Genius Loci

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Ego, the Living Planet
"Something about this place feels... alive."

Some people are places. A Genius Loci is a location with a mind. A sentient planet, country, island, city, or street. Obviously, this is more common in science fiction and fantasy, though a certain amount of animism in otherwise realistic series isn't unknown, and it may be only suggested.

Usually, the Genius Loci has some control over its own form, and uses that control to communicate with the other characters. Alternately, it can trap them in Alien Geometries and torment them with Living Memories for shoots and giggles. It can be a Hive Mind formed from the various organic life-forms that inhabit a place, a nonphysical being possessing the area itself, a mythological spirit of a locale, or a computer system laced through the brick and stone. It can be helpful, neutral, or antagonistic.

The name comes from the Latin[1] for "spirit of a place", originally a location's protective guardian spirit.

Contrast with the non-tangible but often similar Sentient Cosmic Force. Compare Sapient Ship, That's No Moon, Anthropomorphic Personification, The Lost Woods, Fisher King, Fisher Kingdom, and Smart House. May overlap with Environmental Symbolism or Eldritch Location.

The Other Wiki has a list of living planets.

Examples of Genius Loci include:

Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • In Chrono Crusade, Pandaemonium is both the name of the demon's home which, in the manga, is apparently some sort of spaceship and the name of their Hive Queen, who has at least some control over their world and may even be the entire brain of it herself. Also in the manga, it's implied she serves not only as the ruler and mother of all demons, but some sort of organic, on-board computer as well. As you can probably tell, it's unfortunately not the clearest-written part of the series' back story.
  • In the Sailor Moon special manga stories, a series of comical Genii Locorum villains make life difficult for the Sailor Soldiers.
  • In Tower of God the eponymous tower "chooses" those who may enter and climb it. Recent events indicate that the Tower is not satisfied with how things are going inside.
  • Tsukuyomi Moon Phase has Vigo, who first appears as Hazuki's butler within her ancestral castle, but also appears to be part of it, as evinced during his battle against Kouhei.
  • In 666 Satan, the entire Roc Bird City is part of Beelzebub.
  • Eureka Seven gives us the Scub Coral planet itself, a kind of Starfish Alien that communicates via Instrumentality, but seeks another way through the Coralian title character.
  • Nagi from Kannagi describes herself as one of these, since she spawned from a carving Jin made from the sacred tree that used to be outside his shrine.
  • Heavily implied in Clannad, because of the story that Akio tells to Tomoya before Nagisa gives birth:When Nagisa was near death, he prayed that she would be saved. It seemed that since then, Nagisa's health would be linked to the town's. Ushio also inherits this link in the world where Nagisa, Ushio, and Tomoya all die.
  • The Shikima realm, at least in the newest La Blue Girl series, is very much this trope (it's described as "self-regulating"), and the parts of it are actually described corresponding to a body. The appendix is apparently a prison, the brain may just control the entire universe, and it has an anus. I will say it again, of course: it's a world * with an anus.* On the other hand, this self-regulating world that maybe controls the universe has also decided that it likes the local clan of demons with Naughty Tentacles, so.
  • In Angel Sanctuary, after Lucifer rebelled against God because God said so and retreated to Shioul, he and his follower fallen angels found out that it was a barren wasteland, so Lucifer had to merge with the plane itself in order to support any possible life, thus making Hell a Genius Loci. Except for the fact that Luci's soul was sealed into Alexiel's sword somewhere between that and Alexiel's own rebellion, so Hell isn't much sentient anymore.
  • In Transformers Cybertron, Primus' vehicle mode is Cybertron itself, and he actually transforms towards the end of the series. This makes for a really awesome toy, complete with various canonical cities located on his body. According to the manual, this applies to every Cybertron in every Transformers medium across the multiverse; he doesn't wake up much to avoid squishing inhabitants and such.
  • Digimon has Housemon, which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin: a giant house digimon.
    • Also, one forest and one city have turned out to be giant turtle Digimon. (They're not the same turtle, either.)
  • An episode of Mushishi has Ginko investigating a swamp that travels from place to place, and a woman who travels with it.
  • The Forest in Origin: Spirits of the Past.
  • The nation-tans of Axis Powers Hetalia might qualify.
  • Laputa from Castle in The Sky. The castle itself responds to Laputian royalty who own the crystal and the garden / tree's roots keep the kids safe while Muska dies. Subtle example, but several character comment on it.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • The DCU has several examples:
    • Mogo, the planetary Green Lantern. His uniform is a ring of vegetation around his equator. He is also responsible for reassigning the rings of deceased Lanterns. In the Legion of Super-Heroes story Legion of 3 Worlds, the Corps is gone in part because Mogo is dead and the rings cannot be sent out to new wielders.
      • Note that Ego preceded Mogo by several years; Mogo in fact may be a nonevil Ego Captain Ersatz.
    • Ranx, The Sentient City, evil and prophesied to destroy Mogo one day. In the Sinestro Corps War, he tried and failed.
    • Danny The Street (a pun on Danny LaRue), a sentient, transvestite boulevard (think gunshops and hardware stores with pink curtains and pastel-blue awnings) who moves around the world and acted as the Doom Patrol's headquarters for a time. He eventually grew up into Danny The World before being torn down by cosmic repo men. Now he's slowly regrowing from Danny the Bungalow.
      • For a time, he was Danny the Brick.
    • The 2005 The Question miniseries had him talking to "the spirit of Metropolis", who would answer with seemingly-coincidental snatches of conversation from the people in the street.
    • The Sandman spinoff, Lucifer, had one character converse with the Spirit of Las Vegas (summoned by deliberately losing one's life savings in a rigged game, appeared as a 1930's hipster in a zoot suit).
    • The Sandman collection Endless Nights features a story in which the stars themselves are portrayed as alive, and even hypothesizes that the destruction of Krypton and the survival of one of its people was a deliberate set-up between Despair and Krypton's sun, Rao.
      • In the collection World's End, a man tells a tale of another man who discovers each city has its own personality. At one point the second man is stuck in his city's dreams
    • The Endless themselves are this. Dream of the Endless lives in the Dreaming, but he also IS the Dreaming.
    • A recurring character in Hellblazer is essentially the personification of London. He even refers to himself as this.
    • Fiddler's Green (or Gilbert, when he's in his Anthropomorphic Personification form) counts as this.
    • Solaris, an evil sentient artificial sun, from the DC One Million event and All-Star Superman.
    • Aquarius, a rogue living star responsible for the death of Golden Age Black Canary's husband.
    • In Justice League International, during the Keith Giffen era, several important events revolved around the island of Kooey Kooey Koey, which was mobile and sentient.
    • On a smaller scale, it is implied in some stories that Arkham Asylum, the Gotham City psychiatric institution which houses the various psychopaths and lunatics that Batman frequently battles, is in fact a living entity that causes and feeds on madness, thus partly explaining why Arkham's patients have a particularly tough time being cured, and why the asylum itself is a Cardboard Prison.
    • The DCU also had a sentient galaxy in some story that I can't seem to recall exactly. But it aligned a bunch of stars to give Superman a huge powerup. Also there were some smaller living (but not sentient) galaxies, artificially made by some uberpowerful race as bioweapons. Supes, again, kept one as a pet.
  • From the Marvel Universe, the first foe the X-Men fought in the Bronze Age Revival was Krakoa, the Living Island, whose indigious life had been mutated into a single organism by a nuclear test. Marvel also had the aptly-named Ego the Living Planet, who tangled with such persons as The Mighty Thor and Galactus. Another living planet known as Kathulos once appeared in a Doctor Strange story. He blew it up.
    • Deadpool once destroyed a Genius Loci called Id, the Selfish Moon, which used to be a moon of Ego the Living Planet.
    • Cloud, one-time member of The Defenders, was a sentient nebula, an immense cloud of gas, with the ability to assume human form.
    • Another living location is Spragg the Living Hill—it was a hill controlling people's minds. She Hulk fought him, then sent him to space...well, Mole Man sent him to space. On a geyser. He last appeared in a She-Hulk issue, being arrested by Cop Rocks in Space.
    • In the Realm of Kings crossover, a fault in space opened the way to an alternate reality. In said reality it was revealed that not only is the other universe sentient, it's an Eldritch Abomination that wants to consume ours.
  • The Two Thousand AD series Ace Trucking Co. included a story about fast-breeding 'Bampots' attempting to colonise a living planet called Gordon.
  • Books of Magic includes a dirty, cynical, slobbish character who is the spirit of London. Tim Hunter tells him, "I don't think I like you." The spirit replies, " 'Course you don't like me. Nobody likes me, but plenty are fascinated by me."
  • Mount Sorrow, a sentient, talking mountain from the Star Wars Expanded Universe whose tears had healing properties. This is not a joke.
  • Htrae, the Bizarro-copy of Earth that was home to the Bizarros, was sentient simply because regular Earth wasn't. (Though this was only so in Ambush Bug, which isn't really in continuity.)
    • All Star Superman certainly seems to indicate Htrae has some semblance of intelligent and/or sentience.
  • In The Authority Jack Hawksmoor can talk to and command all cities, implying that they are all Genii Locorum, albeit fairly sedate ones who don't interfere in their own affairs very often. Apparently they all have wildly different personalities, and even genders, though these are somehow strangely appropriate—the first time he fought using his city-powers, for example, Jack wore Tokyo like a Humongous Mecha suit.
    • And more recently, a bizarre borderline example: Gaia Rothstein, a century baby. Her astral form looks like the ten-year-old girl she really is, but her physical form is an island... which looks like a walking, talking, two-mile high version of the Swamp Thing.
  • In Zot, a trip to the future results in the hero meeting a small girl in purple clothes who makes some enigmatic comments before vanishing. She is later said to be the living embodiment of the planet Sirius IV.
  • A Justice League of America limited series starring Zauriel and Martian Manhunter declares that the reason the forces of evil fail in the invasion of Heaven that happens in the end is that God -IS- Heaven, down to the chairs, walls, and floor.
  • Tom Strong has a beautiful birth of this- when the Modular Man comes to town, Tom reasons with him that the life he has, and will have, sporadically, isn't the life he wants; he'll get a couple months, maybe a year, before Tom and his crew hunt him down and destroy him and then he'll be dead for years before someone else builds the next module from plans on the internet. So, Tom offers, why not go elsewhere? He ends up on Venus. Scratch that- he ends up as Venus. Venus, in the Tom Strong universe, is the Modular Man. Which is how, in a Crowning Moment of Awesome, Venus can swat a spaceship out of the sky with a giant hand, give Tom a thumbs-up, and then go back to being what it was.
  • ABC Warriors has Medusa, the consciousness of the planet Mars.
  • The original Transformers comic had Omega Supreme, who transformed into a rocket base with its own death tank.
    • On a larger scale than that, Fortress Maximus, Metroplex, and Trypticon all transformed into cities.
    • The Marvel G1 comics also had Boltax, guardian of the Underbase who appeared as a regular robot. The robot was a puppet; Boltax himself is the Temple of Knowledge that housed the Underbase.
  • The Galactus-infused zombies from Marvel Zombies EAT one of them.
  • Barbelith, in The Invisibles. Barbelith is a planetary-type body that helps "initiate" agents of the Invisibles into the higher mysteries. Its true nature, though, is pretty damn mixed; Dane isn't sure, yet Barbelith answers, "You made me" (it? they?) Whoa, more and more questions...better luck asking Grant Morrison, maybe?
  • The ultimate goal of Krona in Trinity was to learn from the worldsoul, the sentient soul of the planet Earth itself.
  • The Futurama and The Simpsons crossover comic book has Nerdanus XII, guardian of the Geek-E galaxy. He looks like a giant nerd, whit mountainous acne and an asteroid belt for glasses.


