AlGrater

AlGrater

Contributing writer for The Artifice.

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    Technological Horror, The Evolution of Supernatural and Weird Horror?

    In H. P. Lovecraft’s "Supernatural Horror in Literature" (1927), Lovecraft describes a horror that distances itself away from anything physical and attempts to attack the psyche of the reader through cosmic mystery, ancient folklore and culture as well as our primal instincts. Themes such as space and the deep ocean, primordial Gods and mythology and their respective mysteries seep into literature to create a profound sense of dread and isolation from the real world.

    With the advancement of computers and networks, a new theme in horror fiction has found its footing amongst the aforementioned ideas: the theme of technology and the mystery of cyber data, the disposable nature of human flesh, its replacement by better and stronger artificial prosthetics and the paranoia of human-made machine rising against its own creator after achieving consciousness, something only humans so far possess. Works such as Harlan Ellison’s "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream" (1968), Mamoru Oshii’s "Ghost in the Shell" (1995) or Frictional Games’s "Soma" (2015) explore this newfound horror with different methods, but with great success.

    The question therefore lies within the nature of this trope. Is technological horror part of the weird and the supernatural as it treats technology as its own entity and its own vast realm of mystery, similar to that of the endless space and the deep ocean? How does technological horror fit with the ghost, thriller or other forms of scary themes? What other modern fictional stories bring forth technology as a truly terrifying aspect that attacks the mind of the consumer and isolates them from their world, rather than cause brief shock or superficial scares?

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      The continuation of the Berserk manga series, a blessing from the skies or a curse?

      Berserk is an incredibly influential series of manga in the dark fantasy genre of literature and has amassed an expansive following throughout the world. It has branched out into different anime, films, video-games and other forms of media, inspiring countless other artists. Unfortunately, its story could never be finished as Kentaro Miura, the original creator, had passed away about a year ago, leaving the series on a sour cliffhanger.

      As of 7th June 2022, the Japanese manga magazine Young Animal officially stated that it will continue the serialization of the famous Berserk manga series without the visionary Kentaro. Headed by Kentaro’s best friend Kouji Mori, the close friends and coworkers of Kentaro Miura promise to deliver an authentic end to the manga, stating that they know how it ends, since Kentaro would often discuss the narrative with everyone on the team before drafting the scenes, dialogue and aesthetic decisions.

      The question therefore lies within the nature of finalizing someone else’s work after their death. Though the continuation of the series seems to be in capable hands, should it still be continued? Is the authorship and authenticity of the work more important than its continued serialization and commercialization? Will this decision attract controversy from the fans, how so or why not? Will the original vision of the manga’s themes and aesthetic features differ, or become watered down? How can one describe the differentiation between auteurs in an artwork or franchise?

      • Many series, like Star Wars (which imo has gotten worse since George Lucas handed it over to Disney) continue on after their original creator has either abandoned it or passed away. I think the most important thing for authors/artist that decide to continue some one else's work, is that they respect the ideas that the original creator put forward. This is part of the reason (imo) Star Wars fans have reacted negatively towards modern Star Wars. But series like Devil May Cry and Doom are still popular long after their original creators left the series. I think if the people who take over Berserk, respect Miura's original vision, put in an effort to maintain his art style, don't use the popularity of his work to market their own/or their personal agenda (be it political/socially) most fans will probably be somewhat understanding, and hopefully be reasonable in their criticism of the series going forward. Their is no denying their are going to be people who are going to be negative about any creative decisions made post Miura's passing. But in situations like this its usually best to ignore the more unrealistic complaints, and simply address the more reasonable ones. – Blackcat130 2 weeks ago
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      Latest Comments

      AlGrater

      Loved reading this, especially since I have not explored these works. I am surprised that there is no mention of H. G. Wells’s works in the article nor in the comments. Though his work does not associate itself with gothic horror, he took the regression theories of humanity and made them as believable and as real as possible. In “The Island of Dr. Moreau”, Dr. Moreau brings in animals from across the globe to experiment on them. He stitches human parts to the poor monkeys, tigers, dogs, etc. in order to artificially create human beings, which works! These human-animal hybrids are stupid, na├»ve and barbarous, similar to what people thought of the primordial versions of human beings. In the end of the book, without spoiling too much, the human-animal hybrids slowly but surely turn back to their original forms, even with the increased intellect and human parts, a clear sign of regression over time and the return to the natural order of being. I wish I could also mention Wells’s “The Time Machine” and “War of the Worlds”, books with similar themes but extremely different premises and theorems.

      Gothic Fiction and the 'Regressive Evolution' Anxiety
      AlGrater

      The Dark souls series, among certain roguelike games like Hades, are games that reinforce teaching through losing. Whilst other games prefer preparing the player before their trial, every moment spent in Dark Souls can be considered a trial, to test not only one’s skill, but tenacity and patience.

      One should mention the underlying tones of invading another player’s world. In games like Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls, it is assumed that those who have lost their soul and have hollowed or become ethereal are driven mad, forever seeking other beings who still cling onto their life. Thus, when a player fights another invading player, it makes for a melancholic battle of clinging onto life and, as such, hope itself.

      How Dark Souls Teaches Us to Accept Failure
      AlGrater

      Video games are a great medium for cosmic horror and especially Lovecraftian tropes. The player is placed into the body of the protagonist, just like they would in a written story, and are given freedom to explore their surroundings and take in the atmosphere.

      Though developers obviously give players objectives, a character to play as and distinct controls, it is the settings, themes, sounds and visual motifs that truly let the developer form a terrifying experience. Video games such as Bloodborne and Darkest Dungeon may not be perfect renditions of Lovecraft’s mythos, but their unparalleled imitation and understanding of the emotion and tropes is key.

      It is not the reproduction of Lovecraftian horror that succeeds, it is the reimagining of it.

      The Resurgence of Lovecraftian Themes in Video Games
      AlGrater

      A great read to introduce Lovecraft’s immense influence over the supernatural horror genre. One could mention that he pioneered the weird literature form following previous themes that began turning stale or did not relate to the weird. Previously, writers obsessed over stories featuring deals with the devil (Melmoth by Charles Maturin), ghost, ghoul and vampire stories (Undine by Friedrich Heinrich Karl). These stories inherit human qualities and shortcomings such as heroism, morality, evil, greed, lust and tradition. However, Lovecraft’s monsters, protagonists, settings and plots feel otherworldly as he purposely keeps emotion away from his work, turning it cold, yet relatable.

      Lovecraft: Why His Ideas Survive