Posts Tagged ‘spoof book’


Posted: June 30, 2021 in Chat
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Well, we thought we’d get this book. A bit of fun, a laugh, entertainment – entertainment is priority at the moment.So we sent off for it. It arrived the other day. It’s de-contaminated now, and so I relished the thought of opening it.

The book?
Pocket Guide to Eccentric and Discredited Diseases.

Ok, the full title:
The Thackery T Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric and Discredited Diseases
published by PanMacmillan in 2003.
Note that date – it is very important.
Especially when we get to page 182.
For those who have the book, I’ll give them time to dig it out, and find the page.

The book is in mock turn-of-20th century style, with illustrations both baroque, grotesque, and eccentric. All in black and white. Most effective, that way.

The book examines different diseases; an alphabetical examination of the bizarre.
It has, for instance, and opening at random… Buscard’s Murrain, subtitle Wormwood.
Each disease is introduced giving country of origin, then First Known Case, then Symptoms. This is followed by History, then the all-important Cures. This is then followed up by who submitted the information, Endnotes, and Cross References.

It is, as you see, all very plausible.
Buscard’s Murrain, we discover, was from ‘Slovenia (probably)’, and first noted in 1771, in Bled.
It takes up to three years before showing itself.
Dr Samuel Buscard, on examination of deceased sufferers found their brain tissue contained ‘worms’.
This was later discredited evidence – the good doctor had examined the brain tissue with a corkscrew, and made the worm-forms by accident.
And so it goes on.
Who was the entry submitted by?
Ah, here we have it. By Dr China Mieville.
Ring any bells?

Yup, the book is a complete spoof.
It was published in 2003 by NightShade Books, then by PanMacmillan in 2004. Some entries appeared in earlier iterations, for example Shelley Jackson, “The Putti’, in 1996.
This book has not been updated.
The real writers are Jeff Vandermeer (‘The Void’), and Dr Mark Roberts.

Oh, and, probably not to be read whilst eating.
Which is also a Warning that ought to be on films. We noticed this with the quantities of vomiting going on whilst we have been eating late dinners.

But what of page 182?
This is where it gets very spooky.
There is a disease here, whose subtitle is, Wangji-Cunzai or “forgetfulness-of-Being”
which is priceless in itself.

This particular disease attacks the uncovered parts of the human body, and turns those parts, eventually, to powdery snow. Which blows clean away. Cures, you see, are hard to find, due to lack of subjects. Texts on the disease were published in 1959, China.
The entry here was submitted by Dr G Eric Schaller.

It is thought to be a disease contracted through the word or text. Prohibited texts, therefore, include:
The Xiaping Annual Agricultural Report for the year 1959.
The Ticket that Exploded (Turkish version) by William S Burroughs
works from the Old Algonquin Bookstore in Denver, and

The Thackery T Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric and Discredited Diseases


So what’s spooky?
The actual title of this disease.

The Wuhan Flu.

Remember: published 2003/4.

Let’s not get all conspiracy-theory, here, though.