A small part of the beautifully disgusting appearance of Yog-Sothoth, visible to the pitiful human gaze.Eldritch Abominations
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- The works of Clive Barker frequently include Eldritch Abominations.
- Terry Brooks' various works are full of them, thus;
- The Morgawr. A warlock of disputable origin, humanoid but with scaly skin and shapeshifting properties, apparent immortality, and other powerful magics, including the power to reach inside human skulls and tear out the part of the brain that the soul was anchored to and then eat it, this being how he survived.
- Simon R. Green uses this in multiple series:
- Forest Kingdom: Several types, in addition to the regular evil demons. Book 2 (Blood and Honor) has a castle slowly turning into one (a room digests its occupants at one stage, and a person is turned into a living doorway to a dimension full of eldritch abominations). Amongst several others. Then book 3 (Down Among The Dead Men) explicitly names the Big Bad as an evil from beyond the dawn of time that went to sleep one day, and is now awakening unless it can be stopped.
- In the Deathstalker series by the same author, there are multiple occurrences of such abominations.
- The massive AI planet Shub exists in more dimensions than humans can perceive and is extremely unnerving for them to look at and capable of causing insanity in some.
- The Recreated are entities formed from the disembodied spirits of billions of sentient beings who died when the Darkvoid Device destroyed their planets. Driven insane, they merged with the subconscious mind of the Darkvoid Device and used its power to manifest as civilization-destroying abominations.
- The Terror is an entity capable of not just destroying planets, but it actually eats suns to refuel itself; its mere presence is enough to drive entire planets into insanity.
- Stephen King is, as we all know, particularly fond of creepy-ass creatures.
- In IT, the eponymous monster is perceived as a Giant Spider by the protagonists, because this was the closest analogue that their rational minds could find for Its appearance. Attempting to fight IT can result in one's mind being flung beyond the edge of the universe, then being driven mad by the Deadlights (which IT is merely an appendage of). After the protagonists succeed in killing IT, they magically forget about the entire incident; apparently, this was the only way they could have lived a normal life afterward.
- The Turtle in the same work probably qualifies for this trope, as it created the whole universe by being sick.
- Stephen King and Peter Straub got together to write The Talisman, a horror fantasy novel which is chock full of horrific creatures and mutants, the most disturbing amongst them is probably a mewling tentacle creature that bleeds ichor filled with biting white worms.
- The short story "I Am the Doorway" is about a former astronaut who becomes the conduit for an Eldritch Abomination, manifesting in the form of golden eyes on his hands. In an unusual spin on the trope, though, said Abomination isn't malevolent — it's terrified and disgusted by our world, which is as alien to it as it is alien to us, lashing out violently at the horrors it's forced to witness.
- And Tak from Desperation and The Regulators; a sadistic, incorporeal monstrosity heavily implied to have no true form, it has no apparent motive other than causing chaos and killing everything it comes across. The effects it has on those it possesses are... disconcerting, to say the least.
- As well as another short story, "N", told through the journals of a psychiatrist analysing a patient who believes that by keeping objects "in order" obsessive-compulsive style, he is keeping cosmic horrors at bay (which doesn't seem so strange at first, since that's a pretty common reason why obsessive-compulsives do the things they do). The psychiatrist eventually, following the patient's suicide, takes over his "duty" of keeping things in order and ends up killing himself as well, due to the stress involved in keeping the cosmic horror CTHUN and the rest of its reality out of ours. It's implied that even if more people continue the duty, the barrier keeping CTHUN at bay will stop working anyway. In this making-of featurette, he cites Arthur Machen's The Great God Pan as his main inspiration.
- Randall Flagg is implied to be an Expy for Nyarlathotep...
- If that's the case, one could then say that the Crimson King is an Expy for Azathoth. Both are all-powerful, the source of evil, and brain dead.
- King gives a direct Shout-Out to Lovecraft in "Crouch End", where a newlywed American couple honeymooning in London wander into the Cthulhu mythos. Shub-Niggurath, to be precise.
- Another fine King creation: in the short story "Home Delivery", a thing best described as a gigantic ball of crawling worms decides to camp over the South Pole's hole in the ozone layer... and causes a worldwide Zombie Apocalypse just by being there.
- The Long Boy from Liseys Story qualifies as well. That thing... when it eats you, you don't die. You just get eternally digested, and you are conscious.
- The evil room from 1408. A big point is made about how it's not even remotely human and never was. It's simply a madness-inducing room housing some sort of extradimensional terror that munches on its occupants.
- Revival features a kind of "Special Electricity", which Pastor Jacobs uses to heal the sick, and eventually, reverse death. The Special Electricity is eventually revealed to be the psychic runoff of an ancient being known as Mother, which rules the afterlife, called Null. In Null, all humans who die are herded by enormous ant-monsters to toil and serve Mother and the other Great Old Ones. There is no hint of anything else after death. After the protagonist trespasses in Null, all of the hundreds of people Jacob had healed with the Special Electricity commit murder-suicides, implied to be a punishment from Mother. To make it a little clearer how bad Revival's example is, an extrusion of Mother followed the protagonist back into our world, and it was made up of the screaming faces of Pastor Jacob's dead wife and son.
- Amelie C. Langlois's books contain almost nothing but these, the mortal characters being relegated to pawns with little to no influence over actual events on the cosmic scale. The two major players are:
- The Red Willow, the mind of a sentient universe that traps everyone in a loop of endless suffering and reincarnation, and feeds off the act of surrender that results from this. It assimilates other universes to add to its count of victims, and is drawn closer to those universes whenever somebody thinks about it.
- Ithika, a formless entity that exists only in thought, and derives power from the destruction of sentient life. It infiltrates universes, and corrupts the minds of their occupants, altering the course of civilization and its technological development, until it has the ability to completely destroy itself.
- Oddly enough, the "angels" from C. S. Lewis's The Space Trilogy show some of these traits. They exist on a profoundly different level than us, have strange geometries, and dealing with them can be terribly unsettling. One of the characters even notes that the fact that they're benevolent makes it worse; no matter how terrible the evil you're facing, there's always the hope that good will swoop in to save you... but what do you do when facing good turns your brain inside-out?
- The Oyeresu themselves, on occasion. In explaining what they mean by "manifesting to humans", they use the analogy of the ways a stone can manifest in human perception. The glorious statue is one possible perception, but so is the sensation you have after it's fallen on your head. It's worth noting that the Oyeresu, who are just as good as the Un-man is evil, have to try a few times before they figure out acceptable, vaguely humanoid manifestations; their first try is a bad acid trip — eyes, talons, hurtling shapes in a void full of vertigo. This is, presumably, near the hit-in-the-head end of the manifestation spectrum. If it's not, that's even scarier.
- The Un-man in Perelandra is a zombie-like human whose evil is so pure and different from that of any other human that it made the protagonist pass out when he first saw the expression on its face. It is controlled by a being who is invisible to us and whose true form is indescribable to humans, not fitting into any of our mental categories. It is strong enough to destroy worlds and yet subtle enough to pass through matter and manipulate human minds. The Un-Man also views intelligence as just another 'tool' and will alternate between an eloquent speaker, to a childish being that enjoys killing small animals and annoying people by saying their name over and over.
- Thomas Ligotti has created a truly prodigious number of these, most fairly unconventional in presentation and overall manifestation. Perhaps the strangest is the entity central to "Ten Steps to Thin Mountain". Think about the implications of the House of Leaves entry above. Apply this to a meme. Or a stray thought. This is what Thin Mountain is.
- J. R. R. Tolkien also took a few stabs at this.
- The Lord of the Rings: It's speculated that these creatures were an intentional reference to the works of H.P. Lovecraft
Something has crept, or has been driven out of dark waters under the mountains. There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world. Gandalf:
Far, far below the deepest delving of the Dwarves, the world is gnawed by nameless things
. Even Sauron knows them not. They are older than he. Now I have walked there, but I will bring no report
to darken the light of day.
- Something rather similar is hinted in Tolkien's early (written early, not published) children's story Roverandom: "[The deeps of the sea are] full of dark and awful places where light has never been and never will be, because they will never be uncovered till light has all gone out. Horrible things live here, too old for imagining, too strong for spells, too vast for measurement."
- Tolkien seemed to have a fascination with the idea of an ancient, unknowable species dwelling in the dark places of the world. In The Hobbit, the caves underneath Goblin Town were noted to have been carved out by something, and the original owners no longer seem to be around. At first Gollum was portrayed as one of these original owners until later works clarified he was a Hobbit.
- Ungoliant from The Silmarillion.
Then the Unlight of Ungoliant
rose up even to the roots of the Trees, and Melkor sprang upon the mound... and their sap poured forth as it were their blood, and was spilled upon the ground. But Ungoliant sucked it up, and going then from Tree to Tree she set her black beak to their wounds, till they were drained; and the poison of Death that was in her went into their tissues and withered them, root, branch, and leaf; and they died. And still she thirsted, and going to the Wells of Varda she drank them dry; but Ungoliant belched forth black vapours as she drank, and swelled to a shape so vast and hideous that Melkor was afraid.
