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Giant Corpse World

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Land made out of a huge corpse. The dead body of a creature or giant so immense, people can live, grow crops and build houses on it. Sometimes it will be a literal, fleshy corpse, while other times its remnants will be transformed after death into more familiar substances such as stone and soil. Or maybe it consisted of those substances to begin with.

While these worlds are usually the regular, inert sort of dead, you may occasionally find undead corpse worlds, which can cross over with tropes such as Genius Loci and are more likely to be treated as inherently horrible places than other examples of this trope.

A landscape made of just the skeleton would probably be a Monster-Shaped Mountain — a stone mountain either shaped like a creature, or made out of a creature. Typically a far less squicky variety.


For the still-living version, see Genius Loci, Turtle Island, Undead Abomination or Womb Level. See also Ribcage Ridge, which may overlap with this trope if the ridge is sufficiently big and inhabited. They may occasionaly involve Body Horror and Squick. Not the same as Corpse Land, a land full of corpses.


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    Comic Books 
  • The classic 1980's X-Men Brood storyline. The Death World surrounding one of the alien bases is in fact the semi-decomposed corpse of one of the Space Whales they had enslaved as Living Ships. To give an idea of the scale, the tips of the ribs poke out of the planetary atmosphere.
  • Beautiful Darkness is about a community of fairies living in the corpse of a little girl who got lost in the woods and died.
  • Secret Identities has the Front Line's base in the body of a giant alien they killed on their first mission as a team. When newcomer Crosswind joins, the giant's antibodies have to be calibrated so they don't attack him. The end of the comic has other aliens showing up to avenge their fallen.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Guardians of the Galaxy: The mining colony of Knowhere, built in the decapitated head of an ancient celestial being. Due to the nature of the planetoid it inhabits, the main resource it mines is actually the celestial being's cerebral fluid.
  • The Bone Slums in Pacific Rim are shanty towns built in and around the colossal remains of a Kaiju.

  • The protagonist of Angel Notes lives in a city built in and around the corpse of the Ultimate Life Form of Venus, which came to Earth to punish humanity for destroying Earth's spirit, Gaia, and with it, Earth's capacity to support life. Humans managed to kill it, however, and discovered that while Earth cannot support agriculture anymore, Venus still can, so they settled the alien's corpse and grow crops on it in order to survive.
  • Played with in Alan Dean Foster's short story "Gift of a Useless Man", in which a space traveller who crashes on an alien planet and is left almost completely paralyzed enters a symbiotic relationship with a telepathic, sentient insect colony, which could have been played for Body Horror but ends up sweet.
  • The protagonist of Ender's Game accidentally creates one of these, with the corpse of a giant he killed in a video game eventually becoming a village.
  • SF/Fantasy writer Lucius Shepard has a series of stories about people living in towns on and around the body of a gigantic dragon — who isn't entirely dead.
  • China Mieville's Bas-Lag cycle heavily features the city of New Crobuzon, built in the shadow of the ribcage of a giant dead... something.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Farscape episode "Home on the Remains" is set in a space "mining" colony that is actually looking for valuable substances in the corpse of an asteroid-sized Space Whale.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Ymir, the Father of the World in Norse Mythology. After they slew him, the gods made the whole world from his dead body — his flesh became the land, his blood the sea, his bones the mountains, his hair trees and vegetation, his skull the dome of heaven and his brains the clouds. In some traditions, the insects and maggots on his body were gifted with reason and transformed into the first dwarfs.
  • In Mesopotamian Mythology, the god Marduk slew the goddess Tiamat, and he created the world from her corpse.
  • In Chinese Mythology, after the death of Pan-gu, his body was made into the earth, his blood the sea, his eyes the sun and moon, and the lice around his body was turned into people.
  • In Aztec Mythology, after Tezcatlipoca and Quetzalcoatl slayed the primeval sea monster Cipactli, they created all dry land from its body.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • One of the setting's nastier abominations is Atropus, the world born dead, a planet crawling with undead whose arrival in a system heralds disaster and that only leaves dead worlds in its wake. It's fairly consistent that it's the remains of something huge and (un)dead, but its exact nature varies — sometimes it's an enormous atropal (the undead corpse of a stillborn god), while other times it's the head of a colossal primordial being.
    • The current incarnation of the sixth layer of Hell, Malbolge, is formed out of the corpse of its former ruler, Malagard the Hag Countess. Its mountains, for instance, used to be the Hag Countess' bones, and there is a tunnel that used to be her throat that still contracts and expands rhythmically.
    • The Githyanki capital of Tu'narath is a metropolis built on — and into — the colossal, petrified corpse of a forgotten god, adrift in the timeless Void Between the Worlds of the Astral Plane.

