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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.