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"He created an angel just for himself, he gave her beauty he gave her life, but she couldn't live without a soul..."


In many settings, humans creating life (especially intelligent life) are not awesome, and the act of creation does most certainly not make them valid Gods. On the contrary, the act is considered to be a foul act of hubris, often referred to as Playing God. Even if the character doesn't claim to be (like) one.

The creation of autonomous, independent, and above all intelligent life has long been the exclusive purvey of the divine. Just about every creation myth has the creation of animal and then sapient life forms as the second or third thing done; right after space/time but before waffles. Even assuming there is no god, the odds of it happening are such that it is a secular miracle not to be taken lightly. Thus this trope, where Creating Life Is Bad.

Subtrope of Creating Life. Contrast it's other subtropes: Creating Life Is Awesome, Creating Life Is Unforeseen, Instant AI, Just Add Water and Deity of Human Origin.

Examples of Creating Life Is Bad include:

Anime and Manga

  • The Homunculi created by Father in the Fullmetal Alchemist manga. He's some form of homunculus himself, but it isn't clear who created him.
    • We know that it was Hohenheim's master. What the HELL he was doing making something like this, the world will never know.
      • It is hinted that main reason for Father's creation was so that he could reveal the secret of immortality to their king.
    • Tucker attempts to create life in the first anime as a way to circumvent the normal problems with using alchemy for resurrections. It ends up creating a Soulless Shell of his deceased daughter Nina, but Tucker has gone too insane at the time to realize it's a failure.
      • On a larger note, every alchemist who tries human transmutation, creating life, as a way of resurrecting the dead suffer this in the first anime as it is these attempts that create homonculi in that continuity. Greed implies that Team Evil has had several of them up through the ages, with himself and Envy being the oldest at the moment.
  • Project Fate in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. The clone is fine, integrating thoroughly with society and finding love. It's the creator of the clone who goes Ax Crazy.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima had a being known as "The Lifemaker" and "The Mage of the Beginning", who was the Big Bad before Negi's father Nagi kicked his butt. At the very least, he seems to have created current Big Bad Fate, and it's hinted that he might have been responsible for creating the Magic World.
    • Recent chapters seem to confirm this; or at least imply it as strongly as possible without actually saying it.
    • Interestingly, it isn't his creation of life in the first place that's portrayed as being objectively "wrong", but his behaving as if he has the authority to do with that life as he pleases that is wrong.
  • In Pokémon the First Movie, the first part alludes to many failed attempts to Create Life, with Mewtwo being the lone survivor. The Mad Scientist Dr. Fuji only agreed to attempt a clone of Mew in order to get funding for the project. It's true purpose was to bring the good doctor's daughter, Amber/Ai, back from the dead. Ends with them suceeding in creating the world's most powerful Pokemon.
  • Zombie Loan has a character who creates golems out of zombie parts. They're not very nice.
    • One of them is nice, and rather woobie-ish. She doesn't last long.
  • Type Blue Mu from Toward the Terra manga have ability to create living organism from organic matter via telekinesis. Tony uses this power to show Artella they still can have children, even if doctors have said otherwise.
  • In Dragon Ball, Dr. Gero/Android 20 creates Androids 16, 17, 18, and Cell. Androids 17 and 18 rebel and kill him, while Cell reaches his perfect form, threatens to destroy the universe, and ultimately kills Goku in a case of Gone Horribly Right

Comic Books

  • In the Silver Age Superman comics, this formed part of Lex Luthor's origin. Young Lex Luthor was an aspiring scientist who resided in Smallville, the hometown of Superboy. Luthor saved Superboy from a chance encounter with Kryptonite. In gratitude Superboy built Luthor a laboratory, where weeks later he manages to create an artificial form of life. Grateful in turn to Superboy, Luthor created an antidote for Kryptonite poisoning. However, an accidental fire broke out in Luthor's lab. Superboy used his super-breath to extinguish the flames, inadvertently spilling chemicals which caused Luthor to go bald; in the process, he also destroyed Luthor's artificial life form. Believing Superboy intentionally destroyed his discoveries, Luthor attributed his actions to jealousy and vowed revenge.
  • The title character from Omega the Unknown was created to be a real Ubermensch by an ancient race of aliens.

Fan Works

  • A major part of the Fourth Movement of With Strings Attached. Brox discovers a spell that will turn inorganic items into living creatures; she wants to use it to repopulate Baravada with monsters for the skahs to kill. To that end, she mind-controls Paul, who seems to be able to boost spells well beyond their parameters, and teaches him the spell so he can boost it and then channel it through the Vasyn, which will boost it exponentially.


