientist and his clone. They simply cannot agree on which was the original, and consider this important because he created the clone to be his servant. Eventually, a sequence of events occurs which guarantees the original - whichever he may have been - is now dead. The Twins miss a single beat...then commence arguing over which is the lower-generation clone.
    • Things get a bit more insane from that point on. The Maulers have always been obsessed with not noticing any differences between them; the cloning process overloads the senses so it's never quite actually clear what is what or who is who or so on...
  • In the classic Goodwin/Simonson Manhunter run, the bad guys have an army of brainwashed clones of the hero, providing them with useful cannon fodder and him with a desire to kill every last clone to reclaim his individuality. Somewhat creepily, after his death his friends attempt to hunt down and kill all the remaining clones—with the apparent approval of Batman, one of the most stringent advocates of Thou Shalt Not Kill in The DCU.
    • It gets worse, since at least two clones have since turned out alive and heroic - one in the mid-1970s Secret Society of Supervillains early issues, and the other one much more recently in Kurt Busiek´s Power Company.
  • In The Warlord, Deimos creates a clone of Morgan's son Joshua, ages it to adulthood, and sends it to attack Morgan, leading Morgan to believe he has killed his own son.
  • In Mister Blank, the Mad Scientist Doctor Ixcel creates a superpowered clone of the main character, Sam Smith. Both Sam and the clone insist they're the original, but otherwise get along quite well.
  • Lobo from The DCU. For some time, he automatically cloned. Cut him deep, the blood makes another Lobo. This was eventually neutralized by the Magnificent Bastard, Vril Dox, except for one clone who manages to slip off. Said clone improves his brain, hunts down Lobo and...both fall into a bunker, which is bombed silly. One crawls out and goes on about how he's not going to reveal who lived. Lobo tends to be aware of the Fourth Wall, a seeming explanation for why he is tight-lipped.
  • Jamie Madrox, the Multiple Man from the Marvel Universe. For some time, his clones were cool with being who they are. Then things started getting weird. One turns traitor and joins with Mister Sinister. Another dies of the Legacy Virus. Jamie starts going around the bend because he's just too much people for one man. Later, he gets it together, but his clones don't. All the thousands of aspects, idiotic or not, in the human mind tend to get manifested in his clones. He can and has created a clone to free him from a prison cell, but it's possible the clone will be his sadness and be too depressed to move. Another is unpredictable and tries to kill an old ally. It is reabsorbed, but indicates that it could pop out in any future clones and go try to kill again.
    • And then there's the fact that the children of his clones are also considered clones of him. Jamie found that out the hard way when he accidentally absorbed the baby one of his clones had with Siryn, to her obvious horror.
  • Transmetropolitan uses braindead clones for rather...specific purposes.
  • In WITCH, the 'astral drops' were initially just magical clones of the protagonists, created to stand in for them while they're off saving both worlds, and apparently fine with that lot in life. However, after Will creates a flawed clone, they start gradually developing their own personalities, eventually rebelling against their creators. Who, in a subversion of What Measure Is a Non-Human?, decide to set them free.
  • Some versions of Superman's enemy, Bizarro, are a clone of the Man of Steel.
  • Also from the Superman mythos, Superboy (Kon-El/Conner Kent) is a clone made from half-Superman's DNA, and half Lex Luthor's DNA (before this was revealed, there were some...complications). That's right, Superman and Lex Luthor technically had a kid. This is the stuff Smallville shippers live for... Superman was dead at the time
    • Superboy also has a clone called Match. That's right, a clone of a clone. He started out as a White-Haired Pretty Boy, but suffered Clone Degeneration and now looks like a Bizarro version of Superboy who uses Bizarro speak and is falling apart.
    • And in the One Million event, it is revealed that in the distant future (the 853d century) clones of Superboy are still being made. The latest one in the series, who strongly resembles classic cult future superhero OMAC, is also called OMAC, because in his case it stands for One Millionth Actual Clone.
  • In Calvin and Hobbes, Calvin creates a bunch of clones of himself. Predictably, they grow disgruntled at his self-serving leadership and more or less rebel until he is able to transmogrify them into worms. But they aren't doing anything unnatural—they act exactly as Calvin would.
    • Calvin thinks he solves the problem by cloning only his good half. The "Good Calvin" promptly openly crushes on Susie and pursues her, but is rejected thinking it's another one of Calvin's tricks. The Good Calvin gets into a fight with regular Calvin, angry that his original is such a lowlife that Susie won't give him the time of day, and then disappears in a puff of logic when he realizes he had an evil thought.
  • In Judge Dredd, Dredd is a clone of Chief Judge Fargo, as is his Evil Twin Rico, and several other Judges, including another one called Rico. They were "artificially aged" to five, and from then aged normally (the latter Rico is therefore noticeably younger than Dredd, the oldest Judge on the force). While the assumption behind the cloning programme is that clones of great Judges make great Judges, this does not appear to be the case (Dredd himself may be the ultimate Judge, but as well as the first Rico there's Judge Kraken, who was More Than Mind Controlled by the Sisters of Death and turned to The Dark Side, and Cadet Dolman, who didn't have a Face Heel Turn, but did say Screw Destiny and quit to be an astronaut).
    • Dredd himself also has clones.
    • The thinking behind this seems to be that if a clone doesn't work out as planned, they'll just put out another. Logical, really..
  • The Star Fox comics did a little bit of this, both cases involving Andross.
    • In the first 1992 Nintendo Power comic by Benimaru Itoh, Andross is killed when the Dodora he is controlling steps on his ship. His two assistants, one of whom is named Herbert, take a hair sample and revive his DNA, creating two copies of him. Trouble arises when one turns out to be a softy when it comes to Fox's mom (Vixy). The other wants to remain extra-ruthless.
    • There was a short Star Fox 64 manga, but with only one Andross.
    • The Japanese-only Star Fox: Farewell Beloved Falco has Captain Shears trying to resurrect Andross on Titania. A successful clone is almost made, until Slippy Toad stops the process right before it finalizes.
  • Damian Wayne finds out that his mother had actually created several clones of her son upon realizing that he has chosen Dick and Batman's ideals over hers. Then, she kicks him out out of the House of Al Ghul.
  • PS238 inverts this. Tyler is afraid that his parents will love his clone, Toby, more than they love him, because Toby has superpowers, just like his parents always wanted.
    • This thankfully won't ever happen since Toby used his powers to make sure Tyler's parents would still love him. Unfortunately, thanks to the Equivalent Exchange nature of his powers, Toby had to sacrifice any chance of being friends with Cecil.
  • At the end of Marvel's massive Avengers story arc, the "Kang War", an imprisoned Kang reflects on his imminent execution with oddly detached satisfaction: He will die, but his son Marcus will be a worthy successor. However, he is then freed by him...and Kang then kills him, because his son had betrayed him in a minor way during the story. He explains that such betrayal would have been acceptable if he had claimed the crown of Kang instead of freeing him...and then reveals to his dying son that the 22 identical Marcuses before him suffered similar flaws...and that he'll have to keep trying. He is not happy about it, however...not happy at all.
    • This is completely in keeping with Kang, who used to compete/cooperate with the Council of Kangs, which consisted of any and all of the Richards descendents that went and became Kang. It's enough to make you wonder if all the appearances of Immortus were actually the same man..
  • Namorita, Namor's cousin and member of The New Warriors became distressed when she discovered she was not the daughter of Namor's cousin Namora but her clone. Namora, being half Atlantean and half Human, could not conceive a child so she enlisted the aid of a banished scientist to help her give birth to her own clone.
    • New Warriors also had two other members who were clones: Scarlet Spider aka Ben Reilly who at the time of his joining was under the mistaken assumption that he was the real Spider-Man and Darrion Grobe a future descendant of Speedball who created a clone of Speedball and placed his mind inside of it and sent back in time to replace the original only to be killed by Darrion's evil time traveller father Ardent. Oddly enough Speedball's cloning history is much less complicated than Nita and Ben's...
  • In Alejandro Jodorowsky's Megalex, The police clones are terminated after living for four hundred days, the limit enforced by explosive control tabs implanted at the base of their skulls. This is done to prevent them being infected by dissidents. The clones are filed into a large room like a group show, made to strip, disinfected to allow more efficient recycling, and then their control tabs are detonated. The allusions to concentration camps are obvious. One of the protagonists, Ram, is an escaped police clone.
  • In the DCnu reboot Superboy has it even worse than he did before. According to Supergirl, Kryptonian clones always become insane killers sooner or later. The name "Kon-El" is Kryptonian for "abomination of the house of El". And this is without considering the whole NOWHERE organization trying to manipulate him.


Fanfic[edit | hide]

"Are you an angel?" his voice is the sound of leaves brushing over a tombstone. This the awful question, because if he hadn't asked it, he would still love her. His eyes are so blue, so strange set into the roped scars on his head.
"I don't know," she says, and as soon as her voice sounds, she knows it is the wrong answer. The first time he asked, when she was five, she said she was whatever he wanted her to be. Her left arm had never mended right.


Films -- Live Action[edit | hide]

