what can symbiotic relationships portrayed in science fiction tell us about the way we perceive real-life relationships?  

Symbiosis is a very interesting thing in nature, two or more parties benefiting from one another in some way, shape, or form. Although a lot of these relationships can vary from being equal to completely one sided. This type of phenomena not only apply to organic creatures like plants and animals, but it can also apply to more abstract ones like machines and humans. Science fiction has offered a lens into how we live, explore, and discover things about the universe while also commenting on today and tomorrow. So, what happens when we look at these Symbiotic relationships through the realm of science fiction? From parasites feeding off of host, to people becoming cyborgs symbiosis put in perspective how we react, learn, or influence one another.

For this project (proposal), I will be talking about different types of symbiosis and looking through various sources across the medium of science fiction. By the end I will draw the connection between these examples and show how symbiosis can change the way we perceive life.


“Examples Of Symbiosis: Types Of Relationships In Nature”. Examples.Yourdictionary.Com, 2020, https://examples.yourdictionary.com/examples-of-symbiosis.html.

There are myriad of symbiotic relationships that go beyond just one side benefiting more than the other there are about five different types in total. There’s mutualism where both parties benefit from each other, think your basic you clean me I feed relationship. Commensalism where it’s more for one sided relationship or neutral between one party and the symbiote. Parasitism is your classic one species requires a host to live off of where all too familiar with. But then there are also things like competition symbiosis, where even though they compete for resources there actually dependent on each other to help each other, kind of like having predators hunt for a meal and then the scavengers get to feed without having to fight large game. Finally there is predication an herbivory where one Organism feeds off another one another, basically when one animal plant or another animal eat another animal. At first it doesn’t seem like a symbiotic relationship but it’s beneficial for both parties in terms of everything coming full circle to feed one another.


“The Human-Machine Symbiosis”. Medium, 2020, https://medium.com/hello-tomorrow/the-human-machine-symbiosis-3aa11b66eae5.

When most people think of symbiosis, they mostly think of symbiotic relationships they often think more organic ones like humans, plants, and animals. But one of the more interesting pairs would be between man machine, i.e. the cyborg. There are robotics and neuroscience companies working together to create artificial limbs, organs, and autonomous devices that link with the brain. This way it can give the otherwise disabled control over body parts to help them live, while also provide important research in field of neuroscience and how we can constantly improve upon it.


“Parasyte: Exploration Of What It Means To Be Human | The Artifice”. The-Artifice.Com, 2020, https://the-artifice.com/parasyte-analysis/.

One of my favorite anime of all time is called “Parasyte: the Maxim” its about these alien parasites blending into society and murdering/devouring people. The main character gets infected through his hand and now must live a symbiotic relationship while fighting other parasites. The thing about this show is that it asks the question of what means to be human and overtime as the relationship between the protagonist and the symbiotic grow. They start to learn from and influence each other’s thoughts and actions until they’re pretty much in sync.


“Venom (Eddie Brock) In Comics Powers, Villains, History | Marvel”. Marvel Entertainment, 2020, https://www.marvel.com/characters/venom-eddie-brock/in-comics.

One of the most well-known symbiotes of all time is venom from the Marvel comic series. he comes from a race of aliens known as the “Symbiotes” ironically and there one mission is to travel the galaxy reproduce and heal people. The only thing is they also take characteristics from host to host so one person could be a hero and then the next person could be insane which leads us to the current day incarnation. Venom helped cure his current host’s cancer but in exchange they go out and eat people. But being influence by the many hosts over the years he finds himself playing as more a chaotic neutral character.


“Upgrade Movie Ending & STEM Explained”. Screenrant, 2020, https://screenrant.com/upgrade-movie-ending-stem-explained/2/.

