Humorous disease names

Jim Parish jparish at SIUE.EDU
Sat Jun 7 13:19:04 UTC 2008

James A. Landau wrote:
> In Bujold's _Brothers In Arms_ there is a character named Ser Galen.
> Ser is his given name.  He is killed in the book but is mentioned in
> _Komarr_, which is a sequel.

This has been much discussed on the Bujold mailing list, and the
consensus is that "Ser" is a Komarran honorific. The crucial evidence is
in the following scene from _Komarr_.

"Lord Vorkosigan had returned and stood leaning in the opening. How
long had he been standing there? He gestured inside, and she nodded.
He walked in and eyed Anafi over her shoulder. 'Who is this guy?' he
'His name's Anafi. He's from the company Tien owes for the fleet shares
'Ah. Allow me.' He stepped up to the comconsole and tapped in a code.
The view split, and a gray-haired man with colonel's tabs and Eye-of-
Horus pins on his green uniform collar appeared.
'Colonel Gibbs,' said Lord Vorkosigan genially. 'I have some more data
for you regarding Administrator Vorsoisson's financial affairs. Ser Anafi,
meet Colonel Gibbs. ImpSec. He has a few questions for you. Good

Note that Lord Vorkosigan does not know Anafi's name at the beginning
of the scene, but identifies him to Gibbs as "Ser Anafi". This seems
decisive to me.

(Returning to the subject of James Herriot, I recall one of his clients
referring to "smilin' Harry syphilis"; if I recall correctly, this was a
misinterpretation of "swine erysipelas", but I don't have the books

Jim Parish

The American Dialect Society -

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