  • The Kubrick/Spielberg film A.I.: Artificial Intelligence pronounced, for plot reasons, that clones could only exist for a single day before some meta-phlebotinum law of the space-time continuum destroyed them. This was filmed after Dolly the Sheep demonstrated the utter dullness of clone life. This wasn't so much cloning, as genuine resurrection of the original person to a new body. David himself is an mechanical copy of the designer's deceased son. He doesn't take it well when he finds out he isn't one-of-a kind
  • Occurs in Alien Resurrection. The main character is Ripley 8, a clone of the original Ellen Ripley who, in Alien 3, committed suicide to prevent the birth of an Alien queen. About midway through the film, she discovers the fates of Ripleys 1-7: Cloning someone who fell hundreds of feet into a lake of molten rock while impregnated with an alien parasite is not an exact science.
  • The five brothers in The City of Lost Children, who can't figure out who is the original and who are clones.
  • The Island starts off in an enclosed habitat somewhere on an apparently ruined and frozen Earth. People who live in the habitat can't get out because of a virus that'd kill them instantly, and are kept happy and given something to look forward to with the "lottery", which will eventually grant a lucky few a place on the Island, the last uncontaminated place on Earth. Things quickly start to go downhill when the main character finds a live insect from the outside. To make a long story short, it turns out the habitat is fake, all the people living within it are clones, the frozen Earth is a hologram, and those who win the Lottery are actually brought in the real world and sliced up to get organs, body parts and children. The whole thing is a giant body part backup bank.
  • In Moon, Sam, the only human crew member on a Mega Corp moon base, discovers that he is only one of a very large number of cloned Sams with Fake Memories, each being employed for a three-year "contract period" (which is really a life expectancy) before he's directed into a suspended animation chamber to be "picked up" (read: disposed of.) He finds the Tomato in the Mirror when he gets into an accident No One Could Survive and is rescued by his successor.
  • In Species 2, Eve, a clone made from the half-alien hybrid Sil, is kept in a female-only environment and studied for weaknesses so that if another incident occurs like it did in the first movie, the attacker can be destroyed efficiently. Things go badly for all concerned.
  • This is the central plot point of Star Trek: Nemesis, in which Picard discovers that the Romulans developed a clone of him for use in a Zany Scheme that was later abandoned. Even though this clone made it through the first twenty years of his life having had no contact with the original Picard, he still develops a massive inferiority complex and constantly justifies his actions as being "exactly" what Picard would have done if he had been raised in the same situation, rather than accept that he is his own person.
  • Played with rather disturbingly in The Prestige: a magician has a machine built that creates an exact duplicate, memories and all, in order to perform an amazing "teleportation" trick. The duplicate, essentially being the same person, would go on to complete the show while the original falls through a secret trap door and drowns, his corpse secretly disposed of every night. The magician essentially clones himself and then commits suicide for the sake of his magic/revenge. And actually, since all of his memories are copied along with the body, the clone magician never feels like he commits suicide. The clone still beleives he've performed the same trick dozens of times and that the one who actually drown is the real clone. Little does he know!
  • In The 6th Day, we follow the main character Adam Gibson as he stumbles on an evil plot involving clones. Halfway through fighting the organization who he believes has put a clone of him in his place, he finds out that he is the clone; the one living in his house with his wife is the real Adam. He is pretty disappointed, but he quickly recovers and enlists the original Adam to help him destroy the conspiracy.
    • The woman in the Quirky Miniboss Squad, upon awakening after coming out of the clone tank, is pissed that she was obviously killed and has to get her ears pierced and hair coloured again.
  • In Solaris, the crew of a space station are each faced with the person most important to them, in the flesh, even when that person is dead. These creations function as clones of the original person with only some of their memories. And one crew member, Snow, turns out to be a clone. The person most important to the original Snow was himself, and so he created his own clone unintentionally. Then the clone killed him, stuffed him in an air duct, and took over the dead man's life.
  • The Clone Army in the Star Wars prequels is (uncharacteristically for the series) a rather dark version of this, essentially millions of men mass-produced and conscripted to fight and die for a war in which they have no stake and no choice as to whether they want to fight (and, thanks to accelerated aging, they're technically Child Soldiers as well). The general impression from the films (and more explicitly stated in various Star Wars Expanded Universe materials such as Star Wars: The Clone Wars) is that the Jedi didn't want to use the clones but against the threat of the Sith they had little choice, and despite the galaxy at large viewing the clones as little better than the droids they fight the Jedi mostly view them as individuals. Which serves to make it all the more tragic when Order 66 is enacted.
    • Boba Fett was also part of that cloning project, but is a precise genetic copy of his "father" Jango, unlike the clone troopers who were intricately modified for various reasons. Thus, Boba ages at a normal rate but still contracts "clone degeneration" at the age of 71 in the novel Bloodlines (which has some precedence in our reality).
  • The excellent (although visibly low, low budget) film Anna To The Infinite Power is about an emotionless Child Prodigy girl who discovers she was born as part of a cloning experiment by some very unpleasant people. Adapted from a novel of the same name. The haunting end theme is Crowning Music of Awesome.
  • Judge Dredd. Rico is the product of a cloning experiment that Goes Horribly Wrong in the Backstory: he becomes a mass murderer instead of the ultimate Judge. Joseph Dredd is his clone brother.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Matt, in Nancy Farmer's House of the Scorpion, is treated like crap by most of the people in the world simply because clones are normally reduced to the intelligence level of invalids. They are marked as "property" and treated more like inanimate objects than living things. As you can probably tell, this is a big problem for Matt, who has not had his brain destroyed and is thus a sapient person. It doesn't make it better for him when he discovers that he was not meant to replace El Patron as ruler of Opium, the fictional nation in the book, but to be harvested for organs once El Patron's went bad.
  • In the Deathstalker novels by Simon R. Green, we have Evangeline Shreck (cloned before the series starts to replace the Evangeline who was killed by her father when she wouldn't let him rape her), and the clone of High Lord Dram. And the clones (and sometimes esper clones) that the empire enslaves for labor.
  • Clones in the Dune novels, called gholas, are realistic to an extent in that they are created as embryos, and must fully gestate and grow up at a normal rate. The similarity ends there, though—a ghola can be "shocked" into recovering all the memories its original had up until the moment of death, even if the original was still alive at the time his cells were harvested. (This applies for ALL humans, not just clones. In Dune, you possess all the memories in your entire lineage).
    • Gholas originally weren't strictly clones. Up until the third book in the series, gholas are the actual bodies of the deceased. They're just placed into axlotl tanks as quickly as possible, which essentially regrows the dead tissue and brain cells enough that the body is brought back to life. The body has no memories of its former life. But then, the Bene Tleilax engineered a Xanatos Gambit that resulted in the ghola having their psyche exposed to something their former life would vehemently oppose, which shocks their mind into reawakening. The later novels have gholas grown from simple cells, rather than the original body, so they are true clones—but they are still known as gholas because the term evolved over time to encompass a far more complicated definition. They still have the stigma of necromancy, though.
  • The clones in William Sleator's The Duplicate have it rough. First off they get less and less sane the farther from the original they are, and the sanest ones develop black marks on their hands and die abruptly. Since they're not convinced that they are copies (they're physically and mentally identical to the original until the marks appear), this all feels monstrously unfair.
    • The protagonist cloned himself. Unfortunately, the clone believed he was the original and in turn cloned himself, and that clone ALSO thought he was the original. Unfortunately for them, clones tend to develop mental illnesses quickly. The second clone became clinically depressed; the first one was the original's Evil Twin.
  • In Xenocide, one of the sequels to Ender's Game, Ender enters a dimension that allows you to create anything that you can hold perfectly in your mind. Ender unintentionally creates copies of his siblings. The copies eventually deduce that they aren't clones of the original siblings per se, but manifestations from Ender's mind: the personification of Ender's innocence and kindness in his sister, and of his ambition and ruthlessness in his brother. This causes both copies to angst endlessly until they are re-integrated by Ender's death and the copy-sister's loss of her body.
  • In The Thrawn Trilogy, an insane Jedi named Joruus C'baoth clones Luke Skywalker from the hand he left behind in The Empire Strikes Back. Luke shows no compassion towards his clone Luuke at all, and Mara's compulsion/curse to kill Luke is satisfied by killing Luuke, so she doesn't differentiate between them either. Now granted, C'baoth may have replaced parts of Luuke's brain, but none of the protagonists ever treat him as a sentient being. Zahn also subverts the trope by having C'baoth, one of the main antagonists, be a clone. His insanity is a side effect of faulty cloning procedures, but he is treated by the other characters as a person in his right.
    • A point of contention to be made here: "Luuke" had been utterly mindscrewed by Joruus (who in turn was implied to have been altered by Palpatine, but the 2006 prequel novel Outbound Flight indicated that he was faulty materials to begin with) to the point where he was a meatpuppet, who might not have survived without C'baoth pulling his strings; a similarly altered person (an Imperial general a few dozen pages prior) had died within a few hours when C'baoth was forced to leave; the only reason there is a "might" in the above sentence is that C'baoth finished the procedure on Luuke, and the general was left halfway done. With all this, there's a good question if Luuke still counts as sentient.
    • Thrawn's human based clones are treated vastly different, depending on characters. Some (Imperial die-hards) flat out hate them and are discriminatory. This was initially indicated as being a side-effect of the Imperial "humans first" doctrine, putting them in a second-class status to the "properly-generated" humans, but was then retconned with the Clone Wars. Which then created its own version, with the majority of the Imperial Army regarding the clones as mere tools. A Moff is absolutely horrified to find that the major he was working with is a clone.
    • Luke and Mara both exhibit this opinion in the Hand of Thrawn duology, and takes this logic to its natural conclusion when Luke decides to not kill a not yet mature clone of Grand Admiral Thrawn because it hadn't done anything wrong. And then kills him anyway, more or less by accident but as a direct result of the stupid extremes he went to in avoiding overuse of his powers.
    • Leia and Han encounter several clones of Soontir Fel, which were inserted as sleeper agents on an agrarian planet. They're both uneasy around them, but the clones just want to be left alone—they don't have any loyalty to the Empire. While the Solos are uneasy, they try to treat Fel's clones normally; this doesn't work well.

Carib: You're [Leia] a sophisticated woman, a politician and diplomat, fully accustomed to dealing with the whole spectrum of sentient beings. And you're good at it. Yet you, too, feel uncomfortable in our presence. Admit it.

