Group mind (science fiction)
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A group mind, hive mind, group ego, mind coalescence, or gestalt intelligence in science fiction is a plot device in which multiple minds, or consciousnesses, are linked into a single, collective consciousness or intelligence. Its use in literature goes back at least as far as Olaf Stapledon's science fiction novel Last and First Men (1930). A group mind might be formed by any fictional plot device that facilitates brain to brain communication, such as telepathy.
This term may be used interchangeably with hive mind. A hive mind describes a group mind in which the linked individuals have no identity or free will and are possessed / mind controlled as extensions of the hive mind. It is frequently associated with the concept of an entity that spreads among individuals and suppresses or subsumes their consciousness in the process of integrating them into its own collective consciousness. The concept of the group or hive mind is an intelligent version of real-life superorganisms such as an ant colony or beehive.
List of hive minds
As conceived in speculative fiction, hive minds often imply (almost) complete loss (or lack) of individuality, identity, and personhood. The individuals forming the hive may specialize in different functions, similarly to social insects.
- The extraterrestrial hive mind named Medusa in The Cosmic Rape (also known as To Marry Medusa) by Theodore Sturgeon.
- The Children in The Midwich Cuckoos (adapted as Village of the Damned) by John Wyndham.
- The Cho'ja in the Empire Trilogy by Raymond E. Feist & Janny Wurts.
- The Clan in Jean Auel's Earth's Children series.
- The Bebebebeque in Larry Niven's The Draco Tavern.
- The Bicameral Order of posthuman monks who have integrated science as religion, in Peter Watts's novel Echopraxia
- The Boaty-Bits in the Saga of Cuckoo by Frederik Pohl and Jack Williamson.
- The Bugs in Robert A. Heinlein's Starship Troopers. They include workers, warriors, brains, and queens however the films and subsequent TV series feature several other castes.
- The coalescent hives in Stephen Baxter's Destiny's Children series.
- The Compositions (such as the Bellipotent Composition) in The Golden Age and its sequels.
- The Comprise in Michael Swanwick's Vacuum Flowers.
- The Corelings in Peter V. Bretts Demon Cycle can be controlled by Coreling-Princes.
- The "Dark Ones" in Metro 2033.
- The Drummers in Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age.
- The Formics or "Buggers" in Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game series (Ender's Game, Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, and Children of the Mind).
- Gaia in Foundation's Edge by Isaac Asimov.
- The Hive Mind in John G. Cramer's novel Einstein's Bridge.
- The Hive Mind in Neal Asher's novel The Skinner.
- The Howlers in K. A. Applegate's books Animorphs (in the series, the Howlers have a collective memory).
- The Joined in The Light of Other Days by Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter.
- The Killiks in The Dark Nest Trilogy by Troy Denning.
- The Majat in the novel Serpent's Reach by C. J. Cherryh.
- Man in The Last Question by Isaac Asimov.
- Mycroft Ward in Steven Hall's The Raw Shark Texts.
- The Network in Brian Falkner's Brain Jack.
- The Phoners in Cell by Stephen King.
- The Precogs in The Minority Report by Philip K. Dick (and its film adaptation).
- The Taurans and, later, Man in The Forever War by Joe Haldemann; Man in Forever Free.
- The Raxxor in Dark Swarm by Patrick Olajide are a polymorphic insect race controlled by a hive mind known as the Silent One or 'the Queen of Queens'.
- Rook Gestalt in The Rook (novel) by Daniel O'Malley is a group of four siblings who are controlled by a single individual intelligence.
- The Over-mind and the evolving children, in Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke.
- The Overlords in Dante D'Anthony's Tales from the Pandoran Age.
- Palador in Rescue Party by Arthur C. Clarke.
- The Phindin from the Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice book series by Dave Wolverton and Jude Watson.
- The Sand Beasts in Deltora Quest's The Shifting Sands.
- The Shub in Simon R. Green's Deathstalker (series).
- The Squeem in the Xeelee Sequence future history by Stephen Baxter: a group-minded aquatic race, and the first extrasolar intelligence contacted by mankind.
- The Swarm in Bruce Sterling's short story of the same name in Schismatrix.
- The Swarm in Michael Crichton's novel Prey.
- The Tines in A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge: a lone individual is like a dog; a pack of about 4–7 is equivalent to a human adult; in larger numbers they become confused, often nonsapient.
