Space Isolation Horror
You are alone in the cold of space and you are going to die.


(permanent link) added: 2011-11-22 18:36:50 sponsor: ssfsx17 (last reply: 2011-11-28 11:23:36)

Add Tag:
Do We Have This One?

Note to self: link to this on the following pages: Horror, Survival Horror

"Just for once I'd like to see a spaceship in a horror game that actually seems like it might have been a nice place to live. You know, tasteful light-fittings, eloquent lacquered wood panels, or, at the very least, throw a fucking carpet down now and then. At least that way it would almost be a surprise when it gets invaded by a horde of flesh-eating mutants. Frankly, if you paint your spaceship gun-metal gray and fit it with about half as many flickery-ass fluorescent lights then are necessary, then you might as well rename it the USS Kill Beast Buffet."

There are a number of challenges associated with surviving in outer space. Oxygen, water, food, waste management, heating, lack of gravity, being unable to hear what is going on outside, and other issues all make space life a difficult proposition. Any Casual Interstellar Travel drive requires an hour to "warm up" and is the most fragile thing on the ship. A single pebble travelling sufficiently-quickly could kill you, or at least destroy one of those important life-support systems. These systems are either very-high-maintenance or require the use of an AI to keep everything under control. If you were to send a distress signal, the nearest help would be a week away. The interior of your spacecraft is designed to look as cold, clunky, mechanical, and unpleasant as possible.

And that's when things are working correctly.

Now throw in a malevolent or malfunctioning AI that controls all of the above. Hostile aliens that you have never seen before are trying to use you for breeding. You can't go outside without taking on even more risks, such as getting a puncture in your space suit. Everyone but you has died. Your problems cannot be solved by simply shooting them.

The deep sea works just as well, since it has similar conditions for survival and similarly-severe risks for going outside. In some ways it is more dangerous, thanks to the wildlife that may be swimming around and the intense body-crushing pressures.

The trope can be considered a Speculative Fiction form of the Deserted Island, except that there is virtually no hope for surviving with the natural resources of the surrounding area.

Typical tropes of Space Isolation Horror: [[index]] [[/index]]


Works exemplifying the genre

[[folder: Film]]

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Literature]]
  • The Michael Moorcock sci-fi novel about escaping from a lunatic dying Earth, The Black Corridor, uses this trope repeatedly, in the isolation felt by a crew-member on the escape ship who is doing his twenty-five year solo stint at flying the ship, attending to emergencies, and seeing nobody dies in suspended animation. This gives him time to brood and go quietly insane.
  • The short story "The Cold Equations" and its various Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, and TV Movie adaptations could count as this: they are about a pilot of a small spacecraft with limited capabilities facing a difficult decision to space a human stowaway whose presence endangers his mission. The different adaptations feature somewhat different endings.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live-Action Television]]
  • Played straight in the Firefly episode Out of Gas. The titular gas is oxygen.
  • Star Trek: Voyager had a couple of episodes where Seven of Nine and/or the Doctor were the only crew members immune to the Stellar Anomaly of the Week and thus had to command the ship by themselves for long periods of time when the rest of the crew hibernated in stasis pods or were under the mental control of aliens.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Music]]
  • The repeated line about Space is dark/And it's so endless/When you're lost it's so relentless from one of Michael Moorcock's books was later set to music by space-rockers Hawkwind, who also mined Moorcock's book for another bleak song on the same theme, The Golden Void (Golden Void/Speaks to me/Denying my reality/Lose my body, lose my mind/Solar wind, I flow like wine...)
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games]] [[/folder]]

[[folder: Real Life]] [[/folder]]

Works exemplifying the undersea version:

[[folder: Literature]] [[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games]] [[/folder]]

[[folder: Real Life]] [[/folder]]
replies: 26

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy