RIP, science fiction pioneer Dorothy "DC" Fontana

Originally published at:


giphy (5)


I remember seeing her name in the credits on the original Star Trek, and for a while used “DJ Fontana” as my DJ name on college radio.


My DCF story is that she was able to confirm something for me. I’d noted a few differences in James Blish’s short stories based on TOS scripts. For instance, that Apollo guy who was alone with the pretty blonde yeoman, dressing her up in Greek dress and romancing her while Kirk and Spock figured out how to attack him. The short story ends with McCoy telling Kirk that she’s just tested pregnant, and Kirk reflecting that they’d have to deal soon with a half-god kid.

The script, none of that. One can imagine why the implication they had sex was chopped, just a few years after Rob and Laura Petrie (Dick van Dyke show) were shown with twin beds in their marriage.

I asked DC at a con in Calgary if Blish had been handed original scripts from before the last edits for filming. It took her a few minutes as she talked around the editing process and how many things were changed after the original script was accepted, and then thoughtfully said, “Yeah, Blish was handed all the material we had to work from.”

Companion books to TV and movies get zero respect, normally; are just used to promote the show. There’s a really nice discussion included in the Orson Scott Card novelization of The Abyss, where he writes how he didn’t want to do that, and Cameron convinced him that he wanted a real novel, that he wouldn’t have to work from the final script, and duplicate it, but could work with original material and be a slightly different story if that’s what he, as an author wanted; he had final approval. Even better, he didn’t have to have it out in time for the movie to premiere, as promotional things normally must; Card could take his time writing it. (Most novelizers must work from the script as shot and edited, probably not finalized until about 4 months before the premiere, and yet be in stores, which means just a couple of months to write it.)

It was clear to me that Paramount must have struck a similar deal with James Blish, much to their credit. Of course, the books came out at an arbitrary time after the TV show aired, as well.


She was responsible for a huge amount of the canon:


The Variety writeup:

The Wikipedia page about her goes into more detail about her long involvement with ST, including the Start Trek: New Voyages project:


My favourite memory of her work was a short story she wrote for a Star Trek anthology that involved the TOS actors getting transported ala Mirror Universe into the actual, non-mirror universe Enterprise transporter room, then having to cover their non-23rd century selves until Spock figured it out and sent them back. I suspect this story was the seed-crystal for Galaxy Quest.


I would have played up the Star Trek angle, since that seemed to be her greatest fame.

Of course, her SF was really tv, some movies. The only novel that comes to mind was the novelization of “The Questor Tapes”.

I suppose she pioneered before those who came later, but the sixties is kind of late, women.SF authors pioneered before that.

1 Like

An awesome woman who will be missed by many. I’m sure plenty of assholes do die every day, but it sure feels like it’s always the pioneers, artists and role models instead of the hatemongers and sociopaths.


Despite a passing familiarity with the name, I had no idea that DC Fontana was a woman. Considering the time, that was probably not an accident.
Well when you think of gamergate, I think that sort of gender ambiguity is still useful.

The two books about Star Trek from the early seventies, one by Gene Rodenberry and the other by David Gerrold, certainky made it clear she was a woman. I read both about 1975, so it’s been a long time. I can’t say I noticed her name before that, but iI was 7 when Star Trek first aired.

the primary link links to this one, but this page makes a case that Fontana wrote much of Spock’s background-- his parents, his childhood, etc

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.