Fan Works[edit | hide]

Film[edit | hide]

  • Silent film A Trip to the Moon's most famous scene, where the space capsule crashes into the eye of the Man in the Moon.
  • Transformers: The Movie introduced Unicron, the evil robot planet who eats other planets. The comics added a good counterpart, Primus, the god of the Transformers who inhabits their planet, Cybertron. Also, Metroplex, the city-transformer, and his evil counterpart Trypticon, who were later joined by Fortress Maximus and Scorponok, respectively. Transformers Headmasters also featured the living planet Daira.
  • In some stories featuring a Haunted House, the house itself will display attributes of a Genius Loci. One of the classic examples is in The Film of the Book of Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House. The 2006 CGI movie Monster House is a more recent example.
  • Hausu, an incredibly bizarre Japanese horror film (by Toho, no less!!!) is about a sentient man-eating house.
  • Rose Red, a miniseries based on a screenplay by Stephen King and aired on ABC, features a house which is both alive and completely insane. It is implied in the miniseries that all locations are alive in some way, but that the eponymous mansion is the architectural equivalent of a Serial Killer.
  • In Final Fantasy the Spirits Within, Cid hypotheses that the planet is one. He's right, of course.
  • Pandora in Avatar. At least partly.
  • Tony Stark's mansion in Iron Man should count. It's controlled by JARVIS, a sophisticated AI that takes diction, helps manage Stark's projects, suggests new color schemes, and is an unflappable Deadpan Snarker.
  • The movie Osmosis Jones treats each human being as a Genius Loci, inhabited by trillions of sentient cells that lead human-like lives.
  • As Samuel L. Jackson says in the film version of 1408, the room isn't haunted by any ghost—it's just "an evil fucking room".
  • The titular ship in Event Horizon is strongly implied to be this. At one point a character refers to the ship as "she" with the heavy implication it was more than just the standard anthropomorphism of vessels. This was not Han Solo's "girl."
  • Like the Iron Man example above, the underground base from Resident Evil qualify, since it's completely run by a highly intelligent AI named The Red Queen.
  • The Hotel from The Shining which slowly drives Jack mad and torments Danny. Well it's at least one of the theories.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • H.P. Lovecraft's The Street begins with the classic line: "There be those who say that things and places have souls, and there be those who say they have not; I dare not say, myself, but I will tell of the Street."
  • Hill House, from Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House. "Hill House itself, not sane, stood alone against its hills, holding darkness within."
  • Ray Bradbury's short story Here There Be Tygers has an entire planet as one of these. The planet is very friendly and wants to do anything to please the astronauts who landed there, from creating fish that cook themselves to perfect weather up to attractive female companions. When several of the astronauts leave, one decides to stay behind. Despite the planet appearing unfriendly with volcanoes appearing on it, the astronauts know the one who remained will be spoiled rotten by the planet. The astronauts decide to list the planet as unfriendly since it would be to those who would exploit it (rather than appreciate its gifts).
  • Kraken gives us the so-called angels, who are the worldly avatars of Genius Loci.
  • The ship in Octavia Butler's Lilith's Brood is actually a living creature able responsive to chemical impulses.
  • In Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon, stars turn out to be living organisms of a sort, as do the nebulae which preceded them.
  • Gaia, the living planet in Isaac Asimov's Foundation's Edge.
    • Another example is in Isaac Asimov's book Nemesis. "Nemesis" is the name of the red-dwarf star which is orbited by the gas giant Megas which in turn is orbited by the habitable world Erythro, and Erythro - or, more accurately, a form of life existing all over its surface - is the Genius Loci.
      • Don't forget Saybrook's Planet from "Green Patches". Every single organism on the entire planet, from the lowest bacterium to the most advanced terrestrial animal is merely a part of a single, amalgamated mind. (Referred to in the story as "Organized life").
  • In JRR Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings:
    • Word of God on the character of Tom Bombadil (aka Iarwain Ben-adar, Forn, Orald, the Eldest) is intentionally vague; but strongly implies that he is a kind of Genius Loci, an avatar of uncorrupted Middle-earth.
    • The main characters speak as if they sincerely believe that Mount Redhorn (aka Caradhras) is a genius loci. However, the book never says whether so truly is the case.
      • The Film of the Book simplifies it: rather than the mountain being hostile, Saruman is the one causing the storms and avalanches that hinder the party. However, as Genius Bonus, the spell that Saruman speaks in Quenya consists of him goading Caradhras to wake up and raise his wrath, while Gandalf's counterspell tries to put him back to sleep.
  • In The Space Trilogy by CS Lewis, each planet is embodied by an Oyarsa, an extremely powerful eldil (or angel).
  • The title city in the Ray Bradbury short story The Lost City of Mars. After being rediscovered by Earthlings, it tries to trap them inside so that it has someone to entertain.
    • Another, similar Bradbury short story is called The City and involves a sentient Martian city ambushing the human explorers and changing them into cyborgs, so they'll launch a bioweapon attack on Earth and avenge its defeat in an ancient war with humanity's ancestors. And the story's narrated almost entirely by the city itself.
    • Yet another example from Bradbury is the short story Here There Be Tigers where a rocket expedition lands on a planet, which provides for them whatever they desire.
    • The house in "There Will Come Soft Rains" could be considered one, in that it's a setting that's also a character. The only character in the story, in fact.
  • As of Jim Butcher's Turn Coat, Harry Dresden has confirmed that the island from Small Favor is one, which he has named himself. He's also bonded a psychic connection with it, allowing him some cool super-senses while on the island, which he quickly uses to his advantage.
    • And it doesn't just sit around and do nothing, hell no. Demonreach is one of those directly responsible for Harry's resurrection in Ghost Story.
  • Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves, possibly.
  • In Diane Duane's High Wizardry, Dairine visits a planet composed principally of silicon, in layers laid down by periodic volcanic activity. Thus, the planet had become a natural computer and, due to its size, was sufficiently complex to be sentient. Unfortunately, having no sensory apparatus, it hadn't had very much to think about up until then.
  • In Harry Harrison's Deathworld the hero finds himself on a planet whose flora and fauna are in constant full-on attack against the human miners/settlers. Everything is deadly, poisonous, powerful, stabby, etc. It turns out that the planet itself has a mind (is a mind?) and has been psionically directing the attacks.
  • Frank Herbert's Whipping Star: The Calebans are living stars which interact with human beings through constructs called Beachballs.
  • Stephen King liked to use this one. The Overlook hotel from The Shining, the house on Dutch Hill from The Dark Tower, Book 3: The Dark Tower, and the eponymous hotel room from the short story Fourteen Oh Eight are all Genius Loci.
    • The eponymous mansion from Rose Red.
    • The Dark Tower is the ultimate example.
    • The eponymous villain of IT is often equated with Derry, the town It inhabits.
  • In William King's Warhammer 40,000 Space Wolf novel Grey Hunter, a temple is so permeated with evil that it is capable of possessing the minds of people who come there.
  • The eponymous planet from Stanislaw Lem's Solaris.
  • In the Faction Paradox books, there's mention of the City of the Saved, a huge galaxy-sized colony in which every human being ever to exist lives again. And yes. It's sentient. Not so bad, and even quite nice... until you find its "son" infested parts of its structure, transforming really nice places into industrial nightmares with specialized factories for the processing of human beings.
  • The shellpeople of Anne McCaffrey's The Ship Who... series are starships and cities that exhibit all the signs of a Genius Loci, because they have human brains running them.
    • Another Anne McCaffrey series, the Petaybee series, features the titular sentient planet that communicates via echoes and lightshows in caves, and changing the climate/topography of the land when it's so inclined to benefit its inhabitants or drive off bad guys.
  • In Graham McNeill's Warhammer 40,000 Horus Heresy novel Fulgrim, the Laer temple makes Julius think that it's alive.