  • Star Wars: Darth Plagueis, which is to say, the Emperor's original teacher, was this trope At least, according to him. Go watch Palpatine's monologue on the subject in Episode III for more detail.
    • Also, the creation of the clone army is arguably this with the clones eventually making The Empire possible.
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show, of course, has Dr. Frank N Furter creating a sentient (Though, not that bright) playmate named Rocky.
  • The silent film The Golem features the creation of the Golem of Prague. The eventual rebellion of the Golem is already forecast by the warning the Rabbi finds in his book: "If you have brought the dead to life through magic, beware of that life."


  • Subverted in Dark Lord of Derkholm. The protagonist Derk is a wizard who specializes in creating creatures like winged pigs and horses, intelligent, talking pigeons, and enormous partially-human griffins. To all the other wizards, Derk is considered a freak and somewhat disturbed, and most of them either don't "get" his projects or think they're weird. However, he takes great pride in them, and considers his five intelligent, talking griffins to be every bit his children as much as his biological son and daughter. Derk is shown to be sympathetic AND generally in the right.
  • Frankenstein's Monster was not beautiful, though he was meant to be so:

 How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe, or how delineate the wretch whom with such infinite pains and care I had endeavoured to form? His limbs were in proportion, and I had selected his features as beautiful. Beautiful! Great God! His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of a pearly whiteness; but these luxuriances only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same color as the dun-white sockets in which they were set, his shriveled complexion and straight black lips.

    • The original novel doesn't precisely explain how the Creature is brought to life, but it implies very clearly that the Phlebotinum used was a modern day equivalent to the alchemist's elixir of life. Victor does mention though that he is being specifically vague because he doesn't want anyone replicating his experiment.
  • Arguably Jurassic Park, though there is also the interpretation that it wasn't Hammond returning the dinosaurs to life that was the problem, but his belief they could be controlled.
    • More importantly, he did lousy job with it, cutting several corners, refusing to make any contingency plans and generally forgetting nearly all the safety guidelines such an effort should have as a matter of course.
  • Explored in the Doctor Who Past Doctor Adventures novel Heritage, in which a scientist who has become obsessed with becoming the first to produce a perfect human clone has resorted to murder to further his ends, including causing the death of one of the Doctor's old companions. When the Doctor confronts the scientist, he reveals that the scientist actually isn't the first to discover human cloning—but the secret has always been forgotten. Not, interestingly enough, because cloning is somehow 'unnatural', but because in trying to create life artificially the people involved forget how precious life is, no matter how it is created, and end up treating it as a disposable commodity—just as the scientist has done. Upon being confronted with both the futility of his life's work and precisely what a monster he's ultimately let himself become, the scientist doesn't react well.
  • In Otherland, this is Mr. Sellars' dark secret, explaining his obsession with Otherland. He created virtual reality lifeforms as a forcibly accelerated "hothouse" experiment, and then panicked when his playthings were stolen by the Other.
  • Urtho, Mage of Silence (from the Mercedes Lackey book The Black Gryphon) actually does this quite well; his creations love him, and honor him long past his death.
  • In the Dragonlance saga, in the second set of novels ("Legends," I think), Raistlin tries to create life in his tower lab. It's not a very big point in the book, and he's not very successful, but there are pitiful, slithery things in the tower that he created. This is probably done to illustrate his evilness and his ambition—the major plot of the trilogy is that he's trying to become a god, after all.
  • In Edgar Rice Burroughs's The Monster Men, what Professor Maxon is up to. In the opening, he is disposing of one that died, and goes on a long ocean voyage to repair his nerves. Alas, it works, and he decides to try again, and even marry off his daughter to one.

 He believed that he had reached an unalterable decision never again to meddle with the mighty, awe inspiring secrets of creation; but with returning health and balance he found himself viewing his recent triumph with feelings of renewed hope and anticipation.


Live Action TV

  • The Cylons were created by man...
  • The immortal Flint in Star Trek: The Original Series created an android who went on to achieve proper sentience...and then died as she couldn't deal with her newfound emotions. He doesn't revel in the fact that he created new life, which is impressive all by itself. Bear in mind this is about 75 years before Data was created and you'll appreciate why this is slightly unrealistic.
  • In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the evil overlords known as The Founders created the Vorta and the Jem'Hadar.
  • The Greeed in Kamen Rider OOO were created 800 years ago by human scientists out of human desire forged into Medals. They were just non-sentient entities until the humans thought it was a bright idea to destroy one of each of their Core Medals, which caused them to go out of control and try to devour everything in their path to fill the void it left.
  • The second episode of the first season of Fringe is all about immoral attempts to create humans in labs. One such created human is active, and needs to consume parts of human brains to stay young. The episode ends with An Aesop where the main scientist guy babbles about how we scientists must always remember the boundary between our domain and God´s, no matter how easy it is to forget.