- She later attempts to eat Melkor. She would have succeeded, too, if the Balrogs hadn't pulled a Big Damn Heroes... Yes, really. This is Melkor, Boss of Sauron, Strongest of the Valar (powers of the world/god-like beings/Angels), and only subservient to Eru (the creator/Super-God/The God) himself. Ungoliant was one big bad mama. She is said to have "descended from the Outer Darkness, maybe, that lies in Eä beyond the walls of the World.note " After breeding with other... things... note in a valley so corrupted by her presence that, 400 years later, Beren is the only mortal to have passed through it and survived, she just... wandered off. "Some have said that she ended long ago, when in her uttermost famine she devoured herself at last." But they Never Found the Body.
- Her daughter, Shelob, counts as a minor abomination. In the books, she's portrayed less as a giant spider and more as a thing in the shape of a spider. Shelob is at least so scary and powerful that no one save Sauron himself could drive her out of Cirith Ungol.
- It's sort of implied that any fallen Ainu will take on eldritch characteristics. Morgoth did note and Sauron has a fair few (such as becoming a 'shapeless, dormant evil' after the destruction of his body, causing a 'shadow of fear' to fall by beginning to manifest himself again, and his spirit towering over Mordor like a black cloud after his final downfall. Even after his downfall, he becomes, as Gandalf puts it, a 'spirit of malice that gnaws itself in the shadows'). Even Saruman may have gone this way given enough time, as there is a recurring theme of him being a kind of lesser Sauron as Sauron is a lesser Morgoth. But these guys are more like your garden variety devils than true Eldritch Abominations. Saruman also turns into a towering, cloud-like form when Grima kills his physical form in the book, reaching into the West, before being blown apart. By a wind nobody can feel.
- The star/planet/god Ahriman and the manifold monsters it sends to earth in the Ahriman Trilogy.
- Crayak, and his Dragon, the Drode. Our first glimpse of Crayak is when a Yeerk inside Jake's brain is in its death throes, and Jake can feel Crayak's single red eye staring at him through the waking nightmare.
- Whatever it was that messed with Jake in Book #41, and "The One" (possibly the same being) in Book #54.
- Father, in The Ellimist Chronicles. He was a planet-wide psychic sponge who absorbed the consciousnesses of all creatures that crashed on his moon. He kept Toomin alive to have another consciousness to talk to and play games with. Toomin eventually beat him at his own game, absorbed him, and became the Ellimist.
- The Barbarian and the Sorceress: The creature that Barnabus summons.
As Rom watched in horror, something began to come through. His senses screamed as they attempted to process exactly what was there, before deciding that discretion was the better part of valour and giving up. All Rom could make out was tentacles and teeth, the sound of a high-pierced, inhuman screech, and the sickly sweet stench of rot.
- China Miéville's Bas-Lag Cycle:
- Perdido Street Station has the slake-moths - monstrous, insectoid creatures that devour minds. Not literally, what the creatures feed on is the very sentience of their prey itself, leaving their victims utterly mindless shells. How terrible are these abominations? At one point, the government of New Crobuzon attempts to strike a deal with Hell to get them to intervene and stop the threat, and the demons are too frightened to get involved.
- It is heavily implied the slake moths are in the middle of their natural food chain. As terrible as they are, they are prey.
- And then you have the Weaver, who the New Crobuzon government turns to when the demons turn them down. It's a gigantic spider that exists between dimensions and is capable of traversing them as easily as we would walk down the street. It is also batshit crazy, speaking in the "flight of ideas" style most often seen in unmedicated schizophrenics and capable of doing anything to anyone, friend or foe, merely because it seems "fitting". During the brief time that the heroes are in its presence, the Weaver cuts off the ears of everyone in the room for reasons known only to itself. It also repaired the ears of some of the people, again for reasons unknown. The Weaver encountered in the book has an obsession with scissors and happily accepts them as gifts, if the term 'happy' can be applied to it. Apparently, it enjoys collecting things in general, as it is mentioned that before its obsession with scissors, it collected chess sets.
- Iron Council has the Torque, described by one character as a tumour that aborted itself from the womb that produced the forces of Birth and Death. Whilst not evil per-se, it is a natural force that is almost uncontrollable which warps and mutates matter and biology into horrifying things. Merely trying to research it can turn you into an Eldritch Abomination. It was once used as a weapon; the results of the Torque Bomb were so awful that even after a generous application of Magitek versions of nuclear weapons, there's a country-sized region of the world which isn't going to be inhabitable by anything but abominations ever again. At one point, the protagonist pulls out a book of photos taken at ground zero of the inhabitants (though it is implied that there could be survivors) to show to a client. "That? We think it used to be a goat. Or a train."
- Oh, and in the middle of a city, there are The Ribs, the partially exposed skeleton of some enormous creature that has been dead for a very, very long time. Attempts to build over it resulted in seemingly structurally sound houses that just fall apart and tools that break long before they should, and attempts to excavate the whole skeleton tended to result in the workers suffering horrifying nightmares or disappearing suspiciously. It was decided that whatever it is is best left buried and uninvestigated.
- Then, in The Scar, the second book in the series, there's the avanc, something from another universe that is big enough to pull a floating city, and all that anyone knows about it is that it swims and has at least one thing that could be described as a limb.
- The Big Bad from The Behemoth is one and Roger, the lead character, is slowly turning into one. Roger undergoes several Emergency Transformation events where his blood streams from every orifice on his body, turning into coagulated armor and a set of ram's horns, while completely filling in his mouth. The Giant, the villain, is described as a distorted, person-shaped hole in the world, through which violet eyes and yellow teeth float, occasionally coalescing into something face-like. It speaks in unpunctuated ALL CAPITAL TEXT
- In the BIONICLE series by Greg Farshtey, there is a character called Tren Krom who is so horrifying it would drive you insane to look at it. It is a crimson blob with hooked tentacles.
- The creatures in Bird Box are so unfathomable that simply looking at them causes one to go insane.
- Fritz Leiber's short story "A Bit of the Dark World" involves an entity that can literally turn light into darkness and make an entire hillside vanish without a trace. It (she?) is described thus:
"There reared out of the canyon, facing Franz, towering above him, a filiment-trailing form of shimmering velvet black...that looked like a giant hooded cobra, or a hooded madonna, or a vast centipede, or a giant cloaked figure of the cat-headed goddess Bast, or all or none of these."
- The Eidolons from Bitter Seeds are essentially sentient (and malevolent) chunks of the universal substrate.
- Freda Warrington's Blackbird series has M'gulfn, a gigantic serpent that predates the Earth's creation by the Elders. M'gulfn intends to destroy the Earth and its power grows as it "spreads despair and anguish, causing wars and laying countries to waste so nothing can grow or survive there".
- A benign example appears with the alien god Father Tree from The Black Company. Father Tree was forcibly summoned from another universe by the sacrifice of an entire city, to be the prison for the Dominator. Initially angered by this shoddy treatment, Father Tree relents and accepts for the sake of humanity. Father Tree spends its time sleeping and through its mighty dreams, new creatures like talking rocks and giant flying jellyfish are brought into being.
- Charybdis and Abaia from Book of the New Sun are enormously powerful alien beings who are fated to be the End of the World. The ignorant mass of humanity rightfully fear them but believe them to be the size of houses. They're not... Both of them are the size of mountain ranges and are an alien mass of tentacles that dwarf their daughter-wives, the Undines - beautiful albino Human Aliens who are the size of castles. Charybdis and Abaia's biggest threat to the world before destroying it, is that they are telepathically able to reach people and tempt them into joining violent cults.
- Philippa Ballantine's The Books of the Order has the Geistlords. These undead entities go way beyond the standard shambling dead, despite their human origins. Individual Geistlords have warped, alien mindsets and gain enough power to take over entire countries by themselves.
- The Boojumverse has Toves, Raths, and Bandersnatches; extradimensional beings which enter reality through cracks in space-time. Though their names come from Lewis Carroll, their inspiration is the Cthulhu Mythos; Bandersnatches, for instance, are explicitly equated to The Hounds of Tindalos.
- The Beast from The Book of Lost Things, which is an enormous, spider-eyed, bear-like monstrosity who easily takes down a troup of trained soldiers..
- Wyrm from The Book of the Dun Cow is one of these. He is a creature that takes the form of an enormous, unspeakably ancient serpent, and was trapped underneath the Earth by God himself. While this limits him, he can still communicate through dreams and corrupt others to try and gain his freedom. His "son" Cockatrice is implied to be a weaker, but similar, being.
- In The Books of the Cataclysm by Sean Williams, the Big Bad is Yod, a tree-like god or eldritch abomination that inspired the myth of Yggdrasil the World Tree. Yod has almost completely consumed the universe and it is only in one single time-stream that Yod hasn't totally devoured the cosmos.
- The Braided Path features this with Aracarat, a fallen god in the mythology of the people of the world. In fact Aracarat, is actually an enormously powerful planet-sized alien that is terraforming the world and its chosen method is to create a cult of worshippers who can channel its magical power. The Edgefathers and Weavers count as well, being its vessels.
