So You Want To: Write A Cosmic Horror Story
The Cosmic Horror Story is a treat for speculative fiction fans: Science fiction, fantasy, and horror and blended into one work of literature. The "father" of this genre is generally considered to be H.P Lovecraft, "founder" of the Cthulhu Mythos. A recurring theme in cosmic horror stories is the idea that good and evil are simply human concepts, and humanity inhabits in a bleak and uncaring universe.
- Puny Earthlings: The idea that humanity is completely defenceless in the face of the gibbering horrors from beyond the stars, and that Earth is an insignificant little blue planet or no interest to anybody, except the occasional brain-eating monster from beyond our universe.
- Eldritch Abomination: One of the staples of the cosmic horror story genre. Cosmic horror stories very rarely feature rubber forehead aliens. Expect to see starfish aliens, starfish languages, and a whole lot of tentacles. Humanoid Abominations can also occasionally work, ala' the Slender Man.
- Eldritch Location: Usually where the monsters originate from. It can be an underwater city housing an alien monster, another planet, or another dimension.
- Downer Ending: Cosmic Horror Stories rarely ever end happily. If it does, it's usually an ending that can only be considered happy in the broadest sense of the term. If it has an obviously happy ending, it's probably Lovecraft Lite.
Examples of Cosmic Horror Stories
- The Cthulhu Mythos (Forefather to the genre)
- The Slender Man Mythos
- House of Leaves
- War of the Worlds
- A discussion of what made H.P. Lovecraft's work so ground-breaking can be found here. Musings On Lovecraftian Horror by the The United Federation of Charles.
- Similarly, by the same site, there's a discussion of what not to do by pointing out the pitfalls of Post-Lovecraftian Horror. What is Post-Lovecraftian Horror?