  • Blutengel's song "The Oxidizing Angel" twists the Frankenstein myth a bit: The created woman is exquisitely beautiful, and unlike Frankenstein her creator doesn't abandon her. However, she have a mind without having a soul, and this is utterly traumatic for her. Her creator, being selfishly in love with her, refuse her plea to kill her. And thus she end up killing him instead.

Tabletop Games

  • The game Promethean: The Created, loosely based on Frankenstein. Each of the major lineages of Prometheans was created because somebody started channeling the Divine Fire and decided to create life, either for purposes of companionship, servitude, just rule, an idea of what was happening on "the other side," or just plain because. Every promethean is essentially a walking Came Back Wrong on many levels. Humans instinctively hate them, they rot the environment, and are prone to cause destruction. They have to earn a Soul and become fully human to end the karmic pain from merely existing.
  • In Genius: The Transgression, creating life is one of the first things you can learn. Creating intelligent life is a bit tougher, although any two-bit Mad Scientist could create shambling zombies to handle really menial tasks.
  • The Eberron Campaign Setting has artificial life in the form of living constructs called warforged. It's unlikely their creators ever intended to create truly sapient life, though.

Video Games

  • Baldur's Gate II: The PC wakes up in the dungeon of the wizard Irenicus and has to fight his way out. Some of the things he encounters suggest that Irenicus was trying to create life in that dungeon. Most prominently, one can stumble upon a clone of an elven lady, apparently abandoned and gone crazy there. When you find out who the original is, that abandonement serves to underline just how lacking in empathy Irenicus has become: she was the love of his life, who turned against him when he tried to grab power. Several pods are said to hold other clones...though not all pods hold created life: one who begs you to let him die states that he was a servant who was put in there until Irenicus could get around to healing him.
  • Cyberswine: The scientist created Cyberswine and the Cyberbird on Vice-President Bryce Gets' orders. Cyberswine did turn out pretty heroic and rebellious, but he had a lot of issues. Cyberbird became the perfect super soldier for Bryce Gets and Farmtech.
  • Edelweiss: There are two forms of this. The first is apparently not that big of a deal, creating plants spontaneously. The second is the extremely difficult task of creating a homunculus. One of the heroines is a homunculus created accidentally in an attempt to revive a girl who died. She Came Back Wrong, but in a good way.
  • Geneforge: The game is all over this, since your Mons come from genetic engineering. The relationship between serviles and humans is repeatedly paralleled to institutionalizes slavery in America (albeit with an open race war starting in the third game.) This can even work its way into gameplay—you might find yourself unwilling to make a drakon if the MP requirement means you'll have to dissolve that Fyora you've been keeping around for ten levels.
  • Mana Khemia: According to the characters of the first game, alchemy is a science (as opposed to black magic) because it can't be used to create life. Turns out it can.
  • Return to Krondor: The necromancers encountered throughout the game turn out to be doing this. The sewer monsters were humans that were transformed into green beasts with poisoned claws that could make eggs if a male one and female one came together. It is possible to transform one of them back to a human via an alchemical catalyst. Also, in the middle of the game, it is possible to encounter a two-headed red beast that seems to be similar to an Air Elemental but this one can inflict fire damage. Jazhara comments that that thing was an abomination. That creature may have been one of the experiments conducted by Sidi's necromancers.
  • Solatorobo: Red the Hunter:
    • The hybrids were created by Baion and Merveille, two of them are Omnicidal Maniacs and the third is the hero. Merveille really feels bad about it though.
    • Also, the Juno recreated the entire world population after wiping it clean, thanks to humans destroying the planet with their wars.

Web Comics

Web Original

  • Subverted in The Dr. Steel Show, Episode 2. Doctor Steel begins to excitedly scream "It's working!" as his doll-robot experiment begins to walk around - only to have it stop when he runs out of quarters.

Western Animation

  • Coldstone, a sort of cyborg zombie gargoyle made from the shattered pieces of three long-dead gargoyles and animated through both science and sorcery, probably counts. Xanatos, watching him twitch, smiles hugely and shouts "It's ALIVE! ALIIIVE! I've ALWAYS wanted to say that."
  • Rudy Tabootie of Chalk Zone makes it a rule not to create any living creatures in the Zone.
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