"The cosmic horror tale was defined by author H. P. Lovecraft as being concerned with humanity’s insignificance in the face of an indifferent, or possibly hostile, universe. Lovecraft, along with his contemporaries Clark Ashton Smith and Robert E. Howard, were considered to be the 'Big Three' of the classic pulp magazine Weird Tales, and they each had a unique approach to the theme of “revelation” at the heart of the cosmic horror tale. There is generally a peeling back of human perception, and a sudden, shocking awareness that 'reality' is much stranger and more unknowable than we had thought. Indeed, consciousness itself may simply be a defense mechanism against the awareness of our true position in the cosmos.
It is the acquisition of forbidden knowledge which is the true source of horror in such stories as Lovecraft’s classic The Call of Cthulhu, or Algernon Blackwood’s The Willows. This is broad, fertile ground for stories of all types, and this thread has been carried by writers as diverse as Joyce Carol Oates, Jorge Luis Borges, and Thomas Ligotti.
Ligotti has been heralded as the standard bearer for Lovecraftian horror in the modern era, but his unsettling, dreamlike stories are a class all by themselves. Laird Barron specializes in a fusion of noir and crime-pulp with cosmic horror, where classic 'tough guy' detectives, CIA agents, and criminals are forced to face situations where a gun or a fist have little utility, and their sanity hangs in the balance. While cosmic horror often works best with the condensed immediacy of a short story or novella, Nicole Cushing and John Langan have proven that novel-length cosmic horror can be potent indeed when the writing is so good. Cushing’s A Sick Gray Laugh presents cosmic revelation through the pharmaceutical treatment of paranoid psychosis, and Langan’s The Fisherman explores grief, folklore, and deep history as the gateway to dark epiphany.
This list presents some of the best cosmic horror of the past, as well as work on the vanguard of contemporary horror. We live in an era that has been dubbed the 'Weird Renaissance,' because arguably, some of the best writing of cosmic horror is happening right now. Perhaps this very fact is a hint about our own position in the universe, and revelations yet to come." — Bookseller Jubel B.
Duration: 101 ms, Number of Items: 17