Group mind (science fiction)


A group 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.[1][2] The first alien hive society was depicted in H. G. Wells's The First Men in the Moon (1901) while the use of human hive minds in literature goes back at least as far as David H. Keller's The Human Termites (published in Wonder Stories in 1929) and Olaf Stapledon's science fiction novel Last and First Men (1930),[3][4] which is the first known use of the term "group mind" in science fiction.[5][2] The use of the phrase "hive mind", however, was first recorded in 1943 in use in bee keeping and its first known use in sci-fi was James H. Schmitz's Second Night of Summer (1950).[6][7] 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.[7][8] "Hive mind" tends to describe a group mind in which the linked individuals have no identity or free will and are possessed or 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 a beehive or an ant colony.

Some hive minds feature members that are controlled by a centralised 'hive brain' or 'hive queen' while others feature a decentralised approach where members interact equally or roughly equally to come to decisions.[9] Hive minds are typically viewed in a negative light, especially in earlier works, though some newer works portray them as neutral or positive.[3][10]

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.[citation needed]





  • The Akatsuki leader Nagato in the Naruto series via using special rods to transmit his consciousness into six corpses that he controls while his real body is hidden at a safe distance.
  • In the Pocket Monsters Special Diamond and Pearl Saga, the members of Team Galaxia share a hive mind that controls their moves and actions.





Television series


Tabletop games

Video games


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 Æon 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.[34]
  • 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 Divine Predecessors, a collection of disembodied brains taken from previous incarnations of His Divine Shadow in the television series Lexx.
  • 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 Vermillion, from [ninjago]. They are snakes that join with metal, usually armor, to form warriors. While most of them are hive minded, the three generals (Blunck, Raggmunk and Machia) have a mind of their own.
  • The Zerg swarm in the Starcraft series is controlled by the Overmind and, later, Sarah Kerrigan.
  • 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 Coast's 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.
  • IT and 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,[35] 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.
  • Key decisions within an individual fleet in Yoon Ha Lee's Machineries of Empire series, may be undertaken by temporary hive-mind of Generals.
  • Two or more Gems, an alien race in the cartoon Steven Universe, can form a ‘fusion’, in which both their minds and physical forms are combined into a single being, who displays all of the constituent Gems’ skills, abilities and personality traits.
  • The vermillion, from LEGO

See also

Further reading

  • Science Fiction and the Prediction of the Future: Essays on Foresight and Fallacy by Wong King Yuen, McFarland (2011)
  • The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy: Themes, Works, and Wonders · Volume 3 by Gary Westfahl, Greenwood Press (2005)
  • Philosophers Look at Science Fiction by Nicholas D. Smith, Nelson-Hall (1982)
  • Science Fiction in Classic Rock: Musical Explorations of Space, Technology and the Imagination, 1967-1982 by Robert McParland, McFarland (2017)
  • Brave New Words : The Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction by Jeff Brucher, Oxford University Press (2007)


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External links

  • Entry on group mind at Science Fiction Citations
  • Miguel Nicolelis' Brain-net