When Ursula K. Le Guin & Philip K. Dick Went to High School Together


Creative commons images are by Rasmus Lerdorf and Gorthian , via Wikimedia Commons

When you run a site like this, you learn all kinds of unexpected things–most of it rich and rewarding, some of it strange, trivial and still nonetheless intriguing. Discovering that Adolf Hitler and Ludwig Wittgenstein went to the same Austrian middle school, likely at the same time, fits into the latter category. And so too does this:


On Twitter, jazz critic Ted Gioia recently highlighted a curious passage from Ursula K. Le Guin’s new book, where she mentions attending high school with another seminal figure in sci-fi literature, Philip K. Dick (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?Total Recall, Minority Report, A Scanner Darkly etc.).

As she separately told The Paris Review, Berkeley High had 5,300 kids during the 1940s. It was a big high school. And yet “Nobody knew Phil Dick. I have not found one person from Berkeley High who knew him. He was the invisible classmate.” Years later, the two authors talked. But never met. PKD always remained something of a ghost.

via @TedGioia

Related Content:

Ursula Le Guin Gives Insightful Writing Advice in Her Free Online Workshop

Hear Inventive Stories from Ursula LeGuin & J.G. Ballard Turned Into CBC Radio Dramas

33 Sci-Fi Stories by Philip K. Dick as Free Audio Books & Free eBooks

Hear 6 Classic Philip K. Dick Stories Adapted as Vintage Radio Plays

Hear VALIS, an Opera Based on Philip K. Dick’s Metaphysical Novel

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Comments (5)
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  • Bill W. says:

    Sounds like everything went according to his plan…

  • ferrox glideh says:

    The photo of PK Dick is a sculpture, and rather humorous.

  • Frank Bertrand says:

    So why couldn’t you use an actual photo of PKD instead of the “Android Head” that was made of him? Lots of them available at Google Images.

  • Raleigh Muns says:

    Frank, though there are a lot of images of Dick that can be found using Google, there have always been some rights usage issues for images of Mr. Dick. The Wikimedia Commons community rigorously self-enforces only posting of images that have no restrictions, and the android head is about the only one that has that. Though the author of this piece could easily justify using a photo of Mr. Dick under copyright law’s Fair Use provisions, it looks like they are just adhering to a more rigorous stance on intellectual property rights. Same thing with Kim Jong-un (North Korea’s fearless leader). Even the Wikipedia article (which does allow Fair Use exemptions) only has a “photorealistic sketch” of the dude. Copyright. Can’t live with it. Can’t live without it.

  • Brian Dunham says:

    Sounds like me in high school

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