Just What the Crazy Victorian Doctor Ordered

Columbus Alive | May 5, 2005
It stands to reason that if horrible diseases are funny, then a medical guide chock full of horrible diseases would be a laugh riot. Of course, outside of certain circles of black-humored medical students, horrible diseases aren’t generally considered to be the least bit funny—unless, of course, the diseases are entirely fictional, created by about 65 top speculative fiction writers (“speculative fiction” is what respectable society often refers to as science-fiction) and detailed in an affected, over-the-top Victorian writing style.

That’s the idea behind The Thackery T. Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric & Discredited Diseases (Bantam), edited by Jeff Vandermeer and Mark Roberts. Contributors like Michael Moorcock, Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Liz Williams and K.J. Bishop, each given the title of “Dr.” and a fictional bio, write several pages on such diseases as Female Hyper-Orgasmic Epilepsy, Bone Leprosy and, my personal favorite, Catamenia Hysterica, more commonly known as “Periodic Sympathetic Bleeding” or “the Male Curse.”

The Guide is guaranteed to be appreciated by anyone who enjoys magical realism, Victorian hyperbole, British humor and laughing at the plight of the bone-less, but keep it out of the hands of any hypochondriacs suffering from Sarcasm Appreciation Disorder in your family. No one wants a loved one believing they’re affected with Pentzler’s Lubriciousness or Ballistic Organ Disease.

Columbus Alive

Founded in 1983, Alive is the Capital City's oldest and only independent alternative and is known for providing a forum for the area's free thinkers. The paper's spirited and original perspective on music, arts and culture distinguish it from the...
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