Unclear Description: Humanoid Abomination get usage counts
Deadlock Clock: 2nd Jul 2013 11:59:00 PM

Total posts: [184]
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As a fan of Cosmic Horror and H.P. Lovecraft, where this trope originated, this has been bothering me for some time. The Humanoid Abomination trope is very unclear and it looks like people are just using at a catch-all for any powerful supernatural being. A Humanoid Abomination is supposed to be basically an Eldritch Abomination in humanoid form. Think of the Slender Man, Helen Vaughn, The King in Yellow or Nyarlathotep. Instead we've had examples like Mary Poppins, No Heart, and a bear from a Rudyard Kipling story that kills people. Just to clear things up, I'm proposing the following checklist be added to the description. To qualify for this trope, a character must exhibit at least three of the following:

Most Humanoid Abominations are creations of Mythopoeia rather than traditional monsters such as vampires and demons. Which isn't to say that a vampire, demon, or other familiar foe can't fall under this trope but they still need to fit the above criteria. To sum it up, a Humanoid Abomination is not merely a powerful supernatural being. As one Troper put it succinctly, "Abominations are violations of the very fictional universes that they infect." [This was a troper named Dagobitus, as quoted in the Discussion page for Eldritch Abomination.]

edited 7th Feb '13 11:04:55 AM by efay

2 SeptimusHeap7th Feb 2013 10:34:10 AM from Zurich, Switzerland , Relationship Status: Mu
Are there misuse concerns? We are not adding checklists to trope descriptions for no reason, as they tend to make the descriptions messy.
Sharknado Warning
I do agree the examples seem all over the place. Physical Gods to any type of creature with powers.
4 SeptimusHeap7th Feb 2013 10:36:53 AM from Zurich, Switzerland , Relationship Status: Mu
We had a similar problem with Eldritch Abomination in the past.

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5 Willbyr7th Feb 2013 10:37:35 AM from North Little Rock, AR , Relationship Status: Pining for the fjords
Anime-ted
Just from glancing over the examples, I'd say a cleanup using the OP's criteria or something similar is needed.
The big issue is that the trope as it's described is very vague and basically meaningless. In fact, the Humanoid Abomination is rooted in the Cosmic Horror Story, which has very distinct conventions, as noted on the page.

edited 7th Feb '13 10:59:31 AM by efay

I don't think we need a checklist, but yeah, it's misused. I propose we define it as a humanoid being that either looks distinctly unnatural or wrong or is described as such. Not just any really powerful thing that happens to be in a human shell. Something should definitely be off about this character.
8 SeptimusHeap7th Feb 2013 11:04:37 AM from Zurich, Switzerland , Relationship Status: Mu
That description matches Uncanny Valley so well that I have to say no.

The current description already says that "powerful being" isn't enough. It's the examples that need fixing.
Yeah, I added that bit about a powerful being not being enough, just to try some minor clean-up. If we don't do checklists, maybe we can rework the one I proposed, or something similar, into an actual description.

edited 7th Feb '13 11:08:00 AM by efay

I don't see how Uncanny Valley has anything whatsoever to do with post 7.
11 SeptimusHeap7th Feb 2013 11:09:01 AM from Zurich, Switzerland , Relationship Status: Mu
"humanoid being that either looks distinctly unnatural or wrong" is Uncanny Valley, for the most part.

This trope is not about unnatural or wrong. It's about an humanoid Eldritch Abomination.
Humanoid Abominations often fall into the Uncanny Valley but not always.
13 SeptimusHeap7th Feb 2013 11:13:01 AM from Zurich, Switzerland , Relationship Status: Mu
In fact, they don't.

I'll take a cleaning to this page in some time.
We should still work on making the description more specific, though, so we don't end up with this problem again.
Septimus: Well, that wasn't a full description. I can write those up perfectly fine. It was just a baseline 'this is the point they're trying to get across' sort of thing. It's a humanoid creature that looks wrong to people in universe or is an outright Eldritch Abomination in human form.
16 SeptimusHeap7th Feb 2013 11:42:43 AM from Zurich, Switzerland , Relationship Status: Mu
Well, can you write a description for this? I don't know how to write descriptions.
Okay.