- The Tyr in C. S. Friedman's The Madness Season.
- Ygramul in The Neverending Story by Michael Ende.
- The Yrr in The Swarm by German author Frank Schätzing
- The Vord in Codex Alera by Jim Butcher
- The Emperor in A Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix
- The Brood (comics), a species of alien within the Marvel Universe.
- Gah Lak Tus, the Ultimate Marvel version of Galactus, is depicted as a massive swarm of city-size robots forming a collective mind.
- The Partnership Collective in Howard Tayler's Schlock Mercenary.
- The Phalanx in Marvel universe.
- The Stepford Cuckoos in Marvel Comics' X-Men series.
- The Uni-Mind formed by the Eternals in the Marvel Universe.
- The Thousand in Spider-Man.
- The Xandarian Worldmind in the Marvel Universe.
- The Akatsuki leader Pain in the manga Naruto has six bodies that share the same mind. (All six are revealed to be merely animated corpses that Pain controls from a distance in his real body which is crippled.)
- In the Pocket Monsters Special Diamond and Pearl Saga, the members of Team Galaxia share a hive mind that controls their moves and actions.
- The Heart of Atlantis in Walt Disney Feature Animation Atlantis: The Lost Empire.
- The Little Green Men (LGMs) from Buzz Lightyear of Star Command.
- The Skraaldians in Men in Black: The Series are psychically linked; if one of their kind is killed, the others immediately know about it and who did it.
- The alien invaders in Godzilla: The Series.
- The Delightful Children from Down the Lane in Codename: Kids Next Door
- Unity, Beta 7 and Million-Ants in Rick and Morty
- The Monkey Splooge Beings in Family Guy
- Lazarus 92 in Samurai Jack
- The Anti-Spirals in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann are a group mind, having foregone their individuality to stop evolution. The final battle of the series is against a being representing their collective minds.
- The Invid race in Robotech.
- The Lilin, the whole mankind in the anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion.
- The Central, An alternative dimensional evolution of humankind in Linebarrels of Iron.
- In Psycho-Pass, the Sibyl System in charge of controlling society is made up of human brains linked together to form a super-computer.
- The alien children in the 1960 film Village of the Damned (and its 1995 remake), as well as its sequel, Children of the Damned (1963)
- The Xenomorph race in Alien (1979) and its many sequels.
- Nestor, from the Roger Corman film Battle Beyond the Stars (1980)
- The ghostly "Twins" in The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
- The Machines in the Matrix trilogy form a seemingly connected mind, especially at the end of The Matrix Revolutions, where they coalesce into a face to speak to Neo
- The children in Clive Barker's The Plague (2006)
- Eywa is formed by a complex neural network composed of many organisms on the moon Pandora, in the film Avatar (2009)
- The team of motorcycle Autobots in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) known as Arcee (including Arcee, Chromia, and Elita One) share a hive mind
- The Kaiju from Pacific Rim (film) share a hive mind. The scientist Newton Geiszler creates a machine which allows him to create a mental link with a kaiju brain fragment, however the result is that it attracts two Kaiju; Leatherback and Otachi which attack Shangai, China. This mental link allows Newton to view the memories of the Kaiju and find out more about them.
- The Conehead Crystal Skulls in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
- The Formics or Buggers in the film Enders Game (2013)
- The Omega in Edge of Tomorrow (film) (2014)
- People infected by the slugs from Slither (film) also acted as a hive mind.
- The Bringers of the First Evil in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (this is questionable at best- not a very clear or strong example at all)
- The X7 transgenics in the Dark Angel series.
- The Cybermen and Cyberiad, the Ood, the Rutan Host, and the Toclafane in Doctor Who.
- The Delightful Children from Down the Lane in Code Name: Kids Next Door.
- The Replicators in Stargate SG-1 are linked via subspace, but each Replicator has its own "corner" of the space where it can think privately without the others knowing what it thinks. This, however, may be exclusive to the human-form Replicators.
- The Bebe robots in Kim Possible.
- The Borg in Star Trek. The Borg Queen takes a coordinator role; the drones, although having group consciousness, have species identifications and individual designations. Some Borg unconsciously retain their identities in "Unimatrix Zero".
- The Strigoi in the Strain TV Series on FX.
