In a science fiction future, people naturally live forever, although accidents and murders are still possible, even if much less common as there's a lot to lose.

Suppose a future person looks at our time, when death was commonplace, when people died left, right an centre, when everyone has dead relatives (e.g. grandparents, those lost to cancer or car accidents), when everyone knew their death was inevitable.

What would future people call our death? Common? Casual?

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    If you're writing a sci-fi story of this nature then it's up to you to decide what kind of attitude the future people have. Perhaps they dismiss us as irrelevant primitives; perhaps they feel very fortunate; when imagining a future culture you can decide based on what best helps propel the plot. I think the comparison one of the answers made to how we view life in times of the plague is a good one.
    – nnnnnn
    Jul 15, 2020 at 5:27
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    I’m voting to close this question because the sci-fi realm could be better answered by sci-fi writers. Please consider our sister site, worldbuilding.stackexchange.com .
    – rajah9
    Jul 15, 2020 at 12:47
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    This question cannot be answered unless specific criteria are provided for the meaning you want to convey, what words you've already considered, and why you've rejected them. If you want a synonym for common or casual, why have you rejected them that you want something else instead? Jul 15, 2020 at 15:55
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    I’m voting to close this question because it’s about hypothetical English usage in a fictional future world, not about current or historical real-world English usage. As @rajah9 suggests, Worldbuilding would be a more appropriate site.
    – PLL
    Jul 15, 2020 at 17:09
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    @PLL Seriosly, you mean LeGuin’s use of English is off-topic?
    – Xanne
    Jul 16, 2020 at 21:32

8 Answers 8


“Routine” is a possibility. It might strike beings from the future as truly bizarre that death was once ‘routine,’ if dreaded,


routine adjective rou·​tine | \ rü-ˈtēn , ˈrü-ˌtēn

1 : of a commonplace or repetitious character : ORDINARY

routine problems

2 : of, relating to, or being in accordance with established procedure routine business


natural death


death occurring in the course of nature and from natural causes (as age or disease) as opposed to accident or violence

These people of the future would not 'naturally' live forever. If possible, this everlasting life would most definitely be artificial:

same source


1 humanly contrived often on a natural model

2 b: caused or produced by a human and especially social or political agency


Mundane carries the normalcy and hints at the condescension that the future humans would have for such.

characterized by the practical, transitory, and ordinary : COMMONPLACE

Kids' definition (from that same entry):

dull and ordinary

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    I came here to post exactly that answer. As a comment, it might be worth copying the definition from MW's site to your answer as, however unlikely, it's still possible for link rot to strike even a dictionary.
    – Spratty
    Jul 15, 2020 at 15:57

I think you yourself can be a judge of that, I mean we ourself are future for the people living during the plagues like The Black Death. I don't think anyone would call their deaths 'casual'. Cause life is always very important to even a immortal as they will be in future(according to your question). I don't think we can use 'common' for their deaths too. We just call them deaths. maybe natural deaths, or a death due to a pandemic etc. And if it's a term you want to discuss more you can check out our sister sites

  • I'm highlighting a few English errors for you: I think you...can be a judge of that, I mean we ourselves were the future for the people living during ... plagues like The Black Death. I don't think anyone would call their deaths 'casual'. ...Life will always be very important to your future immortals. I don't think we can use 'common' for their deaths either. We just call them deaths. maybe natural deaths, or a death due to a pandemic etc. And if it's a term you want to discuss further you can try our sister sites.
    – WS2
    Jul 15, 2020 at 17:09

Today, when people die much younger than their projected lifespan, their deaths are described as premature. Perhaps that term would persist as lifespans grow.


From the viewpoint of a future person in your sci-fi universe, maybe this is primitive death, or archaic death.


I would replace commonplace with prosaic.

Prosaic (adj): Ordinary and not especially interesting or unusual. [Cambridge English Dictionary]

The person from future would say that the death was prosaic or perhaps certain death.


The word that came to my mind was ubiquitous, which Merriam-Webster defines as "existing or being everywhere at the same time; constantly encountered; widespread".

People in the distant future, when death has been all but eliminated, might think of our time as being a time in which death was ubiquitous. Everyone has close relatives who have died. Everyone knows about lots of people who have died. Everyone expects themselves to die, and worry about how they can postpone it. That's what I'd call ubiquitous.