- In the Jason Sean Ridler's Brimstone Files, the first novel Hex-rated features what was originally a Shinto sex demon (an octopoid demon that was depicted in Hokusai's Dream of the Fisherman's Wife painting) that reproduces by spawning snakes that emerge out of the victim's mouth before eventually growing into a Kraken. However this demon would be warped by sorcery from the Thule society in an unholy blend of Axis black magic from Japan and Germany. The result is something abominable that shouldn't exist - its aspect is a lustful serpent with elements of wolves from Norse mythology and great rage. This creature is powerful enough that a potent sorceress who tried to control it as a power source, got a mutilated face for her trouble during a shoot on a '70s porn set.
- The Swarm of Night of The Chathrand Voyages is what happens when this trope meets Horde of Alien Locusts. An innumerable horde of tiny black insect-like spirits, its purpose is to patrol the borders of the underworld to prevent the dead from troubling the living. When released into the living world, however, it's drawn to massive killings (like mass battles) in progress, finishes them (by killing everyone there who's still alive) and drawing energy from that to increase its size. Once it reaches critical mass, it can- and will- eat a whole planet. The Big Bad released it to do just that, since the destruction of a world was the test his God of Evil patrons demand of any mortal to be judged worthy of elevation to their number. Still, the Swarm is explicitly not evil- just something that should never, ever enter the living world.
- Brian Keene and J.F. Gonzalez combine forces with their one-shot Clickers versus Zombies. Gonzalez's Clickers aren't the Eldritch Abomination, they're basically prehistoric giant shellfish with an extremely corrosive venom and thick armour plates. Rather it's Keene's zombies. Hailing from his Rising universe, his zombies are corpses possessed by the Siquissim, djin made outcast by God and are doing their best to destroy Creation.
- In The City and the Stars, Arthur C. Clarke gives us the Mad Mind, an artificially created disembodied intelligence with near-godlike powers, whose creation goes very wrong. So terrifying is it that humans create another one (and do a better job this time) in order to (hopefully) stop it. Humanity is trapped between Scylla and Charybdis on a grand scale: the conflict between the two might destroy the entirety of creation, but implicit in the decision to create the second being is that what the Mad Mind will do if it makes its way back to inhabited space, or remains unchecked for a sufficient length of time, is worse.
- The passageway between the worlds in Coraline. At first seeming to be a relatively normal, if strangely unsettling hallway, by the end, it's a wet, furry... thing that's very much alive and incomprehensibly vast and ancient. It makes The Other Mother look trivial, and she's a particularly nasty fairy. It's also implied that it's far older and more powerful than her, and that, even though she found it and temporarily used it, she has no goddamn idea what it is or how it works.
- The Children of Old Leech, in Laird Barron's novel The Croning, are a form of intergalactic parasite that have been infiltrating humankind for centuries, using human bodies to disguise their their true forms. While their motives remain somewhat mysterious, they're clearly not here to make friends, and characters unlucky enough to discover their existence usually wish they hadn't. They can also be found in many of Barron's short stories, including "The Men From Porlock" and "The Broadsword".
- The Great Old Ones (most famously Cthulhu) in the writings of H. P. Lovecraft (and the Mythos they spawned) are the Trope Codifier and, to a certain extent, the Trope Namer; "eldritch" was an adjective much favored by Lovecraft, occurring 23 times in his work. This trope probably wouldn't exist in any significant form today if it weren't for him. Usually divided into three groups (the distinction is mostly created by later writers, but it is present in Lovecraft's own work to some degree):
- The Great Old Ones, which are immensely powerful beings made not of flesh and blood but of something that can only be called matter in the most basic sense. They traveled from world to world when stars were right, but now sleep, waiting until the stars are right once more so they may rule again (incidentally, when they wake up, they plunge the world into madness and terror). Cthulhu is one of them, and although human cultists call him a god he is actually just his race's High Priest to the Outer Gods. Some mythos stories suggest that the Great Old Ones or their spawn were responsible for the creation of mankind, leading to frequent descriptions of creatures of whom the most horrifying thing is that there is something "damnably human" in their appearance.
- The Outer Gods (Lovecraft referred to them as the Other Gods), which exist outside our universe and seem to be embodiments of various cosmic principles. They are far more powerful than even the Great Old Ones and seem to be responsible for the creation of our universe (as well as other ones), albeit unwittingly. The most famous ones are the mindless leader Azathoth, the "Blind Idiot God" who resides in the center of all infinity, and Yog-Sothoth, who exists simultaneously in every point in space and time. Their soul and messenger is the Crawling Chaos Nyarlathotep.
- The Elder Gods. Lovecraft only used one of these deities (the rest are created by other authors, namely August Derleth, as is the term "Elder Gods"), namely Nodens, Lord of the Abyss. Nodens appeared in a humanoid form (whether this is his true form or one he took in order to not drive mortals insane is unknown) and actually indirectly rescued the protagonist of two stories. Derleth made Nodens the head of a pantheon called the Elder Gods, who were mortal enemies of the Great Old Ones (although some stories seem to place them at the same power level as the Outer Gods). In Derleth's works, the Elder Gods were good and the Great Old Ones evil, which doesn't really fit with Lovecraft's cosmology. Most other writers who have used them make them somewhat benevolent to humans, but only because they want to keep the Great Old Ones asleep, which is also what most humans want to do (what with them destroying the world when they wake up and all). Lovecraft did use Hypnos, but its nature (or existence) is unclear due to Unreliable Narrator.
- There are also many species of lesser abominations in the mythos, some independent (like the Flying Polyps) and some subservient (like the Nightgaunts) towards the above God-Things. While not necessarily capable of driving people insane by being observed, Lovecraft has also created a few truly bizarre aliens, like the Elder-Things (not to be confused with the Elder Gods), Mi-Go (described both as crustaceans and fungi, coming to Earth from Pluto but originally from another universe), Shoggoths (literally a Blob Monster capable of changing its form to any shape convenient, once used as servants to the Elder-Things to create their massive empire before also being its downfall), and probably best of all; an alien so bizarre, so incomprehensible, that it can literally only be described as a "colour", and a colour the likes of which has never been seen on Earth at that.
- "The Unnamable" is largely a discussion of this trope, featuring a monster-ghost embodying it, but it goes so overboard in its vagueness that it's been suspected of being self-parody. On the surface, it's like a defense of the trope, as it features a sceptical character who thought there could be nothing so beyond ordinary experience ("unnamable") becoming convinced:
"It was everywherea gelatina slimeyet it had shapes, a thousand shapes of horror beyond all memory. There were eyesand a blemish. It was the pitthe maelstromthe ultimate abomination. Carter, it was the unnamable!"
- Lovecraft codified the language used to describe these things: "eldritch", "gibbering", "squamousnote ", and "rugosenote " and such.
- Kim Newman's Dark Future novels feature appearances by Azathoth, Nyarlathotep, and some unpleasant beings from beyond human reality like the Jibbenainosay, a dark spirit which usually manifests as a sort of giant, evil jellyfish.
- Monkey and Crane in The Dawnhounds are beings that live just beyond the veil of death, throwing back souls into the world of the living to serve some incomprehensible agenda.
- The Bugs from Phillip Palmer's Debatable Space. Their name isn't very evocative of what they are, but immediately after discovering them, humanity sacrificed millions of people to put up thousands of indestructible, uncrossable walls between the Bugs and the rest of the universe. Despite this, the leaders of the government live in unending, mortal fear of them. This is all entirely justified.
- Deeplight: The gods of the Undersea. Enormous ocean dwelling monsters, they swallow ships whole, depopulate entire islands, and breathe fear. Later revealed to be mutated humans, whose hearts were changed by the Undersea as they drowned.
- The creature from the short story "Details" by China Mieville is this in spades. It lives in all detailed surfaces, and if you look deeply enough into them, you can see it. The problem is that once it notices you, it will try to get you through all detailed objects, including those in your memories. The only 100% successful ways of keeping it away from you are cutting your eyes out or killing yourself, which may be better than what this thing will do to you once it gets you.
- Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels have plenty, even though, for some reason, people there keep thinking that "eldritch" means "oblong".
- Throughout the novels, but especially the early ones, a constant danger of the use of magic is that of accidentally opening a rift into the "Dungeon Dimensions", regions with "very little reality", inhabited by nightmarish Lovecraftian monstrosities that crave the reality that those in more solid universes take for granted. They tend to try to invade the Discworld's universe in the vain hope of becoming more real themselves, "with the same effect as the ocean trying to warm itself around a candle." The Dungeon Dimensions don't actually have form; the reason that they look like an incomprehensible mass of tentacled horrors is because when they do acquire some substance by coming close to the real world, they're terrible at it. This does not make them any less terrifying. At a physical level, in the Dungeon Dimensions the Things are so weak that a small child can destroy them with a sharp push, and drive them away in sheer terror of her when she keeps doing it. This also doesn't make them any less horrifying. The old dark god Bel-Shamharoth is sometimes presumed to be one of the very few aforementioned creatures that found a way to survive, sort-of, in the real world.