    • A species decided that they had reached the absolute peak of their species and so decided to freeze their entire civilization at this point of absolute perfection. Every member of that species has been cloned again and again and again, and they entered a static phase that lasted 5000 years. Also, they kept evidence by numbering the clones.
    • Meanwhile, the Clone Wars novels make it clear just how much life sucks for the clone troopers—they have no pay, no leave, and no votes. If they're too badly injured to be capable of battle afterward, then they tend to get euthanised. Deserters are executed. Oh, and did we mention the age acceleration—growing old twice as fast, or faster under the stresses of battle? At least the CGI series has the heroes treat the clones as individual sentient beings. This is a big, welcome surprise to the clones.
    • The X Wing Series had the clone of Ysanne Isard, who believed herself to be the original and looked the same except for a nasty scar and no memory of how she got it. The real Isard, in an Enemy Mine/prelude to betrayal, told the Rogues to go kill her; they had no objection to what amounted to assassination despite generally being shown as unwilling to kill outside of battle. This clone is subsequently called "the Isard clone" by the narration and is taunted by the Rogues into realizing that she is a clone before they kill her.
  • Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go depicts the kids growing up in a special boarding school, carefully told and not told about the total lack of any real future and any choice in their life as they will all go on to be carers for donors and then donors themselves (they seem to be universal donors). Strangely, none of them ever try to run away or escape their fate.
    • They do display a great deal of interest in finding their "possibles" (how they refer to their originals; the term "clone" is, interestingly, almost never used in the book), and seem to attach a lot of importance to who their models were. At one point Ruth horrifies the others by voicing what seems to be a universal, unspoken fear: that they're modeled on "trash", and if they want to look properly for their possibles, they should look "in the gutter".
  • Speaking of clones who get it rough, hardly anyone could compare with Honorverse genetic slaves. Not only are they mass-produced to be nothing more than property (a common slur from their Mesan masters is cattle), but they are also commonly raised "conditioned" for their service, which often included various violent "adjustments" ranging from simple beatings to gang-rape. At the ripe old age of six upwards. Fortunately, this practice is not widely approved of within the setting; owning slaves—genetic or otherwise—is illegal in advanced societies, but there are still more than enough customers in the galaxy to keep the Mesans in business. Unfortunately, the (overwhelmingly) largest and most powerful civilization in the galaxy, the Solarian League, refuses to shut down slaving outright because of a great deal of political influence held by Mesa.
  • The replacement clones from Jackson's Whole in Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga series hardly have anything better; they are raised in crèches to be not just slaves, but also replacements for the aging bodies of the rich and powerful through brain transplants. Guess where their original brains go. Elsewhere in the Galaxy, cloning, while unpopular, is a somewhat tolerated and well-regulated practice, and clones enjoy all the basic rights.
    • In Brothers in Arms, we learn that a clone was made from Miles Vorkosigan years ago, when the original was just six years old, in a long-running Xanatos Gambit to substitute the clone for the original once the clone was adult enough that the six-year age difference wouldn't matter. The clone goes through (relatively) normal growth and receives regular briefings on the original's activities so that his impersonation will be realistic. The original eventually defeats the plot by treating the clone as a real person with an identity (and a name) of his own, something the clone's creators never did; this triggers the clone's Heel Face Turn, but takes about four books.
    • The identity politics behind clones and cloning are discussed at length in Mirror Dance. Since cloning is an accepted technology on Beta Colony, they have an extensive network of legal definitions and protections for clones. Cordelia, who is Betan, identifies herself to Mark as either his mother or his mother-once-removed, with legal obligations and rights approximately equivalent to a grandparent. And points out that regardless of his cloned status, his genes are half hers anyway, so she has as much biological interest in him as she does in his brother.
  • In Alfred Slote's Clone Catcher, clones are walking organ banks for the rich (and since there's no magic aging, they have a good long time to know that). The guy who hunts them down if they run is the book's protagonist. And it's a children's book. (Almost every character in the book comes to condemn these practices, but it's still an awfully creepy premise.)
  • In The Goodness Gene, the main protagonist discovers he is a a clone of Hitler, created solely to lead a dictatorship in the Dominion of the Americas; he—understandably—goes into Heroic BSOD mode.
  • In the Skulduggery Pleasant books by Derek Landy, protagonist and budding sorceress Valkyrie Cain has an enchanted mirror from which she can extract her reflection. She sends the reflection to attend school and suchlike while she fights magical crime as the sidekick of Skulduggery Pleasant, magician-detective and animated skeleton (bad war wounds). At the end of each day, she puts her reflection back in the mirror and absorbs the memories it accumulated. The reflection acts just like her when it's out on its own, but only because that's its job. When face to face with Valkyrie, it is clearly a soulless image with no will of its own. Skulduggery warns her that she uses that reflection way too much. It may be developing a life of its own.)
  • In Dean Koontz's Frankenstein trilogy, Victor Helios, alias Frankenstein, has created a "New Race" of genetically-engineered beings that are devoid of morality and feelings except for anger, envy, fear, and hate. They cannot disobey his commands, kill themselves, or kill others unless ordered to do so. Courtesy of direct-to-brain data downloading for the sake of knowledge, a great many of the New Race are replicants of people like politicians, police officers, and ministers. But the programming of many members of the New Race is breaking down, allowing them to act as they shouldn't in one way or another...
  • In the novel Altered Carbon, digital copies of human psyches can be replicated and transferred to other bodies. This happens two ways: the first is a form of remote storage used as emergency backup by the ultrarich to circumvent the "real death" usually caused by the destruction of the cortical stack. The plot is, initially, driven by an investigation commissioned by someone attempting to find out what occurred between their last back-up and the time of their death. The second involves the duplication of a single pysche into two bodies, a highly difficult and illegal process. It is said to be much loved of a notoriously paranoid assassin named "Dimi the Twin", who uses this technique to provide trustworthy backup for himself. It is also used by the main character, Takeshi Kovacs, in the climactic events of the novel. While not provoking any existential angst in itself- both versions are, as digital copies, as "real" as the other -- it does require one copy to be destroyed to avoid unwanted attention from the authorities, provoking a difficult discussion about which version has gained more "worthy memories" since the duplication. The dilemma is eventually resolved by a game of rock, paper, scissors.
  • The novel Brave New World by Aldous Huxley is realistic about artificial clones, treating them just like twins. This is amazing, since it was written in the 1930s. Then again, everybody is conceived artificially in the Brave New World, so why should clones have a stigma? (On the other hand, the techniques used to make the clones act the same are quite a stretch.)
    • They technically were twins—none of the manipulation was genetic, and the technique essentially created a dozen sextuplets. Again, this was pretty damn visionary, since the purpose of DNA wouldn't even be discovered for 20 years.
  • The Ira Levin novel The Boys from Brazil has Hitler clones that are just like identical twins—including the part about acting differently when they're raised in different environments.
    • The Nazis who made the clones considered the nurture bit—all the clones are placed in families where the husband is much older than the wife, as was the case with Hitler's parents. To round things off, the adoptive fathers are killed when the clones have reached the age Hitler's father died.
  • John Scalzi's Old Man's War trilogy features extensive cloning, though most of the time the clones are never brought to consciousness before having their progenitors' consciousness transferred. But The Ghost Brigades has an unusual example in which a clone develops consciousness overlaid with a failed attempt to transfer a progenitor's consciousness, causing internal conflicts.
  • A series of sci-fi novels written by Steven L. Kent explores this trope. All enlisted men in the future armed forces (not officers or NCOs) are clones, and the main character is a special kind of clone. All the regular clones have no idea they're clones and are biologically programmed to die if they ever find out.
  • The Regeneration book series by L. J. Singleton features five cloned teenagers who aged naturally. One of them was cloned from a serial killer and struggles with his violent urges, and all of them have some form of minor superpower.
  • In the C. J. Cherryh novel Cyteen, much of the plot involves attempting to re-create a dead scientist by raising a clone much like the original - and there are many difficulties. But the bulk clone population is depicted as less than human, both in fact and in how society sees them. Critically, they are inherently vulnerable to being programmed. Blues indeed: imagine having your emotional makeup determined by a committee comprising Microsoft and the Pentagon.
  • Anna to the Infinite Power, a YA novel (and later movie), provides a thoughtful take on how the attempt to clone a single genius multiple times might be hampered by the distinctive personalities of her clones.
  • A duology of novels, Farthest Star and Wall Around A Star by Frederik Pohl & Jack Williamson, feature a form of teleportation that sends a copy of you elsewhere but leaves the original intact. The copy can be modified en route, since all you're transmitting is information. Interestingly, this is how most physicists figure real-life teleportation might work.
  • Forgotten Realms: The Finders Stone Trilogy by Kate Novak and Jeff Grubb subverts that trope twice. When main heroine, Alias, who is herself an artificial, magically created being, found out that she has many clones, she is originally angry at being "copied"; the actual clones are much calmer, have their own lives, and don't mope about their origin in the slightest. Even more—the clones would like to be friends with Alias, are unaware of her, or don't care even if they do know. Two clones are seen in the series, a couple more are mentioned, and all of them are confident women with different personalities. Eventually, Alias accepts her "sister" as an equal and seems to be at ease with the whole deal.
    • In Alias's defense regarding her views of her "sisters" she'd just learned that she was not, as she thought, a naturally born person (hence feeling like a "thing to be copied"), and had been given the impression that her sisters hadn't existed past the destruction of the last of the five entities involved in her own creation so when one of them popped up in front of her Alias had a bad moment - since said last entity had specifically labeled the others as being more puppets to his whim than free spirits like Alias. As for her sisters being calmer, non-mopy, etc: most of them don't seem to have the first clue about where they really come from. Of the three that have actual screen time in the books, only one knew the full story. The other two both thought themselves simply amnesiac, much like Alias herself when first introduced.
  • Gilbert Gosseyn (pronounced 'go sane' - get it?) of A.E. van Vogt's books The World of Null-A and The Players of Null-A. When he's killed, he 'wakes up' in a new cloned body with all his old memories right up to his death. And he has a superpower too.
  • In Accelerando and Glasshouse by Charles Stross, duplication of individuals is relatively common. Replicator-type devices are used, which results in perfect duplicates. Different "instances" of a person can be recombined in a process referred to as "merging deltas" (taken from real life software version control systems)
    • In one particular inversion of this trope, one instance of a person returns to the solar system to find they have been made bankrupt by one instance of themselves, and are being sued by the children of another instance. The other clones are dead or missing, leaving them to take the rap...a person is explicitly "jointly and severally liable" for the actions of their other selves.
    • Another curious incident has someone obviously unfamiliar with "running" multiple instances of themselves failing to realise that what they thought was one of their clones was actually someone else entirely using a copy of their body.
    • In a robotic version, the protagonist of Saturn's Children is a sexbot who describes how she, and other A Is similar to herself are created. AI's with human level intelligence take as long as a human would to develop, so no instant AI, with one loophole: an AI can be duplicated easily. The standard procedure for artificial beings like her was to raise one prototype as desired than clone the AI into identical bodies.
  • The Beta clones get varying degrees of this in 7th Son once they discover what they are. In particular is Fr. Thomas, who fears that because he is artificial he has no eternal soul. Which is kind of a big deal for a priest.
  • In Mary E. Pearson's The Adoration of Jenna Fox, the title character is a physical double of the original Jenna Fox who is almost entirely constructed of a substance called BioGel. Her exterior parts—like skin and hair—have been cloned from the original girl's cells. Even her brain is 90% artificial; it contains 10% of the brain of the original Jenna--the only portion of the original that could be saved.
  • In John Varley's universe they have a law that only one person can own a genotype: all copies must be destroyed. So if you discover that you're an illegal clone, your only hope is to kill your progenitor and replace him/her. Cue several plots.
    • Must be hell for identical twins.
  • In Otherland, the members of the Grail Brotherhood conspire to produce the perfect computer simulation, into which they can clone themselves via Brain Uploading and hence achieve Immortality. To avert this trope, they arrange for their "real" bodies to commit suicide in various ways upon activation of their virtual clones (never mind that this plan goes horribly wrong when Psycho for Hire Dread takes over the system).
    • The trope is played straight in the case of Paul Jonas, who spends most of the story wandering through various simulated worlds, unaware that he's a virtual copy and the original is still alive in an induced coma. When he finds out, he realizes that everything he's accomplished is meaningless from a personal perspective, as his real body will have none of the accumulated memories and his virtual self can't ever be considered a real person. This sends him across the Despair Event Horizon but gives him the resolve to perform a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • The main character in Blueprint suffers from depression ever since she's a child, seeing as how she's just a clone of her mother. Her mother was a famous piano-player who couldn't use her fingers anymore after a disease crippled them—desperate for her legacy to live on, she had herself cloned and raised the protagonist to be a great piano-player, all the while making it very clear that she was a clone and this was why she was brought into the world. Unfortunately, the protagonist quickly develops the same disease and loses the use of her fingers.