- The Inhuman known as Hive, who is possessing Grant Ward's corpse, in Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., is a parasite that can infect other inhumans, and forms a hive mind with them.
- Unity, is a hive mind, who appeared in Rick and Morty's episode Auto Erotic Assimilation.
- Unity, an alien parasite that tried to infect the world in Superman: The Animated Series.
- Jasmine uses hive mind in the 4th season of Angel.
- A.L.I.E. in The 100.
- Stranger Things Netflix series uses hive mind in Season 2.
- The Darkspawn in Dragon Age Origins, lead by an Archdemon. While players can drink the blood of a Darkspawn, and it'll either kill them, drive them mad, or they will have the ability to also sense them, and the Archdemon.
- Groups of cranium rats in the Planescape campaign setting for the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game.
- The Modron and the Formian of Dungeons & Dragons.
- The Crimborg in The Kingdom of Loathing.
- The Borg in Star Trek Online.
- The Tyranids in Warhammer 40,000.
- The Aparoids in Star Fox: Assault.
- The Beast in Homeworld: Cataclysm.
- The C-Consciousness (О-Сознание in Russian) in S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl.
- The CABAL's cyborg army in the Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun's Firestorm expansion pack.
- The Dark People in The Longest Journey and Dreamfall.
- The Omar in Deus Ex: Invisible War.
- The Destroyers in Guild Wars: Eye of the North.
- The Flood parasite in Halo series kill and revive victims, stripping needed information from the brain. The Flood's collective consciousness manifests as a Gravemind, or "compound mind".
- The Necromorph Hive Mind in Dead Space.
- The Kharaa in Natural Selection.
- The Klackon in the Master of Orion series.
- The Lambent in the Gears of War series.
- The Many in System Shock 2.
- The Orz in Star Control 2.
- The Overmind in the first-person shooter Tremulous.
- Planet in Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri.
- Multiple races in the Mass Effect universe, most prominently the rachni. The Reapers are sapient starships each composed of billions of organic minds; Sovereign, the vanguard of the Reaper fleet, addresses this by stating "We [the Reapers] are each a nation." The Collectors appear to have little or no consciousness of their own, being thralls to the Reaper known as Harbinger.
- The Shibito in the Siren series.
- Superhot in Superhot
- The Tuurngait in the Penumbra game series.
- The Uhlek race in Starflight.
- The Vex in Destiny.
- The X-Parasite organisms in Metroid Fusion kill and revive their living victims to turn them into zombies-like beings. The War Wasps in Metroid Prime culminate in a gigantic hive mind called the Hive Mecha in an attempt to prevent Samus Aran from receiving the missile launcher upgrade.
- The Zerg swarm in the Starcraft series is controlled by the Overmind and, later, Sarah Kerrigan.
- The Zoni in Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time.
- Ceph of the Crysis series.
- Corvus and humans with a Direct Neural Interface in "Call of Duty: Black Ops III", Causing the dead to coexist in the Frozen Forest as long as they have an active Direct Neural Interface.
- In Stellaris, you are able to play as a "Gestalt Consciousness"-civilization.
- The Bohrok in the LEGO Bionicle saga are controlled by Krana, which link up in a hive mind.
- The Harrower in the game Gloomhaven is made up of 1000s of insects, which together have intelligence via a hive mind.
- The Pokémon Exeggcute is made up of multiple eggs that have a hive mind, controlled by the largest egg.
- The Primes in Peter F. Hamilton's Commonwealth Saga.
- The Rat King in The Ballad of Halo Jones and in Terry Pratchett's The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents.
- The slivers in Magic: The Gathering storyline. They appear first on Rath but are seen again under the battle of Otaria, and once more during the temporal chaos of Time Spiral
- Slivers take the hive mind idea a step further: instead of sharing just a consciousness, they also share physical attributes, such as breathing fire, regenerating, growing wings, or an extra claw. They gain these attributes by being in close proximity to another.
- The Tachyons in Godzilla: The Series.
- The Xar-Ggothua in Xombie not only share thoughts with each other, but each one can be reborn into a new Xar or even a group of three by the Xin-Jithoth. It is assumed this can also be done to their "cousins", the Xi-Thyndri and the Xth Nthogg.
- Quatermass and the Pit.
