invisible books

what have you written john chris?

The other day, when someone asked me this question, I was surprised to see that half-a-dozen of my books are available in bookshops (or by post or by internet) and that nine or more others have been waiting patiently, and almost invisibly (some for twenty to forty years) to be edited and published.

Having been so slow to get these books to larger numbers of people I think it is time for me to make them known to those who may have wondered what I have been doing since 1974 (when I resigned from academia and became less active in design methods, though I am still teaching them and writing about them occasionally).

I wrote this announcement to by-pass the difficulty of finding these writings, most of which are invisible or inaccessible via commercial channels. I hope that it will be useful at least to librarians... and perhaps interesting in itself?

...that's how this writing began (in 1998)... but now (in 2010) i am going to update it:

Firstly, the six books that are available now, or soon may be, via commercial publishers or by mail order:

1. The second edition of DESIGN METHODS (which includes new material very different in character from the original) was published in 1992 by Van Nostrand Reinhold, ISBN 0-442-01182-2. It was re-published in 1998 by John Wiley and Sons, (who published the first edition in 1970) and it has remained in print for forty years. The new ISBN is 0-471-28496-3. (lxiv and 407 pages). It has been translated into Japanese, Polish, Romanian, Spanish, Russian and Chinese.

2a. ESSAYS IN DESIGN 1984, (John Wiley and Sons) was republished (with new material) as 2b. DESIGNING DESIGNING by ADT press in 1991 and later by Phaidon Press. It is temporarily out of print but may be republished online by Indiana University, USA. (xlv and 335 pages). It has been translated into Spanish.

3. TECHNOLOGY CHANGES, 1984: sixty-four writings on technology and modern life (following the structure of the I Ching) with extensive indexes. Available by post from Princelet Editions, 25 Princelet Street, London E1 6QH, UK. ISBN 0-86298-010-0. (397 pages)

4. NOTES AND PLAYS 1998: a result of questioning theatrical and cinematic realism, with design plays and other performances including puppet plays and a new version of Anton Chekhov's UNCLE VANYA. Available by post from Paul Green, 83(b) London Road, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, PE2 9BS, England . Cheques of 8.00 (or the equivalent in other currencies of 11.00 sterling) made out to Paul Green. ISBN 0 946904 87 1 (136 pages)

5. AFTER GIRALDUS (1979): travel notes as I followed the JOURNEY THROUGH WALES of Giraldus Cambrensis in 1188. It includes texts of about thirty people speaking Giraldus' descriptions (in English and in Welsh) of the places where they stood. Also texts to and from Edwin Schlossberg. Parts of this are included in 2b. DESIGNING DESIGNING and in 6. THE INTERNET AND EVERYONE.

This has recently been made into a computer typeset edition of three copies, awaiting whoever may want to print it in larger numbers... one copy is available at the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, UK (contact....)

6. Another book, THE INTERNET AND EVERYONE: thoughts about the internet, its precedents, such as the phone, and its possibilities for despecialisation and 'creative democracy'. Some of it is fictional and some of it is in Welsh. It was published by ellipsis, London, in 2000 and co-published in the USA. ellipsis was bought up by a media company who remaindered the book. Copies are available from jcj AT (please replace AT and spaces by the symbol @ ) ISBN 1 899858 20 2. (589 pages)

Book 6 includes extracts from several of the books listed below most of which were written a long time ago but have not yet been made ready for publication in print... 'making ready' for printed publication takes me as long, sometimes much longer, than does 'writing the book'!... hence:

'once it's typed it's published'

...that was my slogan in the days before computer writing and the internet... when i published several of the following nine books that exist as yet only as typescripts or digitised texts... anyone wanting to read or perhaps to republish these should email jcj AT (please replace AT and spaces by the symbol @ )

7. ACTIVITIES ARTIFACTS AND CONCEPTS ,1955-57: notes and theories about automation, education, art, religion, and other 'singularities' of modern life. (146 pages of typescript). Much of this is included in 6. THE INTERNET AND EVERYONE.

8. LETTERS IN COMMUNICATION ,1972-3: thirty-two weekly letters, re theories of communication, between Edwin Schlossberg and myself). (about 200 pages of manuscript and typescript)

9. DEAR ARCHITECTS (1974-5): letters to sixteen teachers and students of architecture at Virginia Polytechnic Institute about their own questions and projects. The topics vary from software and hierarchy to do-it-yourself architecture and the design of toys. (200 pages)

10. WRITINGS REMEMBERED, 1976: chance samples and memories of writings from 1950 to 1975, with bibliography. Microfiche edition, 1978, stll available by post from jcj AT (. (196 pages: on two microfiches)

11. 25 VILLAGES (1980): people of various ages write of the past present and future of the declining villages in which they were born. In English and Welsh. (about 100 pages of handscript). Part of this is included in 6. THE INTERNET AND EVERYONE.

12. THE ELECTRIC BOOK, (1985-91): a fiction of j-921, a second earth, with historical characters and imaginary ones. Intended to appear in seven volumes, each of four parts and sixteen (or seventeen) chapters. (about 900 pages of typescript)... several chapters are included in 6. THE INTERNET AND EVERYONE... contining in the form of book 13, THE EDUCATION OF EVERYONE.

13. THE EDUCATION OF EVERYONE, (started 1994 and still in progress as a continuation to THE ELECTRIC BOOK): another fiction, following the structure of the classical Chinese novel THE STORY OF THE STONE and involving non-dualism and 'the imaginary rock foundation' upon which everyone is an artist and is responsible for everything and particularly for their education (one chapter written so far appears in 6.THE INTERNET AND EVERYONE, page 444)

14.THE THREE-DAY BOOK is a written interview with myself by Chris Crickmay, about 1974. It exists in an edition of 2 or 3 copies.

15. Tom Mitchell has written a book length interview with myself (1989). It is in an edition of only 2 or 3 copies.

I don't know if all of these will get to be published in larger numbers but there are signs of new interest... and new ways of publishing small numbers on the internet...

These books are part of an archive of my writings in the care of C Thomas Mitchell at the Center for Design Process, Memorial Hall room 224, at Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA, with a bibliography by Claire and Tom Mitchell.

Enquiries should be addressed to Tom Mitchell at the above address or at MITCHELC AT or to jcj AT (in both cases please replace AT and spaces by the symbol @ )


Now that it is possible for anyone to write publicly via the net I think it is timely to make announcements like this as a recognised part of the new medium - which enables anyone to publish thoughts and make them known without the need to invest in a print run. A step towards what I like to call creative democracy and an end to the monopoly of printed books, much as we liked them.

© 1998, 2010 john chris jones
You may transmit this text to anyone for any non-commercial purpose if you include the copyright line and this sentence.