Monday, 21 June 2010

The Thackery T. Lambshead Pocket Guide To Eccentric & Discredited Diseases - Vandermeer & Roberts [eds]

Not the sort of book you’d read at a single sitting, this is a truly eccentric work. The premiss is simple. Invite a number of distinguished writers to compose an entry to a medical dictionary of imaginary diseases. The result? Something that is playful, hilarious and deeply disturbing, sometimes at one and the same time.

It is also extremely insightful, not just of the contributing authors (for in their contributions we see snapshots of their preoccupations and their unique view of the world), but also of the modern world. Download Syndrome (a compulsion to record everything along with the use of appliances for thinking and communicating) sounds like a very real Syndrome to me. Printer’s Evil sounds equally plausible – although I suppose it helps to have a slightly twisted mind.

If you like curios. If you like things that are just plain odd. Very odd. The very essence of odd. This is a book worth looking out for. However, it is not recommended for those who cannot read a medical dictionary without immediately being certain they have every symptom described therein. For such folk, reading this volume would be disastrous on a grand scale.