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The Thackery T. Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric & Discredited Diseases Paperback – April 26, 2005


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The Thackery T. Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric & Discredited Diseases + The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities: Exhibits, Oddities, Images, and Stories from Top Authors and Artists + The Resurrectionist: The Lost Work of Dr. Spencer Black
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; Softcover Edition edition (April 26, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553383396
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553383393
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #120,582 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The talented and prolific VanderMeer (Veniss Underground) and co-editor Roberts have here created perhaps the oddest theme anthology in the history of fantasy literature. The heavily illustrated volume does exactly what its title implies, collecting short, fictional medical descriptions of such diseases as Ballistic Organ Syndrome, Delusions of Universal Grandeur and Razornail Bone Rot. Each disease receives a carefully laid out history, list of symptoms and cure (although many seem to be invariably fatal). The Thackery T. Lambshead of the title, a sort of medical Indiana Jones, supposedly published the first edition of the guide more than 80 years ago, and the book also includes a series of short "essays" outlining his many outrageous adventures. The volume's own rather outrageous list of contributors, nearly 70 strong, includes such esteemed physicians as Neil Gaiman, Michael Moorcock, China Mieville, Michael Bishop, Kage Baker, Cory Doctrow and Brian Stableford. Though occasionally uneven, this is on the whole an amazing book. Not for the faint of heart, the easily shocked or those who see fantasy fiction primarily in terms of warring elves and interminable quests, VanderMeer's anthology plays delicious postmodernist games that are sure to delight the discerning (and slightly warped) reader.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“An amazing book … plays delicious postmodernist games that are sure to delight the discerning (and slightly warped) reader.”
Publishers Weekly

“Lambshead is just what the doctor ordered.”
—Village Voice

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Chris Ward VINE VOICE on September 28, 2005
Format: Paperback
This guide to uncommon and unlikely diseases is, to be blunt, the perfect bathroom book. It invites brief visits to sample the latest absurd malady and then wonder to yourself, "Dear God! I think I may be SUFFERING from this horrid and loathesome disease MYSELF!" Indeed, some of the illnesses here can be CONTRACTED by merely READING about them-- so beware! But a close study of these bite-sized descriptions of alternate realities is stimulating, and you'll be amused at the cross-referenced sicknesses that dot the book-- the editors are nothing if not attentive to detail. And fans of H. P. Lovecraft and J. L. Borges and Wm. S Burroughs will be especially pleased...

If you're a lover of elaborate hoaxes and like humor mixed with your fantasy/sf, you'll enjoy this immensely.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By D. Read on July 20, 2005
Format: Paperback
There are many great things about this book: the stunning visual design (made up to look like a 19th century medical guide, complete with original line drawings of all of the diseases and strange medical devices), the great line-up of authors, and the writing itself. I also like that the disease entries themselves are short, allowing for great bathroom or bedtime reading. The best thing about this book, though, is it's sense of humor. There is a lot of funny stuff in here.

There are a lot of genre-oriented writers posing as doctors (such as Dr.'s Alan Moore and Michael Moorcock), but the appeal is in no way limited to people who like to read fantasy, science fiction, etc. In particular, all medical doctors (real ones, that is), should own a copy of this book. If you have a doctor, nurse, or other medical professional on your gift list, grab one of these and give them some good laughs.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By B. Alexander on August 26, 2008
Format: Paperback
A very imaginative and amusing read. I am a medic in Iraq and bought it on a hunch and the fact that i am a huge fan of the editor, jeff vandermeer. The book has been religiously passed around the aid station and quoted. Everyone enjoys it. Buy it, youll enjoy it too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By K. Sozaeva VINE VOICE on May 23, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Book Info: Genre: Medical Guide Satire/Speculative fiction shorts
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: Anyone who likes a laugh

My Thoughts: If you want to know what sort of lunacy to expect from this book, here is just a tiny taste.
Discussing Ballistic Organ Syndrome: “In rare cases, the Ballistitis virus infects the patient's entire body. Eventually, some event causes one or more cells to rupture, after which the patient's body is disrupted in an explosive ejection of all bodily organs. This manifestation of the syndrome frequently occasions the death of the patient; at best, the loss of all bodily organs will cause considerable inconvenience and distress (as set out in Doctor Buckhead Mudthumper's Encyclopedia of Forgotten Oriental Diseases).” [pg. 4]

Letter to Dr. Wexler, of whom the writers are not fond: “Dear Sir: Kindly send your anthrax-soaked missives elsewhere. And if you want to get serious about contagious letters, then invest in some smallpox like a normal person.” [pg. 286]
There are also a couple cookbooks mentioned that sound interesting: “French Cuisine with Codeine” and “Mousses with Morphine”.

I will point out that I would not say this book is lavishly illustrated. Each entry generally has only a single illustration; sometimes there is a second at the end of the section. Now, The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities, which I'll be reading and reviewing next, does have a lot of pictures. But this one, not so much.

Still, if you like a laugh, you'll enjoy the clever way each author creates a “character” for themselves, and the creative uses of real information mixed with their own creations that fill this satirical book. I enjoyed it a lot.

Disclosure: I bought this book for myself.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Yanuly Sanson on June 20, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An imaginative collection of tales disguised as whole body scratching diseases. I'm sure the authors -and editors- enjoyed the creative act with the same guilty-sick pleasure of pocking a dead rat with a stick.

Structured alphabetically, but warranteed to be sought for further random consultation as needed.
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