Upgrade is a movie about a man who’s against technology who get paralyzed from the neck down tracking his wife’s killer. He gets a chip implanted in his body to help him walk, fight, and attach weapons to his body all controlled by an Ai. The only twist is that the ai is smart and self-aware enough of his existence to trick him into taking over his mind and body. A lot of the time ai in sci-fi is either trying to kill everyone or just badly coded machines trying learn how to be human, but with this movie he actively sets out to become human by any means necessary just feel more human, putting in perspective how some relationships can be just a means to an end.

Film Analysis: The Blob (1958) | bulb (bulbapp.com)

“The Blob: Film Analysis”. Bulbapp.Com, 2020, https://www.bulbapp.com/u/the-blob-film-analysis.

The Blob is a movie about an alien substance crashing to earth and slowly but surely starts to feed on the inhabitance of earth. When it comes to this type of symbiosis it’s knows as predation where an organism feeds off another organism in order tell, think the circle of life. What make this different from parasites is that the blob is self-sufficient enough to survive without a host and eats humans to keep expanding rather than spread its offspring.

“Symbiosis In Human Relationship”. Relationships-Explained.Com, 2020, https://www.relationships-explained.com/Symbiosis.html#:~:text=In%20a%20relationship%20with%20a,of%20ego%20states%20between%20them.

When it comes to humans our relationships are a lot more complicated than most organisms, but no matter the label you slap on it we all are involved with some form of symbiosis. According to this study what are the main factors when it comes to symbiosis between humans is the concept of our ego. When two or more parties’ egos start to collide with each other negatively, it results in a less flexible type of relationship. However, If both parties manage to take on stable roles when it comes to this symbiosis it results in society becoming more and more comfortable with conflicting ideals and roles.

“Dr. Stone Manga Review”. Medium, 2020, https://medium.com/@nomadomen4/dr-stone-manga-review-4706f7bc8b3d#:~:text=Created%20by%20Riichiro%20Inagaki%20and,experiment%20in%20the%20science%20room.

In the anime/manga “Dr. Stone” all the humans of the world get petrified for thousands of years and modern society reverts to nature. Now task with the responsibility of restarting civilization a young scientist (Senku) must create a cure from scratch while also figuring out the mystery of their petrification. Throughout the story Senku faces a bunch of different enemies who all have one goal in mind, restart society in their image by any means necessary. As weird as it may sound this is an example of a competition symbiotic relationship being that many of these characters are fighting over this one resource (the miracle water), and doing so they’re constantly trying to create an inventions and fight the other side. This competition breeds innovation to a point where they’re building phones from rocks and armor from paper all to gain control over the miracle water.


In turns of my proposal then versus now, it was more of an unfocused concept I only scratched hour could be possible. Sure, everybody knows about symbiosis and some of the types of symbiotic relationships, but with my original proposal it was more focused on why parasitic symbiotic relationships are are used in science fiction. The only problem with that was it was more of a negative connotation headset from saying that science fiction depicts it as only a revolting thing. So rather than lean into one direction I’m goanna address it as a whole and relate it back to our perception to the world and the way we look at sci-fi.

1 thought on “what can symbiotic relationships portrayed in science fiction tell us about the way we perceive real-life relationships?  ”

  1. When reading this I feel like the proposal was a bit better the time before. The proposal the first time got to the point much quicker and without having a discussion on how organic and inorganic as important as a topic that is to the essay itself I don’t believe it’s important to the proposal but it’s good that you’re getting ideas out there. I feel like your proposal should be just a little more focused. I like how you said that they should be compared but you should focus on how they are portrayed. You have to have a stance of wether that’s negative or positive portrayal in science fiction and compare it to all the positive ones in the real world and why that’s important for us to know about these positive symbiotic relationships. I like the research where you go in depth about the different types of symbiotic relationships and that is definitely a way to explain that not all symbiosis is as one sided and as evil as science fiction portrays. I’d like to know by the end of your writing piece why exactly is it important that we know about the different kinds of relationships instead of the ones always portrayed in science fiction. Will it change my perspective on organisms ? Or change the way I interact with the environment ?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.