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Organ transplantation is a common theme in science fiction and horror fiction. Numerous horror movies feature the theme of transplanted body parts that are evil or give supernatural powers, with examples including Body Parts , Hands of a Stranger , and The Eye .
Organ transplantation is a medical procedure in which an organ is removed from one body and placed in the body of a recipient, to replace a damaged or missing organ. The donor and recipient may be at the same location, or organs may be transported from a donor site to another location. Organs and/or tissues that are transplanted within the same person's body are called autografts. Transplants that are recently performed between two subjects of the same species are called allografts. Allografts can either be from a living or cadaveric source.
Science fiction is a genre of speculative fiction that has been called the "literature of ideas". It typically deals with imaginative and futuristic concepts such as advanced science and technology, time travel, parallel universes, fictional worlds, space exploration, and extraterrestrial life. It often explores the potential consequences of scientific innovations.
Horror is a genre of speculative fiction which is intended to frighten, scare, disgust, or startle its readers by inducing feelings of horror and terror. Literary historian J. A. Cuddon defined the horror story as "a piece of fiction in prose of variable length... which shocks, or even frightens the reader, or perhaps induces a feeling of repulsion or loathing". It creates an eerie and frightening atmosphere. Horror is frequently supernatural, though it might be also non-supernatural. Often the central menace of a work of horror fiction can be interpreted as a metaphor for the larger fears of a society.
Organ transplants from donors who are unwilling, or incapable of objecting, to having their organs removed are a recurring theme in dystopian fiction.
In contrast to unwilling organ donors, there is the theme of individuals who want to donate their own life-critical organs, such as a brain or heart, at the cost of their own life.
The term "organlegging" was coined by Larry Niven in a series of short stories set in his Known Space future universe originally published in a 1976 collection called The Long ARM of Gil Hamilton, later expanded and re-released as Flatlander. The story The Patchwork Girl was also published alone as a novel in 1986.
Organlegging is the name of a fictional crime in the Known Space universe created by Larry Niven. It is the illicit trade of black market human organs for transplant. The term organlegging is a portmanteau combining the words "organ" and "bootlegging", literally the piracy and smuggling of organs.
Laurence van Cott Niven is an American science fiction writer. His best-known works are Ringworld (1970), which received Hugo, Locus, Ditmar, Nebula awards, and The Mote in God's Eye (1974). The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America named him the 2015 recipient of the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award. His work is primarily hard science fiction, using big science concepts and theoretical physics. It also often includes elements of detective fiction and adventure stories. His fantasy includes the series The Magic Goes Away, rational fantasy dealing with magic as a non-renewable resource.
Known Space is the fictional setting of about a dozen science fiction novels and several collections of short stories written by Larry Niven. It has also become a shared universe in the spin-off Man-Kzin Wars anthologies. ISFDB catalogs all works set in the fictional universe that includes Known Space under the series name Tales of Known Space, which was the title of a 1975 collection of Niven's short stories. The first-published work in the series, which was Niven's first published piece was "The Coldest Place", in the December 1964 issue of If magazine, edited by Frederik Pohl. This was the first-published work in the 1975 collection.
In Robin Cook's 1978 novel Coma , set in the present day, the organ thieves operate in a hospital, removing the organs from patients in a facility for the long-term care of patients in a vegetative state. The story was also made into a film, Coma in 1978, and later into a two-part television miniseries aired in 2012 on the A&E television network.
Robert Brian "Robin" Cook is an American physician and novelist who writes about medicine and topics affecting public health.
Coma is Robin Cook's first commercially successful novel, published by Signet Book in 1977. Coma was preceded in 1973 by Cook's lesser known novel, Year of the Intern.
Coma is a 1978 Metrocolor American suspense film in Panavision based on the 1977 novel of the same name by Robin Cook. The film rights were acquired by director Michael Crichton, and the movie was produced by Martin Erlichmann for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The cast includes Geneviève Bujold, Michael Douglas, Elizabeth Ashley, Richard Widmark, and Rip Torn. Among the actors in smaller roles are Tom Selleck, Lois Chiles, and Ed Harris.
