The Thackery T. Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric & Discredited Diseases

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The Thackery T Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric & Discredited Diseases (2003) is an anthology of fantasy medical conditions edited by Jeff VanderMeer and Mark Roberts, and published by Night Shade Books.

The Guide claims to be 83rd in a series of editions inaugurated by the fictional Dr. Thackery T. Lambshead in 1915, and contains generally humorous entries (in varying degrees of darkness) with disease descriptions by several popular authors such as Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore and Michael Moorcock, which together detail the "secret medical history" of the 20th Century.

In 2004, the book was shortlisted for a Hugo Award for Best Related Book and a World Fantasy Award for Best Anthology.


First "published" in 1915, as World War I raged through Europe, The Thackery T. Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric & Discredited Diseases was for thirty years disseminated to doctors around the world in the form of loose-leaf carbon copies and photocopies. In 1945, London's Chatto & Windus published the first formal edition of the Guide. Twenty editions later, the Guide was discontinued, but continued to be updated by Dr. Lambshead and his colleagues and privately printed by friends. From Freetown to Istanbul, Timbuktu to Ulan Bator, it has proven its worth under less than ideal conditions. When a doctor lost in the Congo rainforests with only a few antibiotics and feral pigmy elephants for company cannot diagnose his odd spinal condition, he reaches for his handy copy of the Guide. When a family practice doctor cannot understand why a patient of 30 years with no history of mental defect suddenly begins to mimic inanimate objects, she turns to the reliable Lambshead Pocket Guide.

Now that the Lambshead Pocket Guide will once again be publicly published, Dr. Lambshead, well over one hundred years of age, has decided to pass the editorship of the Guide on to the capable if rather young, in the good doctor’s opinion, hands of Jeff VanderMeer and Mark Roberts. Although Dr. Lambshead will continue to monitor the influx of documentation regarding new diseases, he will leave the day-to-day editorial duties to VanderMeer and Roberts, both able doctors in their own right.



The Thackery T. Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric & Discredited Diseases makes an appearance in the novel Monstrocity by Jeffrey Thomas. It is also referenced in VanderMeer's own collection City of Saints and Madmen

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