Stories about clones and personalities diverging? SPOILERS

I’m looking for stories about clones who have experiences that change their personalities, so say two identical clones start out the same and over the course of the story become very different.

Battlestar Galactica featured this, two cylons(some kind of synthetic human) with tens of thousands of identical copies who all think alike become the first real “individuals” after spending time among normal humans and rebel against the established order. Later in the series we see more of this, a cylon who was brutalized and raped for months commits suicide, a cylon falls in love with a human and abandons her mission, etc.

Venture Bros although a comedy featured something like this too, the brothers were clones who constantly died and started back at zero losing all their memories and growth. Eventually the clone bodies and facility are destroyed and the boys start aging and changing personality wise.

Not exactly the same thing, but Boy’s from Brazil has the Nazi’s clone a bunch of Hitlers and try and set up each infant clone with a childhood matching that of the original. Even with that, the film suggests only one ends up with a personality that is close to the actual Hitler.

Despite the out-there premise, its probably the only film I’ve seen that actually had a realistic view of cloning. Each clone starts out as an infant, not a grown-up copy of the original, and there’s no magical “brain copying” that goes along with the cloning.

Well, there’s that terrible Michael Keaton comedy, Multiplicity.

The best movie about cloning, to me* is Creator, which doesn’t depict this, but makes clear at the end that the clone’s experience and (more important, in the movie) the experiences of those interacting with the clone differ from those of the “original”, so the clone is a wholly different individual.

  • It’s wittily and intelligently written, stars Peter O’toole and an impressive cast, and recognizes that it takes a human clone decades to actually grow up.

It’s part of a recent storyline in the webcomic Schlock Mercenary. Earlier, a character named Gav was duplicated millions of times, becoming “a demographic unto himself”. Recently “the Gavs” acquired technology that let them modify themselves physically and mentally, radically diverging from each other; they went for it because the original was an individualist and they basically all hated the idea of being identical to each other.

In the Sten military sci-fi series (major spoilers)

the Eternal Emperor’s immortality is in part based on serial cloning; he doesn’t age, but if killed a new body is cloned and a copy of his mind downloaded into it. Unfortunately the latest copy is defective and starts to go mad (Caligula-style), and worse disables the safeguards designed by the original to terminate him if that happens so a new copy can be made.

There’s the Star Trek TNG storyline (which later spilled over into DS9) about Riker, who accidentally got duplicated through a transporter malfunction. One version was abandoned on the planet on his own for years because the Enterprise had the other version and thus didn’t realize that anyone was still down there. “Tom” Riker (the abandoned copy) ends up with a considerably different personality than “Will”, in part due to spending all that time alone and in part due to missing certain key life events (Will’s reconciliation with his father, for one). ISTR Tom ends up in a Cardassian prison, although I may have missed a few episodes.

The third season of Misfits had Rudy, who could split into two people, each with a different personality.

I suspect that Kate Wilhelm’s Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang would have what you’re looking for; it’s been awhile since I’ve read it.

Series 3 of Farscape had a great storyline where John Crichton was duplicated, and essentially ended up competing with himself over his sort of girlfriend Aeryn.

It worked pretty well, as they were one of those ‘will they, won’t they’ type relationships. This let them explore what would happen if they got together, whilst also having them not get together.

The Greg Egan short story “Learning to be Me” covers the personality-divergence thing better than anything else I’ve read, though it doesn’t EXACTLY deal with clones.

It also let them take other aspects of the plot in two directions at once, while still having the main character in both of them.

And dang you, Der Trihs, for mentioning Schlock before I could. Though I’ll also point out that this isn’t the first time the comic has touched on that theme: There are also two Kevyns from a time-travel mishap, one of whom is a retired captain who spends his time in backyard wargames with his retired-general neighbor, while the other is an active-duty commander still working for the mercenaries and spending his spare time with his hot girlfriend. And there were briefly two Schlocks, too, from the same time-warp, with one of them being severely traumatized and basically reverted to childhood, until they re-merged.

If you like old Star Trek, “The Price of the Phoenix” and its sequel “The Fate of the Phoenix” are all about this. They’re written by Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath.

I’ll warn you, though: these seem to be “love 'em or hate 'em” books. Personally, I love 'em, but a lot of people don’t. They diverge pretty far out from Star Trek canon.

That was indeed his fate. Masquerading as Will, Tom stole the Defiant and attempted to turn it over to the Maquis. He was captured and the Defiant returned to the Federation. Tom was sentenced to life on a Cardassian prison planet.

Peter David also included Tom Riker in his non-canon novel, “Imzadi II: Triangle.” Tom is freed from his Cardassian prison by the Romulan renegade, Sela, who intends to foment war by having him assassinate the Klingons Gowron and Kahless. Will Riker is mistaken for his twin and captured and Worf undertakes a mission to rescue him and foil Sela’s plot. It also reintroduces the tension between Worf and Will Riker for Deanna’s affections.

There was also the complicated situation with Doyt Gyo and his implanted AI Haban, who were duplicated by the Gatekeepers. With one duplicate Haben’s stronger personality essentially absorbed Doyt and they became Doythaban Gyo; with the other Doyt was shot through the head and his personality destroyed by the brain damage; leaving “Haban the Second” in full control of the body.

Cyteen by CJ Cherryh is entirely about this.

The planets of Union are settled and populated by Azi, clones designed by the laboratories of Resune on Cyteen. Azi are trained/programmed by “tape”, which is part psychological indoctrination, part training tape.

There are also clones raised like “born men”; i.e., no tape-training, just regular ol’ life experience.

And then there’s the main character, a clone of the genius who ran Resune and oversaw the Azi creation – and she’s part of a program to try to recreate the personality of the original genius in her clone.

Others of Cherryh’s Alliance-Union books touch upon the Azi/clone stuff, but Cyteen is the best at it.

This may not be quite what you’re looking for, but part of this story is about a cloned brain (well, kind of cloned, anyway) that diverges from the original:

Kiln People by David Brin.

People make time-limited copies of themselves.

I love the concept of the creation “going Frankie” (a reference to Frankenstein.)

Oh, another one I just remembered: James Tiptree’s “Houston, Houston, do you Read?”. Though I’m not sure how much detail I can give without spoiling it-- Just read it, it’s good.

Frederik Pohl and Jack Williamson Saga of Cuckoo books (and IIRC some of Pohl’s others) involved an interstellar teleporter that creates copies of people at the destination instead of making the original vanish and appear at the destination. On occasion for (volunteer) suicide missions, so you have the viewpoint of a copy that knows his original is safe while he’s doomed…

Lord Mark Vorkosigan is an unauthorized clone of Lord Miles Vorkosigan’s - if you want to find out the rest, hie thee to Brothers in Arms and books thereafter, within Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan series. Mirror Dance focuses specially on Mark’s personality but it’s not for people with weak stomachs and vivid imaginations.

I wasn’t sure if that counted since Mark never had an identical personality to Miles; he was just taught to fake it.