- There are other "old dark gods" of the Discworld, too. Ponder is revising for an exam on them at the start of Moving Pictures: he mentions Yob Sodoth and Tshup Aklathep, Infernal Star Toad with A Million Young. Discworld Noir introduced Nylonathotep and makes reference to other dark gods, including Drunken Cthubopalulu.
- There's also Dagon (cf. the Cthulhu Mythos), according to The Folklore of Discworld, although it's otherwise only mentioned in the anecdote about someone trying to set up a sushi bar on the site of an old temple on Dagon Street during the solstice. (This did not end well.) Folklore also mentions that the Things may have been some manner of dark gods before they were exiled from existence. In Moving Pictures, it is mentioned that Dagon used to be worshipped in the city that was there before Ankh-Morpork, which covered all the way from present day Ankh-Morpork to Holy Wood; the city is gone, something to do with the Things awakening. It also had something to do with Leshp which sank, and rose, and sank, each time settled by different people. Though there are a lot of pictures of squid and there are slithering sounds and the earliest buildings look like people tried to make sense of geometry they did not fully understand.
- The Eldritch Abomination in Reaper Man is not from the Dungeon Dimensions for once, but a result from the Auditors canning the too-amiable Death. They start off as objects that people would collect and forget about, specifically as snowglobes. These snowglobes would "hatch" into useful, traveling objects (shopping carts), that then collect people into the enormous monster-queen-THING that turns out to be a SHOPPING MALL. It's funny, yeah, but also terrifying. Just think of all the shopping malls you've ever been in where you could be anywhere in the world for all the difference it makes, absorbing your time without you realizing it, being herded about like cows. Brr.
- Then there's the other Eldritch Abomination in the same book: Azrael, the Great Attractor, the Death of Universes, the being of which all other Deaths are mere reflections, who keeps the Clock, of which all other clocks are mere reflections, which tells time what it is. Death travels to ask a boon from Azrael, and we get treated to a shift in perspective as the hilly landscape Death is standing in suddenly shifts, as the view zooms out, to an open hand.
- The Things have not appeared for a long time due to the themes of the series moving on. However, in Thief of Time, we see statues of them in the History Monks' gardens — and the Auditors of Reality are placed alongside them and said to be the deadliest of all. They are inhuman intelligences responsible for maintaining the laws of the universe that appear as adversaries in the novels due to their hatred of the disorder of life and individuality.
- Pterry's later novels have offered more esoteric variants of this trope, the Hiver, the Summoning Dark, and the Cunning Man, which seem more like sentient ideas and/or emotions than tentacled mishmashes. Still freakin' weird and disturbing, yet more insidious than the above examples, and more frightening in their own way — ideas are, after all, indestructible. The spirit of Holy Wood and the Music could be considered similar entities, although their intentions or methods weren't necessarily malignant.
- Played for Laughs in Men at Arms. One footnote lists animals on the Discworld even weirder than gargoyles, among which is the Shadowy Lemma, a creature which exists only in two dimensions and lives on a diet of mathematicians.
- Doctor Who Expanded Universe:
- Parts of the franchise declared H. P. Lovecraft's creatures canonical and had their names originally bestowed by Rassilon. As if Cthulhu, Hastur (aka Fenric, apparently), and the Fendahl weren't enough, a number of characters (most notably the creators of the Land of Fiction and Compassion, an EU companion who became a TARDIS) have been upgraded to this kind of thing.
- The Faction Paradox spin-off expanded on the Yssgaroth, things from another version of history accidentally accessed when the Great Houses set up their version. Inimical to the existing universe, no one's sure if they were multiple creatures or just different aspects of one entity, or even if they were alive at all and not just "symptoms of a timeline that had already started ripping chunks out of its own flesh", and if they took people into their own universe... well, they've been known to string a victim's nervous system out over a planet while keeping it alive and able to sense pain. And it's implied that the Great Houses are secretly studying a way into their universe for military purposes. Just for additional horror, they're connected with the Great Vampires from Doctor Who, which came out of nowhere and swarmed all over the universe, each one capable of sucking a planet dry.
- Continuing on Faction Paradox, we have the extradimensional realm known as the Eleven-Day Empire (created by mutilating Earth's history and erasing eleven days that never existed). Moments after its creation, the Faction went there to set up shop. They found the place was already occupied. Which didn't stop them from making a deal with the Very Nice Gentlemen and settling down like they liked. They even got several of their new friends (implied to be the living embodiments of multiversal laws) to defend their new home.
- The novel Sky Pirates! stated the early Time Wars were against creatures so utterly different that they were considered to be Eldritch Abominations. It also heavily implies that the Time Lords (and especially the Doctor) are just Eldritch Abominations that have figured out the trick of not instantly destroying the psyches of lesser creatures as soon as they are seen.
- As are their TARDISes. At one point, the disguise that prevents human companions from wanting to pull their eyes out collapses, and we're told one of the controls tries to bite him. At the very least, the Nightmare Child is this. Possibly also the Skaro Degradations, the Could've been King and Horde of Travesties as well.
- The being below the water in DO NOT TAKE THE SHELLS is so horribly alien the protagonist can't really describe it in a coherent way. Looking at it definitely has a damaging effect on his mind.
- The Non in Dragomirs Diary are occasionally described as things which were not meant to exist. This might explain their shadowy bodies, green eyes, abnormally-powerful abilities, and general weirdness.
- The Dresden Files
- Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea series:
- The "Nameless" are entities that the wizards refer to as the dark powers of the Earth, which are the focus of the oldest religion of the Kargad lands in The Tombs of Atuan.
- The Elder Empire: The Great Elders are immortal Brown Note Beings who once enslaved humanity until the Emperor killed them. But death is only temporary for such creatures, and the Empire has fought ever since to keep them dead. The Sleepless cults claim the Elders just want to share their wisdom; while Blackwatch admits that's partly true, and the Great Elders do see themselves as benevolent, they are also violently insane and will happily wipe out the entire human race for their own purposes.
When a world dies, it starts to decay. It breaks into fragments, and these fragments float on an empty sea: splitting, changing, and merging with one another. They will fade forever, until they latch onto a healthy, inhabited world... or until there's nothing left. Living inhabitants can sometimes survive the death of their world. They're often twisted, grotesque, and powerful beings, forever altered by their exile to the void.
- An Elegy for the Still-living: The dragon.
Wind raced as breath or darkness formed a figure. Something large and unfathomable. As deep as the ocean and more vast. A drum as slow as time and as fast as now. Steady, like a pulse, but greater than any pulse or all. Two wings rose and fell. They rose, he saw the past. They fell, he saw his future. And he saw that the shape before him was endless and that its wings made a great circle in heaven. He saw his own death in those wings, and knew that it had already happened, and that it was still to come.
- A minion of the Big Bad, Azash, from The Elenium. An utterly alien creature that comes from someplace else, it's a creature so bizarre and alien that even the Big Bad, an elder god (meaning a god that existed before humans existed), can only control it in its larval form. In its larval form, it's a man sized humanoid... thing with such an utterly alien face that mortals can be hypnotized just by looking at the glow radiating from it, and has powerful magical abilities. Once matured into adulthood, it is utterly uncontrollable, invulnerable to any force, whether man, god, or demon, and it is stated that if ever a male and female were brought into the world at the same time and given the chance to mature, there would be no way to stop them, and they would ultimately turn the entire world into a nest. Thankfully, once matured, their first and foremost desire is to find a mate to the exclusion of all else, and it will search until it starves to death if one is unavailable.
- The Elric Saga featured a number of these including the Lords of Chaos and their navy who destroy the world in the final book. The most eldritch though are Agak and Gagak, sibling alien sorcerers from outside the "Million Spheres" multiverse. They came through from an unholy experiment involving sorcery and dark science, that took place in the far future (the timeline of Eternal Champion incarnation, Dorian Hawkmoon). These beings begin consuming the energy of the universe and are so alien that the Lords of the Higher World (the gods of this universe) are powerless against them, so the Cosmic Balance summons warriors from different timelines, including 4 avatars of the Eternal Champion such as Elric, to fight them. These champions enter a strange building and battle all sorts of creatures before they realise the building they're in is the sister Gagak. The outcome of the fight against Agak and Gagak, is so mind-destroying that a number of the warriors, who aren't the Eternal Champion, went insane and the rest needed to retire to Tanelorn.
- The titular Engines in The Engines of Dawn are a race of slug-like, sapient creatures that can naturally enter Hyperspace, taking anything nearby. Like a spaceship. They feed on the molecules they sublimate off their passengers. Their larvae don't know how to control this (and their elders get periodic fits of insane gluttony), so they sometimes eat everything all in one go; including themselves. It's theorized that they were the first creatures in the universe. They're not enslaved by the way; their middlemen are appeasing them by giving them newer and tastier things to consume.
- Final Days has the growths. Massive metal flowers that grow out of the seabed and spread across Earth, bringing earthquakes, violent storms, and strange lights with them. Nobody knows what they are or what their purpose is, or even if they are sentient or not. The only thing that is known is that they will destroy Earth. Though Stone claims they are actually benevolent.
