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Strange Disease


By Sarah Tolmie 

13 Oct, 2020

Miscellaneous Reviews

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Sarah Tolmie’s 2020 Disease is a fictional non-fiction collection of treatises on fantastical medical conditions. 

I never know how to properly categorize works like this, despite this sort of thing having a long history in science fiction. Disease is the sibling of such works as The Endochronic Properties of Resublimated Thiotimoline”, The Devil’s Dictionary, and Uncleftish Beholding,” which expound on amusing unfactuals. There has to be a name for this, doesn’t there? 

This is a nicely crafted example of the form, consisting of notes on impossible medical conditions, the implausible presented plausibly. Brevity is strength in these matters; both the individual entries and the book as a whole are quite short and as a consequence, effective.

An entertaining change of pace, Disease is available here.


Here are twenty thrilling diseases not found in reality as we know it:

[Rot13ed in case you want to savour them by reading the book. The link is right there.]

Rfgenatrzrag; va juvpu gur hzovyvpny pbeq gung abeznyyl pbaarpgf fvoyvatf sbe yvsr jvguref njnl.

Fpniratvat; va juvpu crefbaf nccebcevngr ubzrf gurl unir abg gurzfryirf sbezrq.

Ohggrefpbgpu; va juvpu n cngvrag vf nqqvpgrq gb ohggrefpbgpu chqqvat, jvgu hasbeghangr crefbany pbafrdhraprf.

Gnpulybtbcubovn; gur srne bs fcrrqvat jbeqf.

Pneobehaqhz; va juvpu gur cngvrag vf genafsbezrq vagb tynff. Hayvxr zbfg bs gur cngvragf va guvf grkg, ur gheaf gur pbaqvgvba gb uvf nqinagntr.

Npdhverq Sbezre Rkcregvfr; va juvpu svryqf bs rkcregvfr ner genafsreerq gb arj ubfgf.

Gur Cvrq Cvcre” bs Nonaqbarq Crgf; n ubeevslvat pbaqvgvba va juvpu vapernfvatyl ynetr ahzoref bs nonaqbarq crgf frrx bhg gur cngvrag.

Zvferpbtavgvba; gur bccbfvgr bs snpr oyvaqarff, va juvpu gur cngvrag vf haerpbtavmnoyr gb bguref, rira pybfr sevraqf naq ybiref.

Vaibyhagnel Pbzcnffvba; va juvpu gur cngvrag vf nssyvpgrq ol pbhagre-cebqhpgvir, hajnagrq rzcngul.

Zvfrevpbeq; na bofpher pbaqvgvba va juvpu gur fhssrere vf qvfgenpgrq ol ahzoref jubfr fvtavsvpnapr vf fvavfgre.

Cbylfrzl; na vapncnpvgngvat frafvgvivgl gb pregnva jbeqf.

Xvyyvat Wbxr; fvzvyne gb gur nobir, ohg gb cnegvphyne sbezf bs uhzbhe.

Vaabingvba; va juvpu gur fhssrere vf cynthrq ol vaibyhagnel perngvivgl, rira jura guvf vf uvtuyl qvfehcgvir naq nethnoyr qnatrebhf.

Cevinpl; va juvpu gur cngvrag vf veerfvfgvoyl nggenpgrq gb vfbyngvba.

Sng Ernqvat; va juvpu gur cngvrag vf frafvgvir gb gur pnybevr pbagrag bs erpvcrf naq bgure sbbq jevgvat.

Qvintngvba; n cynag qvfrnfr gung cebirq gb unir pbzzrepvny inyhr.

Nyyretvp Ulcrenebhfny; n crnahg frafvgvivgl jvgu gentvp fbpvny vzcyvpngvbaf.

Gbhevfg Frafvgvivgl; va juvpu fhssref rkuvovg gur haernyvfgvp orunivbhef rkcrpgrq ol gbhevfgf.

Cerpbe; va juvpu gur cngvrag fhssref sebz na hasbeghangr sbbg pbaqvgvba.

Qvivangvba; gur pbaqvgvba bs yvr-qrnsarff.