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Chimerists and Teratologists 


Tuesday, November 29, 2005

On page 24 of Perdido Street Station (see Currently Reading at right), China MiƩville mystified me with the following list of professions:
  • chimerists
  • biophilosophers
  • teratologists
  • necrochymists
  • karcists
  • vodyanoi shaman
Necrochymists and biophilosophers seem easy enough to guess. As for the rest, I needed the dictionary's help.

I think I nailed down chimerists and teratologists.

Chimerist obviously has its root from chimera or chimaera, the "fire-breathing female monster with a lion's head, a goat's body and a serpent's tail." Chimera also refers to a mutant, a creature spliced together from the body parts of different animals.

Teratologist was even easier. The dictionary had no qualms about sharing its definition: a teratologist studies animal or vegetable monstrosities.

That leaves me with karcists and vodyanoi shaman: primitive knife-grinders and vodka-brewing spiritualists?

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