  • In Terry Pratchett's The Dark Side of the Sun, the First Sirian Bank is a sentient planet (naturally occurring) who happens to be the godfather of one of the main characters. There's also a sentient ocean and a living sun. They're looking for an intelligent gas cloud to round out the elements. Maybe they could get that one from Star Trek: The Next Generation?
  • In the Discworld series, it is revealed in Wyrd Sisters that the kingdom of Lancre is alive and aware. It is seen as capable of communicating (in a manner) through the native wildlife, and grows irate under the reign of a monarch who doesn't care for it. It is also implied in Lords and Ladies that part of the reason the Elves can't remain in Lancre for very long is because the kingdom rejects them.
    • Explicitly stated later-the Elf Queen gloats that marrying Verence, the king, will make her the queen, and then Lancre will have no choice but to accept her.
    • The carnivorous shopping mall in Reaper Man.
    • Unseen University itself, which has a personality likened to that of a large, overenthusiastic shaggy dog. If it could get away with it, it'd roll over on its roof to have its foundations scratched.
    • During the Journey to the Center of the Mind in Hat Full Of Sky, it turns out that the hillside on which the Feegles find themselves turns out to be...the Chalk. But Tiffany and the Chalk are one.
  • In a more serious tone than Mount Sorrow above, the Star Wars Expanded Universe has the rogue planet Zonama Sekot. Zonama refers to the world itself, while Sekot refers to its self-aware, Force-sensitive biosphere. It grows living matter around mechanical components to produce intelligent Living Ships, and has also built enormous hyperdrive engines into its crust, transforming itself into a world-sized Living Ship and earning the "Rogue Planet" appellation.
    • The Galaxy of Fear series also includes D'vouran a planet which is in fact a carnivorous bioweapon.
  • John Varley's Titan bears the tagline: "The alien that is, itself, a world."
    • Appears in the sci-fi trilogy Titan, Wizard, Demon. The rotating space habitat is sentient, all of its inhabitants designed for her entertainment. it turns out the current Gaia is not actually the several million old habitat but instead an inhabitant who merged with the central core, and is overthrown by the main character at the end of the third book.
  • In John C. Wright's Orphans of Chaos, Bran the Blessed appears as a gigantic decapitated head. He describes what he has done to shelter the British islands, and demands an oath not to harm them, under any condition, before he allows Amelia to perform magic on his islands.
  • In John C. Wright's The Golden Age, Rhadamanthus, a mansion's AI, appears regularly and advises Phaethon. Other mansions have their own AIs.
  • The Sector General series includes a planet with living continents—only one develops sapience, and it also happens to be ill. Anyone have an ocean-sized barf bucket?
  • The Lost Woods around Ikos in Harry Turtledove's Fox series.
  • John DeChancie's Castle Perilous is a vastly powerful interdimensional demon torn from primal chaos, who happens to get trapped in the form of a city-sized castle. The whole "chaos" deal means it frequently changes its internal layout and contains portals to thousands of universes.
  • Edgar Allan Poe's classic story The Fall of the House of Usher is one of the first uses of this trope. The hero arrives to find the eponymous house and its surroundings so dark and twisted that they're literally becoming unearthly. The house itself is gradually revealed as bearing a malevolent will born out of the generations of family secrets and crimes that have stained its walls. With the deaths of the last two Ushers, the manor is also destroyed, while the rest of the landscape seems to have returned to normal.
  • In Madeleine L'Engle's A Wind in the Door, the protagonists visit one of Charles Wallace's mitochondria. This makes Charles himself, or possibly Yadah (the mitochondrion) the Genius Locus. By the way, mitochondria are so tiny that all animals have dozens of them in every single one of their living cells.
  • The Deathstalker series by Simon R. Green has the Red Brain: a giant, sentient forest, that may or may not be an entire planet. There is also another, literal living planet, and then at least one other world that was effectively a Genius Locus after a Big Gray Goo scenario. The AIs of Shub may also count, being three sentient computers the size of a planet.
  • There is a Genius Loci of a single meadow in the Clark Ashton Smith short story Genius Loci. And it is TERRIFYING.
  • The Labyrinth in The Death Gate Cycle.
  • In one earlier book of the Bionicle series, two Toa end up trapped within a living room.
  • In Piers Anthony's Chthon and its sequel Phthor, the eponymous Chthon is a living cave system contained within the majority of a continent; which communicates telepathically to those few sentient beings who also possess a similar ability. It is eventually revealed to be a non-organic life form which evolved independently of organic life; and is inimical to all organic life. It's also in communication with similar inorganic life forms, and is part of the cause of the Chill plague, which is intended to destroy all organic life.
  • In The True Game, a series of nine books by Sheri S. Tepper, there are several examples of Genius Loci such as forests, roads, and pools. It is revealed in the final trilogy that the planet itself also is sentient, and contemplating committing suicide.
  • Virtually everything that citizens of The Culture live on is controlled by a hyper-intelligent Mind that will respond to any reasonable request. (Nearly always.) A slightly unusual example since there is nothing supernatural about it: the Culture just builds their ships and stations that way.
  • In Cruel Zinc Melodies, Garrett discovers that a truly gargantuan fungal life form is living beneath his home city, and is both sentient and powerfully psychic. It's responsible for a series of "hauntings" in the theater Garrett's been hired to protect from sabotage.
  • If one considers a sapient planet-sized starship to be a location, then the Tar-Aiym weapons platform in later books of the Humanx Commonwealth series would count. If not that, then how about Quofum, the homeworld of the Xunca, which was basically hollowed out and filled with enormously sophisticated machinery designed to speed up the evolution of the planet's native life.
    • The nameless, green planet from Midworld and Mid-Flinx is home to a vast, all-pervasive, and rather touchy gestalt consciousness derived from its collective vegetation.
  • The Spellsinger series has several examples, including a slow-witted marshland called the Brulumpus and a maelstrom with a raunchy sense of humor.
  • In Animorphs, the Taxxons are spawned from the Living Hive, which makes up most of a large mountain and several cave systems on the Taxxon home world.
  • In Richard McKenna's Hunter Come Home, the humans inflict such biological havoc, that the biomass becomes self aware in its own defense.
  • Anne Rivers Siddons' The House Next Door is about the making of a Genius Loci.
  • The Tortall Universe has the Chamber of the Ordeal, a very small but very powerful one. Squires ready to become knights go in and are forced to live through their worst fears. Protector of the Small shows that it really does have a mind and will of its own.
  • The house in the short story "A Hot Time in the Old Town" by Desmond Warzel becomes a Genius Loci after a particularly diabolical act is committed within.
  • In Ben Bova's Saturn it's revealed that the rings of Saturn are a lifeform, although whether they're sentient or not is never explored
  • In Angelmass, it is revealed that the 'Angel' particles the titular miniature black hole emits are counterbalanced by the Angelmass itself becoming a demon, capable of propelling itself and destroying ships with bursts of Hawking radiation.
  • Doctor Who New Adventures:
    • The 1991 novel Timewyrm: Revelation featured Saul, the spirit of a church in Cheldon Bonniface, England.
    • The 1992 novel Transit featured a 22nd-century interplanetary subway system (the "stunnel") that had become so complex that it had evolved sentience.
    • Lungbarrow, the Doctor's family House on Gallifrey, from the 1997 novel of the same name (and really, most Houses on Gallifrey).
  • Ursula K. Le Guin's short story Vaster Than Empires and More Slow involves a planet whose plant life, ALL plant life, is sentient and apparently telepathic. Since every single plant, from trees to blades of grass, is connected telepathically to every other plant on the planet, the entire planet is essentially a living being. And it/they does not appreciate a group of humans dropping by for a visit.
    • The Earthsea Trilogy has a sentient grove, among many other earthbound spirits called "Old Powers".
  • The titular prison complex in Incarceron is sentient...or at least an A.I.
  • The Labyrinth from Percy Jackson and The Olympians.

