“Some of you have heard a vague rumor that there is or was someone running around pretending to be me. There definitely was.
“The letter reproduced below (with some of the addresses redacted because they’re no longer valid) is a copy of one originally published online and in various fanzines when the impostor was still on the loose. She was later located (by annoyed Star Trek fans) and arrested — because she had stolen many other identities besides mine and committed various frauds using them — and spent some years in jail in several different states.
“Now, however, I’ve received some scattered evidence that she’s out again, and is starting to go back to her old tricks. I’m therefore placing a copy of this letter here so that people will know the circumstances of the previous imposture: it seems possible that this lady may repeat her pattern.”
The original letter:
From Diane Duane:
This is to warn Star Trek and other fan groups, and anyone else with an interest, that a woman in the US has been posing as me, at cons and elsewhere, so far primarily in the West and Hawaii. Please let it be known from the start that I’m presently resident outside of the US, and plan to be so for the foreseeable future. Any Diane Duane giving you a home mailing address in the US is not the genuine item. The real one can always be contacted c/o Donald Maass Literary Agency.
The real name of the impostor is presently unknown to me, though so far she has used as an alias, among others, a name ending in “Ringwald”. She is about 5′ 4″, stocky, about 150-160 pounds, with close-cropped dark hair. (For comparison, I am 5′ 7″, about 125 pounds, with shoulder-length auburn hair.) The impostor has two young daughters.
To my present knowledge, she first appeared as me in Denver, in September 1988, at a media convention there — Starfest ’88 — where she discussed plans for a future Star Trek novel (about Starfleet Academy) with numerous fans, and passed out “Diane Duane” business cards. (She was not an official or invited guest of the con: she paid her own way, having stated to the people running the convention that she wanted to attend it “incognito” for research purposes.) The address she was giving at this point was in Littleton CO, in the Denver area. The people who saw her report her as being extremely familiar with my work and with Trek in general, so they had no reason to doubt her story.
Around the beginning of ’89, she was apparently living at a military base in Hawaii — whether as a servicewoman herself, or with someone else, is unclear, though she appeared in uniform on occasion, and at least one person claims to have seen her driving a military vehicle. At that time she made the acquaintance of a local Star Trek club in Hawaii, telling them also that she was me. She also set up at least one speaking engagement, as me, at a local library, on February 10th: she had another person set up for her a talk-show interview on a local radio station, and she also arranged three author signings of SPOCK’S WORLD at various Hawaiian branches of Waldenbooks, scheduled for the beginning of March. She was apparently taking orders for various Star Trek items as well — her checks for these, to various Denver retailers, either bounced or turned out to have been drawn on a closed account on the mainland.
She dropped out of sight just before the speaking engagement at the library. People who tried to contact her by phone got a phone message saying that she had gone to Australia for the reading of her husband’s will. At the beginning of March she turned up again, again mentioning the death of her husband in a fire, but also speaking of having been to a large Star Trek convention somewhere on the East Coast of the US during that period. No one is really sure of where she was. She then moved in with a friend from the Trek club for about a week and a half: during this period she seems to have done some temporary secretarial work for Manpower in Hawaii. The woman then vanished again around the end of March, after being taken to the airport with her children by an acquaintance. There’s been no news of her since.
Possibly the reason she did not turn up for any of the signings was that she knew the FBI and both Army and Air Force military intelligence were searching for her — for passing bad checks, and for previously attempting to pass herself off as a military intelligence officer. (Apparently the Waldenbooks store manager became suspicious, having seen my picture in Xignals and realizing that he wasn’t dealing with the same person.) Evidence found by the military intelligence people in the house where the woman had been staying indicates that she was attempting to procure drivers’ licenses and other ID in various names other than her own. (One application apparently listed Leonard Nimoy as “father”.)
I’m concerned about the possibility of people being cheated by this woman if she should surface again, since she apparently has a long history of impostures, and seems unlikely to just stop….
I would appreciate it a great deal if the fan network passed the word around about this woman, so that we can keep anyone else from being cheated. In addition, if anyone who had books signed by her in Denver or elsewhere will get in touch with me at the address below, I’ll be delighted to arrange to replace the bogus signature with a real one.
Finally, if anyone else has been in contact with this woman in the past, or knows someone who has: or if anyone hears about someone who sounds like her (i.e., my name, her description), at a con or elsewhere, I would be very glad to hear from you…”
Here’s a sample of her handwriting and her forgery of DD’s signature:
Just to bring the situation up to date as of 2021: DD has not been in the USA since 2009 (at the North American Discworld Convention in Tempe, Arizona). Her only other visits to North America since then were to the HalCon convention in Halifax, Nova Scotia in October 2015, and at the CrossingsCon Young Wizards/media convention in Montréal in 2019.
If you think you met DD at any other US / Canadian convention between 2010 and now, please be advised that you have met an impostor, and DD would appreciate it if you used this site’s contact form to let her know where and when you met the fake.