In science fiction
, a common theme is that of the assimilating race
: a fictional species
which maintains its numbers not by conventional sexual reproduction
but through the assimilation of the members of other groups.
In TV drama
- The Cybermen, a cyborganic race introduced in 1966 in the TV series Doctor Who. They take suitable human subjects and supplement or replace organic parts. Unlike the Borg, each Cyberman is an individual, but devoid of emotion or loyalty to their former life, with no chance for "reversion" to their original state.
- Also in Doctor Who, the episode "School Reunion" features the Krillitanes, bat-like creatures who use Krillitane Oil to absorb characteristics from other species.
- The Borg are a race of cyborgs in the Star Trek universe. They are known within and beyond Star Trek fandom for their relentless pursuit of what they want to assimilate, their rapid adaptability to almost any defense, and their ability to continue functioning after what may seem a devastating or even fatal blow seemingly unaffected. As such, the Borg have become a powerful symbol in popular culture for any juggernaut against which "resistance is futile".
- Neural parasite or "blue gill" from Star Trek universe. Parasitic being which tried to infiltrate Starfleet by physically connecting with brains of high-ranking admirals within the organization (From TNG episode "Conspiracy").
- Kobali from the Star Trek universe. They reproduce by reanimating the dead of other species and converting them into Kobali.
- Stargate SG-1's Goa'uld, a race of parasites that enter the bodies of their hosts whom they then control, and Replicators, a mechanical race that absorbs technology and annihilates entire galaxies for resources.
- Brain Slugs from Futurama
- The orange glowing alien entities in Invasion
- Xenocytes from Ben 10: Alien Force
In computer and video games
- The Scurge of Scurge: Hive are a cellular assimilation organism that rapidly infect biological, mechanical, and even energy based systems. Anything thus absorbed has its intelligence (if there is any) transferred back to the Source, which is the spawner and collective hive mind of the Scurge virus. This allows the Source to reach sentience.
- Aparoids, a race of bio-technological organisms that were the central antagonist of Star Fox: Assault that sought evolution through assimilation (referred to in the game as 'Aparoideation'). They are capable of assimilating both machines and living organisms. This continues the Star Fox series' tradition of referencing other science fiction works.
- The Omar are a race of cyborgs in the computer game Deus Ex: Invisible War. They assimilate humans into the Omar (though this is usually voluntary). The Omar are supposed to have a merged collective consciousness, though many Omar will refer to themselves as "I" instead of "We." This seems to show that the Omar still retain some individuality.
- The Zerg from the game StarCraft are an insectoid race that assimilate (usually referred to in-game as "infesting") or destroy every race that they come into contact with. Their attempt to overpower and assimilate the Protoss forms a major part of the storyline of the game.
- The Undead Scourge in the Warcraft universe is a massive army of living dead creatures residing on the continents of Lordaeron and the Eastern Kingdoms. They spread a plague of undeath that turns all it infects into Undead. They are under the absolute control of the leader of the scourge, the Lich King. They seek to destroy all life.
- The Flood from the Halo: Combat Evolved line of video games is a parasitic life form consisting of an Infection Form that burrows into a life form's skin and takes control of their neural pathways, transforming them into a Flood Combat Form. The host is eventually made into a Carrier Form, to create more Infection forms. The Flood are capable of destroying all life and have only been stopped by the Halos.
- In Half-life 2 the Combine assimilate humans to Combine soldiers for their military. The Combines' final goal is to assimilate all of earth's population, drain their natural resources and move on. Also appearing in Half-Life and Half-life 2 are Headcrabs, a parasite resembling a large crab or tick. Headcrabs attach to the head of pray, mutating the subject and taking control of the subject's body, resulting in a Zombie-like entity called headcrab zombies. Headcrabs have been seen attached to humans and Combine.
- The Tyranids in Games Workshop's Warhammer 40,000 setting absorb all organic life and material on a planet, absorbing the DNA and using it to improve their biological design and battle prowess.
- Metroid Prime from Metroid Prime assimilated numerous Space Pirate weapons, making them an integral part of its body.
- The Ing from Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, who merge with animals, sentients or technology and transform them into lethal 'darklings'.
- The X from Metroid Fusion, who possess organic life and matter and clones them.
- The Strogg from Quake 2 and Quake 4, who assimilate organic creatures to make them lethal monsters.
- The Many from System Shock 2
- In Resistance: Fall of Man, the Chimera, the game's main antagonists, are a race of unknown origin who perpetuate their species by assimilating humans. The Chimera infect humans with a transformative virus, which induces coma on human victims. Infected humans are then taken to "conversion centers", where they are transformed into different types of Chimeran creatures. The bigger Chimeran creatures are actually composed of multiple human bodies, making humans no more than "modelling clay" for the creation of new creatures.
- The Beast from the game Homeworld: Cataclysm is an organic hive mind that infects and forcibly takes over other species. By projecting infected particles or by sheer physical contact the Beast restructures organic matter and melds it with technology to expand its ranks.
- The Brains from the arcade game Robotron 2084 turn humanoids into Progs, fast-moving agents of destruction that mercilessly home in on the player.
- In Mass Effect, the Geth are a race of synthetic life who convert the dead bodies of organic life into mechanical husks.
- In Spore, the Grox.
On the web
In various media
- Vampires in folklore and many fictional stories (including Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles) increase their number by "turning" or siring humans into undead vampires. This usually involves blood exchange between the vampire and the victim, and can be forced or voluntary.
- Zombies appear in many horror films and stories (including Night of the Living Dead) and often increase their numbers through biting people. If the person is not killed, they will die within hours and rise up as a zombie themselves. Zombies usually do not consciously try to increase their number, however, as they seek to consume their victims. Thus, only those that are bitten and get away from or destroy the zombie that bit them are in danger of becoming a zombie, rather than a zombie meal.