"The Labyrinth is a patchwork," Annabeth said. "I told you, it's always expanding, adding pieces. It's the only work of architecture that grows by itself."
"You make it sound like it's alive."
A groaning noise echoed from the tunnel in front of us.
"Let's not talk about it being alive," Grover whimpered. "Please?"

  • "The Lonely Planet" is a short story by Murray Leinster about a planet that develops sentience (or, more precisely, the entire planet is covered by a single sentient life-form). It's also telepathic, meaning that when humans send scientists to study it, it picks their brains for technology...
  • The Shivers installment A Ghastly Shade of Green had a malevolent (when angered) swamp.
  • In the Rivers of London series, there are many Genii Locorum across London (including for the rivers, as the title implies). Mama Thames prefers the West African term "Orisa".
  • Elizabeth Bear's Promethean Age books feature one of the lions in front of the New York City Public Library as a Genius Loci.
  • The French novel Planète Verte, Peur Bleue (approx. "Green Planet, Black Terror") has planet Isol 50, alias "That".
  • In Gene Stratton Porter's Freckles, Freckles half-seriously describes Angel as this.

"There's nothing you could be but the Swamp Angel."


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Eureka: Carter's smart house, S.A.R.A.H., is so smart it has opinions. And a Twitter account!
  • The warehouse in Warehouse 13 is sentient. To what degree is uncertain, but it is alive.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "42" had a living star, lashing out at those who had stolen part of it for fuel.
    • The TARDIS herself, which is technically a Sapient Ship containing its own Pocket Dimension.
    • The House in "The Doctor's Wife" is what happens when a Genius Loci goes bad.
  • During his appearance on The Sarah Jane Adventures, the 11th Doctor mentions leaving his companions Amy and Rory from Doctor Who on a honeymoon planet, "which isn't what you'd think - it's not a planet for a honeymoon, it's a planet on a honeymoon. It married an asteroid."
  • Kamen Rider Kiva's Castle Dran, a sentient castle/dragon tank-like ancient haunted house. That's just the exterior.
  • Farscape had Moya the Living Ship, which had intelligence and personality, but could only communicate via the Pilot.
  • In Andromeda, stars, black holes, and some planets and moons (and blue diamonds, and purple horseshoes) have embodied Avatars of varying power, including Trance Gemini. This was not part of the original conception of the character or the show, but after the original producer left, things changed.
    • Well, I won't say it was not part of the original conception. The original producer wrote the same thing.
    • They're two twists on one basic idea. Just a shame it meant some of the foreshadowing came to nothing in the end.
  • Watcher's Woods in an episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark?
  • In Smallville, Jor-El is basically a ghost haunting, and controlling, the Fortress of Solitude.
  • The Outer Limits episode "If These Walls Could Talk" had a mansion that would eat unsuspecting people. Since the story was partially based on Who Goes There?, alcohol was like acid to it.
  • The Tales from the Darkside episode "A New Lease on Life" featured a living apartment building; only food waste was allowed to be thrown down the trash chute, because that was its esophagus.
  • Destiny from Stargate Universe, maybe.
  • Power Rangers Turbo had one episode where the local forest had a genius loci in the form of a child.


Music[edit | hide]

  • The Decemberists' "Annan Water"; the river is apparently capable of understanding William's vow to let it drown him on the return journey if it will only let him across to save Margaret. Unfortunately for him, it takes him at his word.
  • "Ego the Living Planet" by Monster Magnet is, sadly, not about a living planet.
  • Arguably, "Billy The Mountain" by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention.
  • "Man-House lives inside himself with thoughtful human brains" in Bee Of The Bird Of The Moth.


Mythology[edit | hide]

  • Many Native American religions/cultures are based on Animism, the belief that every object has a spirit.
  • Ditto for the Japanese Shinto. The spirits of the mountains are especially significant.
  • For some reason it seems to appear in every culture
    • A rather heartwarming version are the fairies that live beside stoves in Russian Folklore, which is the kikimora. She is said to be married to the other house spirit called domovoi. They are a house and its family's guardians. I believe other cultures have similar stories.
  • The mountains in Inca (Quechua) religion are like this.
  • The Trope Namer, of course, is ancient Roman religion.
  • Many tools and artifacts. Ships and weapons famously. Also computers.
  • Nations are often given allegorical representations and personalities.


Newspaper Comics[edit | hide]

  • Sally's school building in Peanuts.