- The Final Destination spin-off book Dead Reckoning has the main character Jess enter what appears to be Death's realm in a dream. There she encounters what is presumably Death's true form - the vaguely humanoid Death is gigantic, composed of constantly shifting, crumbling, and regenerating bones from seemingly "every creature that ever lived", and is covered in what could be loosely described as robes made from what appears to be still living flesh that twitches and squirms. From afar, it just looks like a dark mass, and it's constantly emitting a noise that sounds like static and "thousands of birds all taking flight at the same time", while its eyes are completely blank, dark voids. Also, anything in proximity of it ages rapidly.
- The Blight, from A Fire Upon the Deep, is a post-Singularity version. It's a five billion year-old god-virus, with no apparent goals except endless expansion. The effect of any form of contact with the Blight proper is nowhere near as merciful as simply driving you mad. Instead, you are instantly turned into the Blight's fleshy terminal, and then are eventually driven mad by becoming a helpless prisoner in your own mind. And it can propagate through computer networks, including interstellar ones. And it can kill the local equivalents of Physical Gods - to which it appears hideously disgusting even before revealing its true nature (mere mortal minds cannot even comprehend the true nature and complexity of the Blight).
- From Heaven's Door: The thing dwelling in Heaven, appropriately dubbed "God", is an incomprehensible thing that wants to get into Earth for unknown reasons. What it is exactly is unknown, but it's described as little more than an "existence", incredibly different from normal existence, and as an "eraser mark in the book of space and time". Its presence in Earth alone will be enough to destroy all humanity and twist the world into something similar to its own plane. Later stories reveal it, if anything, is an Adorable Abomination, as well as a being that Was Once a Man (specifically an incarnation of the main protagonist's love interest).
- Harry Potter: The Dementors, the guards of Azkaban; ghastly and unnatural even by the standards of the wizarding world, they feed off of joy and can suck the soul right out of your body, and there is no explanation as to exactly what the hell they are. Even Muggles can feel their presence, though they can't see them, and merely being in their presence can fill humans with despair as all the happiness is leeched out of their bodies from these monsters. They can even affect the weather, as Cornelius Fudge explains the vast fog that being covering London is because they're breeding. Harry muses that the reason why his Godfather Sirus Black (escaped convict) is hiding out in the tropics is because Dementors wouldn't last long in sunny areas. The only way wizards have to combat them at all is a defensive spell that drives them away (but doesn't actually harm them), which is apparently very difficult to preform. And of course they're immortal.
- Heaven Is For Real: Implied on two counts: first, when asked to describe the Holy Spirit from his NDE, Colton isn't able to do so beyond "He's kind of blue." Second, when asked to describe Satan, Colton becomes afraid and refuses to answer.
- William Gibson has one in his short story "Hinterlands" only called "The Fear of the Big Night" which comes back when people brave enough to go on interstellar trips via an unexplained jumppoint arrive back to base. All of the ones who took the trip either committed suicide or died shortly after arrival. But hey, they may bring back invaluable objects from elsewhere after a few years absence, so the jumps continue.
- Hic Sunt Dracones has the dragons of the setting. Ancient and monstrous, they come from a place beyond mortal ken and were what drove the mortal peoples of Zanoth to the Farlands. Very little is ever really known about them save for the fact that they are hostile to all sentient races, dangerous to all living things and can drive mortals insane with just their mere presence.
- The Spectres of His Dark Materials are semi-corporeal creatures which devour the consciousness or soul of adults (they are invisible to children and have no interest in them). They not only come from the Abyss, but they are a section of it. So they are manifestations of emptiness itself running around.
- House of Leaves:
- The House itself. While looking at it isn't immediately maddening, all attempts to understand it or classify it fail, and it moves, reshapes, and exists in manners that should not be possible. It is possible that The House actively attempts to avoid comprehension by humans and, by doing so, drives everyone vaguely related to it insane. Alternately, if we take the poem that ends the book into account, yet another explanation emerges: The House is the interior of Yggdrasil, the "tree" that holds the universe, and the Minotaur is, naturally, the demon-serpent Nidhoggr, gnawing at its roots. All things considered, this may not be much better.
- Alan Dean Foster's Humanx Commonwealth series has its own Ultimate Evil: a galaxy-sized region of total nothingness, where all light and matter are absorbed. Moreover, this nothingness possesses sentience and is capable of movement. Naturally, our galaxy is in its path and only The Chosen One has any chance of stopping it.
- The same series also gives us the Vom, which, while more on the world-devouring scale than galaxy, fits several of the requisite criteria: inscrutability (it's a huge, black... mass), exponential power growth, alien thought process (it lives only to devour all life on the worlds it comes across), strange origin (possibly extragalactic), immunity to conventional weapons, and Mind Control/Mind Rape abilities.
- Harry Moony (or whatever its real name is, but that's how an old folksong calls it) from Ramsey Campbell's The Hungry Moon. It apparently descended on the moon at the dawn of time, and during the early ages of the Earth frequently used moonlight for coming to Earth and gorging itself on the creatures living there. Eventually druids learned how to summon it and how to satisfy its fits of hunger, before collaborating with the Romans for striking it while it was possessing one of them and banish it to an abandonned lead mine. Naturally, it didn't kill it. Even when being banished, it could influence some sensitive people with the help of moonlight, feed on the hapless animals which would fall into the mine, and even twisting them to become its agents. Once it managed to possess another man who fell into the mine, it quickly unleashed its power and locked the whole valley surrounding the mine into a never-ending night and allowed its servants to spread chaos. Fortunately, Harry Moony is hurt by sunlight, but as said above he can block it entirely, and it was planning to expand its influence. He's not even defeated at the end, merely weakened down and sent back to the mine, so it's entirely possible that the events of the book will repeat themselves one day.
- Yog-Sothoth pulls a brief appearance in the Illuminatus! Trilogy, as well as the Lloigors, Tsathoggua, and the Shoggoths; there is also, towards the end, the Leviathan, a ridiculously immense, vaguely pyramid-shaped, single-celled, pre-Cambrian monstrosity with a single eye towards the top of each of its four sides as well as far too many tentacles. This being the Illuminatus! Trilogy, that's not the weirdest thing in the novels...
- The Crossroads in InCryptid are this, and they act as a Jerkass Genie offering a Deal with the Devil. When they actually appear, they're described as a "hole in reality" that forms itself into a vaguely humanoid shape. It's eventually revealed that they are not the original Crossroads but a parasite, probably from another dimension, that feeds off the magic life force of Earth itself.
- The Entity of I Sit Behind The Eyes is a mass of tentacles that are only visible because of the ripples they make as they move through space, like the air above a flame. The only truly visible part of it is a small red light in the centre.
- Kull faces the Silence from The Skull of Silence, which is a mind-destroying Moment of Silence from the beginnings of the universe. It's mere presence eats away at the sanity of Kull and his men and would eventually do that to the world, luckily Kull was able to seal it back by ringing the gong at its prison.
- The Red Bull from The Last Unicorn. The protagonists wonder what its true form is when alone, its body extends out beyond the walls of a tunnel it's in, it seemingly can't be killed or beaten, and its might is endless.
- The Laundry Files by Charles Stross take place in a world where divisions that MI6 and the CIA don't even know they have battle Eldritch Abominations (and their own bureaucracy) attracted to reality after Alan Turing discovered a theory that allowed the user to warp reality with computers and the Nazis attempted to summon the Great Old Ones using the souls of those slaughtered in the Holocaust to win World War II. The books have thus far featured:
- The infovore from The Atrocity Archive, the only survivor of a reality where the Nazis actually managed to pull it off. Only thing is, once they unleashed "the frost giant" on the Allies, they quickly began to realize that the thing was draining the heat from... well, everything. Just sixty years later, that universe is nearing entropic heat death, and the infovore wants out...
- The Sleeper in the Pyramid on the Dead Plateau in The Fuller Memorandum, a nameless thing kept docile through a wall of crucified, undead victims maintaining a quantum observer effect. Nyarlathotep is also name-dropped - and described as being several orders worse than the Sleeper - and quite a few of his cultists show up (they're not nice people). There's also the Eater of Souls, aka TEAPOT, aka Angleton.
- The Feeders in the Night, a very weak form of supernatural nasty that possesses people and turns them into shambling zombies that spread the condition instantly through touch. Those affected are easily recognizable by the glowing, pale green worms writhing inside their eyes.
- In an amusing aversion of how the trope usually goes, H.P. Lovecraft is described as a hack writer who cobbled his stories together out of bits and pieces of actual eldritch lore. He did, however, have a run-in with a certain Mother of a Thousand Young in his youth, and came out of it mostly unscathed.
- The Eddorians of the Lensman series. They came from another universe (bringing their planet along with them), they have third-stage minds and so can lethally Mind Rape any lesser mind, and the concept of their very existence was so disturbing that it had to be kept secret from both Civilization and Boskone, even though the Eddorians were the founders and ultimate rulers of Boskone.
- The Shadowthurges in Lockhart And Teague: The Empty Chest worship the Neverborn King, a God-like being that seems to resemble Cthulhu if he were covered in parasites and tumors.
- First Person Singular in The Long Earth. A sentient biosphere that seeks to expand to every parallel Earth, consuming every life form living on those Earths in the process. Her very presence causes migraines in those who are in worlds near the world she is currently in.
- The Lord of the Rings:
- Eldritch Abomination:
- The tentacled thing that trapped the Fellowship in Moria, the Watcher in the Water, is an unexplained abomination - unless it is, perhaps, one of the "nameless things" Gandalf encountered before death.
- The "nameless things" that gnaw the earth, which Gandalf and the Balrog encounter far beneath Moria, are implied to be this as well. They are supposed to be so scary that Gandalf, who didn't flinch in front of the Balrog or the Witch-King of Angmar, was too horrified to even describe them. They were supposedly intended as a subtle Shout-Out to H. P. Lovecraft's works. Tolkien's earliest writing suggests they were entities with entirely separate origin from the Ainur, and perhaps even from Eru himself, but this idea was dropped as part of aligning Middle-Earth with Tolkien's own Catholic values.
- It's implied that Sauron's resurgence has awoken a number of eldritch things that were asleep. The Barrow-wights may no longer be allied with Sauron, but Tolkien's copious notes indicate that they were probably roused by the presence of the Black Riders scouting out the edges of the Shire.
- The thing named Ungoliant, mentioned in the text only as Shelob's mother, is another being of unknown origin and terrible intentions.
- Shelob herself, to a lesser extent, being an evil spirit that takes the form of a spider.
- Type "Oldest and Fatherless: The Terrible Secret of Tom Bombadil" into Google and you'll read a very plausible and disturbing theory as to what Tom Bombadil might actually be.
- In The Silmarillion, Melkor himself is one of these at the height of his power when he first came to Arda. It's said that his form is "like a mountain that wades in the sea and is crowned in storm clouds and clad in ice and the light of the eyes of Melkor was like a flame that withers and pierces with a deadly cold" and allegedly drove some of the lesser Ainur insane.
- In Daniel Polansky's Low Town, the Void that is the hidden space between our world is not an empty place, instead it's full of erotic orifices, horrid mouths and eyes and plenty of glistening tentacles. During a desperate war, the kingdom of Rigus resorts to doing "Operation Ingress", which opens a gate to the Void and drops an Eldritch Abomination army on their enemy...the next day they surrender. In the novel, one of these abominations is witnessed murdering someone in an alley. The thing was described as being an 8-or-9-foot-tall mockery of the human form. It would lumber if it walked but instead floats. What was thought to be a black cloak turns out to be a carapace, and it has grossly distorted arms and face. When it picks up its victim, the victim lets loose a scream of such agony that the protagonist thought it'd be a mercy when the victim went to hell.
- Michael Grant's Magnificent 12 quadrilogy has the Pale Queen. She is an ancient being of unclear origin and immense magical power who plagued humanity for nearly all its history, and she is largely responsible for killing off early species of human in order to select for ones more suitable for worshiping her. Her daughter Ereskigal claims that she is made up of "so many lost souls," and she consumes the souls of her victims, allowing her to use their screams as a devastating Brown Note capable of literally scaring people to death. While the Pale Queen can take virtually any form she chooses, she prefers the form of a titanic monster several hundred feet high, with an insect-like body, six humanoid arms as limbs, and a face that resembles a woman's except for the translucent skin and gigantic fangs. She was sealed away underground three thousand years ago, where she resides within a vast network of tunnels that are extensions of her own body that she uses to spawn various horrible monsters as minions. By the time the series begins, her bonds are just a month or so away from breaking.
- From Manifold: Time, The Downstreamers, the far-future descendants of humanity, are essentially gods. They lack any physical form. They can influence events in the past and have more energy at their disposal than entire galaxies, can travel to other universes, create other universes, and their plan is essentially the gestation of a googolplex more, by sacrificing themselves and their history. They also have a bizarre sense of morality. The only thing they share with modern humanity is a desire to survive.
- The Grievers from The Maze Runner are small versions. Half mechanical, half organic killing machines. All mysteriously and frighteningly lethal. They represent the reality-bending phenomena surrounding the maze; their patterns are unknowable and their presence constant. Meeting one will result in the danger of painful death.
- The Nameless from Merry Gentry. When the fey were exiled from Europe and forced to go to the States, which was the last place in the world that would accept them and allow them to keep their courts intact, they performed a spell which removed a lot of the more exotic and abominative of their powers so that they would be less likely to misbehave, horrify the humans with their other-ness and get kicked out of the last country that would have them. The horrors of their power were gathered into a single... being... that they called the Nameless and was bound by the leaders of the Seelie and Unseelie courts. It is a horror to look upon, and called indescribable by the protagonist when she encounters it.
- In the Midnighters series the Darklings are essentially living shadows with the ability to shapeshift and inspired hunanity's deepest evoltuonary fears. That's still small potatoes to the Elder Darklings who can devour people's fears,and their bodies for good measure.
- While the titular children in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children possess startling unnatural abilities themselves, they pale next to the hollowgasts, former peculiars that, through some horrifying means, have made themselves immune to the passage of time, feed on the souls of peculiars (though they will eat normals and animals if pressed), and are only visible to a few peculiars as horrible masses of eyes and tentacles. If they eat enough souls, they become wights, which can pass for humans but are only slightly less horrifying.
- Moby-Dick: The title character is rumoured to be one. A number of sailors claim that Moby Dick is not actually a whale, but the apparition of some supernatural entity, which purportedly cannot be killed and exists everywhere in space at once. Ahab in particular treats it as the living personification of evil and misfortune. Over the course of the novel, the narrator increasingly treats not only Moby Dick, but all sperm whales as being an example, equating them with various mythological monsters (particularly the Leviathan), claiming that no human being can ever get even remotely close to making an accurate visual depiction of one, and even explicitly referring to it as a Physical God towards the end. A Giant Squid witnessed by the crew of the Pequod gets a similar treatment in one chapter; Ishmael describes it as "an unearthly, formless, chance-like apparition of life" with "[n]o perceptible face or front" and "no conceivable token of either sensation or instinct", and Starbuck claims it to be even more terrifying than Moby Dick itself.
- The Old Ones in the Monster Hunter series by Larry Correia (Monster Hunter International and Monster Hunter Vendetta in particular) are classic Eldritch Abominations. H. P. Lovecraft's writings are said to be the result of research done by talking with actual Hunters.
- Shub-Internet in Mr Blank is the personification of the actual internet... and it's become a Cthulhoid deity that eats porn.
- Eldritch abominations are mentioned in passing in the sequel as being yet another thing our retired hero doesn't want to deal with.
- Legrys Mor in Murder at Colefax Manor, which is described as having the form of "an amorphous mass of undulating, inky blackness" with "thick, slimy tendrils" supporting it above the heart of a whirlpool. Depending on the ending, it can be seen escaping out to sea if the manor is destroyed. Bonus points for actually being referred to as eldritch.
- The Neverending Story:
- The Nothing. Born from distortions in Fantastica caused by The Childlike Empress' sickness, it's not exactly a creature, but it is as eldritch as anything else. There are no adequate words to describe it. In chapter 1, a messenger tries to explain what happened to a lake that was consumed by the Nothing. It's not that the lake was drained, or that it dried out, because then, there'd be a hole or a dry lakebed there, wouldn't there? It's just... nothing. Later on, Atreyu runs into some wood trolls that came into contact with it. One lost his lower body, one lost the left half of his body, and one had a giant hole eaten away. Only... they're still alive. They just can't... feel anything that was removed. When Atreyu tries to take a look at it from afar, he can't even glance at it straight on, and it pains him to see it even from the side, because his brain simply cannot comprehend the sight of nothing. It is quite simply something that should not exist, and that's because it doesn't.
Whereas the movie version obviously had a hard time depicting the Nothing, a comic book retelling using Disney characters had it ridiculously easy: they just left the page blank where the Nothing was.
- There's also the Manipulators, Gmork's employers, who wish to drive humanity mad with lies and delusions born out of Fantasticans who have been erased by the Nothing.
- Peter F. Hamilton's The Night's Dawn Trilogy incorporates a positive slew of eldritch abominations: an incident involving a satanic ritual and a passing energy being creates a cross-dimensional link that allows the souls of the dead to come back and possess the living, before secreting entire planets away to their own pocket dimensions. Even worse, the trans-dimensional powers of the possessed, as well as the fact that they have absolutely no idea what they're doing, opened the door to a range of other, semi-scientific eldritch horrors, by far the worst being a dimension of almost infinite entropy which, if intersected with our universe, would suck it dry like a vampire. Things get so hopeless that it takes a literal Deus ex Machina to sort the whole mess out. Said vampire-dimension, the "Dark Continuum", has, at its center of mass, a... phenomenon called the "Melange". It's made out of the immortal souls of everyone ever trapped in this continuum, all of them writhing in eternal agony at well below zero Kelvins, most of them incapable of accumulating enough energy to break free. Those that do temporarily become vampiric bird-like Orgathe, doomed to wander the empty continuum until they eventually re-join the others in the Melange.
- The resident super-civilization of the Night's Dawn universe (so powerful that their empire consists of a collar of planets orbiting the same star) feel horrified and threatened at the prospect of our Universe intersecting the Dark Continuum. That's how bad it gets.