Organ theft is a theme in a number of horror movies, including Turistas , and also (in a less overtly horrific manner) as a theme in realistic dramas such as Dirty Pretty Things and Inhale .
Turistas, released in the United Kingdom and Ireland as Paradise Lost, is a 2006 American horror film produced and directed by John Stockwell and starring Josh Duhamel, Melissa George, Olivia Wilde, Desmond Askew, Beau Garrett, and Max Brown. Its plot focuses on a group of international backpackers in Brazil who find themselves in the clutches of an underground organ harvesting ring.
Dirty Pretty Things is a 2002 British social thriller film directed by Stephen Frears and written by Steven Knight. Following the lives of two immigrants in London, it was filmed in a documentary style and was produced by BBC Films and Celador Films.
Inhale is a 2010 American thriller film directed by Baltasar Kormákur. It stars Dermot Mulroney and Diane Kruger.
In the TV series, Trigun, the protagonist's severed left arm had been transplanted without his knowledge onto an antagonist's left shoulder.
Trigun is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Yasuhiro Nightow. The manga was serialized in Tokuma Shoten's Shōnen Captain in 1995 with three collected volumes when the magazine was discontinued in 1997. The series continued in Shōnen Gahosha's Young King Ours magazine, under the title Trigun Maximum, where it remained until finishing in 2008.
The same series of Larry Niven stories also contains the theme of organ donation from criminals becoming institutionalized within society to the point where even minor crimes are punished by death, in order to ensure the supply of new organs to an aging population. Niven originally developed this theme in his novel A Gift From Earth , first published in 1968 and also set in his Known Space universe. In A Gift From Earth, the descendants of colonists from an interstellar colonization mission are preyed upon by the descendants of the crew, who enact laws that make even the most minor offences carry the death penalty to allow their organs to be "harvested" and stored in "organ banks" for later use.
The theme had previously been explored by Frederik Pohl and Jack Williamson in their 1964 novel The Reefs of Space , the first novel of their Starchild Trilogy, in which mankind labours under the "Plan of Man", enforced by computers within a surveillance state. Unlike in Niven's novels, donors are kept alive for as long as possible to enable more organs to be removed for transplant until they eventually succumb from their injuries. The novel also features a Frankenstein-like theme of a man assembled entirely from the body parts of others.
In Sui Ishida's 2014 dark fantasy manga series, Tokyo Ghoul, a state sanctioned organ transplant is performed between an unwilling donor and the main character of the series. It was the subject of much controversy in the series itself. Unbeknown to the surgeons however, the unwilling donor was a ghoul, a monster who eats human flesh, causing the main character to have ghoul-like characteristics.
The idea of state-sanctioned involuntary organ transplants is taken one step further by the concept of creating people solely for the purpose of acting as organ donors. Generally, these donors are clones of their eventual organ recipients. This idea has been explored by several writers.
The 1979 science fiction horror film Parts: The Clonus Horror , written by Bob Sullivan and Ron Smith, is set in an isolated community in a remote desert area, where clones are bred to serve as a source of replacement organs for the wealthy and powerful. The clones are kept in a seemingly idyllic environment of apparent leisure and luxury, right up to the point where they are killed for their organs.
Michael Marshall Smith's novel Spares has a similar premise. Unlike the clones in Parts: The Clonus Horror, the clones are kept in conditions resembling those of farm animals or a concentration camp.
The 2005 American science fiction action thriller film The Island continues the theme, where clones live in a highly structured environment isolated in a compound. After the movie's hero learns that the compound inhabitants are clones who are used for organ harvesting and surrogate motherhood for wealthy people in the outside world, he escapes.