Radio Drama / Audio Drama[edit | hide]


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • At least a couple of sentient cities and complexes have cropped up in Warhammer 40,000, usually due to the Adeptus Mechanicus or Chaos. Titans are so enormous they may also qualify.
    • The Machine God of the Adeptus Mechanicus' Forge World of Mars is one of these. There is considerably in-universe speculation that it may, in fact, be the C'Tan known as The Void Dragon.
      • As of Mechanicum it's official that the Dragon is locked in a special prison on Mars.
    • A particularly amusing example is the fan character Deffboss. Because Orks do not die of old age, continually growing until they die in battle, Deffboss, the sole survivor of the original batch of Orks bioengineered by the Old Ones to fight the Necrons around the time of Earth's Cretaceous period, is now the size of a planet. He has an entire civilization of normal-sized Orks living on him who operate the various weapon emplacements and hangars built into his armor.
  • Exalted has a few of these, usually in the form of the Primordials, the beings who created the gods. Malfeas is both the hell dimension that binds the Yozis (Primordials who were crippled, twisted, and imprisoned following their defeat) and a Yozi in his own right, the former king of the Primordials twisted into a blighted city of basalt and brass. Some of the other Yozis serve as similar parts of the landscape in Malfeas: such as Cecelyne, the Endless Desert; Szoreny, the Silver Forest; and Kimbery, the Sea That Marched Against the Flame.
    • The Primordial Autochthon, on the other hand, serves as a pocket dimension outside of Creation (he sided with the gods, so he escaped mostly unscathed). He serves as home to the Alchemical Exalted, beings created from the magical materials and animated by the souls of dead heroes. Only he's starting to wind down...
      • The Alchemicals themselves, once they get to Essence 8.
    • Gaia, the closest thing to a good Primordial, has a world-body of her own, currently off exploring the depths of the Wyld. (Her souls, the Five Elemental Dragons, are part of Creation's geomancy.)
    • The Fair Folk in their native, unshaped state as well.
  • Autocthonia also appears in Mage: The Ascension, made by the same folks who did Exalted (White Wolf). This time around it was a sentient machine world and "living" manifestation of Order hanging in the spirit realm, discovered and colonized by a transhumanist faction of superscientists/mages.
    • There's also lots of smaller gods, of things like individual mountains, cities, forests and such. Some PCs can reasonably expect to beat them in a fight.
    • And the first real enemy in the quick start scenario is a spirit of laziness and apathy that possesses an abandoned baseball stadium. And is actually capable of causing a Total Party Kill.
    • Also, in the original Mage, there was a Merit-Flaw combination (Manifest Avatar/Phylactery) that could turn your soul into one of these. Meaning that you had to be standing in that place (and somehow make it obvious that it was important) to be able to cast, but it would act as a Genius Loci on its own. Since the soul has a semi-distinct personality from the mind, this might get... interesting.
  • Dungeons & Dragons has multiple examples:
    • Fossergrims and Oreads are to waterfalls and mountains (respectively) what Dryads are to trees. Dryads can't really be called an example of this trope, unless you consider a tree a place.
    • The monster called a Spirit of the Land is the spirit of a particular geographical area, such a valley, desert or river. They can transform in an elemental form to defend the terrain feature they're associated with.
    • There's an actual creature called a Genius Loci. They form from places that are undisturbed for a long time. They're normally not intelligent, but can enslave a creature, which then gives them intelligence and the ability to speak. They're often, but not always malign.
    • As of the 3rd Edition Dragonomicon, Dragons (usually good-aligned ones) can opt to become a genius loci as an alternative to death from old age, lichdom or any of the other ways a dragon can live past its already substantial years. The dragon's spirit enters the chosen terrain (which often takes on a draconic feature like a hill shaped like a resting dragon). These spots are popular places for dragons to lay eggs and raise young because of the protective influences of the area's spirit. Dragons can even commune with the location to seek advice from the dragon that inhabits it.
    • A creature called a Zeitgeist is the spirit of an age. At the end of an old one, it picks a person whose character and ideals set the "tone" of the next age. Article for context: [1] [dead link]
    • Sometimes, entire planes of existence are alive. The demiplane known as Neth is an entire world of living tissue. It's curious and sends out Children of Neth to learn about the multiverse. The Chaotic Evil Abyss, home to Demons, is thought to be sentient to some degree. Each layer has a dim awareness which bonds with the Demon Lords that rule those layers.
    • In the Ravenloft setting, a Phantasmagoria is a particularly powerful sinkhole of evil that has spontaneously become self-aware.
      • The entire demiplane could possibly be considered a Genuis Loci since it reshapes itself to accommodate those it considers the most evil (and reshapes the people as they develop along their "path of sin"). The "dark powers" have never been defined and the rules offer a hypothesis that they are part of the land itself.
      • Don't forget the Mists themselves, that arguably count since they are within the setting a "place outside of other places."
      • Dream Spheres in the Nightmare Lands are personalized versions of this trope, sculpting their environments in accordance with the resident dreamer's psyche.
    • Atropos, the undead afterbirth of a long forgotten god, takes the form of a sentient, Omnicidal Maniac planetoid.
    • Nimicri is a floating trade city in the Chamada layer of Gehenna where all the citizens and the place itself secretly form a single organism with ambiguous intentions.
    • And in 4th edition, the Warlock spell "Vestige of Land's Soul"' allows the Warlock to wake up the spirit of the land around them and order it to kill one of their enemies.
    • The land of Rashemen in Forgotten Realms is implied to be a living being.
    • Module X4: Master of the Desert Nomads, for original Dungeons & Dragons, features a swamp with a sentient area called the Malakaz: "It is not a monster, but an evil force. The hut was once the home of a particularly evil female wizard. When she died, the hut and the area around it became filled with the essence of all her evil."
  • In Shadowrun the fact that the earth has a presence on the astral plane is seen by some as evidence that the planet itself is alive.
    • Shamans can also summon a Hearth Spirit, literally the Genius Loci of wherever they happen to be: in a nightclub you might get a spiritual bouncer or barman (depending on the kind of nightclub you are in), for instance.
    • Shadowrun also has a phenomenon called "background count," in which the mana of a place can be warped by events that take place there. This doesn't exactly make the area alive, but it has an impact on anyone who visits.
  • Rifts has quite a few. Millennium Trees are huge thousand-foot tall trees that form living cities, nurtured and protected by the Trees' own latent psychic field. And there's at least two living planets, one (Wormwood) is inhabited and in the middle of a demon invasion, and the other (Eylor) kept hidden by transdimensional slavers who have a monopoly on giant magical eyes harvested from its surface.
  • Magic: The Gathering has "man-lands", lands that can turn into creatures. The most recent of these are the five dual-color man-lands and the "construct-land" from Worldwake.
    • In the storyline, the Yavimaya Forest.

Kaysa speaks as the Elder Druid, but the Yavimaya recognizes only one voice: its own.

  • Following the Animistic themes of Werewolf: The Apocalypse, the planet itself is the Earth Mother Gaia. More locally, every major city has a City Father/Mother, who represents the city's general culture and ideals. Chicago's City Father has been shown to be an old-school 30's gangster, while Atlanta's is a Southern Belle.
    • Werewolf: The Forsaken inherited Apocalypse's animism; as in its predecessor, there are numerous spirits of place, with the most significant to the Forsaken being Luna, the spirit of the Moon.
  • The "Freedom City" setting of Mutants and Masterminds has Doctor Metropolis, the living spirit of Freedom City; think The Spectre with Jack Hawksmoor's powers and Doctor Manhattan's, um... sense of humor?
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade, a high-level use of Animalism allowed a Gangrel (usually) character to do this, and it was implied that such was the origin of such phrases as "forbidding mountain" and "haunted forest".
    • In the same game, the Tzimisce can use their Vicissitude Domain to mold their ghouls together into living, breathing rooms for their homes.
      • This concept appears in the computer game adaptation, Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines, when the player character enters the lair of a Tzimisce, complete with walls that bleed when struck. It is easily the most atmospherically disturbing mission in the game.
  • In Kult, the cathedrals of Archon and Angel of Death are the true self of their owner.
  • The Paranoia role-playing game takes place in Alpha Complex, a massive domed/underground city ruled by Friend Computer.
  • In Strontium Dog Queux is a living, intelligent planet that is billions of years old. It knows the secrets of the entire galaxy.