- Old Kingdom:
- Orannis the Destroyer]]. He is alternately described as a sphere of light and a column of fire, and is immortal. His can is his own frozen body, split in half, buried under a hill, and encased by a seal of seven different materials, including bone. He destroyed the world several times before the Seven finally imprisoned him. Yes, that's correct: it took seven GODS to hold this thing. And his only real restriction is his power and movement; he can still communicate with and manipulate those around him. This is the most terrifying, unnatural thing to come from the terrifying, unnatural Kingdom.
- The other Bright Shiners may qualify as well. Granted, we only see four out of nine: Orannis, who's a living nuclear explosion, Kibeth, whose true form is a silver Hell Hound, Yrael, a whirling vortex of fire and lightning, and Astarael, a tall woman with power over time, and the river of Death flowing around her.
- Chaos and Old Night from Paradise Lost by John Milton. Lucifer passes through their domain on his way to Earth, and as they obviously bear a grudge against God, they allow him safe passage. The weird thing is, we never find out exactly who or what they are, they just are. And, from the look of things, clearly have a history with God!
- The Paradox Trilogy features phantoms, invisible and nearly indestructible beings of pure energy. Their mere presence causes distressing effects on space and time, and they are believed to come from a different dimension.
- Peter and the Starcatchers has Lord Ombra, a shadow monster who can steal your soul through your shadow. He comes from the darkness before the universe and seeks to return it to that state. And hes not the only one.
- The Ancient Enemy from Dean Koontz's Phantoms is a massive, lake-size mass of black sludge older than the dinosaurs. It consumes other life forms as sustenance and is able to perfectly mimic any creature it consumes. It can create small "probes" or "phantoms", imitating consumed life forms, to go forth and hunt more prey, obeying the orders of its "hive mind". In addition, the creature absorbs the mental capacity and memories of those it consumes, so its mind grows more powerful, intelligent, and self-aware over time. Besides being able to mimic real animals and people, the creature can also form phantoms based on mental images from its victims; it takes sadistic delight in creating phantoms in the shape of religious demons and monsters to terrorize its victims before killing them. The creature also apparently likes to think of itself as The Devil. It even has human cultists.
- In Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillain, the team manages to stumble onto one of these completely by accident. After choosing a random middle school to attack and a random semi-rare material to steal, Penny ends up with a jade Artifact of Doom in her lap, and then out comes the dragon. When it's close to defeat, it morphs into this humongous tentacled mass with eyes peeking in from alternate dimensions and such. It's later explained that it wasn't a real dragon, and was just masquerading as one.
- In The Power of Five, the main antagonists are the Old Ones, godlike creatures clearly inspired by Lovecraft that used to rule Earth before the humans defeated them ten thousand years ago and sealed them in another universe. The Nazca Lines were created as the seal, and the animal shapes drawn into the Earth were actually representative of each of the Old Ones, the familiar animals being the closest approximation the human mind could come to the Old Ones' horrifying appearance.
- In Caitlin Kiernan's The Red Tree, the mentally unstable narrator (who's also a fan of Lovecraft and Machen) becomes convinced that a large old oak tree is actually some kind of primordial evil that has taken A Form You Are Comfortable With. Her epiphany is provided on the Quotes page.
- The Repairman Jack novels of F. Paul Wilson had the Ally and the Otherness (who see the world as a poker chip) and The Lady (who seems to be the personification of Earth's life).
- The aliens in Arkady and Boris Strugatsky's Roadside Picnic, by proxy. These unknown aliens only stopped for a flying visit, but the detritus they leave behind, including inexplicable objects and strange phenomena (many of which are lethal) defies explanation. The best analogy given in universe is that it's as if they just stopped for a picnic on their travels, and we're just like the insects in the grass by the roadside. All that's left is their rubbish. Some of the phenomena themselves also count as this.
- In The Salvation War setting, according to Word of God, whatever lives on the opposite side of the Minos Portal in Hell (the portal through which the human dead arrive in Hell) exists in a reality so different and alien that nothing from either "Universe-One" (Earth) or any of the "Universe-Twos" (Heaven, Hell, and other assorted "higher-level" realities) can exist on it. Nothing either living or mechanical from either set of universes that passes through the portal has ever returned.
- In The Seichi Chronicles, the Asager Shells are terrifying beasts that exist to kill everyone and can appear in any form. They know nothing except destruction and violence. Even the wyvern Asager Shell's scream is enough to be cemented in the main character's mind for decades to come.
- The Sister Verse and the Talons of Ruin has a lot of these. The Lord in White is the most prominent, being the fourth-dimensional, reality-warping avatar of the book itself, which survives by slowly consuming the souls of its victims, who are trapped in a cycle of horrific reincarnation until they're entirely hollowed out inside. The observance of its true face causes the immediate disintegration of flesh, and its shadow makes things rapidly corrode.
- Skulduggery Pleasant has the Faceless Ones, so named because they cannot be looked upon in their true forms without driving the observer mad and can only manifest by possessing humans, melting all features from their faces in the process. They are the former rulers of this reality, before their slaves, the Ancients (the first mages), managed to find a weapon capable of driving them into another reality. They are described as being so evil and sadistic that even their own shadows were afraid of them. A creature cobbled together from several monster parts including the torso of a Faceless One's host took a small army of mages to kill. When they finally appear, Valkyrie gets only a passing glance at one and is temporarily driven into a catatonic state by its impossible geometry and biology. Skulduggery explains that if they successfully return, they will wipe out half of humanity and then work the other half to death, before destroying the Earth. It's worth mentioning that these all-powerful demon gods only drive the nine-part series for the first trilogy, as they soon move on to a sorceress called 'Darquesse', who's indicated to be able to take on the Faceless Ones and win.
- In A Song of Ice and Fire The Others are teriffying creatures made of ice, who raise the dead. George R. R. Martin describes them as "a different sort of life... inhuman, elegant, dangerous."
- The Southern Reach Trilogy:
- The Crawler and perhaps all of Area X in Annihilation is never called this, but the description certainly, disturbingly fits. An inverted tower is found with a staircase winding deeper and deeper into the earth, with an unsettling endless sentence written on the wall by a ceaseless thing. The nameless protagonist descends the stairs and finds it, and the description goes on for confused pages.
The light surged out, blinding and bleeding and thick and layered and absorbing. It so overwhelmed my ability to comprehend shapes within it that I forced myself to switch from sight, to focus at first on reports from other senses. [...] As I adjusted to the light, the Crawler kept changing at a lightning pace, as if to mock my ability to comprehend it. It was a figure within a series of refracted panes of glass. It was a series of layers in the shape of an archway. It was a great sluglike monster ringed by satellites of even odder creatures. It was a glistening star. My eyes kept glancing off it as if an optic nerve was not enough. [...] What can you do when your five senses are not enough? Because I still couldn't see it here, and that's what scared me the most. Why couldn't I see it?
- Then she finds it and things get so much worse. As a bonus, a sample tube scraped off its surface reveals that it's made of human brain cells, there is a human being inside surrounded by "indescribable things I could think of only as his jailors", and characters infected by contact with it start "changing" in at first subtle ways, like glowing and gaining Super Senses, with the implication that they might turn into that, or animals, or moss. Oh, and when the Crawler reaches the bottom there will be a "convulsive season of barricades and blood."
- In the Special Circumstances series, these are one of the many ghouls, goblins, and other supernatural baddies that the title organization is supposed to handle. An Old One is Barbara Everette's introduction to the world of supernatural hostiles in Princess of Wands. The second part of Queen of Wands involves one of the lesser known Old Ones and its spawned servants. Looking even at just some cellular material left behind on the ground by the passage of one of the servants is shown to induce Sanity Slippage in the observer, and Special Circumstances members have trouble with keeping their wits about them when looking onto it.
- The Ro from the Species Imperative trilogy: beings that exist outside of normal space and whose very speech makes one feel as though they are being ripped apart.
- Star Wars Legends:
- There's a case in The Crystal Star, with Waru. "Hethrir's scientists breached the walls between dimensions and brought into existence a massive slab of meat covered with shining golden scales. Though this entity, Waru, lacked discernible sensory organs, it was highly intelligent and could communicate in a deep resonating voice." The scales were variable in size and a syrupy ichor oozed from between them. The ichor could be breathed by humans, and it was Bigger on the Inside. It was promised a way home by the man who summoned it, and it worked with him and healed the sick, was worshipped, and ate people to replenish its healing energy. It was always lonely and ended up eating the guy who summoned it before collapsing in on itself.
- Abeloth from the Fate of the Jedi series most definitely qualifies. The mention of tentacles and the associated imagery does not help... Her home planet is a place in the Maw where plants eat animals, which also happens to be the location of Force purgatory. Useful for something that sustains itself by eating force-sensitive souls. The name, incidentally, is a Shout-Out to the aboleths from Dungeons & Dragons, which are also examples of this trope.
