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I've been thinking about developing a small short story series themed around the deep sea (submarines, habitats, etc) and the abyssal void of such dark places.

I've been really struggling to find inspirational material as well as articles on what makes the best of them so good. I'd love it if I could get any recommendations for well received short stories in this theme and any articles diving into the analytical side of what elements of horror or story telling make these tells what they are.

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  • It will be difficult to avoid cliche and previously done stories.
    – BillOnne
    Dec 23, 2022 at 17:12

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The Deep Dark sea is a world we haven't fully explored yet. Who knows what secrets lie concealed in the deep dark void that is the bottom of the sea?

Consider the following points about the sea bottom from the analytical point of view:

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  • Pro-longed exposure to deep sea pressures and conditions can lead to variety of aliments such as Nitrogen Poisoning etc.

Keeping these conditions in mind, you can put your imagination to work and think up some really creepy stories.

Regarding material, I don't know much. But one of the most dark and fantastic work I read was the classic 'Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea' by Jules Verne. It isn't a horror story per se, but has a very dark theme about a mysterious rogue under sea vehicle which traversed the seas manned by a captain who had some grudge against humanity.

Apologies if this wasn't the answer you were looking for.

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  1. It's dark. Danger can come from everywhere, you can't see anything.

  2. It's unknown. The deeper depths of the ocean haven't been explored, and we don't know what animal species lurk there. Giant squids and other weird creatures? They might exist. The protagonists don't know what awaits them, and their imagination fuels their fears. It's a biblical fear; ancient creatures like the Leviathan might be there, and faults at the bottom of the ocean might lead straight down to hell.

  3. It's far away from home, both horizontally (you're in the middle of a big ocean, far from land) and vertically (you're under the ocean, far from the surface). And you're not even allowed to take the journey home right away: when going back up, you need to make it slowly with very long decompression stops. Being far from home is scary. There is no "safety net". No matter how bad it gets, you can never say "Okay, this is too much for me, let's get out of here now". Once you're in, you're in, with no easy way back. And you can't call anyone for help. You're alone on your own deep under the ocean.

  4. It's uninhabitable. The main danger is actually not the creatures that lurk in the dark, but the sea itself. There is no oxygen and the pressure is too high. Being out in a diving suit is scary, of course, but even when you're inside the submarine, you're not safe. Even when you're asleep in your bed in the submarine, you're still not safe. There is no safe place.

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