Toys[edit | hide]

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • The Seiken Densetsu/Mana games have a variation on this; while the Mana Tree is purported to be the Mana Goddess transformed, and in some games actually displays evidence of sentience, it's actually a woman of a specific breed who sacrifices mobile life to fulfill the Tree's vital role to the functioning of the world.
  • In Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, after you win the game by Ascending To A Higher Plane Of Existence, you can see a short story about your new life as a planet, as well as the colonized planet itself.
    • The game also has a secret project, "The Self-Aware Colony", which reduces the costs of maintaining and controlling your cities by turning them into Genius Loci. The cinematic for the project shows a city trapping a pair of dissidents before incinerating them, and even automatically cleaning both their ashes and the graffiti slogan they were writing from a wall. We Must Dissent...
    • Also, if it will negativity impact Planet, be careful with your actions, since otherwise you will likely get Planet to spawn the Mind Word army from hell on you. Basically, building map improvements that create a ton of resources or mass use of Planet Busters will do it.
  • In the Neverwinter Nights 2 Expansion Pack Mask of the Betrayer, one of the bosses is a Genius Loci who even uses the name.
    • The Genius Loci, in fact, is a Dungeons & Dragons monster, appearing in the Monster Manuals of the 2nd and 3rd editions of the game.
  • Silent Hill's eponymous town, though debatable as it may simply be haunted.
    • This may require some elaboration: The whole town of Silent Hill is alive with a mystical force that takes your nightmares and fears and brings them to life, whether in monster form or in the form of a location (like a building or something). If Silent Hill wants you, you will end up in the town, either by being called to it or having an unfortunate accident in or near the town and ending up stuck in that Hell-hole. Later in the series, the power of the town grows to consume its neighbor, Shepherd's Glen.
  • In Planescape: Torment, one early quest involves helping a living street give birth. Another involves helping a haunted house. Oh, and a door that only opens when you aren't looking at it. And the Lady of Pain may be the Genius Loci of Sigil.
  • In The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time, two of the dungeons that Young Link must go through are the Great Deku Tree (a giant sapient tree that is the protector of the Kokiri Forest and its perpetually-childlike denizens) and Jabu-Jabu's Belly (the interior of a giant fish/whale that is the deity of the aquatic Zora race). In Oracle of Ages, Link must once again traverse the interior of Jabu-Jabu, except this time it's the god of a different group of Zoras, in the land of Labrynna.
    • In both Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons, Link can enter the Maku Trees, which are also giant sapient guardian trees. However, there's only one room inside, and it only houses a character whose function is to transfer data between the two games, so the Genius Loci aspect doesn't really come into play. (Nintendo probably only put Farore inside the trees because they wanted her location to be the same in both games.)
    • Arguably, the Moon from Majora's Mask. Whilst it has a actual (rather intense-looking) face, it never moves it or shows any other signs of sentience. Like the rest of the game, it's all rather mysterious.
  • In Klonoa: Moonlight Museum, the eponymous museum is sentient. It's also the Big Bad of the game, and plots to steal people's dreams to host as art exhibits.
  • According to the flying future-dolphins, the ocean becomes this in the good future of Earth in Ecco the Dolphin: Tides of Time.
  • The Shalebridge Cradle in Thief Deadly Shadows housed an asylum and an orphanage. At the same time. Fueled by the sheer amount of brutal, institutional cruelty inflicted by the staff before a fire killed most of its inhabitants, It remembers things, likes to keep the things it remembers so it can play with them, and soon after you enter it...it remembers you.
  • EarthBound has Dungeon Man, a maze builder who opted to be literally turned into a giant walking dungeon.
  • In The 11th Hour, the sequel to The 7th Guest, the mansion has apparently become the physical incarnation of Stauf himself, eg. one scene in the backstory involves two girls being raped by the house, and one of them producing an Enfant Terrible as a result.
  • Portal is the Spiritual Successor to a game called Narbacular Drop, which is set inside a sentient dungeon named Wally.
    • Since GLaDOS controls much of the testing facility (possibly all, depending on your thoughts on her motives), she also functions as one.
    • In the Perpetual Testing Initiative DLC for Portal 2, one iteration of Cave Johnson is in fact the entire planet.
  • The city of Leá Monde in Vagrant Story. Every cobblestone, every wall in the city is inscribed with ancient Kildean runes, turning it into the Gran Grimoire—the ultimate focus of the power of the Dark. After centuries of this supernatural influence, the city itself acquired a will of its own, and any soul tainted by the Dark is doomed to wander its catacombs forever.
  • Carnate Island and Baltimore in The Suffering, according to many theorists throughout the two games- human or otherwise.
  • In the Castlevania series, the eponymous castle is implied to be a living creature of chaos. It would certainly explain why its layout changes with every game.
  • One of Demigod's Heroes is a walking castle.
  • In Metroid Prime 3, Phazon is implied at numerous points to be a sentient lifeform; in the first two games, it was assumed to be just a material. Phaaze, the planet that is the source of all the Phazon, is not only living, it spreads Phazon to other planets by giving birth. (Some Epileptic Trees differ, but the point is that Phazon is living and Phaaze is made of Phazon, ergo Phaaze is living.)
  • Albion has Argim, a former Iskai. During one of his experiments to find the secret of true immortality, Argim lost his body, and his consciousness entered the living plants that made up his home, and the creatures that took up residence there. The only way to communicate with him is by finding his brain (well an extension to it), which is still intact and has grown to just the right size to block the path to the MacGuffin.
  • Gaia in Tsukihime. All the other planets are essentially alive as well, though nothing happens there. In Fate/stay night this is expanded on to include Akasha, which exists alongside Gaia in some form or another. People have tied their existences to such things and made themselves nearly indestructible.
  • Halo 3: ODST features an interesting variation with New Mombasa, a city run by an artificial intelligence called the Superintendent, or "Virgil." Its influence is limited during the game itself, during which it sends you a map of the city through a videophone, unlocks supply caches marked with its "face," and sends audio files that tell the story of a girl trying to rescue her father, who works with the Superintendent; in the audio files, the Superintendent's full ability, ranging from controlling garbage trucks to stoplights, is shown.
  • La-Mulana has the eponymous Temple of Doom, which is the body of the Mother.
  • System Shock's Citadel Station, being completely controlled by the crazy AI SHODAN, surely qualifies.
  • Whale Island in Rune Factory: Frontier was given consciousness by the spirits of the Runes, allowing it both to float in the air and speak directly to Raguna. However, the influence of the Runes on the island is growing weak, and if it should fade completely, it could prove disastrous for the inhabitants of the town of Trampoli on the surface.
  • The planet in Final Fantasy VII. Cetra can hear the cries of the planet, Lifestream/Mako Energy is its blood (with materia its crystallized form), and it gives birth to WEAPONS when its existence is threatened. In the game's ending, when it appears Holy isn't powerful enough to repel Meteor, the planet sends out its Lifestream to supplement Holy and save the day.
  • Chzo Mythos; DeFoe Manor binds to the mind of John DeFoe, but not the house. The house is burned down. It's apparently the PLACE now. Which is a lot trickier to destroy and create the Bridge, requiring something on the order of a nuclear blast to annihilate.
    • Let's not forget the titular Eldritch Abomination, Chzo itself, which is so big that Trilby even says it's as much a place as a creature.
  • The planet in Loco Roco is very much alive, complete with facial expressions. It is a rare player-controlled example where through using gravity alterations, lightning and earthquakes, you can affect the life of the inhabitants of the planet. There are also a solar and lunar body with facial expressions who often react to sound waves of the inhabitants of the planet. It's more cheerful than it sounds though.
  • World of Warcraft has Nespirah and L'Ghorek, non-villainous gigantic crustacean-squids. Their insides could easily house several cities.
  • In Golden Sun, one of the earlier dungeons/bosses is a gigantic, hollow, sentient, Psynergy-capable tree.
    • In The Lost Age, the Kibombo tribe worship a statue with a Magitek-mechanical maze beneath and inside it, and their witch-doctor has stolen a rather important gem as a sacrifice to earn its favor. The statue eventually grants its favor to the witch-doctor, allows the party to recover the Black Orb, and challenges them both to earn even greater powers. Kraden lampshades that there are things in Weyard even he doesn't really understand.
  • In the Transformers Armada video game, one level is in a ship, and when you leave, it transforms. You were inside Tidal Wave the whole time.
  • In Jabless Adventure, a hill in the Green Hill Zone has a face. Its eyes follow you as you walk by. No explanation is given.
  • Ar Ciel, the planet on which the "Ar tonelico" games take place, has multiple wills that form a single consensus for the planet with each will governing certain aspects. Horus for example was the will that governed all the others as well as the earth (as in the surface of the planet) until it was mortally wounded when the sea of death was created and when it dies completely so will the planet and all the other wills. There are many other wills, some who you actually meet during "Ar Tonelico 3" such as Yurishca who governs the technological advancement of humanity and Soma who maintains balance through natural selection. The most recent will to come into existence is Ar ru whose role is to create planetary antibodies for the purpose of wiping out humanity which had delivered a quite possibly fatal wound to the planet. The end goal of the third game is to simultaneously heal the planet and communicate with Ar Ciel's consensus to convince it to forgive humanity.
  • In Metro 2033, Artyom (the Player Character) and his then-companion Bourbon are forced to detour into a small room, at which point the mutants pursuing them stop following. It turns out the room is full of the corpses of other explorers, and as Bourbon attempts to pry open a grille door, he starts hallucinating that something is singing to him. As his hallucination gets worse and worse, you start seeing the room as a tall and narrow passageway, with one end increasingly shrouded in an ominous red and black atmosphere. Fortunately, you and your companion manage to escape before sharing the same fate as many of the others in that room.
  • In Fallout 3, which takes place in the ruins of Washington D.C 200 years after a nuclear war, the landscape is very desolate and befitting of the title of Capital Wasteland. The one exception is in a forest area called Oasis which earns its name with healthy plants and trees all over the place and pristine lake water. The source of this forest comes from an old character from Fallout 1 and 2 named Harold who last time we saw him had a mutant tree growing out of his head, apparently Bob as Harold named it mutated to the point that it enveloped Harold's entire body. Harold is now a living tree who has been rooted to the ground for 30 years and in the intervening period Bob (Harold treats the tree that has consumed his body as his friend and as a sentient being, either that or he treats the tree as a friend so he doesn't go insane from boredom) has been producing spores that have planted seeds all over the area which has sprouted the forest you now see. Even more amazing is that Harold claims that his mind is linked up to the entire forest, if he tries real hard he swears that his eyes can see through every leaf of every tree. The player has the option to apply medicine that could accelerate Harold's growth and in time his forest could envelop the entire United States making the entire continent a part of his living body.
  • Guild Wars 2 has the Pale Tree, a tree grown out of a magical seed of mysterious origin and tended by Ventari, a peace-loving centaur philosopher who left a tablet summarizing his peaceful moral and ethics at its roots before his death. The tree grew massive over 250 years, developped a mind of her own and gave birth to the Sylvari race. She holds their main city, The Grove, into her trunk, branches and roots, can speak through an avatar in the shape of a pale Sylvari lady and teaches all Sylvari the wisdom Ventari left behind - although some of them end up rejecting it.

Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • In A Miracle of Science, the entire population of Mars is linked telepathically, being both individuals and parts of a single, giant mind. The identity of the Hive Mind is Mars itself, as in this strip:

Benjamin: That is the third person who gave me a flower today.
Caprice: Mars likes you.
Benjamin: That's like saying "Brazil has decided you're cute."

  • In Kevin and Kell, a minor recurring character is a sentient tree. Fenton turns the tree (who assumes a maternal relationship to him) into a house, and Harelink later uses some spare space to set up their modem pool.
  • Gene Catlow has ethereal entities tied to many locations. The most familiar is the Friendship Island Entity, who opposes a group of others known collectively as The Host.
  • A guest comic for The Adventures of Dr. McNinja applied this to Myspace, of all things.
  • Castle Heterodyne in Girl Genius was originally a single, artificially-intelligent Genius Loci; after taking severe damage, it fractured into separate minds in separate areas that can't communicate with each other. There are three genii locorum that we've seen directly:
    • A kitchen built specifically for a cook that went up the pole and started poisoning everything he cooked (but amused the Heterodynes) that may or may not recognize Agatha;
    • In the crypt is the Throne of Faustus Heterodyne, by which the seneschal of Mechanicsburg can communicate directly with Castle Heterodyne (the central brain itself is in the library), that considers Agatha a possible heir; and
    • The Chapel, where lies a system capable of authenticating a Heterodyne through blood and has acknowledged Agatha as its mistress. It's implied that the Chapel and the Library parts are both the same, or at least work together, since the Library sent her to the Chapel.
    • The other genii locorum are secondary systems that have lost communication with the crypt and library, and are significantly less smart-exhibiting an obnoxious tendency to be in charge of sensitive areas, where they try (and often succeed) to kill workers sent by the library to repair those areas. Although the library/crypt and the chapel are relatively significantly saner than the rest of the Castle, they're quite kill-happy; when Agatha stops the crypt killing a man who believes the Heterodynes to be extinct, it poutingly cries (through Carson, the old seneschal), "Fine! Maybe I just won't kill anyone at all!" Oh, and when she asks the Chapel to have the Torchmen keep her enemies out of Mechanicsburg airspace, it gleefully interprets this as permission to hassle Castle Wulfenbach, of all things. Good times forever.
      • Of course it's kill-happy. It was given its mind by old Faustus Heterdyne, who was apparently one of the madder Heterodynes, which is like saying that a particular inmate is one of the crazier people in the asylum.
  • In Eight Bit Theater its been suggested that the Temple of Fiends may be one of these (says Drizz'l, "Frankly, we'll be lucky if the architecture is only sentient. It could also be filled with rage. Or crazy").
    • Also, played with in Black Mage. Nexus points are locations along the faultlines of reality which contain great raw energy and destructive force, but Black Mage is in the rather unique position of being the manifestation of a nexus point, so he's actually more like a Genius Loci unto himself. He's closer to an Eldritch Abomination than to human, and when he finally loses his physical form he gets exponentially more powerful. Unfortunately for the universe.[2]
  • In Earthsong all of the planets have spirits, and can sometimes manifest in humanoid, ghostly forms. Many of the planets are said to be "asleep" and rarely venture in their spirit form, but the eponymous planet is an active part of the story.
  • The Scary Librarian at the Wizarding School (but for Cubi) in DMFA is bound body, mind and soul to the Library.
  • Lady Un-Deux-Un Rapplestreet from Thief of Hearts. She's the physical manifestation of the residual emotions of the people who have previously lived at 121 Rapple Street, and she enjoys tormenting Erik.

Erik: Evil perverted bipolar old house...

  • In Jack, the ground of Hell is the most Slothful person ever to have died to date, although communication is possible only at a particular tree.
  • The island entity in Gene Catlow is apparently becoming some form of this.
  • In one arc of Schlock Mercenary, the artificial intelligence LOTA gets itself elected king of a nation-sized space station. It then uploads its brain into the station's internet, inhabiting the entire place and taking personal control of all its systems.
  • In Skin Horse their newest client is Cypress, a sentient swamp. And her daughter, Venus.
  • In Demon Eater, the world of demons is actually the largest demon on existence.
  • In Homestuck, Skaia is pretty much the closest thing to God, due to being a benevolent omniscient force that perpetuates the creation of new universes and shapes the players of any given session to become heroes. It however doesn't seem to be sentient in the traditional sense and isn't anywhere near omnipotent.
  • Vexxarr has the mother rock.


