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Before there was a book,
The Jamais Vu Papers was a newsletter. Now those newsletters are free online, month-by-month, just as they were published for our subscribers.
Buy The Jamais Vu Papers
First published by Harmony Books/Crown in 1991, Jamais Vu maintained a following over the years. The new edition reproduces the original and includes extras about how the book came to be, an excerpt from "Participatory Storytelling" by Vance Lehmkul, and a bonus story.
The new edition has won recognition for visionary fiction—International Book Awards and Eric Hoffer awards; also shortlisted for Hoffer's Montaigne Medal.
Go to Plays on Ideas—
Wim Coleman and Pat Perrin home page
Go to Madeira Press—
speculation and entertainment
Links: Over the years since its first publication, discussions and comments on Jamais Vu have cropped up on the Internet and other places with alarming frequency.
Brad Johnson discussed it in his 1998 Amherst College Commencement Speech.
Author Fred Alan Wolf littered his 1995 book The Dreaming Universe with quotes from Jamais Vu. (Fred Alan Wolf.)
On a website devoted to works influenced by Jorge Luis Borges, Greg Carden called Jamais Vu “the best postmodern novel I've read, or at least the most entertaining. … The literary equivalent of an M.C. Escher print on peyote.” (Borges Influence)
Llixgrijb took on a life of his own and may still be found lurking around the internet.
The Jamais Vu Papers
Or, Misadventures in the Worlds of
Science, Myth, and Magic
Once upon a time in Los Angeles, an addled psychiatrist named Hector Glasco was vainly trying to treat a jaded celebrity who was suffering from a chronic and perhaps potentially fatal case of déjà vu—that condition, of course, in which one has the weirdest feeling that one has been here before. The cure, it seemed, was to instill a sense of jamais vu, a mysterious feeling that one has never been here before—not in this world, this life, or the most familiar circumstances.
These real-life guest stars agreed to take part in the story:
- cognitive philosopher Daniel C. Dennett, who explains how a fictional character can, indeed, achieve consciousness.
- author Tom Robbins, discussing time, history, and the pizza delivery zone
- physicist Fred Alan Wolf, grappling with an interdimensional entity named Llixgrijb who dreams our world into existence
- Yippie co-founder Paul Krassner, explaining the uses of “preventative journalism”
- literary agent John Brockman, who peremptorily refuses to represent Hector Glasco because he’s “just another psychiatrist with a book idea”
- the famous neuronaut Timothy Leary, who serves as a garrulous tour guide to a distant cybernetic future.
- poet Fred Chappell, whose answer to a question that nobody asks is, “Yes, do”
- the theatrical puppeteer and storyteller María De Cespedes, who turns out to be a puppet herself
- the critic and novelist Jamake Highwater, who warns that “We often end up munching on cardboard when we insist that we are dealing with reality”
Hector's quest leads him to a drug called M—the chemical equivalent of a metaphor, meant to act on the brain’s oxymorphins, the newly-discovered neurotransmitters for paradox. The fictional cast of Jamais Vu includes a bored entity called Llixgrijb, the celebrated neuroscientist, Imogene Savonarola, a secret society known as The Ancient Order of the Brothers and Sisters of Thaumaturgy, a cut-rate Venice Beach shaman, a demented deconstructionist scholar, and the elderly ladies of The Elmblight, Ohio, Book Club and Sewing Circle, who in the course of reading The Jamais Vu Papers manage to become a part of the story, threatening to disrupt the fabric of reality.
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Did you ever get the strangest feeling you've NEVER been here before?
That's Jamais Vu!