  • Fabricants in the futuristic segment of Cloud Atlas are bred to perform all the unpleasant jobs humans no longer want to do (the ones we see the most of work in the fast-food industry, but there are mentions of others in even worse positions). They're bred and raised not to question their lot in life, and anyone who tries is faces intense opposition, the most obvious bit of Fantastic Racism being Sonmi's attempts to attend university lectures. Oh, and once they finish their "careers", they get recycled into the "soap" that other fabricants eat.
  • Alex Rider: In the second book, Point Blanc, the Big Bad plans to take over the world by cloning himself sixteen times (actually done properly, having started the project fourteen years earlier), then giving each of the clones plastic surgery to look like the sons of influential men and having them take their places. In Scorpia Rising Alex's double, Julius, reappears, and we are told how the clones were raised to be killers, and physically abused if they did anything wrong. Furthermore, Julius is completely twisted, with no morals, consumed by hating Alex, and previously tried to scratch his own face off because he couldn't bear looking like him.
  • In Frank Herbert's WorShip series, clones are second-class citizens at best, disposable labor resources at worst. When there's a crisis or shortage, they always get the short end. They all have some identifiable mutation, adding What Measure Is a Non-Cute?.
  • Wil McCarthy's "The Policeman's Daughter" is a short story in which a copy takes legal action against his source material when he is unwilling to be reintegrated (as the Accelerando example above). The original's lawyer is copied for the copy's lawyer, and legal questions involve the potential personhood of a copy and whether their "deletion" is murder or just file maintenance.
  • In Jeff Long's Year Zero, adult human clones are created using ancient DNA, then used as expendable guinea pigs for research to cure an unstoppable plague. Not only are these clones fully sentient, but they retain the memories of their entire lives, up to and including their deaths, and so assume they're being punished in the afterlife.
  • The Cuckoos Boys by Robert Reed revolves around the aftermath of a tailored virus causing millions of women to be "impregnated" artificially with the genetic code of a brilliant biologist. The clones (referred to as "Philip Stevens" or PSes) all have their creators features and high IQ, but develop uniquely based on who raises them; it doesn't stop mandatory sterilization, acts of terrorism, genocide, and glorified concentration camps, however.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • The rebooted Battlestar Galactica Reimagined goes to town with this one with Cylon Number Eight (aka Sharon "Boomer" Valerii). While the other Eights are well-adjusted Cylons, Boomer is a sleeper agent and can't understand the crazy things that are happening to her, like waking up in a water tank with no idea of how she got there, or discovering multiple stolen explosives among her personal possessions. Interesting because all the identical Cylons are clones.
    • Interestingly, the Cylons are never seen to make clones of existing human characters, rather they were based around certain archetypes of personality and appearance. All people revealed to be Cylons were that way from the beginning. They were either self-aware but passing for human or had fake memories. By the end, it is strongly implied that the Cylons would not even have known how to go about cloning an individual human; most of them didn't know how their own system of downloading functioned.
      • The Number Eight models were unique among Cylons in that they disagreed with each other. All other Cylons were, apparently, similar enough in personality that they could be counted on to have any member of the model vote for the entire model line in a representative system, even though some of them had different individual experiences that might have affected their personalities. Then again, Boomer is also the only model of which any copies worked as unconscious sleeper agents, so that might explain the difference.
    • As seen in Caprica, the first Cylons of the Twelve Colonies result from the controversial copying of human consciousness into robot bodies.
    • At one point, even the apparently-revived Starbuck ponders whether or not she might be a clone with fake memories she's not.
  • Doctor Who: "The Invisible Enemy" featured miniaturized clones of the Doctor and Leela, though K-9 explains that they aren't "really" clones, but a sort of phlebotinum-photocopy. Surprisingly, they gave no sign of having any trouble with their status as duplicates specifically created for a Fantastic Voyage, nor with the fact that their predicted lifespan was something on the order of twenty minutes.
    • Averted with Jenny in "The Doctor's Daughter", a fraternal "clone" (the process doesn't produce an identical duplicate). She does get told she's "not real" by The Doctor and quickly calls him on it.
    • Played straight with Slime!Martha in "The Sontaran Strategem."
    • Doctor 10.5 in "Journey's End". As a Biological Mashup he has a human lifespan with no regenerations. Not to mention that the original Doctor is angry at him for his Shoot the Dog actions. On the other hand, (no pun intended) he does finally get to snog Billie Piper, so this may be subverted.
    • Auton!Rory has his normal personality, but gets overridden by the Nestene Consciousness, which is then overridden by The Power of Love.
    • The episodes "The Rebel Flesh" and "The Almost People" are made of this trope.
  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch: A sentient, mentally identical clone of Salem is casually destroyed magically by Hilda in the episode "Thin Ice"; in the much earlier episode "A Halloween Story" a magic spell creates a copy, but this double is essentially mindless and soon absorbed back into its creator.
  • In Stargate Atlantis, the clone of a previously killed off character joins the team. He looks exactly like the old character and has the same personality and most of his memories. The catch? Without the regular injection of a special chemical, he'll eventually die because his cloned tissue can't regenerate fast enough to counter natural cell damage. Because of this, he was frozen in stasis until a cure could be found.
    • Stargate characters seem to have two default reactions to duplicates: (A) it's the same person in another body, or (B) it's a disposable fake. They never seem to consider (C) it's an identical twin sibling, which real clones are. "Disposable fake" is how the plot treats them - except in Carson's case, again proving the "so long as there's just one in the end" rule.
    • Ba'al and his many clones on Stargate SG-1 have clones of both the host and the symbiote. They are completely indistinguishable, and they even set up a Xanatos Gambit by pretending that the clones are fighting against the "real" Ba'al, convincing SG-1 to capture every single one (with a string of puns). Then each one claims to be the real one.
    • Also in Stargate SG-1, the entire Asgard race is a race of clones portrayed fairly realistically. They don't have magical "clone memories"; those need to be transferred via computer from the original body. (Thor undergoes this procedure almost as often as Daniel dies.) Also, the Asgard have been cloning themselves for so long that they have suffered severe genetic degradation and are no longer capable of reproducing in any way other than by cloning themselves.
    • When a rogue Asgard genetic scientist leaves a botched (as in too young) clone of O'Neill in an attempt to study his genetic makeup to try and help his species sexually reproduce again, everyone's only worried about the original O'Neill back and doesn't care that the clone's pre-programmed to die. It's only when the original asks Thor to save his clone's life does anyone seem to care.
  • Star Trek has probably provided more examples of the Cloning Blues than the entire rest of television, fiction, and comic books put together.
    • Both the Jem'Hadar and the Vorta in Deep Space Nine fit the "really unlucky clones" described above to a T, including innate combat or tactical prowess and the inbred belief that their creators are gods.
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation had one odd defiance, however: On discovering a transporter-cloned version of Riker who was trapped on a planet for many years, the new and old version have an equal claim as the "original" and seem to avoid most of these issues. "Tom" Riker continues his career, then appears on Deep Space Nine after he left Starfleet to join the Maquis.
    • Star Trek often subverted the Cloning Blues by having the crew be unwilling to just kill the clones. Deep Space Nine even establishes that "killing your own clone is still murder," at least in the 24th century Federation. However, the writers were quite willing to kill clones and often casually dispatched them in ways that would never happen to a regular character.
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation's "Up the Long Ladder" showed characters acting with astonishing callousness toward clones: When the ship comes upon a colony populated by the cloned descendants of five shipwreck survivors (after discovering and evacuating the descendants of its crashed sister-ship), the colony says that their genes are starting to degrade so much that cloning won't work anymore and plead for genetic donations. Disgusted, the Enterprise's crew refuses to participate in such a practice. The colony then discreetly steals genetic samples of Riker and Doctor Pulaski. Upon figuring out what happened and discovering their clones being grown, both decide on the spot to single-handedly murder all of their not-yet-conscious clones with hand-phasers in cold blood. The Enterprise then forces the colony of clones (to whom the concepts of sexual intercourse and romance are repellent) to absorb and intermarry with the rustics from their evacuated sister colony. (Apparently no one even suggested just getting some sperm and egg samples from the crew.)
      • In another case Worf convinces the noble Klingon empire to install a clone of Kahless some Klingon monks cooked up to the position of Emperor. This is stated to be a purely ceremonial, if potentially influential, position (equivalent to head of state), and not to be confused with the position of Chancellor (occupied at the time by Gowron), who is at the top of the Klingon Empire's actual government.
    • In the Voyager episode "Demon", two crewmembers come into contact with a fluid substance on a previously uninhabited planet which causes the substance to gain consciousness. In the end, the whole crew allow themselves to be perfectly copied so that the clones can build a life on this planet.
        • A later episode reveals that the clones quickly forgot their true identity, assumed the identities of the Voyager crew and tried to "get home" to Earth as well. A new technology causes their bodies to destabilize, which leads to their memories resurfacing and, obviously, lots of angst. They die just after their time capsule destabilizes and their attempt to hail the real Voyager fails, so it is as if they never existed, maybe suggesting that the writers didn't want to admit that clones were worth being remembered.
    • In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Whispers", Chief O'Brien returns to the station after being away and notices everyone behaving strangely around him. In the end it is revealed that the viewers had been following a clone around the station: The real O'Brien had been abducted by the Paradans who created a clone meant to be a 'sleeper' to be activated and assassinate delegates at a peace conference.
    • In Star Trek: Enterprise, Phlox just happened to have a creature that becomes a clone of any species that you add DNA to.[1] When Trip is near fatally injured Phlox uses the creature to make a clone of Trip, to use as an organ donor. The clone's lifespan is accelerated, and it would only last a week. Doing this is stated to be illegal and unethical, since the clone has all the memories of the original but is also a separate individual. The issue eventually degenerates into either the clone dies saving Trip, or Trip dies and the clone dies trying to stop the accelerated aging. Obvious which option they picked.
  • An episode of Farscape featured a villain who could make perfect copies of people and who lampshaded the common mistake by being mildly offended when someone referred to it as cloning. Unusually, the "twin" of John Crichton survived the episode. Neither of them tried to kill each other but, for the sake of sanity, the crew split into two groups, each with a copy. Also unusually, neither one was clearly established as the copy. (The scientist claimed both were "equal and original.") Savvy viewers probably guessed that the one who finally got together with Aeryn was the doomed one.
  • Kyle and Jessie of Kyle XY are clones grown in a lab, but the cloning itself is realistic; they were grown at normal speed, not fast (spending a lifetime unconscious in tubes), and they don't have clone memories. The word "clone" is never used; but cloning is clearly described, and they look exactly like the originals from many years ago. (Now, the explanation of their intelligence and powers, on the other hand....) Strangely enough, the third season finale strongly suggests that neither are clones, but simply identical versions of their same-sex parents. It is even stated that an unseen character is Kyle's biological mother, who was never even hinted at before in the show.
  • In The Outer Limits episode "Think Like a Dinosaur" (and the short story it is based on), the teleporter creates perfect duplicates of people at the destination. The catch is that it is the original who is now worthless—and destroyed. This sort of duplication/destruction teleportation turns up a lot in Sci-fi.
    • An earlier The Outer Limits example is the original series' "The Duplicate Man". Twenty Minutes Into the Future, an anthropologist illegally brings a Megasoid, a member of an intelligent but bloodthirsty alien race, to Earth. When the creature escapes, the cowardly anthropologist has himself "duplicated" so that his clone can secretly hunt the Megasoid. As in the episode's literary source (Clifford D. Simak's short story "Goodnight, Mr. James"), the clone unknowingly has a poison in his bloodstream that will kill him at a preset time. The The Outer Limits version adds the twist that the anthropologist's dissatisfied wife is happier with the clone, since her real husband has become cold and distant. However, the The Outer Limits version cops out of killing the protagonist by revealing that he's not the clone but the original.
    • The revival series episode Replica had a scientist create a perfect duplicate of his (apparently) terminally comatose wife; the duplicate is completely unaware she is a clone until the original wakes up and is presented as a sympathetic character. In a subversion of this trope, she even gets one of the few unambiguously happy endings in the series; the scientist stays with his original wife, but clones himself so that the cloned wife can stay with 'him'.
  • Some genetically engineered X5 supersoldiers in Dark Angel have clones, who are treated (by the narrative) as identical twins with their own unique identities. But it still sucks to be them because Manticore (the evil organization that made the X5s) punished them for the escape of their originals. Alec has had a particularly rough time, because he's a clone of the Serial Killer Ben.
  • In one story line arc of Soap, Burt is kidnapped by aliens and a transformed alien duplicate sent down to his home in his place. The long-lived alien had gone 2,000 years without sex and was very much enjoying pizza, frozen snickers and Burt's wife Mary...not necessarily in that order...until Burt got the chance to convince him to let Burt have his life back again.
  • The documentary series Animal Pharm skewers this trope by showing that not only are clones not just copies, they may not even look the same as the original.
  • In Juukou B-Fighter, Shadow/Black Beet suffers from this. Originally created to defeat the B Fighters by his master, he eventually starts to question his own existence and his loyalty starts to waver. Then, it is revealed that he is an actual clone of Takuya/Blue Beet and eventually become obsessed with killing Takuya in order to prove his own existence and in order to gain immortality as he is dying due to being a short-lived clone who was only created to serve his purpose in defeating the B Fighters. He eventually ditch his master to fight for himself.