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • The Grave Academy, in the eponymous Forum/RPG is pretty explicitly alive, and apparently needs feeding once a month.
  • In the Whateley Universe, the Grove is a sentient, very ancient grove of trees just off the Whateley Academy campus, and it doesn't permit visitors it doesn't like. The Whateley Universe also reveals that there are multiple such genii locorum in New York City, ranging from 'Street Life' and 'The Thug' to 'Show Biz' and 'The Firefighter', all spirits representing important aspects of the city.
  • One of Ursula Vernon's short stories (untitled and unfinished as of yet) features sentient trees who have fungus for brains. Once outsiders arrive and begin scooping out the fungus as a delicacy, the trees themselves go mad.
  • The Dionaea House is a semi-famous internet story featuring someone who goes and investigates the disappearance of his friend and finds what turns out to be a sentient (and hungry) house. Found here.
  • Tales of MU has domesticated nymphs who are the spirits of cultivated fields. The 3 Seas, by the same author, has the spirit of a ship named "Loki".
  • The Tale of Gaven Morren has The Tower of Miir, which manipulates the emotions of the population to feed itself, manifesting through The Shadows, a collection of living stories/demons/faeries/ghosts that represent the city's long and sordid history.
  • Any civilized habitat in Orion's Arm is alive. In fact the powerful Archailects have to be planet or star sized due to the (Real Life) Bremermann Limit.
    • There are also Envomes, sapient or transapient ecosystems.
  • The wall in Draw With Me.
  • In the third asdfmovie, a guy named Jim commits suicide with the standard line "Goodbye world." The Earth says goodbye asking him where he's going only to be horrified when Jim kills himself.
    • In asdfmovie5, a couple on a romantic getaway comment that it's "just you, me, and the Moon". The Moon comments that they should kiss.
  • The Empty City is a sentient city that is also a Mobile Maze and a Living Labyrinth - representing the fear of being lost, if you get trapped inside it, you be will wander its streets until you die - in The Fear Mythos.
  • Being somewhat of a location that other people can enter, the Book from The Book of Stories OCT falls under this due to having a mind of its own.
  • Several SCPs are buildings or particular locations that seem to have some degree of sentience.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • The moon in Ruby Gloom
  • In The Amazing World of Gumball: The Sun, Earth's moon, and the planets all count. In the episode The World, pretty much Everything Talks, so there might be more examples in that episode.
  • Megas XLR: Coop once fought a gargantuan organic planet that ate radio waves.
  • The Foggy Swamp in Avatar: The Last Airbender, location of The World Tree. The Avatar themself is the human form of the World Spirit, which explains their connection with all four lands; this is not actually said in the show, but it is implied.
  • "MIKE, THEEVIL LIVING BUILDING!
  • The first "Treehouse of Horror" episode on The Simpsons had a sequence where the Simpson family moves into a haunted house that turns out to be self-aware. The house tries to scare them off because it can't stand them, but eventually gives up and simply implodes rather than live with them. A later Treehouse of Horror had them install an AI with Pierce Brosnan's voice into their regular house, who desires Marge's bod.
  • In the Futurama episode "Godfellas", Bender encounters what appears to be a sentient galaxy, which initially speaks in binary and may or may not be God.
    • Bender himself is a sentient location earlier in the episode when he is colonized by aliens.
    • Fry might count as well, when he is colonized by sentient worms. They have a statue of him labeled: "The Known Universe".
    • Yivo in the second movie is eventually lived upon by people. Shklis body actually inspired our popular conception of heaven.
  • His Elevated Eminence in the My Little Pony episode, "Crunch the Rockdog".
  • The Cave of Wonders in Aladdin.
  • In the South Park episode "Something Wall-Mart This Way Comes", the eponymous department store that invades the town is a combination of The Heartless and Genius Loci.
    • The episode "Lice Capades" tells the story of a group of, yes, lice living on the scalp of one of the boys. The story becomes a parody of natural disaster movies ("The planet is trying to tell us something!") when the kid starts using delousing shampoo.
  • As listed under Comic Books, the Transformers animated canon has several examples, most notably Metroplex, Trypticon, Unicron, and Primus, although in the cases of the first two, they are sometimes considered just smaller sections of larger cities.
    • In Transformers Animated, the Autobots' ship is actually the ancient Autobot warrior Omega Supreme.
    • Torkulon, the planet where Cyclonus tried to get Galvatron's insanity cured in the original series, was enough of a Genius Loci to contract madness from Galvatron.
    • On a much smaller scale, could Tidal Wave qualify? After all, he does dwarf every single Transformer, due to him being a giant frigging battleship.
      • He does in the game, where you don't know you're fighting inside him until The Reveal.
    • Transformers Prime reveals that Earth itself is alive; specifically it's Unicron.
    • Then there's also Primus who happens to be Cybertron itself.
  • In one episode of The Real Ghostbusters, it is said that Egon's ancestor (a magician) tried to refill a well, and woke up its Genius Loki (the term is used) in the form of a horse sized dragon, which thought he was his dad. The magician put it back to sleep. After a few centuries, Egon wakes it, this time house sized.
  • Generator Rex gives us Van Kleiss. Though he appears human (if creepy) at first glance, his nanites are spread all throughout his home turf of Abysus. This means that the grounds and vegetation surrounding his creepy castle are effectively a part of him, and if his human body is destroyed he can simply reconstitute it.
  • The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack: One episode had Flapjack and Captain K'nuckles finding themselves on a sentient (but gullible) moon and convincing it to carry them to Candy Island. The moon's traveling causes so much gravitational havoc that the sea god Poseidon has to intervene.
  • In Pinky and The Brain, the closest Brain ever got to conquering the world was when he and Pinky gave the Earth itself the power of speech and befriended it. Thanks to their newfound ability to manipulate the Earth Pinky and the Brain easily cowed the nations of the world into submission. It's pretty hard to resist an Evil Overlord with the power to drag your entire country into the sea.
  • In the Green Lantern animated movie Green Lantern Emerald Knights, one of the five stories that Hal Jordan tells to his new recruit is the tale of Bofunga the Unrelenting and the day he finally.... er.... relented. He was on a quest to become the mightiest warrior in the galaxy, and the only being left in the cosmos that he had yet to vanquish was a mysterious being known as "Mogo". This being was allegedly not only exponentially more powerful than Bofunga, but was also a Green Lantern to boot. Bofunga traveled to Mogo's last known coordinates and attempted to challenge him, but even after months of searching his quarry was nowhere to be found. Refusing to give up, Bofunga began setting explosive charges all around the planet in an attempt to force Mogo out of his hiding place and goad him into a duel, but after detonating all of the charges and doing NO DAMAGE WHATSOEVER, he realized--too late--that "Mogo" was THE PLANET ITSELF... and he had just made it VERY angry. The ensuing "battle" ended with predictable swiftness, as Mogo crushed his antagonist with a well-placed gravity well.
    • In the original comics, Bofunga fled after spending years searching for Mogo when he looked at the map he had made while exploring the planet and realized that the foliage on Mogo formed a Green Lantern symbol.

Real Life[edit | hide]

  • Certain variants of the philosophy of panpsychism assert this to be Truth in Television, when applied to the entire universe. (There are several variants of it, though, and not all of versions believe this to be exactly the case).
  • Likewise, a subset of those who believe in the Gaia hypothesis also believe that the unified planetary biosystem can also "make decisions", in a manner of speaking. And of course there are also those with non-scientific or spiritual beliefs that Earth is a living sentient being, again with many variants of each philosophy.
  • The Internet could be a more tangible example of a Genius Loci / Gaia. There are certain movements around the self-organizing properties of the internet (especially concerning content, privacy, and censorship), which makes it seem to possess a mind of its own.
  • On a micro scale, any living creature (including a human) can be a location. Your fleas and dust mites probably think you're a walking planet, or at least a small continent. Humans are one of the few creatures that carry two distinct species of dust mites due to having two distinct locations of hairs. And then of course, one's stomach flora is unique to each individual.
  • Though not sentient (at least not that we know) there are some areas with organisms or groups of organisms that have grown to be truly massive.
    • The Great Barrier Reef is the largest superorganism on earth. Covering approximately 344,400 square kilometers of ocean.
    • Pando is a single male Quaking Aspen looking for a good time. Aspens can spread by growing new trunks from their roots, creating a new "tree" that's just another part of a huge organism. He has taken this ability and used it to a ridiculous extent. He covers 0.43 square kilometers of land and weighs 6,000 tonnes, but that just means there's more to love.
    • A large specimen of Honey Mushroom has been discovered in Oregon's Malheur National Forest. The fungus in an area of 8.9 square kilometers has identical genetics, though there is some debate as to whether it's all connected together or not. If it is all connected it would be a single organism weighing as much as 550 tonnes.
  • Combining certain elements of the Gaia theory, Jung's belief in the collective unconscious, and The Singularity leads to this trope as the logical extreme. The internet itself could be viewed as a tangible form of Jung's collective unconscious, or even a full-on Hive Mind. And since most people in the developed world are expected to have access to the internet, certainly at home, if not on them at all times in the form of a smart phone, the point may well come very soon when nearly all human beings have constant access to this shared mind, making the human race the "brain" for a global superorganism consisting of all life on the planet.
  • The national spirits of countries (Britannia and John Bull for Britain, Marianne for France, Columbia and Uncle Sam for the United States, etc) can be regarded as this.
  • Systems theory, without directly positing this, makes little distinction between sufficiently complex metasystems in terms of sentience, whether those be biological, architectural, sociopolitical, or ecological; there's support to be found for Genius Loci in it.
  1. Which means the plural is designed to break your mind. For more than one mind of a single place, Genii Loci; for a single mind that covers more than one place, Genius Locorum; for multiple minds, each with its own place, Genii Locorum. Latin is dead because someone took it out and shot it.
  2. When this includes the legions of hell, that's really not a good sign