• The Infractions Forum is available for public view. Please note that if you have been suspended you will need to open a private/incognito browser window to view it.

Non-Evil transhumanists in media

Gorgoo

Active member
Validated User
The Culture novels are very pro-transhumanism. The protagonists are usually pretty close to human (although they're notably smarter), but their interstellar civilization is run by godlike machines that are just called "Minds." And while there are occasional conflicts, the Minds are almost universally benevolent. Most stories have protagonists from the Culture trying to combat human rights abuses in other civilizations, without causing too much collateral damage in the process (the Culture can usually out-fight anyone else in the series, but direct warfare on this scale has a tendency to kill billions of people).

They're a series, but they aren't very closely connected (some books take place thousands of years apart). In my opinion, the first book is one of the weaker ones, so I wouldn't start there. But I've also read Player of Games, Use of Weapons, Surface Detail, and The Hydrogen Sonata, and I'd heartily recommend any of them, if you like character-focused stories with doses of high-tech action.
 
Last edited:

Ulzgoroth

Mad Scientist
Validated User
I'm curious whether the OP meant transhumanists, or transhumans.

It's somewhat harder to find the former than the latter. A lot of good-guy transhumans Didn't Ask For This or are normal for their own people. They're not really into transhumanism as such, they just have been affected by it. Whereas a transhumanist may not actually be a transhuman, though presumably they want to be.

Kim of Dresden Codak is both.
 

The Unshaven

Registered User
Validated User
Dollhouse is an interesting one because it highlights the powerful potential for good such technology might represent, while also waving a huge flag of "Of course this would be abused so hard by the powerful that CENSORED REDACTED CENSORED."

Some of Charles Stross' books present situations where everyone is a transhumanist, like Glasshouse - and Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis tilts the same windmill. The people in the society of Transmetropolitan that spook folks are WAY out there, but being able to upload yourself into tech and upgrade your brain is mundane.

Raising the Stones by Sherri S Tepper is about what happens if an alien biotech network starts connecting everybody and giving everyone and everything in the network an empathic awareness.

The Beggars and Choosers series from Nancy Kress is about accelerating transhuman tech and the resistance to it, and although there are assholes on both sides, the folks with the tech are largely benign. They're just stuck with the problem of wanting to help people who are suspicious of their motives, and who literally can not understand how the technology works, even if it's explained to them, because they don't have transhuman brains with which to comprehend it.

The books are aware that's a fucked up problem without clear answers.

- The Unshaven
 

Kushiel

Immanent
Validated User
Aristoi by Walter John Williams?

Loads and loads of protagonists in cyberpunk lit, unless "has lots of implants" doesn't count as tranhumanism for what you're looking for.
 

jackselectrichead

Registered User
Validated User
Transhumanists almost always turn out to be evil in movies, books, videogames, tv, etc... I've heard so many variations of "They play god and take away our humanity!!!!"

What is some good media where the transhumanists are sympathetic?
Point of order, you are eliding the variations of "Any group of humans that obtain an insurmountable competitive advantage over other humans subsequently become absolute hell on other humans they deign to interact with, and Transhumans are still human enough for that".

That said, Glenn Cook's The Dragon Never Sleeps is awesome. Human-supremisist transhumans confronting problems and being human; oft times badly but very sympathetically.
 

Beyond Reality

Registered User
Validated User
Deus Ex dabbles in transhumanism to varying degrees, but just about everyone's in different shades of grey so "evil" is a hard label to pin.

The first, chronologically, dealt with the idea of human augmentation vs natural humans. There is at least one pro-augmentation character who is largely benevolent but also willing to do some really nasty things to get it done.

The original game (second chronologically), one of the "best" endings was the "full nano-bot integration worldwide" where everyone gets hooked into a gigantic network via nano-augmentation. Government is replaced with an impartial AI who rules via instantly updated consensus". It's arguably pretty sweet, although it seems to sacrifice a bit on the privacy front.

The sequel to the original allows you to work with the character from the first game to bring about "nano-bot paradise" or, interestingly, join an alternative transhumanist group that takes things a few steps farther. They're represented as more morally questionable but not outright evil.
 

DoctorDogGirl

New member
Banned
Deus Ex dabbles in transhumanism to varying degrees, but just about everyone's in different shades of grey so "evil" is a hard label to pin.
Adam can be played as for or against transhumanism but David Sarif is very much about transhumanism and its benefits to mankind as a whole.

Likewise, JC Denton is all about it in Invisible War.

Even if that game was crippled by technical limitations.
 

Axolotl

Registered User
Validated User
Pretty much everyone in The Quantum Thief is transhuman and some of them were fairly nice.
 

chiasaur11

Registered User
Validated User
Adam can be played as for or against transhumanism but David Sarif is very much about transhumanism and its benefits to mankind as a whole.

Likewise, JC Denton is all about it in Invisible War.

Even if that game was crippled by technical limitations.
The Omar are too, and frankly, despite being ultracapitalist/darwinist hive minded Russians, they're still much more benevolent than Invisible War's JC.

I'd stick with Sarif, though. Despite a lot of flaws, he generally tries to be a decent guy, and by the standards of cyberpunk CEOs, he's a saint.
 
Top Bottom