H.P. Lovecraft, Cosmic Horror, and Current Cosmology

Should the Big Bang scare you? Let’s find out.

Steven Yates
21 min readNov 18, 2023


H.P. Lovecraft. Courtesy of HistoryCollection.com

Note: the author’s cosmic horror novel The Shadow Over Sarnath has just been published.

I. Introduction: H.P. Lovecraft, Cosmic Horror, and the Modern Worldview.

What is cosmic horror? The idea begins not in the usual places, with bumps in the night, or jump scares, or faces concealed by hockey masks, but with a certain sensibility about our place in the universe. A place hardly alien to modern science, as we’ll see.

Cosmic horror suggests that if we fully faced this sensibility, it would drive us insane — slowly if not quickly.


I’ll let its greatest exponent, the late Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890–1937), expound on the matter. From the beginning of one of his most famous stories:

The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up…



Steven Yates

I am the author of What Should Philosophy Do? A Theory. I write about philosophy (especially the Stoics), health and systems, and the future if we have one.