Sometimes the abomination is easy to identify. Lots of tentacles, breaks your mind on sight and leaves you a gibbering wreck? Okay, check, Eldritch Abomination identified. Somehow, however, they can be slightly more subtle and much creepier: The Humanoid Abomination. Separate from an Eldritch Abomination is that this at least looks something like a human, but it is quite clearly off in some manner. While it may have started out as a human, it very well may be Nyarlathotep himself in disguise or one of his ilk. Even if it was once a human, it isn't any longer.

This "person" will be fundamentally wrong in some manner. It will set off warning bells in humans unless it is very clever, it won't think like a human and it is not something that can be reasoned with. And that's on a good day. Less subtle abominations will seem like a mockery of the human form with twisted limbs, malformed features or, oddly enough, being impossibly, eerily beautiful.

This may be a little too narrow, but I think it's basically the core of the trope.

edited 7th Feb '13 11:49:58 AM by Arha

18 SeptimusHeap7th Feb 2013 11:51:24 AM from Zurich, Switzerland , Relationship Status: Mu
A small change proposal:

It looks human, but it's utterly beyond human understanding: The Humanoid Abomination. Separate from an Eldritch Abomination is that this at least looks something like a human, but it is quite clearly off in some manner. While it may have started out as a human, it very well may be Nyarlathotep himself in disguise or one of his ilk. Even if it was once a human, it isn't any longer.

This "person" will be fundamentally wrong in some manner. It will set off warning bells in humans unless it is very clever, it won't think like a human and it is not something that can be reasoned with. And that's on a good day. Less subtle abominations will seem like a mockery of the human form with twisted limbs, malformed features or, oddly enough, being impossibly beautiful.

Since I prefer descriptions to start talking about the trope, not about another.

edited 7th Feb '13 11:51:36 AM by SeptimusHeap

I think we're still basically just describing the Uncanny Valley. I'm at work right now, so I can't do much at the moment, but I'll work on the description some more a little later.

edited 7th Feb '13 11:54:30 AM by efay

20 SeptimusHeap7th Feb 2013 11:55:09 AM from Zurich, Switzerland , Relationship Status: Mu
The difference between what Arha is describing now and Uncanny Valley is that the latter is when people react to <foo>. This description is more about <foo> rather than the reaction to it.

And I love threads which move quickly.
Isn't Uncanny Valley an Audience Reaction trope? Or am I completely misremembering the last TRS discussion?
22 SeptimusHeap7th Feb 2013 12:02:08 PM from Zurich, Switzerland , Relationship Status: Mu
Yes. The difference doesn't matter though - the reason I was mentioning it is because several draft proposals here encompassed "looking fundamentally weird and wrong" and I had misgivings about such a description colliding with Uncanny Valley.
23 Xtifr7th Feb 2013 12:05:24 PM , Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
World's Toughest Milkman
Uncanny Valley is not "utterly beyond human understanding" (a good phrase for someone who claims not to be able to write descriptions, Septimus). smile

Contrariwise, this isn't about not looking right. An example may look completely human, but there's usually something wrong that people can sense. Sometimes, it's only certain sensitive people that can detect the wrongness; sometimes there's an aura that anyone can detect. And sometimes, it really is uncanny valley material, but that's not a required element.

[down]I was agreeing with you about this not being Uncanny Valley; sorry if that was unclear.

edited 7th Feb '13 12:09:35 PM by Xtifr

"Existential Despair" is an oxymoron.
24 SeptimusHeap7th Feb 2013 12:07:09 PM from Zurich, Switzerland , Relationship Status: Mu
The first thing is Eldritch Abomination, not Uncanny Valley. Did I say otherwise?
Well, I tried to avoid saying they just looked wrong. Do we think Septimus' revised description has avoided that well enough?

edited 7th Feb '13 12:21:32 PM by Arha


Total posts: 184
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