An elder race in science fiction, fantasy, or horror fiction is a fictional alien race that preceded humanity. Occasionally they are a more advanced version of humanity instead of aliens (e.g., the Stargate Ancients). Elder races generally have abilities and technologies (or magics, in the case of fantasy) that far surpass that of humanity. In works of science fiction, their technologies are often so advanced as to seem magical or even godlike both to the human protagonists and to the present-day reader.
The Elder Race Edit
In some works, the elder race has long since departed the scene, leaving nothing but artifacts and other evidence of their activities. In others, the elder race remains in existence, but is in decline or has deliberately withdrawn to the periphery in order to avoid interfering with the development of humanity and any other younger races. A few elder races are portrayed as still being very much active in the story-current scene, and members of them may function as advisers or as antagonists.
Some elder races are portrayed as wise benefactors, bringing culture and knowledge to humanity and other younger races. Other elder races are callous exploiters, and regard younger races as so much raw material to be used and even used up. A few are portrayed ambiguously, with their well-intended actions having unexpected consequences. For instance, a client race may use their new-found technology for self-destruction, or a policy of non-interference may turn out to be a way of abdicating responsibility for using one's power wisely (power corrupts the best of intentions).
== Examples ==
* The creators of the monoliths in Arthur C. Clarke's 2001 series as well as unnamed and unseen aliens, sometimes known as the 'Firstborn', in the movie
* The "elder race of man" of Rush's 2112 are portrayed as humans from our era, the ones that are not under control of a totalitarian government.
* The evil in the novel The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel are the dark elders who are trying to take back the earth.
* Progenitor Manifold Caretakers and Usurpers – Sid Meier's Alien Crossfire
* The Lambent Kith Nebula and the Spirit of the Abyss – Andromeda
* Vorlons, Shadows, The Hand, Thirdspace aliens and the First Ones – Babylon 5
* The Beings of Light and Count Iblis from the original Battlestar Galactica
* Cthonians – Battlezone
* Shapers - Larklight
* The Vok – Beast Wars: Transformers
* Demons in the Buffyverse predate man. Giles tells the Scoobies that unlike what "popular mythology" would have us believe, this world did not begin as a paradise.
* Lavos – Chrono Trigger
* Elder Things in the Cthulhu Mythos of H. P. Lovecraft, they created life on Earth after its come from outer space one billion years ago.
* Elder and Sublimed civilisations – The Culture
* The Jokers in Terry Pratchett's The Dark Side of the Sun (1976), who predate all the sentient species in the novel, leaving behind artefacts and a cryptic poem.
* Guardians of the Universe, Controllers, Zamarons and the New Gods – DC Comics
* The Ancients and Shivans – Descent: FreeSpace – The Great War
* Time Lords, Osirians, Disciples of Light, and Great Vampires – Doctor Who
* Caleban – The Dosadi Experiment
* Ancients, Builders – Farscape
* The Krell of Forbidden Planet who achieved the pinnacle of technology and destroyed themselves in one night.
* The Creators – Guyver
* In Mass Effect, the Protheans are believed to be the elder race of the Milky Way, but it is later revealed that they were controlled and destroyed by the Reapers.
* The Kimera – Earth: Final Conflict
* The civilization of the Argonnessen giants in the D&D setting Eberron.
* In a post-game interview, the Vortex life forms were said to be the originators of arthropods in Ecco the Dolphin reality.
* The Ancients in the Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem video game.
* Anunnaki, the creators of jumpgates in the Fading Suns role playing game
* Mr. Shadow and the ancient race that uses the Fifth Element to combat evil in the movie can be seen as elder races.
* Forerunners – Forerunner series by Andre Norton
* The Daam K'Vaash – Freelancer
* Precursor Arnor and Dread Lords – Galactic Civilizations II: Dread Lords<ref>Template:Wikia</ref>
* The Nibblonians in Futurama
* The Solon – Haegemonia: Legions of Iron
* Forerunners – Halo universe<ref>Template:Halopedia</ref>
* The Precursors, an ancient race that came before the Forerunners and are mentioned only once in one of the novels – Halo universe
* Ogdru Jahad – Hellboy
* The people of Magrathea from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
* Progenitors, Bentusi – Homeworld series
*The aliens from the 1996 film Independence Day were supposed to be an ancient race with far superior technology.
* The Humans from the point-and-click game Inherit the Earth.
* The Pak and the Outsiders – Larry Niven's Known Space books
* Aldenata – Legacy of the Aldenata series by John Ringo
* Arisians and Eddorians – E. E. Smith's Lensman
* The Protoculture – Macross
* Dreen – Man of Two Worlds
* Jjaro, W'rkncacnter – Marathon Trilogy
* Celestials and the Watchers – Marvel Comics
* The Ancient Orions and Antarans – Master of Orion
* Sithi – Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series by Tad Williams
* The Heechee in Frederik Pohl's story The Merchants of Venus and later the Gateway series
* Chozo, Luminoth – Metroid universe
* Creators, also known as the Planners – Nexus: The Jupiter Incident
* Inhibitors / Wolves – Revelation Space
* The Elderlings in Robin Hobb's Farseer Trilogy, Liveship Traders Trilogy and The Tawny Man
* The ancient race that built the world engines in Shadow Raiders
* Ainur and Quendi – The Silmarillion
* The Precursors, Eternal Ones – Star Control
* Preservers, Ancient humanoids, the Slaver Empire, the Prophets, Pah-wraiths, Organians, Sphere Builders, T'kon and Iconians – Star Trek
* Architects/Builders, Gree, Sharu, Silentium, Abominor, Kathol and Rakatans – Star Wars
* Xel'Naga – StarCraft
* The Ancients of Stargate are revealed to be the ancestors of the human race, the source of the ancient stories of Atlantis, and being responsible for the presence of human life on thousands of planets in at least three galaxies (a result of their efforts to seed the galaxy in which they resided with life). It was never explained if the Ancients are deliberately responsible for human races' evolution (which took an identical form on their home, earth, and on all other seeded planets).
* The Ancients, Furlings, Asgard and Nox as well as the Ori – Stargate SG-1
* The Xeelee from Stephen Baxter's novels.
* Progenitors – Uplift series by David Brin
* Titans and the Naaru – Warcraft
* Old Ones, Eldar and Necrontyr – Warhammer, Warhammer 40,000
* Markovians – Well of Souls series (see Well World)
* Kherubim and D'rahn – Wildstorm Comics
* Steltek and Nephilim – Wing Commander
* The humans (sometimes called the Ancients) who populated the Old Kingdom from the videogames Fable and Fable 2. The Old Kingdom was destroyed by a device known as The Tattered Spire, but it is uncertain whether this was purposful or accidental.
* The Chimera of the Resistance games claim in Resistance 2 that their origins predate mankind's.