  • BIONICLE: In "The Kingdom" alternate dimension, Mata Nui, who is usually a Genius Loci, dies after Matoro fails to revive him. This causes a large exodus of nearly every being inside him to the island above due to the Pit Mutagen flooding most domes inside.

    Video Games 
  • Fallen London is in "the Neath", which, if the story can be believed, is inside the skull of a dead god. It's not really true, it's just an otherwise normal cavern that the Gods of the setting literally forgot, which let the laws of reality start drifting.
  • Brütal Legend is set in a world created from the remains of the Eternal Firebeast Ormagoden, who was killed by the primordial First Ones and whose flesh/bones and blood became the landmasses and the oceans of the world, respectively.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • The series has the twin moons Masser and Secunda. They are not typical sub-planetoids, but are in fact said to be the decaying remains ("flesh divinity") of the long-"dead" creator god, Lorkhan, symbolizing how he was sundered during the creation of Mundus, the mortal plane. They, like the rest of the cosmos in the Elder Scrolls series, are implied to look like as they do because it is the best mortal minds can do to interpret it. The two moons go through technically impossible phases; stars are visible behind the dark parts when they're not full, and they are unaffected by the series' occasional Reality Warping Time Crashes, which allow their cycles to be used to determine the passage of time when linear time is otherwise not applying.
    • The Daedric Planes of Oblivion are the realms of the Daedric Princes, which are theorized to also be part of their very beings. When a Prince is weakened through one means or another, it is said that his Daedric Plane literally shrinks. According to Oblivion's main villain, Mankar Camoran, Mundus (the mortal realm) itself was originally the Daedric realm of the aforementioned "dead" god, Lorkhan. Very few other sources agree with Camoran, but he does offer a few valid points supporting his theory, such as Lorkhan being a being of chaos like the Daedra rather than a being of order, like the Aedra (who he convinced/tricked into creating Mundus).
  • Knights of the Crystallion is set in a city built in the skeleton of a gigantic creature.
  • The Rotten Vale in Monster Hunter: World is a region where elder dragons go to die, and is formed from the corpses of two immense serpentine dragons known as Dalamadur. They're so huge that even centuries (or possibly millennia) after their deaths, their bodies are still decomposing.
  • Xenoblade takes place on the corpses of two gods the size of continents, the Bionis and the Mechonis, on which biological and mechanical life respectively developed over time. Of course, both giants turn out to be not dead, but in a deep slumber. Nasty things start happening when they begin to wake up.
  • In Xenoblade Chronicles 2, the region known as the Cliffs of Morytha is said to be the remnants of a Titan that died long ago. Not long after, you get to explore a small part of the Titan that was once the kingdom of Torna, now a barren, fossilized husk, having reached its final resting place far beneath the Cloud Sea 500 years ago.
  • In Hollow Knight, the corpse of the enormous Wyrm that was the Pale King's original form rests in Kingdom's Edge, its decay covering the landscape in white ash.

    Web Comics 
  • 1/0: In the beginning, the webcomic consists of an infinite blank white void. Then Teddy Weddy (a character from Sluggy Freelance) falls out of the sky, and dies. The rest of the story focuses on the strange, tiny creatures who find him and build a village on his corpse.
  • Awful Hospital: the Inert Vessel, to initial appearances, is actually a "Fantastic Voyage" Plot, but it's eventually explained that Fern wasn't actually shrunk, but rather transported into an alternate dimension modeled after her own decomposing corpse, complete with Mega-Microbes citizenry, making it closer to this trope.


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