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Cosmic horror by less known authors
Posted by: Minicthulhu (IP Logged)
Date: 30 April, 2020 03:58PM
Hello.

Can anybody recommend a good cosmic horror story which was not written by the mainstream authors like Lovecraft, Smith or Howard?

Re: Cosmic horror by less known authors
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 30 April, 2020 04:35PM
Something horrible saturated with humor, "Meet Miss Universe" by Jack Vance. I think CAS might have enjoyed this one, and I would have loved to see his reaction; I may be totally wrong of course.

Edit: On second thought, if you are dedicated smoker you will probably not find this story funny. CAS was a smoker. I was also a smoker, but struggled to stop, so I appreciated the humor.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 30 Apr 20 | 04:53PM by Knygatin.

Re: Cosmic horror by less known authors
Posted by: kojootti (IP Logged)
Date: 30 April, 2020 04:41PM
Do you know Robert H. Barlow? He isn't exactly mainstream, since even Lovecraft fans aren't usually aware of his work.

His stories tend to fall into one of two categories: weird fabulous fantasies inspired by Smith and Dunsany, or atmospheric pieces about people in a moody, post-apocalyptic world. But he wrote at least three stories which can be considered cosmic horror, though I think his emphasis is more on the cosmic side of things rather than horror, with the exception of one story. I'd say his three cosmic masterpieces are "The Night Ocean", "A Dim-Remembered Story", and "Origin Undetermined."

Most people don't realize that Lovecraft's contribution to "The Night Ocean" was very minimal, he merely edited a few parts of it to smooth out the words.

Re: Cosmic horror by less known authors
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 1 May, 2020 02:38AM
"Fat Face" and "Polyphemus" by Michael Shea.

Dark Gods and The Ceremonies by T. E. D. Klein.

Cold Print by Ramsey Campbell.

Re: Cosmic horror by less known authors
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 1 May, 2020 02:46AM
"Nethescurial" and "The Mystics of Muelenburg", etc., by Thomas Ligotti.

Re: Cosmic horror by less known authors
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 1 May, 2020 03:22AM
The Metal Monster by A. Merritt. The unexpurgated version found serialized in Argosy All-Story Weekly, and in full by Hippocampus Press.

And, by the gods, don't forget Lovecraft's collaborations "The Mound", "Out of the Aeons", and "The Diary of Alonzo Typer".

Re: Cosmic horror by less known authors
Posted by: Ken K. (IP Logged)
Date: 1 May, 2020 07:24PM
I don't know if I've ever come across a definition of the term "Cosmic Horror", but judging from the stories above (the ones I'm familiar with, at least)--a "Cosmic Horror" story is one in which some vastly powerful and inimical force in this universe comes in contact with humanity (or some portion of it). This force is largely beyond our comprehension, and there is no possibility of defeating or destroying it. The most we can hope for is a stay of execution. If my definition is correct, then I would nominate William Hope Hodgson's The House on the Borderland as being an early example. Does anyone know of any earlier ones?

Re: Cosmic horror by less known authors
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 2 May, 2020 12:05AM
I was thinking about Ligotti, his writing has been described as a natural step further in development from Lovecraft's cosmic horror. I wonder if Ligotti's stories may better be described as "existential horror"?

Someone on a different forum once contended that Bram Stoker's Dracula is cosmic horror. ???

Re: Cosmic horror by less known authors
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 2 May, 2020 06:46AM
Knygatin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I wonder if
> Ligotti's stories may better be described as
> "existential horror"?

Over at the Ligotti forum several individuals seem to take his stories literally (somewhat like Lovecraft readers believing the Necronomicon to be a real book), nurturing a very pessimistic and self-effacing outlook.

Re: Cosmic horror by less known authors
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 2 May, 2020 08:23AM
kojootti Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I'd say his three cosmic masterpieces are
> "The Night Ocean", "A Dim-Remembered Story", and
> "Origin Undetermined."
>

I read "The Night Ocean" when younger, thought it alright and rather well written, but not very distinct and it left only a vague impression. I don't remember it today. Was there some connection to Lovecraft's sea gods? What are its particular literary qualities?

Re: Cosmic horror by less known authors
Posted by: kojootti (IP Logged)
Date: 2 May, 2020 10:41AM
Knygatin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I read "The Night Ocean" when younger, thought it
> alright and rather well written, but not very
> distinct and it left only a vague impression. I
> don't remember it today. Was there some connection
> to Lovecraft's sea gods? What are its particular
> literary qualities?


It's been at least five years since my last reading, so I can't think of so many specifics myself. What I can say is it was less of a story and more of a man's imaginative musings about the cosmos as he lives in isolation on a secluded shore where he sees strange fish-like entities emerging from the sea. It would be easy to forget, even for an admirer like me, but I recall it sharing some beautiful and immersive impressions.

I personally prefer Barlow's "A Dim-Remembered Story", which might appeal more to most people because it involves wandering through a few places in time and space to the end of the world and beyond. Nothing hugely dramatic, mind you, just subtly eerie and growing throughout.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 2 May 20 | 10:46AM by kojootti.

Re: Cosmic horror by less known authors
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 2 May, 2020 11:46AM
Thank you kojootti. Sounds good. I will reread "The Night Ocean" when my book-pile allow me to get around to finally read/reread some of the other stories in The Horror in the Museum and other Revisions.

Re: Cosmic horror by less known authors
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 2 May, 2020 11:54PM
Ken K. Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I don't know if I've ever come across a definition
> of the term "Cosmic Horror", but judging from the
> stories above (the ones I'm familiar with, at
> least)--a "Cosmic Horror" story is one in which
> some vastly powerful and inimical force in this
> universe comes in contact with humanity (or some
> portion of it). This force is largely beyond our
> comprehension, and there is no possibility of
> defeating or destroying it. The most we can hope
> for is a stay of execution.

I would put it more simply. Cosmic horror is merely a horror tale in which vastnesses of space and/or time are used within the context of the story to enhance a sense of (horrific) awe. I see no need to overload the term with too much pessimistic philosophy.

> If my definition is
> correct, then I would nominate William Hope
> Hodgson's The House on the Borderland as being an
> early example.

And perhaps THE NIGHT LAND as well, but I'm not sure either would fit your definition. In THE HOUSE ON THE BORDERLAND, the Recluse perhaps could have saved himself by leaving the House, as he was warned to do by the ghost of his lost love. Also, the visions of the Recluse are suggestive of the possibility of salvation, as well as of damnation.

But I think both would fit the definition I proposed.

> Does anyone know of any earlier
> ones?

THE TIME MACHINE, by H.G. Wells. PARADISE LOST, by John Milton.

Re: Cosmic horror by less known authors
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 3 May, 2020 04:09PM
"The Red Brain", by Donald Wandrei.

Re: Cosmic horror by less known authors
Posted by: Ken K. (IP Logged)
Date: 3 May, 2020 04:21PM
Yes, I think that I prefer your definition to mine--it's more inclusive (and more succinct, to boot!)

You raise good points about the relative optimism/pessimism of Hodgson's novels. The theme of ultimate entropy seems to pervade both works (and certainly The Time Machine, as well) This may be one reason these novels are still being read over a century later--modern readers continue to find this scientific concept frightening. I know I do!

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