What was it about Dick’s work that caught your attention?
Partly it was that he and I had similar interests in certain things, such as Taoism and the I Ching—after all we were both Berkeley kids of exactly the same generation. And then, his sci-fi novels were about ordinary, unexceptional, confused people, when so much sci-fi consisted of Campbellian or militaristic heroes and faceless multitudes. Mr. Tagomi, in The Man in the High Castle, was a revelation to me of what you could do with sci-fi if you really took it seriously as a novelist. Did you know we were in the same high school?
You and Philip K. Dick? Really?
Berkeley High, thirty-five hundred kids. Big, huge school. Nobody knew Phil Dick. I have not found one person from Berkeley High who knew him. He was the invisible classmate.
That could almost be taken from one of his novels. So you didn’t know him at all?
No! We got into correspondence as adults. But I never met him physically.
MARY FUCKING SHELLEY. ’oh, i’m a nineteen year old female in a world where females are basically valued only as mothers, grieving over the loss of my child, disowned by my father, in dire financial straights, stuck in a country that’s not my own, ignored and cheated on by my husband, and belittled by my husband’s friends? how am i going to deal with this? WHY DON’T I COMPLETELY CHANGE THE RULES OF LITERATURE, MOTHERFUCKERS? AND WHILE I’M AT IT, I’LL SIMULTANEOUSLY INVENT AN ENTIRE NEW GENRE, AND WRITE THE FIRST NON-RELIGIOUS CREATION MYTH.’