Kazuo Ishiguro's 2005 dystopian novel Never Let Me Go also has a similar theme to its predecessors, but lacks the action-adventure theme of the previous works, concentrating on the characters' feelings and personal stories and the development of psychological horror at their plight. It was later made into a 2010 British drama film of the same name.
Recently, a commission for Radio 7, (now called BBC radio 4 Extra), called Jefferson 37 by Jenny Stephens also explores the same theme in a four-part radio play. The whole plot takes place within Abbotsville, a free range laboratory, where the clones are deliberately dehumanised. The story culminates with their humanity resisting the desire to quash it.
The plot of Unwind , a 2007 science fiction novel by young adult literature author Neal Shusterman, takes place in the United States, after a civil war somewhere in the near future. After a civil war is fought over abortion, a compromise was reached, allowing parents to sign an order for their children between the ages of 13 and 18 years old to be "unwound"—taken to "harvest camps" and having their body parts harvested for later use. The reasoning was that, since all their organs were required to be used, unwinds did not technically die, because their individual body parts lived on.
The idea of the repossession of transplanted organs has also been used in fiction, in the films Repo Men , and Repo! The Genetic Opera .
In the film John Q., the character played by Denzel Washington takes a hospital hostage in hopes to force the surgical staff to transplant his heart into his dying son. In the TV series Psycho Pass, the antagonist is given the opportunity to donate his brain to help power a system that determines if an someone is likely to perform a crime.
Organ transplantation has also been used as a major plot element in a number of comedies, including Przekładaniec (1968, Poland), The Thing with Two Heads (1972) and The Man With Two Brains (1983).
A horror film is a film that seeks to elicit fear for entertainment purposes. Initially inspired by literature from authors like Edgar Allan Poe, Bram Stoker, and Mary Shelley, horror has existed as a film genre for more than a century. The macabre and the supernatural are frequent themes. Horror may also overlap with the fantasy, supernatural fiction, and thriller genres.
A brain transplant or whole-body transplant is a procedure in which the brain of one organism is transplanted into the body of another organism. It is a procedure distinct from head transplantation, which involves transferring the entire head to a new body, as opposed to the brain only. Theoretically, a person with advanced organ failure could be given a new and functional body while keeping their own personality, memories, and consciousness through such a procedure.
A head transplant is an experimental surgical operation involving the grafting of one organism's head onto the body of another; in many experiments the recipient's head was not removed but in others it has been. Experimentation in animals began in the early 1900s. As of 2019, no lasting successes have been achieved.
Frankenstein's monster, often erroneously referred to as "Frankenstein", is a fictional character who first appeared in Mary Shelley's 1818 novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. Shelley's title thus compares the monster's creator, Victor Frankenstein, to the mythological character Prometheus, who fashioned humans out of clay and gave them fire.
The Island is a 2005 American science fiction thriller film directed and co-produced by Michael Bay. It stars Ewan McGregor, Scarlett Johansson, Djimon Hounsou, Sean Bean, Michael Clarke Duncan and Steve Buscemi. In the film, Lincoln Six Echo (McGregor) struggles to fit into the highly structured world he lives in, isolated in a compound, and the series of events that unfold when he questions how truthful that world is. After Lincoln learns the compound inhabitants are clones used for organ harvesting as well as surrogates for wealthy people in the outside world, he attempts to escape with Jordan Two Delta (Johansson) and expose the illegal cloning movement.
Scare Tactics is an American comedy horror hidden camera television show, produced by Scott Hallock and Kevin Healey. Its first two seasons aired from April 2003 to December 2004. After a hiatus, the show returned for a third season, beginning July 9, 2008. The first season of the show was hosted by Shannen Doherty. Stephen Baldwin took her place in the middle of the second season. At the beginning of the third season, the show was hosted by Tracy Morgan. The fourth season began on October 6, 2009. On July 17, 2017, it was announced that Blumhouse Television was going to produce a new season of the show.
