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Aug. 14th, 2012 11:36 pm
fiver: (following the river of death downstream)
[personal profile] fiver posting in [community profile] shoggothic
CONCEPTS IN COSMIC HORROR
The insignificance of humanity. The human race is ultimately meaningless against the vast backdrop of indifferent cosmic forces far beyond our comprehension.
The unknowability of the universe. We cannot ever hope to understand the ultimate workings of nature. If we try, we will go mad.
The existence of terror and madness just below the surface of ordinary life. Normalcy is just a shell over the true dark nature of reality.
Isolation and despair. The outlook for both individuals and humanity is bleak and detached.

ELEMENTS IN COSMIC HORROR
Incomprehensible monsters (often with tentacles)
Bizarre, non-Euclidean, surreal landscapes and architecture
Dangerous beings inherently inimical to humanity lurking just beyond our world
Ancient ruins hiding doomed civilizations
Unfathomable stretches of time or space
Going mad from the revelation!!

CREATORS WHO USE ELEMENTS OF COSMIC HORROR
Stephen King
Although the morality in King's work is usually too clear for it to be true cosmic horror, there's a definite element of the genre in works such as It which feature incomprehensible, horrifying antagonists with inscrutable but terrible motives. The multiverse of the Dark Tower series and related stories, for example, is too purposeful and guided by forces of light to be cosmic horror, but the Crimson King resembles a Lovecraftian elder god in his unexplained destructiveness and unfathomability to humans.
Terry Pratchett
Discworld frequently and consciously parodies Lovecraft in the early books, but serious elements of cosmic horror crop up in later ones as well. Things like the Hiver in A Hat Full of Sky and the Summoning Dark in Thud! are very much in this camp with their ancient, implacable inhumanity.
Junji Ito
This mangaka cites Lovecraft as one of his influences. It definitely shows in Uzumaki. The spiral force that possesses Kurouzu-cho could easily be a slightly more psychological version of one of Lovecraft's nightmare aliens; it's that unknowable, ancient, and unstoppable.

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