- Star Maker
List of non-hive group minds
A group mind that is not a hive mind: the individuals retain their identities and free will, and can join or sever from the group mind of their own volition. Some examples can have characteristics of both a hive mind and group mind. There is not always a clear cut dividing line: some Star Trek Borg drones such as Seven of Nine have been forcibly split from the collective.
- The Monicans, a mysterious group of assassins in the movie Aeon Flux, are able to secretly communicate with each telepathically, enabled by a pill. As it is not explained, it might also be possible that the message is carried via the pill in a way that the recipient might be able to interact, allowing the simple two-way dialogue that occurred in the second message.
- The Advent in Sins of a Solar Empire A subspecies of humans that is in constant mental contact with one another.
- The hyper-evolved Arisians of "Doc" Smith's Lensman series can form multi-mind fusions, as can highly trained Lensmen.
- The Founders (Changelings) in Star Trek are individuals, but form a group mind while connected in the Great Link.
- The Mind Whisper project in Dollhouse
- A group of telepathic child prodigies in Theodore Sturgeon's More Than Human.
- A group of telepathic child prodigies in Howard Fast's The First Men.
- The Conjoiners in Alastair Reynolds's Revelation Space, Chasm City, Redemption Ark, Absolution Gap, and short stories. They retain their identities, but communicate via implants and act as a group.
- The Edenists in Peter F. Hamilton's The Night's Dawn Trilogy remain individuals, but rely on telepathic empathy for emotional support, personal stability, and colony-wide referendums on major decisions.
- The "Fold", a wireless network of nanites infecting humans and superhumans in "Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2", altering the mind of the infected, leaving personality intact while changing all goals and desires to match those of the fold, with the infected not realizing it.
- The Geth in Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 although individual platforms not near other geth will be feral rather than sentient.
- Gaia and Galaxia in Isaac Asimov's Foundation Series
- Kithkin from Wizards of the coasts card game Magic the Gathering. They have their identities intact but are linked by Thoughtweft, which binds their feelings.
- The Little People of Robert A. Heinlein's Methuselah's Children; the individual memories of the original bodies are retained.
- The Martians of A Miracle of Science use brain-to-brain FTL communication; they do not lose their individuality despite being members of the group mind.
- The Strangers in the film Dark City, a group of aliens who experiment on humans in search for their soul. Although each Stranger seems to be an individual, they can combine their psychokinetic powers to work the citywide Machine, have a hive memory set and have a library of human memories which their doctor can combine to create a new memory. The goal of the Strangers is to obtain human individuality.
- The Pods in Singularity's Ring by Paul Melko consist of up to five people each contributing their individual capabilities and strengths.
- Humanity is approaching Unity with the existing galactic group mind in Julian May's Galactic Milieu series. 'Operant' humans are also able to form smaller, temporary group minds, called metaconcerts with other operants.
- All of humanity at the end of Neon Genesis Evangelion, after being reduced to LCL.
- All of humanity in the last episode of Serial Experiments Lain, after everyone is subconsciously connected to each other through an advanced, global, wireless version of the internet.
- The Pokémon Doduo, Dodrio, and Exeggutor.
- Evroniani from the Disney comic series PKNA.
- The Franklin Collective from Accelerando by Charles Stross.
- Las Plagas, and, by extension, the Ganados, from Resident Evil 4.
- The Unity in Hosts by F. Paul Wilson; newly infected members can occasionally break free of the group mind and think for themselves, but are eventually overpowered completely.
- The infected in the video game Prototype.
- The inhabitants of Camazotz, from Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle In Time
- [to some extent] The Human Beings, according to Nature's Semi-consciousness/on going auto-learning process in Nature is seeing a shrink by Lucas Monaco Toledo
- The underground (Also referred to as "The Joined") in The Light of Other Days uses Brain-computer interfaces and wormhole communication.
- The telepathic people of Lys in The City and the Stars by Arthur C. Clarke.
- The leader of the Individual Eleven, Kuze, in the anime Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. 2nd GIG communicates with war refugees through their cybernetic implants. By constantly transmitting all his thoughts and feelings to the refugees through "the Network", Kuze becomes their friend, comrade and leader in their fight to establish a new state. The only difference from a mastermind is that he lets everyone decide, whether to follow his lead or not.
- The Cyberbrains of every cyborg in Ghost in the Shell, revealed even more so in Solid State Society, when Koshiki revealed that every cyborg shared the same consciousness.