Igor, or sometimes Ygor, is a stock character lab assistant to many types of Gothic villains, such as Count Dracula or Dr. Victor Frankenstein, familiar from many horror movies and horror movie parodies. Although Dr. Frankenstein had a hunchbacked assistant in the 1931 film Frankenstein, his name was Fritz; in the original Mary Shelley novel, Frankenstein has no lab assistant nor does a character named Igor appear.
Parts: The Clonus Horror, also known as The Clonus Horror, or simply Clonus, is a 1979 science fiction horror film directed by Robert S. Fiveson. It stars Peter Graves, Tim Donnelly, Dick Sargent, Keenan Wynn, Paulette Breen, and Frank Ashmore. The film is about an isolated community in a remote desert area, where clones are bred to serve as a source of replacement organs for the wealthy and powerful. The production cost of the movie was $257,000.
Lady Frankenstein is a 1971 Italian horror film directed by Mel Welles and written by cult writer Edward di Lorenzo. It stars Rosalba Neri, Joseph Cotten, Mickey Hargitay and Paul Müller.
Many of the tropes of science fiction can be viewed as similar to the goals of transhumanism. Science fiction literature contains many positive depictions of technologically enhanced human life, occasionally set in utopian societies. However, science fiction's depictions of technologically enhanced humans or other posthuman beings frequently come with a cautionary twist. The more pessimistic scenarios include many dystopian tales of human bioengineering gone wrong.
Mind uploading, whole brain emulation, or substrate-independent minds is a use of a computer or another substrate as an emulated human brain, and the view of thoughts and memories as software information states. The term "mind transfer" also refers to a hypothetical transfer of a mind from one biological brain to another. Uploaded minds and societies of minds, often in simulated realities, are recurring themes in science-fiction novels and films since the 1950s.
The Revenge of Frankenstein is a 1958 British horror film made by Hammer Film Productions. Directed by Terence Fisher, the film stars Peter Cushing, Francis Matthews, Michael Gwynn and Eunice Gayson. In the United States, it was released in June, 1958 on a double bill with Curse of the Demon.
Mary Shelley's 1818 novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, and the famous character of Frankenstein's monster, have influenced popular culture for at least a century. The work has inspired numerous films, television programs, video games and derivative works. The character of the monster remains one of the most recognized icons in horror fiction.
Organ procurement is a surgical procedure that removes organs or tissues for reuse, typically for organ transplantation. It is heavily regulated by United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) to prevent unethical allocation of organs. There are over 110,000 patients on the national waiting list for organ transplantation and in 2016, only about 33,000 organ transplants were performed. Due to the lack of organ availability, about 20 patients die each day on the waiting list for organs. Organ transplantation and allocation is mired in ethical debate because of this limited availability of organs for transplant. In the United States in 2016, there were 19,057 kidney transplants, 7,841 liver transplants, 3,191 heart transplants, and 2,327 lung transplants performed.
Frankenstein's Monster is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character is based on the character in the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. The character has been adapted often in the comic book medium.
Unwind is a 2007 science fiction novel by young adult literature author Neal Shusterman. It takes place in the United States in the near future. After the Second Civil War was fought over abortion, a compromise was reached, allowing parents to sign an order for their children between the ages of 13 and 18 to be "unwound" — taken to "harvest camps" and dissected into their body parts for later use. The reasoning is that, since 99.44% of the body is used, unwinds do not technically die because their individual body parts live on.
Originating in pre-Islamic Arabia. A Ghoul is a mythical creature often described as hideous human-like monster that dwelt in the desert or other secluded locations in order to lure travellers astray. It was not until Antoine Galland translated Arabian Nights into French that the western idea of Ghoul was introduced. Galland depicted the Ghoul as a monstrous creature that dwelled in cemeteries, feasting upon corpses. This definition of the Ghoul has persisted until modern times, with Ghouls appearing in literature, television and film, as well video games.
Les Mains d'Orlac is a French fantasy/horror novel written by Maurice Renard, first published in 1920. It is an early example of the body horror theme in fiction.