- The 2010 Unknown Regions RPG supplement also added the Mnggal-Mnggal into Star Wars' growing list of EAs. It's a formless black goo that takes over a host and devours them. It wants to consume all worlds in existence, which would be bad enough... but it delights in tormenting sentient beings even more than it does taking them over. Doesn't sound too bad by the standards of alien horrors in Star Wars... until you learn that the reason the Unknown Regions have been cut off from the rest of the galaxy since time immemorial is that the Celestials thought that the Mnggal-Mnggal was too much for them to deal with! Word of God says it and Waru are the same sort of being.
- The novella Supernatural Encounters: The Trial and Transformation of Arhul Hextrophon, which spent over a decade in Development Hell before its release in 2018, works all of the above into an entire pantheon of horrors: Abeloth, Mnggal-Mnggal, and Waru are all siblings, along with Typhojem the Left-Handed God (the chief deity on the ancient Sith) and Gorog the Night Spirit (the Endorian God of Evil from the Ewoks animated series), and are children of Tilotny and Cold Danda Sine of Alan Moore's Bedlam Spirits (see the comics page); many other bizarre beings from throughout the franchise make appearances as well. The biggest and baddest of them all is implied to be a Morgoth-like character called Näkhäsh, Father of Shadows, of whom even this Wham Episode of a story says little, but who is implied to have, at the very least, corrupted the Bedlams in the first place. Fortunately, most of them were already disposed of by their Good Counterparts, the Celestials, millennia prior to the events of the films.
- The Stormlight Archive: The Unmade are the nine greatest servants of the God of Evil Odium, created to cause chaos wherever they can. They create country-wide effects merely by being awake, and have strange and impossible powers. Some are more intelligent, capable of actually holding a conversation (although they barely understand humanity at all), while others are more akin to forces of nature, influencing people simply because that's what they do. If it's possible to kill them, no one has ever done it before, but they have been sealed away. One low-level bit of horror is that they've been around so long that everyone just accepts their effects as normal. Nergaoul causes the Thrill, an insatiable desire to kill, fight, and conquer; the Alethi consider this bloodlust a sign of the Almighty's favor. Moelach causes the dying to occasionally scream strange prophecies, but surgeons have gotten used to just ignoring them. Every once in a while a court will destroy itself in an incredible display of hedonism, but no one considers that Ashertmarn might be responsible. There was one woman who sorted through the data and wrote a book about how the Unmade were still influencing the world, but no one took her seriously.
- Tortall Universe: There is one present in the Chamber of the Ordeal that is used as a final test before knighthood. Not only does the Chamber create a person's worst nightmare around them, any dark character flaw will mean death, or ongoing torture OUTSIDE the chamber should you manage to escape it. It's foolproof, but no one understands how it operates. Word of God has come out to say it is an older god than their current pantheon. An older lesser god at that, which makes one wonder what the great gods were like.
- Touch (2017) presents a creature thus far left nameless, that is supposed to exist beyond our four dimensional understanding of spacetime, that puts the fear of god into whole planets, survived a nuke to the face, and eventually had to have someone burn off all of their skin trying to deal with it.
- The Unexplored Summon://Blood-Sign: The Black Maw that Swallows All, a tornado-shaped mass of black slime, containing a mouth lined with teeth. If a summoner breaks certain taboos, their Material (summoned being) will transform into the Black Maw. Unlike all other Materials, the Black Maw is entirely uncontrollable by its summoner. Additionally, it is capable of bypassing the protective circle (a normally-inviolable shield that protects the summoner) to devour them whole. It turns out that the Black Maw is in fact another facet of the White Queen, making her an example of this as well. The White Queen is another uncontrollable Material (though most summoners are unaware of this fact) and is by far the most powerful entity in the setting. She's so powerful that she was able to defeat an army of Unexplored-Class Materials, who represent the laws of the universe and exist specifically to counter the Queen. Because of this, the Unexplored-Class all submitted to her, effectively giving the White Queen authority over the entire universe.
- The Vampire Chronicles: The "spirits" in Queen of the Damned seem to be a cross between this and energy beings. Unlike ghosts who are the souls of the dead lingering on Earth for various reasons, the spirits are said to never have been human at all, they are unable to be seen by people who do not interest them and even those who can communicate with them are often unable to see them. They are described as being enormous enough to fill the sky and one character who witnesses them describes them as being similar to fire, unable to really define its shape in terms the human mind would understand. They are, however, a far more benevolent version of this trope than usual, despite possessing Blue-and-Orange Morality, except for Amel who created the vampires and even he was more Stupid Evil than anything else.
- The Wandering Inn: Skinner, oh so much. Where to begin? This gigantic bundle of concentrated Nightmare Fuel is an undead Flesh Golem thing that steals people's skin, ripping it from their living body, and integrates it as part of its gigantic self, with the victim's frozen face still visible on Skinner's patchwork "skin". He achieves this by throwing an outstretched arm from inside his mouth. And his eyes (if you can call them that) glow red and give off an unshakeable aura of fear.
- Warhammer 40,000: Xenos, the first book in Dan Abnett's Eisenhorn trilogy has a downplayed example with an alien species called the Saruthi, particularly because of how fundamentally corrupted they were by the power of Chaos. The Saruthi themselves looked like a flat-bodied, mutant crustacean with five irregular limbs, with an oblate head lifted off of the center by a boneless neck, and had such a well-developed sense of touch that they could verge on being considered almost psychic by human standards. But the thing that really set them apart is that they created four-dimensional landscapes that were incredibly disorienting and unnerving to see, let alone be in and to fight a battle in. The simplest way to describe them is that spacetime appears to be incredibly curved, which leads to gunfire going way off mark, architecture and iconography that wouldn't be possible in Euclidean geometry, and time being unstable.
- The Dark One from The Wheel of Time series. It's nothing more or less than sentient idea of evil, and all the evil is born from it. It is possible to destroy it, and if someone succeeds, all evil would be destroyed... along with free will, rendering all goodness hollow. Rand sees it as a void - he can't comprehend it.
- The white people from Arthur Machen's The White People are ancient beings who long predate humanity with serpent or slug-like appendages and red almond eyes. They live in the Deep Dendo, a white place with monuments depicting grotesque things, and they can drive people insane with their arcane knowledge.
- Algernon Blackwood's "The Willows", which was spoken of highly by Lovecraft himself, features an encounter with something so alien that, even by the end, you'll have little idea what they were aside from the notion of complete otherness.
- The extraterrestrial known as "the Giver" in Winter Moon. Its method of interstellar travel is completely incomprehensible (it seems to have torn a hole in reality), You Cannot Grasp the True Form, and it does not understand the existence of death.
- The eponymous "worm", aka Scion, is one of these. It is a massive wormlike Space Whale, composed of trillions of shards (some of which can grant superpowers) and able to move from one alternate universe to another, even having different parts of itself in different universes at the same time. It operates on Blue-and-Orange Morality, saving lives only because its original plan was prevented from working by its mate's death, and becomes an Omnicidal Maniac and the Big Bad once Jack Slash gives it the idea.
- It also features the Endbringers, three huge monsters that exist only to kill people. Each one has immensely destructive superpowers, and they have an extreme case of Bizarre Alien Biology; their bodies are composed of progressively denser crystal layers, eventually reaching a literally impossible density and hardness. This makes them all but unkillable, which combined with their powers and Omnicidal Maniac tendencies means that humanity is pretty much doomed. On top of that, no one has any idea where they come from, and it turns out they come from someone's subconscious superpower going on the fritz, taking the Jackass Genie route and giving him "worthy opponents", generating enemies that could ignore the laws of physics and constantly got stronger against all logic for the sake of giving him a challenge.
- We get a look at the shards themselves in the sequel, Ward. Word of God originally described them as four-dimensional crystalline beings, but it turns out that doesn't do them justice: they are individually intelligent and have their own personalities and desires, though certain behaviors are "hard-coded" into them by the Entity they were a part of. Each has a unique form, ranging from a vaguely human shape made entirely of spikes, a giant mass of thousands of arms, or appearing to be made of lightning. And those forms are just "cross-sections" of the being as a whole, since they are four-dimensional. This also means they move around in ways that appear impossible from a human perspective. The story also suggests that the Endbringers are actually collections of these shards merged together in an artificial body designed to be effectively invincible to physical damage.
- Xeelee Sequence
- The titular Xeelee are essentially Sufficiently Advanced Aliens taken to their logical conclusion. They can travel through time, and have used it to improve their technology and power by going back as many as 13.5 billion years. They also use black holes as habitats and construction devices, as well as computers. Their Nightfighters are built of pure spacetime, and can have wingspan of miles. They built a Ring so large that it changed the movement of galaxies, that can serve as a wormhole to another universe.
- Their main enemy, the Photino birds, are bizarre creatures made of dark matter. They are shown to be unaware of all baryonic life. Their goal is to turn stars into white dwarfs, in order to prevent supernovas and survive. This makes them the enemy of all baryonic life, including the Xeelee.
- The Zombie Knight has Feldeaths. They're what happens when a huge number of dead souls left unferried for many years gradually merge into one vast, immensely powerful being filled with rage and pain. They attack anyone who enters their teritory, and hunt anyone who retaliates (as opposed to just fleeing) to the ends of the earth.