- The Transcendence in Transcendent by Stephen Baxter
- The Keymasters in Spectrum by Sergey Lukyanenko
- The Fleetmind, or Petey, in Schlock Mercenary
- The Strogg from Quake 2 and Quake 4.
- The Protoss in the StarCraft series share a loose collective consciousness through a mental practice called the Khala. However, they still maintain their individuality.
- The Virindi, a race/species in the PC game Asheron's Call, are floating, invisible entities that wear physical hooded shrouds (mostly tattered shrouds, but some forms of Virindi wear what looks like armor), white masks (think Vega from Street Fighter II) that have glowing purple eye holes (some have red pupils) and sometimes have twisted smiles on masks. They fight using magic crop sickles. They are of a singular mind which calls itself "The Singularity". The Virindi speak only in the plural (i.e.: us, we, our, etc...) when talking about themselves. Some "individuals" have broken free of The Singularity, and are of their own individual consciousness.
- The Zilart in Final Fantasy XI, an ancient race connected by a kind of mental link they call the Whisper of Souls. Some are born without this link and are fearfully enslaved and forced to wear an amulet that artificially connects them to the Whisper.
- The Vortigaunts in the Half-Life series share a telepathic communal link.
- The Stepford Cuckoos from the X-Men comics share a group mind that can split up into its parts.
- The Agents from The Matrix series.
- The Asurans from Stargate Atlantis: Although their leadership can use the collective to reprogram deviant thoughts, they possess individual personalities beyond this, and can use it to transfer their consciousness to new bodies after their old ones are destroyed.
- The Babies from A Cage of Butterflies.
- The Cylons from Battlestar Galactica.
- The Vex machine race in the video game Destiny possess specialized commanders referred to as Axis Minds. These units are used to coordinate planetary troop deployment and terraforming while freeing minor units from complex strategy.
- The replica soldiers from F.E.A.R. universe are controlled by Telepathic commander.
- The Hypotheticals in Robert Charles Wilson's novel Spin, a highly advanced, billions-years-old galaxy spanning benevolent collective of Von Neumann machines.
- The Taelons of the TV series Earth: Final Conflict are connected to each other through the Commonality.
- The residents of the town of Santaroga in Frank Herbert's The Santaroga Barrier.
- The Sylvari race in Guild Wars 2 share a common Dream of Dreams, through which they learn basic understanding of the world.
- The werewolves in the Twilight Series are able to share thoughts among their own pack. Alpha wolves can also share thoughts with each other, but must think directly at each other.
- In David Alexander Smith's trilogy of science fiction books, starting with Marathon, the Cygnan species is revealed in the second book Rendezvous as capable of entering a trance-like state of consciousness with other members of their social unit called a djan. During this time the djan mind becomes aware and is capable of thought, caused by pheromones exchanged amongst the djan. The individual Cygnans come away with increased bonding and unconscious affections, but have no cognitive recollection of the experience.
- In David Alexander Smith's book "In the Cube", the Pheneri species are capable of seeing, re-enacting, and actually feeling each individual death of past members of its species.
- The telepathic Hydrans of Joan Vinge's Psion and Dreamfall. These vary; the ones in Psion seem more like a continuous fluid consciousness, but described as unusual due to hard circumstances, while the ones in Dreamfall are more recognizably human individuals typically in at least light mental contact with each other.
- The Patternists in Octavia Butler's novel Patternmaster.
- The scub coral from Eureka Seven
- The Nexus children in Ramez Naam's series Nexus. The children are able to telepathically communicate with one another and teach each other new information via a nano-tech known as "Nexus".
- The main characters in the Netflix series Sense8.
- Collective consciousness
- Collective intelligence
- Global brain
- Swarm intelligence
- Technologically enabled telepathy
- BCI synthetic telepathy/silent communication
- Brain to brain communication
- "Group Ego"
- "Coalescing minds: brain uploading-related group mind scenarios" by Kaj Sotala, Department of Computer Science, University of Helsinki
- Mass Effect 2 - Legion on the Nature of Reapers
- Fast, Howard (1960). The First Men. Letter dated June 2, 1964. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
- Smith, D. Alexander (1982). Marathon. Ace. p. 250. ISBN 0-441-51943-1.