D. C. Fontana, (1939-2019), photograph taken February 2016, San Diego, C, {photo credit Larry Nemecek}

D.C. Fontana, the Queen of SciFi on TV

March 25, 2024, would have been Dorothy Catherine Fontana‘s 85th birthday. The remarkable writer and mentor, and screenwriter of some of Star Trek’s most famous episodes, passed away in 2019.

Let’s take a minute to look back on her extraordinary career. Scriptwriter D.C. Fontana was one of the most important women in Sci-Fi television. She was story editor for Star Trek and wrote ten episodes for the show. She was associate producer and story editor for Star Trek: The Animated Series, although she wrote only one episode for the Saturday morning cartoon. She also wrote two episodes of The Six Million Dollar Man, one episode of Fantastic Journey, and one episode of the live action Saturday morning show Land of the Lost.

Ms. Fontana also wrote three episodes of Logan’s Run and one of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. When Star Trek returned to our television screens in 1986, she became associate producer and story editor for Star Trek: The Next Generation, writing five episodes for Next Gen. Fontana wrote one episode each for He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, War of the Worlds, The Legend of Prince Valiant, and Star Trek: Deep Space 9. She went on to write three episodes of Babylon 5. She wrote one episode of Hypernauts, one of ReBoot, and one episode each of Earth: Final Conflict, Sulver Surfer, and BeastWars: Transformers. The last Star Trek related script D.C. Fontana wrote was an episode of the web-series Star Trek: The New Voyages.

Miz Dorothy and the Westerns

Although D. C. Fontana is best remembered today for her science fiction scripts, no TV scriptwriter can afford to limit herself to one genre. She also wrote a good many western scripts.

  • The Tall Man two episodes
  • Frontier Circus one episode
  • Shotgun Slade one episode
  • The Road West one episode
  • The Big Valley two episodes
  • Lancer two episodes
  • High Chaparral two episodes
  • Bonanza two episodes
  • Here Come the Brides one episode (technivally a northwestern rather than a western, but it was set in the 1860s)
  • Kung Fu one episode

Her first novel was a western Brazos River, with Harry Sanford. Her first interest had been horror.

D.C.’s Books

Dorothy Fontana had originally hoped to become a novelist. She became secretary to TV scriptwriter Samuel A, Peeples, this led to her becoming a scriptwriter herself. Her titles include:

  • The novelization of The Questor Tapes.
  • Murder in Los Angeles (co-written)
  • Brazos River (co-written with Harry Sanford)
  • The Star Trek novel Vulcan’s Glory (Star Trek book #44)
  • Futurus Rex, co-written with Lynn Barker

She also wrote and sang filk songs, and SCIFI.radio has some of her stuff in rotation.

This would have been co-author of “Futurus Rex” D.C. Fontana’s birthday!
Let’s all think of her and her wonderful, thoughtful and entertaining writing!
Here is a photo of Dorothy with co-author Lynn Barker at her birthday dinner several years ago.
— from the Futurus Rex page on Facebook, posted by Lynn Barker.

Awards and Honors

In private life, D.C. Fontana was Mrs. Dennis Slotak. She was married to the Oscar-winning visual effects expert from 1981 until 2019. In 2002, the Writer’s Guild of America awarded D.C. Fontana the Morgan Cox Award posthumously. The Museum of Pop Culture inducted her into its Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame. She was inducted into the American Screenwriters Guild twice, in 1997 and again in 2002.

She is remembered as the writer who did the most to develop Vulcan culture, as well as a friend and mentor to many. We still miss her.


Susan Macdonald
Susan Macdonald

Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as 26 short stories, mostly fantasy in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress #30”, Swords &Sorceries Vols. 1, 2, & 5, “Cat Tails” “Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions,  Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.