Cosmic horror, also known as cosmic fear or cosmic dread, is a subgenre of horror fiction that emphasizes the terror and insignificance of humanity in the face of an incomprehensible and uncaring universe. The genre often features themes of cosmic entities, ancient deities, and otherworldly beings that are beyond human comprehension and control.
Common tropes in cosmic horror include:
The unknown and the unknowable: Cosmic horror often deals with entities or phenomena that are beyond human understanding. These beings are often depicted as ancient, powerful and unknowable.
The insignificance of humanity: The genre emphasizes the smallness and insignificance of humanity in the face of the vastness and mystery of the universe. This often leads to feelings of helplessness and despair.
The sense of cosmic dread: The stories often evoke a sense of dread and unease that comes from the knowledge that humanity is not in control of the universe, and that there are forces at play that are beyond our understanding.
The otherworldly: The genre often includes elements of the supernatural, such as ancient deities, extraterrestrial beings, and otherworldly dimensions.
The Ancient Ones: The stories often feature ancient deities and cosmic entities that are beyond human comprehension and control. These beings are often portrayed as indifferent or hostile towards humanity.
The use of forbidden knowledge: The stories often involve characters who seek forbidden knowledge, and then face the terrifying consequences of their actions, as they uncover the truth about the universe.
The use of symbolism and metaphor : The stories often use symbols and metaphors to convey the themes of the genre, such as the use of ancient symbols or the depiction of a cosmic entity as a symbol of the unknown and the unanswerable.
The effect of the horror on the protagonist’s mental state: Cosmic horror often deals with the mental and psychological effects of the encounter with the unknown and the cosmic entities, leading to a descent into madness.
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