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H. P. Lovecraft
The Birth of Cosmicism

H. P. Lovecraft
  • The Horror at Red Hook (by )
  • From Beyond (by )
  • The Temple (by )
  • The Horror at Martin's Beach (by )
  • A Collection of Lovecraft (by )
  • Collected Public Domain Works of H. P. L... (by )
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H. P. Lovecraft crafted a genre of horror that’s more than horror; it’s science and philosophy. It may seem pedantic to say, but imagine, if you will, the stars--all the stars we cannot see with their own pretty, feebleness amid 46 billion light years of a universe. Then see that same universe filled with approximately 99 percent vacuum. Nothing.

Cosmicism, or Lovecraftian horror, finds its footing in the Nothing with a capital N. Most of horror before Lovecraft--and, to be sure, much of horror that is still popular today--always made its bang off imagined creatures, human-driven murder plots, supernatural beings, Frankenstein animals, and other permutations of morality based, good-versus-evil stories. The Wikipedia page states on Cosmicism:

The philosophy of cosmicism states that there is no recognizable divine presence, such as a god, in the universe, and that humans are particularly insignificant in the larger scheme of intergalactic existence, and perhaps are just a small species projecting their own mental idolatries onto the vast cosmos. This also suggests that the majority of undiscerning humanity are creatures with the relative significance of insects and plants, when compared to the universe. Perhaps the most prominent theme in cosmicism is the insignificance of humanity.

Lovecraft’s creatures, like his most famous Cthulhu, were extraterrestrial entities which represented an amoral, chaotic universe that dealt with humanity as no greater than plants trampled on a path. The powerlessness of his characters to these creatures is what created such abject horror. Readers revel in the horror of god-like creatures in a godless world, and the basic fear of life controlled by the incomprehensible.

These ideas of chaos are explored in his stories The Horror at Redhook, From Beyond, The Temple, The Horror at Martin’s Beach, and A Collection of Lovecraft. For an Audiobook version of Lovecraft’s work, check out Collected Public Domain Works of H. P. Lovecraft.

By Thad Higa

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