Music[edit | hide]

  • The Who's song "905" features a clone, who is presumably the 905th iteration of the line, lamenting his inability to do anything original whatsoever.
  • Alice Cooper's "Clones (We're All)" (6 has similar problems to the Who's 905).
  • "My Clone Sleeps Alone" by Pat Benatar. Her clone lives in a sterile sexless future.
  • The Leo Kottke/Mike Gordon song "Clone" (from the album of the same name) has fun with this idea.
  • The parody song "I Think I'm a Clone Now" by "Weird Al" Yankovic details a transition; for one of the clones, it starts with embarassment:

"...What would people say
If only they knew that I was
Part of some geneticist's plan..."

  • ...and ends with enjoyment.

"...I've been on Oprah Winfrey -- I'm world renowned..."


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • The original Dungeons & Dragons included a spell called "Clone". It made a magical duplicate of someone, and when they became aware of each other's existence, each was filled with an unrelenting desire to kill the other. As of Third Edition, the "Clone" spell now just creates a lifeless copy of the user's body. It needs to be preserved somehow or it will rot (a relatively simple spell takes care of that), but if it is still intact when the original dies, they reincarnate in that body (though the clone does not gain any knowledge—i.e. experience or abilities—that the original gained since the clone was created). However a similar effect is preserved in the expensive item "Mirror of Opposition". It creates a temporary clone whose only purpose is to kill the original.
    • Not too surprisingly, the original psycho-jealous-killer-clone rule still applies in the Ravenloft setting, even in the 3E products.
    • In Forgotten Realms Manshoon's many clones still went on a rampage against each other, but seem to have stabilized at three; they stay away from each other.
    • Other ways of "cloning"—such as Simulacrum—don't have this problem. And dwarves used deepspawn to quickly churn out lots of adult and skilled troops during The Spawn Wars. This had more insidious side-effects, though.
  • In Paranoia, all PCs are clones, and on death are replaced with duplicate clones with the character's memories and personality. They have much reason to get the blues, as repeated cloning can lead to personality quirks and full-blown psychoses. Oh, and being a mutant is treason—this leads to the situation of mutants executed by other clones for treason when discovered, but their replacement clone instantly arriving can't be executed again until it's proven to also be a mutant. Due to inherent problems with the cloning system, they may come back with a different mutation!
    • Getting the Cloning Blue is Treason. (Unless you're Level Blue or higher.)
  • In Warhammer 40,000 reproductive cloning is outlawed by the Adeptus Mechanicus (unless you are the AdMech) due to certain ...bad experiences with the technology in the setting's pre-history. Given the nature of the "current" 40K universe, they must have been really bad. However, if you are a clone in this universe, it's OK because you probably won't be aware of this fact because you will have been created specifically so that you can have one or more of your limbs surgically replaced with crude-but-effective bionic augmentations and have your brain hard-wired with programming circuitry so that you can be used as a disposable assembly line robot/slave, or in order to be used as a growth-bed for reproducing the genetically engineered organs that are used to create the Space Marines, a painful procedure that usually amounts to vivisection, twice. Unless you were really unlucky and were created by the bad guys.
    • There also is the Death Corp of Krieg, who are more or less just like the Star Wars clones only its more than one template (what was left after their civil war) they hide this by wearing Gas masks all the time. Maybe...
  • In Changeling: The Lost, a 'clone' is left so the original won't be missed. This clone must be killed for the original to reclaim their place in the real world.
    • Another New World of Darkness game, Promethean: The Created, states that lab-made human clones have not yet been created by conventional science. Unconventional science, however, has been able to create them since some point in the 20th century, by capturing Prometheans, stealing their internal fire (or Azoth), and using that to fuel the growth of a clone. In fact, this particular kind of clone can go from embryo to mature adult (about twenty-five years old) in a few days. These particular types of clones are definitely not seen as people, not having a soul (which, as might be expected in a supernatural horror setting, is a very real concern).

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • In the Advance Wars series, Black Hole has a tendency to enjoy making clones of your commanding officers and pitting them against you towards the endgame. The clones have all the same statistical points of their counterparts, but their personalities are seriously lacking; they regularly proclaim, in an almost morose and self-defeating way, that their only purpose is to take orders and fight. Afterwards they're invariably destroyed. Except for the Andy Clone, who expresses that he hoped that he was true to his counterpart's personality.
    • Days Of Ruin provides a different version, in which Big Bad Mad Scientist Caulder/Stolos is a Truly Single Parent and views his clone children as expendable minions and test subjects, as he can always replace them if they die. Isabella/Catleia turns out to be a 'backup' of one of the original four, who was killed in one of his experiments.
      • It gets better: Even Caulder/Stolos is a clone of the original, and it seems highly likely that the side-effects of cloning are partly responsible for his insanity.
  • The Riku replica in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories lives a sad existence, constantly trying to live up to or replace "the real thing". There's a funny omake at the end of the manga that jokes about just how sad it is.
    • Also, Xion from 358/2 Days.
  • The King of Fighters series loves clones so much that there have been at least 5 or so clones of Kyo Kusanagi running around at one point (Kyo Kusanagi's 1 & 2, K', Krizalid, K9999, and Kusanagi). There was also the Opposite Gender Clone Kula, and one of the bosses, Zero, had a clone who was the boss in the game preceding him. The series is inconsistent about the use of the term, however, as K' is actually a normal human modified to have Kyo's powers and there is argument over whether Kula is something similar.
  • It turns out in Overblood that both Milly and Raz are clones. The labs had actually been cloning loads of Raz's as Super Soldiers and to look after her. Milly is actually the clone of the original Raz's wife, who died. Both of them argue with the real Raz that they aren't simply clones and can't be forced to do whatever their originals did/what Raz wants them to do.
  • The Metal Gear Solid series loves clones. Liquid Snake feels inferior to his 'brother' Solid Snake because Solid was supposedly given all the dominant 'soldier genes' and Liquid got all of the recessive ones from their clone-source (they mean alleles, but hey: turns out it was the other way around, showing genes aren't the only thing that determine your fate). While MGS-verse clones still have to grow up from scratch, once they hit about thirty they start undergoing rapidly accelerated aging, which seems to work at the speed the character designers dictate.
  • In Street Fighter, depending on which plot twist you're in, BBEG M. Bison (known as Vega in Japan) has an army of clone soldiers, including Juni, Juli and Cammy. However, the term "clone" is used inconsistently and it's been stated that Juni and Juli are girls kidnapped from Germany.
    • They're probably "clones" in the sense that Saddam Hussein had body doubles, of Cammy—who, however, does actually look like M. Bison (well, aside from the gender difference).
    • More appear in Street Fighter IV; a factory of backup bodies in the event of M. Bison's death. At least two characters are revealed to be such clones.
  • Super Robot Wars Original Generation 2 had Wodan Ymir, a W Number android, based both physically and mentally on Sanger Zonvolt who died in the Shadow Mirror universe. Outside the fourth wall, the character was created so that the game could use Sanger's incarnation in Super Robot Wars Alpha Gaiden incarnation as the 'Sword of Magus' without it feeling wrong based on his characterisation and development in the previous Original Generation game.
    • Also, Wodan resolves his Cloning Blues at the conclusion of the Earth Cradle arc, and not only is it Badass, it's pretty damn touching. Even Sanger, the original, wept Manly Tears at Wodan's death as a true warrior fighting for his cause.
    • Ingram Plissken. There have been so many clones of him made by the Balmar empire in order to keep possessing over the Time Diver, that a lot of them have identity issues.
  • Tales of the Abyss has an analogue of cloning known as fomicry, which uses pure magic to create an identical copy of an original at the time of replication (dodging the aging issue) and without any memories. Most of the game's replicas use many of the pitfalls of this trope, including plenty of Wangst about not being real. In one case it's even two-sided between replica and original: Luke's Tomato in the Mirror moment when he realizes that not only is he a replica, but that he was created just so his original could be kidnapped without anyone noticing, and Asch's continual resentment that his replica stole his life, and is in his own eyes an unworthy successor to his normal identity.
    • It's also worth noting that replication has a tendency of permanently weakening the person being cloned, as demonstrated by the cheagle original and clone. If that isn't a good reason to have being-replicated Cloning Blues, what is?
    • Aside from this, however, Tales of the Abyss does take a serious look at the Cloning Blues trope, including the Replacement Goldfish factor, and the cast generally treat the replicas with the respect they're due as living beings. It would be hard for them not to, what with the protagonist being one and all...
  • In Freedom Force, the futuristic robot hero Microwave has the ability to generate weak clones of himself, and the mad villain Deja Vu can create clones of anyone, from civilians to himself to even the game's main hero Minuteman. The final boss Timemaster generates "temporal twins" of himself to besiege the heroes as well. As this game is based on the carefree Silver Age of comics, nobody bats an eye at any of this and no serious moral issues come into play.
  • In the Neverwinter Nights 'Hordes of the Underdark' it appears that the mad wizard Halaster has been taken captive by the drow. But after the player kills the drow keeping him captive, another Halaster teleports in, and informs you that you ruined his brilliant plan to trap the Big Bad using a clone. The two Halasters then begin to bicker about who is the original, and who is the clone - all the while rhyming.
    • The funny part is that normally it's done via simulacrum and that in Canon Halaster used to have multiple semi-autonomous body replicas all over the Undermountain and control them more or less at will.
  • Miranda Lawson of Mass Effect 2 is a heavily-modified clone of a ridiculously rich businessman with two duplicates of his X chromosome, and has some major confidence issues on the subject. She also has a genetic twin sister, who is (quite realistically, actually) sixteen years younger and an exact clone. She has fewer issues, primarily because she doesn't know that Miranda exists (Unless you take the Paragon ending to her Loyalty Quest). Lair of the Shadow Broker adds more to this, as it turns out she's infertile, most likely as a result of her genetic engineering.
    • Shepard himself/herself was "resurrected" by the Lazarus Project in the beginning of Mass Effect 2. It's commented in Mass Effect 3 how the original Shepard was completely braindead, and memories/personality had to be reconstructed from brain scans/other information. Shepard in Mass Effect 2 on may in fact be a "clone" built from the original's body, something he/she comments on.

