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In the last decade of the 21st century, humanity faced two of its greatest challenges. The first was the transformation from a single, evolved species to a multitude of artificial races. The second was the settlement of the vast reaches of the solar system. Away from the prying eyes of Earth, space-going transnationals developed technologies that governments feared to investigate but could not ignore, while bizarre posthuman cultures bloomed like exotic flowers. It was a time of wealth and adventure, of transformation and terror. It was the age of Transhuman Space.
—from the Introduction to Transhuman Space.
Tropes used in Transhuman Space include:
- Animal Wrongs Group: Many Preservationist organizations such as the anti-gengineering terrorist group Blue Shadow and anti-terraforming Europa Defense Front.
- Artificial Human: Bioroids - biological androids.
- Balkanize Me: Many "Free cities", and Canada has become a patchwork of countries, some of which are EU members. The US hasn't splintered, but many states have; there are now 60, some of which are free cities within the union. (Most of Washington, conversely, is now part of Maryland; the District of Columbia barely extends beyond the White House.)
- Bio Augmentation: Biomods.
- Brain-Computer Interface: Pretty much the only cybernetics still in common use.
- Brain Uploading - Two kinds. "Ghosts" where the brain is destroyed in the process, and "shadows" where the brain survives but the AI simulation isn't as good.
- Catgirl: Felicia-model bodyguard bioroid (here sort of an organic robot built out of flesh and structure, as opposed to a grown organism with its own genome)
- David Pulver puts catgirls into every GURPS setting he writes for. His excuse is that there's a large subset of GURPS players who always want to be a catgirl, regardless of setting.
- China Takes Over the World: It's the main military power, with the EU as the main technological power. America is a close second for both. Also, China has taken over half of Mars.
- DRM: DRM in Transhuman Space is, in contrast to Real Life, pretty uniformly ahead of the crackers for several reasons (mainly because if it were easy to steal technology, the Transpacific Socialist Alliance wouldn't be the backwater that it is).
- Fantastic Racism: Against bioroids, artificial intelligences, ghosts, animal uplifts... although each society tends to have different biases.
- Justified Extra Lives: Infomorph characters (artificial intelligences and ghosts) are able to store backups of themselves on secure servers - so if their current incarnation dies, they can easily be restored (though they do lose their memory of everything that happened since the last backup).
- Human Subspecies: Several, ranging from "upgrades" that have slight improvements and are still compatible with ordinary humans to "parahumans" that are effectively different species and include adaptations to life underwater, in microgravity, or semi-terraformed Mars.
- Middle-Eastern Coalition: The Islamic Caliphate.
- Neo Africa: Most of the world is preppy Post Cyber Punk, but Africa is still straight Cyberpunk.
- No Transhumanism Allowed: Largely averted, though various societies ban some Transhumanist technologies - the Islamic Caliphate bans ghosts, the European Union bans radical human genetic engineering, and so on.
- One-Gender Race: Hyppolyta parahumans, created for a female-separatist space station. Ironically, gender identities have become a lot more fluid since the station was founded, and it's now very easy to switch sex with modern technology, making sexual separatism increasingly meaningless.
- Post Cyber Punk
- Remote Body: A central component of the setting. People, especially A Is, rent (rarely purchase) cybershells designed for their environment or the job they're doing at the moment.
- Sliding Scale of Robot Intelligence: We have non-sapient AI (NAI), low-sapient AI (LAI), and Sapient AI (SAI). Also their template IQ bonus is dependent on their program complexity.
- Space Elevator: There is one on Mars, and another one being built in Earth orbit.
- Terraform: The Duncanites were driven off Mars for starting this without the permission of any of the countries colonizing, the Green Duncanites are attempting to terraform Europa and are at war with a group of environmentalists. By 2100 Mars is not quite earth-like, but specially adapted parahumans or people with the appropriate biomods can survive without an environment suit.
- Unwanted False Religion: Singularitism, which began as a joke, and about half the congregation actually buys. Needless to say, the other half is trying very hard to let them down easy.
- Uplifted Animal: Aplenty. Cats, dogs, dolphins, apes, octopi...
- Wetware Body: Bioshells.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Legal attitudes vary greatly by country, usually A Is and Uplifts are property and Bioroids are treated as permanent minors while Ghosts and Parahumans are full citizens but there are exceptions. For example the EU gives full citizenship to Bioroids and SAI while the Caliphate treats SAI as people and Ghosts as abominations (my guess is they believe infomorphs have souls).