I'm trying to find a book - in either the sci-fi or fantasy genres - in which the following scene occurs:

A literate person is reading a letter/invitation to an illiterate person. Both may have been in some sort of rebel movement against whoever wrote the letter/invitation. The illiterate person (female?) wants to reply with an insult, but wants to use something witty. The literate person writing the response (male?) suggests an insult similar to "May the insects of a thousand worlds infect the moist places of your person." This makes the illiterate one laugh out loud and she says the insult is perfect - use it in the reply.

I remember the scene, but can't seem to recall where exactly I read it. I know it was a novel (words only) and not a comic or graphic novel. I also know it would be sci-fi/fantasy because that's about all I read. Unfortunately, I can't narrow it down much further than that.

Does anyone recognize what sci-fi/fantasy novel this scene is from?

EDIT: The novel would be in American English, probably released sometime between the late 1980s and mid 2000s. I normally read a lot of Star Wars, Star Trek, assorted mainstream genres but haven't read much of the newer stuff (2012+). I doubt it would be anything really obscure.

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    That's quite the 'biting' retort. I'm sure the recipient was suitably 'stung'. My interest has been piqued; I hope we both get an answer soon. In the meantime, Can you narrow down a time frame and country you were in when you read it? Dec 8, 2017 at 15:39
  • Sounds to me like a curse rather than an insult.
    – user14111
    Dec 9, 2017 at 1:12
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    It's plagiarism is what it is. Klinger, from MASH TV show, may the fleas of a thousand camels nest in your armpits.
    – K Dog
    Dec 9, 2017 at 12:55

1 Answer 1


Backlash by Aaron Allston. It is indeed a Star Wars book.


At its summit, he offered the note to Kaminne and Tasander. They and some of the subchiefs gathered around could read, and news of the note’s contents spread throughout the camp.

Kaminne pondered. “What’s an elegant way to say No, and we hope you die in misery?”

Tasander shrugged. “My father used to say, May the stinging insects of a thousand worlds seek out your moist places.”

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    Oh, yeah - that's the one where Luke and Ben go to Dathomir. Thanks!
    – Omegacron
    Dec 10, 2017 at 18:27

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