I don't remember anything. Maybe they really just fixed me... Or maybe I'm just a high-tech VI that thinks it's Commander Shepard.

  • Zero, the star of two series in Capcom's Mega Man, is cloned twice, once in each series:
    • Played straight in Mega Man X 2, where Sigma builds a Black Zero, claiming it to be X's real pal, seeking revenge. However, the real Zero comes in and easily destroys the clone.

Zero: You should have studied the blueprints closer, Sigma! There is only one Zero!

    • Subverted in Mega Man Zero 3: The Hero Zero is the clone, and Ax Crazy Omega is the original. However, the clone has Zero's real soul, still making him the real Zero, albeit in a different body.
    • Mega Man Zero also features Copy-X, who was built as an El Cid Ploy. However, it isn't really him - the real X sacrificed himself to seal up a dangerous enemy much earlier - so the clone, with an incomplete version of X's programming, ends up virtually turning evil.
  • Ever 17. The character in question is referred to as a clone and views the 'original' as a parent. The two are immensely similar in personality and thought processes, but due to slight differences in how they were raised, their beliefs and behaviors are slightly different. The older of the two has grown since the time when they were nearly indistinguishable and become quite different. There is no social stigma (cloning is legal here), nor any angsting over being a copy. The clone does wonder what they mean to the original, though.
  • Destroy All Humans! is centred around cloning, but clones are also used when Crypto dies during gameplay. Each clone has a number, with Crypto, starting at 137 because 136 was shot down near Area 42. While each clone is made after the other dies, there is no personal difference between them besides their numbers and in the beginning of the game, after learning of 136's disappearance, 137 wants to go rescue himself and confuses the pronouns a lot. When he does find his remains, he laments his loss referring to 136 as himself and takes revenge on the humans for killing him.
  • Astaroth from the Soul Series undergoes this during 3 and before 4, when he learns that his template was Rock he goes on a berserk rampage, destroying his creation place and eventually finding Rock and almost killing him.
  • In the MMO Tabula Rasa, all of a player's characters on one server are clones of each other to explain why they all have the last name and share a supposedly rare special ability. Despite that, clones don't share memories by default. Players must earn special credits to use the ubertech necessary to share experience and training from one character to a new clone; even then, there can be differences in how that knowledge is applied. Clones can also look different or even be a different gender.
    • Prior to their introduction, it was stated that AFS scientists were working on the creation of Half Human Hybrids using this technology. In Deployment 9 they were released, playing all the related tropes straight.
  • It is suspected that the protagonist in the game Portal is a clone. The antagonist taunts her saying that her brain is "permanently backed up" on a computer, and there are hints indicating that death is not a particular aspect of a failure. In addition, the game contains scribblings and other artifacts left by previous participants of the survival courses, and the game does not exclude the possibility that some of the participants were just previous instances of the PC.
  • In Fallout 3, Vault 108 has lots of Garys. They're all violent, capable of only saying "Gary"—in angry tones and curious tones, but always "Gary."
  • Halo. Master Chief and all the other Spartans were kidnapped as six year old children to begin their training. To prevent any questions from being asked, they were all flash-cloned; the parents got the clones. In the Halo universe, cloning single organs is simple, but cloning a full human isn't; they are born with no memory, are mindless vegetables and, after several months, die. So, as far as the Spartans' parents know, they all suddenly suffered major brain damage and died tragically. Only a handful of Spartan trainees ever found out about this, and half of them (count 2) ended up killing themselves after finding out the truth. Halo Legends. The true tragedy of this is explored more thoroughly in the I Love Bees.
  • The Replica in F.E.A.R. don't go through a whole lot of angst about their cloned nature because ATC deliberately designed them to have limited cognitive capabilities and independent thought processes. The Replica themselves are vat-grown, mass-produced, disfigured, inhuman-looking beings that spend most of their lives in stasis inside small pods until activated for combat; once activated, they show all the typical range of human emotions, including surprise, anger, and fear - albeit mixed in with a terrifying single-mindedness and absolute loyalty.
    • Played for laughs in the trailer for the Reborn DLC for F.E.A.R. 2. "I may be a clone now, but I sure ain't your brother! Yeeaaaaaaahhhhhhh!".
  • Neo Contra has its moment when Bill Rizer finds out that he was really just part of an experiment to replicate a legendary hero...Sounds familiar?
  • Parasite Eve. The Eve/Aye clone is a little girl in a research facility where even her damned toys were designed to frustrate and antagonise her—pegs too big for their holes and building blocks with rounded sides that wouldn't stack; but she did have one ordinary, well-loved teddy bear.
  • In P.N.03 the main character, Vanessa Z. Schneider comes across a clone of herself during one of the main story missions. At the end of the game, it's revealed that the client paying her is another clone. It's slightly subverted in that the original person is unknown and that while Vanessa is somewhat disturbed the client knew about it from the beginning and doesn't mind.
  • At the end of zOMG!, Labtech X reveals his plot to create an army of Animated Humongous Mecha and take over Gaia...and also his motivation: he's a clone of Johnny K. Gambino, who abandoned him in favor of his naturally-born son Gino.
  • In Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 the protagonist is a clone of the original Starkiller from the first game. He's not particularly happy about this.
  • In BlazBlue, Noel Vermillion/Mu-12, Nu-13, and Lambda-11 are all clones of Saya. While they don't express much angst over it, the original's brothers, Jin and Ragna, most certainly do.
  • In Tomb Raider: Underworld, Croft Manor is destroyed by a seemingly sadistic clone of Lara, created by Jacqueline Natla. Lara tangles with her doppelganger more than once, but finds later that she and the copy think a lot alike—the copy's simply stuck under Natla's control. Lara manages to free the doppelganger of her mental domination and then sics her on Natla. It doesn't end well for Natla.
  • In Baldur's Gate 2, you run into a character called the "Enraged Clone" while escaping Irenicus' dungeon. The clone is completely insane, thinks you are Irenicus, and attacks you. She declares that she could never be "her" no matter how often memories and feelings are forced on her. Judging by the other tanks in the room she is far from the first attempt. We don't find out who the poor clone is supposed to replace until much, much later.
  • Subverted in the Hitman series, where the protagonist uncovers at the end of the first game that he's the end-result of a dedicated cloning program. His origin is cause for significant strife later in his life, but he's never all that choked up over it - he just kills everyone.
  • All the robot personalities aboard Starship Titanic are copies of real peoples personalities stuck in art deco robot bodies and placed on a doomed starship, after working their way up though speak your weight machines and on screen help.
  • Hell MOO has almost all of the characters as clones; in fact, the majority of the population of Freedom City was alive before the nuclear apocalypse and have been unable to die because the cloning banks still work and just shuffle their consciousness into a fresh body every time they day. Even the suicide booth provided is useless because it only provides a few seconds of peace before being harshly thrown back into the world. As long as the cloning continues, the people of post-apocalypse Freedom City are trapped in their little slice of hell and unable to get out.
  • Subverted/Averted depending on the server in the BYOND game Space Station 13. Doctors are encouraged to tell newly cloned patients that they were "in an accident" and "bumped their head" and "barely survived, thank God" to save this from happening. Played straight if a new doctor screws up and decides to tell the patient. On other, less RP oriented servers, cloning is just seen as a means to an end, and the implications are largely ignored.


Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • Subverted in El Goonish Shive. Elliot's Opposite Gender Clone Ellen starts out believing she has no place in the world, only to find the rest of the cast are willing to accept she's more than "a girl copy of Elliot" even before she's fully come to accept it herself.
  • In Schlock Mercenary, the character of Gav Bleuel (based on the real-life comic artist of Nukees) put himself into suspended animation in the 21st century, and is later awoken (after being found in a disused storage locker) in the 31st, where he is accidentally duplicated nearly a billion times and becomes the largest single ethnic group in the galaxy. After a few years, the society of Gavs has developed technology to alter themselves physically and mentally from one another to regain their individuality.
    • He's just the most extreme example. The entire webcomic is full of clones—mostly gate-clones like Gav (created by exact sub-atomic-level duplication), but also a time-clone: time-traveller meets his old self, and because the timeline is changed, they both continue to exist. Also, biological cloning is possible, but outlawed.
  • Its Walky initially played it straight, when the saintly, innocent girl Joyce gets a "reverse" clone, thanks to accidental exposure to Imported Alien Phlebotinum. The clone is not so much evil as sluttish, but still manages to be a complete antithesis to Joyce, who then shoots her. In the head. The subversion comes in much later, when an Evil Lawyer catches wind of the incident—and suddenly, she's wanted for murder.
  • Parodied in The Non-Adventures of Wonderella, in an installment titled "Bad to the Clone".
  • Subverted in Final Blasphemy; Wily uses numerous robotic doubles of himself and one true biological clone just to make sure he's not targeted. These are pretty standard applications of the trope, and when Jeremy is captured, he finds out that he killed that biological clone of Wily rather than the genuine article; he's frustrated but relieved as he doesn't think that counts as murder. Unfortunately, the law does think that counts as murder. Cue Big No.
  • Molly's doppelganger Galatea in the "There But For the Grace" story arc in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob. Raised in an unloving environment, she grew up to be paranoid with an Ubermensch complex but now seems to have calmed down and gotten a reasonably happy ending?even if she has, for the moment at least, been Put on a Bus, intending to Walk The Earth for a while.
  • Kevin and Kell actually includes a sheep clone named Dolly who eventually started aging quickly. But thanks to a certain sci-fi device, she became a lamb again (albeit with her memories intact). It is not clear whether she still ages quickly.
  • Narbonic: The title character, Helen B. Narbon, is a clone of her mother. (The "B" stands for "Beta".) Lampshaded when Helen gets an invitation to her high school reunion:

Dave: You went to high school? I though you were a clone.
Helen: That doesn't mean I didn't have a childhood. You think I was decanted from the replicating pod full-grown? For heaven's sake, Dave, I went through all the normal developmental stages!
Dave: Egg, facehugger, chestburster, and queen?

    • Considering Helen Alpha (a boxed-wine-swilling, antagonistic shrew of the most hilarious sort), there's more to this notion than just facetious antagonism. Narbonic actually offers a unique perspective on Cloning Blues, however; rather than spending her time locked in an identity crisis, Helen faces a supercharged version of every woman's fear that she will one day turn into her mother.
  • In Mind Mistress this trope is inverted. She wants to find annother version of herself via dimension traveling but cannot. In The Crossoverlord it is revealed that this is because the Smiling Man killed them all.
  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja: Dr McNinja cloned a small army of himself in college so he could have them all study a different subject, then merge together again, making him an Omnidisciplinary Scientist with all their combined knowledge. Naturally, this trope was Played for Laughs.

McNinja: How'd it go? Did we do it?!
Ben Franklin (also a clone): You're one of the clones. Get in line.
McNinja: Aw...

    • Played with once again here, where the villain apparently tries to create evil clones of the good Doctor.

McNinja: So...you just cloned...a clone of me. But they...don't want to kill me?
Clone: I am far too busy coming to terms with the existential dread of being a clone.

  • Used, abused, subverted, and played straight in Apple Valley. An early accident causes secondary character Doyle to be able to split into "quantum doubles", which Dr Hubris (the resident evil scientist and Doyle's boss) takes extreme advantage of as an unexhaustable supply of expendable test subjects. Later it's mentioned that they dispose of the dead Doyles by blackmailing companies they claim contributed to Doyle's deaths. For his suffering, Doyle does manage to pick up a Doppleganger Attack later on, making him useful as something other than a meat dispenser.

Web Original[edit | hide]

  • In The Gamers Alliance, Shamshir, Venom and Rune are clones of Jemuel who are active during the Great War. Although being effective antagonists who get the job done, they're still seen by their creator Dante as nothing more than failed experiments to resurrect the real Jemuel. Although the first two clones are content being relegated to assassins, Rune is much more bitter and ambitious and eventually ends up dedicating his life to surpassing Jemuel in power and cunning.
  • Los Hermanos of the Global Guardians PBEM Universe is able to create a near-infinite number of duplicates of himself, but they are all him when it comes to memory and knowledge (they share a mass-mind...talk to any of his duplicates, and you're talking to all of his duplicates). Imagine his shock and surprise when he encountered the Super Villain known as El Unico, and it turned out to be one of his duplicates, who had somehow separated from the mass mind but otherwise retained all of his powers.
    • Later, when Los Hermanos encountered Aryan Nation (a controversial white supremacist superhero...yes, you read that right...who shares Los Hermanos's powers), the similarity of Nation's powers nearly convinced the Global Guardian that Aryan Nation was yet another one of his dupes who managed to gain a separate consciousness. (He found out later this wasn't true.)
    • Mob Rule, a South African super villain from the same setting, has a similar power. His copies, however, are independent individuals, and they occasionally get into very violent arguments.
    • Colony, a British super villain, can create a dozen duplicates. Like Mob Rule, his copies are independent and sometimes aren't all that cooperative with each other.
  • The idea of a stereotypical, perfect-copy clone is used in a fantastically original manner in the web-novel John Dies at the End. In this case the blues aren't about being a clone so much as they are that he killed the original main character and took his place without knowing. His best friend and girlfriend forgive him, but now his biggest worry is Villain Override.
  • Cloning can be done fairly easily for people in the civilized regions of Orion's Arm, memory transfer optional. This isn't commonly done, since property laws get all iffy when cloning comes into the picture: most of the time, the copies can own property but have no property to begin with. Other times, if the clone is given the original's memories, property can be split down the middle if a disagreement arises. It varies A LOT depending on region. Nonetheless, one person cloned himself hundreds of times and is in the process of making a documentary on the myriad ways his copies have gone. On the net or in virches (virtual environments), copying is done very frequently. These are not usually included in population counts for this reason.
    • The notes on population suggests that if you count virtual clones, 90% of the population would consist of five people.
  • Belphoebe of the Whateley Universe was a forced-aging clone of Jobe's perfect drow girl, with no memories. Then a fat, neurotic nerdboy tried to copy a girl's mind into Belphoebe so he'd have someone who'd like him and accidentally copied his own mind in. It takes Belpheobe a while to get her act together at that point.
  • After Spoony's death at the end of his Final Fantasy VIII review, Linkara brought him back as a clone, who is indistinguishable from the original Spoony and doesn't seem too conflicted about not being the original one. And considering what came of the original...
  • Aurora from Trinton Chronicles is technically one of many failed clone of the mysterious Messianic figure known only as 'Jade'. It's also very strange as she has the power of Me's a Crowd on top of being a genetic copy.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • The DNA Delivery clones employed by Bedlam in Get Ed are so faulty that being hit hard enough (either by a board to the head or getting tossed out of a moving hovercraft at high speed) causes them to disolve into a puddle of goo (that can momentarily reform before splatting again) that, according to Loogie, tastes minty.
  • Gargoyles has Thailog, who starts as a subversion of this trope. Thailog was cloned from Goliath's DNA and rapid-aged to match Goliath's age; however, unlike the stereotypical clone, he didn't share Goliath's memories or worldview. He was indoctrinated via subliminal messages into becoming a Machiavellian villain. He had no more real desire to destroy Goliath than is natural to villains. And the rapid-aging process was portrayed as having the side-effect of causing Thailog's coloration to be different from Goliath's. The characters consider Thailog Goliath's son, although "twin brother" would be more accurate.
    • Later, Thailog and Demona work together to recover the other Manhattan Clan's DNA and then hand them over to Dr. Sevarius to make their own clones: Malibu (a clone of Brooklyn), Brentwood (clone of Lexington), Hollywood (clone of Broadway) and Burbank (clone of Hudson). They lack smarts, as they were programmed only to "obey Thailog". Without Demona's knowledge, Thailog also creates a clone from DNA merged between Demona and Elisa Maza named "Delilah" to act as his new partner to replace Demona; Demona is not happy when she finds this out. After Thailog and Demona are defeated, the clones join the Labyrinth Clan; but in the comics, they temporarily betray their clan to ally with Thailog. After Delilah helps them recover their senses, all but Brentwood return to the Labyrinth Clan (Brentwood prefers Thailog because "Thailog smart").
    • In the ABC continuation, the clones turn to stone, apparently permanently, because of a malfunction in their cloned DNA. But, since this was the ABC continuation, it didn't happen.
  • The Fairly OddParents: Timmy has done this many times. He once remarked about it:

Norm the Genie: Well, there you go! So I whipped this little baby up to cover for you with them.
Wanda: The ankles are filled with marshmallow!
Cosmo: Ah, oh, oh no! It broke!
Norm: And get ya out of school! (gongs a clone) Tada!
Timmy: A clone? Been there, done that.

  • Used in one episode of The New Woody Woodpecker Show called "Two Woody".
  • Scourge of Transformers has the Sweeps, physical clones who are supposedly his huntsmen. However, they all have different voices and different personalities. As wary as Scourge is, the Sweeps are even worse. He occasionally has to ask Cyclonus for help ordering them around.
    • Cyclonus was also supposed to have a clone "armada". One clone shows up in the movie when he is first created, but it is never seen again. This is the subject of much fan discussion.
  • Transformers Animated has Starscream creating a squad of clones as his own personal army, each of the clones embodying an aspect of his personality. The problem is that it's Starscream's personality, making the clones an egomaniac, a pathological liar, a suckup, a total coward, and an Opposite Gender Clone who's just plain insulting.
    • "So, which part of me did you come from?" "Don't ask!"
  • In Superman the Animated Series, Bizarro is a clone of Superman created by Lex Luthor.
  • This was parodied by The Simpsons in a Treehouse Of Horror episode. Homer's clones degraded as clones of clones of clones (etc.) were made; so much so that two featured clones were: Homer as he appeared sounded in the original Tracy Ullman Show shorts, and Peter Griffin.
  • Futurama gets this more or less right: Professor Farnsworth's clone looks like a younger version of him but has a completely different personality. The clone also has a deformity that the original doesn't have, a piglike nose from pressing against the glass of the cloning chamber.
    • Also, in "Bender's Big Score," time travel clones have a high "doom factor" that causes them to be destroyed.
  • In the second season WITCH episode "H is for Hunted", Nerissa produces an Altamere of Will—a living, breathing, feeling, thinking magical clone of her that retains all of Will's memories and friendships. Nerissa tells the Altamere that the only way it can have a real life is if it kills the original Will; otherwise, it will be absorbed back into the Heart of Kandrakar and obliterated forever. This leads to a vicious fight between Will and her Altamere, but once Will realizes her Altamere is a being with a soul, she refuses to fight it and accepts it as a friend...a few seconds later, it sacrifices itself to shield Will from one of Nerissa's attacks.
    • Nerissa later makes an Altermere of Yan Lin, who survives and is introduced to Yan Lin's family as her long-lost twin sister Mira.
    • "Mirror?"
    • In the original WITCH comics the girls used their Astral Drops (temporary magical clones that replace and merge back with them when they return from missions) too often and the Drops began to develop into living beings. The trouble actually started when Will had a panic attack about losing her personal identity and made her Drop an indepedent entity which the Cloning Blues hit hard.
  • In the Kim Possible episode "Kimitation Nation", Dr. Drakken creates an army of duplicates of Kim, Ron, and classmate Bonnie. When discussing it with Wade, she comments that cloning shouldn't work like that according to science class. He agrees; it's not "really" cloning, but they'll refer to it as such to simplify things. The clones were merely used in a Fantastic Aesop and killed off by soda.
    • He'd originally wanted to clone Shego, but she had a no-cloning clause in her contract. When he kept pressing the issue, she walked out on him for the rest of the episode.
  • In Justice League Unlimited, Supergirl learns that the now-villainous Professor Hamilton took genetic samples of her to create a murderously sociopathic clone of Supergirl, named Galatea. However, Hamilton modified the clone to be an older version of Supergirl to make her tougher. Furthermore, Galatea is also a homage to the later copy of Supergirl, Power Girl, as noted by her white costume with a chest hole intended to show off her cleavage, as well as her more developed...musculature.
  • In the third season of Transformers: Beast Wars, a clone of Dinobot is created who bears little resemblance to the original beyond his name, a similar-sounding voice, and having an alternate mode based on the same animal. (Thankfully, the aging issue can be tossed aside in this case...It doesn't apply to robots.) In an earlier season, Dinobot's biological form was cloned by the villains to serve as an infiltrator; Dinobot was implied to have eaten him, but he was an enemy, so it didn't matter that he was a copy.
  • Parodied in the Season Two opener of The Venture Brothers.
    • Although it is implicitly played straight. If Orpheus' trip to the nether in an attempt to resurrect the Venture Brothers is any indication, then Dr. Venture's cloning experiments rendered the Venture Brothers soulless casks of themselves, since Orpheus is unable to find their spirits therein.
    • Their souls were located inside the learning machine; their souls just hadn't been transferred to their bodies yet.
  • One episode of Care Bears has No Heart kick Mr. Beastly out for yet another infraction of common sense, which means that Shreeky is left to do all the menial labor normally left to her dimwitted partner. She eventually comes up with a way to get out of her unenviable situation: she creates five magical clones of herself, and introduces them all to No Heart. But when she gets to the one who's supposed to "take the blame for [making] messes", the Shreeky clones start bickering amongst themselves; then No Heart bellows that he'd rather have Beastly back than deal with them. After he leaves, Shreeky smugly expresses her satisfaction with the results of her apparent Xanatos Gambit; then the other Shreekies start bickering over who really came up with the idea...prompting the real Shreeky to say "there's only room for one Shreeky around here!" and casually disintegrate them all with her magic mirror.
  • Danny Phantom gets the "Evil Clone Created To Destroy Me"—only the clone isn't evil, just manipulated by Vlad Plasmius. The clone is also a she (Dani Phantom).
  • Clone High actually manages to be a humorous aversion/subversion, their angst mostly coming from being moody teenagers, not clones. (Possibly going to a school of nothing but other doppelgangers makes them see it as normal.) Gandhi does mention his party-boy personality as having come from the pressure of living up to his saintly forebear, however, and JFK's womanizing seems to be a mixture of living up to the real Kennedy and having gay foster fathers.
  • In Code Lyoko, William's phenominally stupid artificial clone, created through the supercomputer, has to replace him for several months. He never complains or angsts about his situation, probably because he doesn't realize what he is or accepts it without understanding it. It's the real William who suffers in this situation, as he comes back to find that the clone has completely trashed his reputation through stupidity.
  • Many people may have forgotten, but the AndrAIa who appears in all episodes of ReBoot past her introduction is a backup copy of the original sprite who, unable to leave the game herself, piggybacked the copy onto Enzo because she didn't want him to be separated from her forever.
    • There is also a clone of Enzo due to a system restore, and a clone of Bob due to Megabyte stealing Bob's code. Surprisingly enough, the clone of Enzo doesn't have the "I am not real" complex most clones have. Everyone just treats him like the original Enzo's younger brother, which is fair thanks to the original's Time Skip. Original Bob on the other hand, starts to think he is the clone, until the clone is revealed to be Megabyte.
  • Exo Squad featured clones of major NeoSapien generals and other characters. They tended to realize that they were clones, and one even stated that his predecessor had died on Venus. Given the tens of thousands, if not millions, of deaths that possibly occurred during the series, it is not exactly a case of Back from the Dead. Most never seemed to care about being clones; however, most were clones of genetically engineered humans.
  • In Carl Squared, C2 has a significantly different personality from Carl. C2 also 5% DNA from car's dog Rex, which causes him to catch frisbees in his mouth and scratch behind his ear with his foot.
  • Jim Gaffigan and Conan O'Brian's animated short series Pale Force has an episode where NBC president Jeff Zucker attempts to clone Conan several times, with several unintended side effects. One clone is a human fly, one is hideously mutated, and one even has breasts. The supposedly "perfect" clone, called "Clonan O'Brian" has a desire for human flesh.
  • The Simpsons had a Hallowe'en episode where Homer had a cloning machine, where he was able to make loads of copies of himself. It included a Take That to Family Guy as Peter Griffin turned up as one of the clones!
  • The chief ability of Captain Scarlet villains The Mysterons was to kill and recreate people and objects so that the copies were under their control. However, a building collapse/electric shock plus some Heroic Willpower might just get you your man back.
  • Jimmy Two-Shoes had an episode where Jimmy makes several imperfect copies of himself thanks to his lackluster use of Heloise's machine. Near the end, Jimmy dumps them all in the ocean.
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series episode "The Infinite Vulcan". Spock's clone gets left behind to help the Phylosians.
  • BitchStewie and BitchBrian in Family Guy.
    • And Stewie's evil clone.
  • On The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, future Mandy is a giant worm Empress who keeps having Billy cloned, as these copies' tendency to idiotically get themselves killed provides her with amusement. ("We lose more Billys that way...") Not a case of clones being inherently stupid, as the original Billy was just as dumb.
  • Superboy in Young Justice, being Superman's clone. Superman himself is not pleased.
    • Interestingly, Superman currently uses this as a rationalization why he shouldn't mentor Superboy—he thinks that if he does, Superboy will feel the need to live up to him. However, it's pretty clear that Superman really just finds his clone's existence disturbing.
    • By the end of the first season, Roy Harper/Red Arrow. The one we've been following throughout the show was revealed to be a clone from Cadmus, while the real Roy was put in stasis for three years. He does not take the news about his true nature, along with being an unwilling traitor, very well.
  • On American Dad Stan uses CIA technology to create a clone of his son Steve to prove to his wife his way of raising him is better.


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • A different kind of Cloning Blues occurs in Real Life, with creatures that reproduce asexually—by dividing their cells into two, creating an identical clone. Studies have indicated that it's way easier for parasites to optimally adapt to a strain of creatures with identical DNA than to a species whose biology is based on the genetic lottery of sexual reproduction, and there's evidence that that might be the reason sexual reproduction evolved in the first place. (Go read Carl Zimmer's book Parasite Rex to find out more.)
  • Most fruit bought in today's grocery stores are in fact clones, a practice much simpler than "cloning" depicted on TV and a practice that goes all the way back to ancient China—in essence it's an artificially induced botanical form of asexual reproduction. These clones are typically called Cultivars and are usually registered and well documented. For example, all "Grape Juice" is made from the Concord Grape (white grape juice is typically from the "Niagara Grape"); every single Concord Grape vine is genetically identical to every other Concord Grape vine. For decades, these grapes have been cloned naturally by taking a cutting off one of their branches, shoving it in the ground, and waiting for roots to appear. Sometimes the growers get creative, using a cloned top of the plant and a cloned root system (called rootstock) stuck on for good measure—for plants that are really tasty or grow really well except for their roots.
    • Some cultivars have had mutations in their clones—meaning that there are actual variations within the cultivar, called "sports." The table on this page of The Other Wiki lists sports of the Gala apple cultivar—clones that look & taste different from the "parent" & have become their own cultivars in effect. Until they mutate again, sometimes back to the original phenotype!
    • This is a common practice with fruit trees as well. In the Yakima Valley in Washington State, USA, where most of the country's apples are grown, it would be difficult to find an orchard tree whose seeds had the same genetics as its root cells.
    • Pygmy Sundews, a type of Carnivorous Plant, take this one stage further. They grow a special type of growth called a "gemmae"—a seed without a shell. These gemmae, when ready, explode off the plant and land nearby, where they grow into a perfect clone of the original plant if the conditions are right. It makes growing hybrids very easy, as once you have a plant you like, you can simply wait and in the fall, it will clone itself a few dozen times over.
    • Seedless grapes and domestic bananas are in fact no longer able to reproduce sexually, having adapted to being cloned by humans instead. Going back to the original point that spawned all this talk of cloned plants, one strain of banana was made completely extinct about a century ago due to a parasite that evolved to only feed on that strain. The most common variety of banana nowadays is at risk of the same fate. There are no reports of wild bananas having this trouble.
    • By default any seedless variety of fruit is a clone of the original mutation, otherwise it wouldn't have lasted past one generation
    • Navel Oranges are another type of clone. A mutation in a single tree resulted in seedless fruits that attempt to bud off a second orange in place of the seeds. Thus the only way to reproduce are to graft branches of Navel Orange type onto other trees.
    • All this has raised quite a few concerns for agricultural experts, namely (as what has happened many times before) that entire types of plants can be destroyed because of a single parasitic strain capitalising on its lack of genetic diversity. Efforts to prevent this mostly revolve around quarantine measures to prevent the spread of such parasites and the creation of "seed banks" (vast vaults storing an equally vast variety of plants) instead of attempts to reduce this genetic homogenisation, as using cloned plants is too cheap and easy to ever effectively be stopped.
  • The horror associated with this trope is a major reason why (fake) news of cloned humans gets people very excited, and many places have already passed laws making human cloning illegal.
    • When they bother to make the distinction, it's reproductive cloning (artificial twinning) that is outlawed, while tissue cloning (for replacement organs and such) is not, as the potential is far too great to throw away.
  • So far, the process of cloning animals is imperfect and introduces a wide number of of mutations due to how genetic material is inserted into the egg. Because of this, the majority of clones are known to have health issues through their entire lives.
  • Identical twins, triplets or more are technically clones. Most seem fine with it.
  1. he had it for another purpose, but that's beside the point