Spock/McCoy (TOS)

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Pairing: Spock/Leonard McCoy
Alternative name(s): S/Mc, Spones, Coyote
Gender category: slash
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS
Canonical?: No
Prevalence: Common
Other: see also Spock/McCoy (AOS)

"Screen capture from The Original Series of McCoy smiling at Spock"
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Spock/McCoy is the second most popular slash pairing in TOS fandom. Spock and McCoy have a great deal of intense interaction, and in TOS the two are often framed together in scenes. The arguments are epic, very much like an old married couple.

One fan explains the basis for the pairing:

What is Spock/McCoy you ask?

Well, the short end of it is that Spock/McCoy is the idea that Mister Spock and Doctor McCoy from Star Trek: The Original Series are in love.

The long end of it begins the concept of love in all of its forms, compatability, and emotions never ending.

To explain quickly, it goes as follows. If a little boy on the playground teases a little girl, it usually indicates he has a crush on her. Logically speaking, and when considering this, when Dr. McCoy makes fun of Spock for his ears, he's actually telling him he loves him.

It's a strange concept, but when taken into those terms, it makes sense. They live together, they serve together, they help each other, they protect each other, and McCoy held Spock's katra.

Simply said, they love each other."[1]

From the Spock/McCoy Ship Manifesto:

"A sexual relationship between Spock and McCoy might be one of the most complicated topics of discussion in slash. Most people cannot agree that it would happen at all. It’s an easy task for most people to imagine McCoy as a lesser being, and Spock more highly. And because of this, people in S/Mc fandom have been known to overcompensate for McCoy, and sometimes to chastise Spock unnecessarily. It gets pretty messy. There have, at times, been divisions, viewing McCoy as the better partner, the more understanding, the more in love, and it is Spock who takes on the “jerk” role, but in discussions and fiction alike, this issue seems to have resolved itself, and is no longer a concern. Fandom has found its balance."


While some fans have reacted negatively to the pairing:

I just do not see this relationship... My reasons, briefly, are this: first on a purely personal note, I just don't fancy De Kelley (sorry, De), although I gather that he is a very nice person, and I find it hard to enjoy a sexy story where I can't appreciate both participants; second, the undertones of Kirk's teasing of Spock always seems to be affectionate, whereas I can often detect real animosity in McCoy (and who can forget or forgive his savage treatment of Spock in The Tholian Web"? OK, maybe he was mad... I realise the old adage is that opposites attract, but sometimes people disagree vehemently because they really do have opposing personalities/philosophies/lifestyles. Then there is the question of rank. Spock is McCoy's line manager, and I would be willing to bet Starfleet would soon stamp on that one. In fact I can see that as about the only legitimate objection ST fans could have to K/S in general, though special exceptions might be made in the case of Captains and Firsts, or they might have a serious morale problem on their hands![2]

Others have rejected criticisms of Spock/McCoy as limited and shortsighted:

I am multi-shipper friendly. I can't stand those that bash other pairings, try to make one pairing superior over the other, and write other ships as shit just for another pairing to happen. [On my fanfiction.net page] You can find various Star Trek 2009 fics with the pairings of Spock/Uhura, Kirk/McCoy, Kirk/Spock and Spock/McCoy...[3]

Some K/S fans found themselves in the ironic position of defending the traditional K/S stories from “out of character” premises. [need quote]

In 1985, a K/S fan explained how Spock/McCoy would work for her:

My own personal prejudice cannot accept a Kirk-McCoy liaison. It simply does not work for me... but a Spock-McCoy is something different, for some reason. I can see happening between the last two ONLY if Spock, for some unfathomable reason, BELIEVE Jim wouldn't want him THAT WAY. [4]

Charlotte C Hill, a Spock/McCoy shipper from the zine era, commented on the unpopularity of the pairing in the early slash fandom and speculated about the possible reasons of it:

I remember when "In Triplicate" came out (a novella by Dovya Blaque that brought McCoy into the fold and included, as I recall, a great deal of reassuring the readers that *in no way* was McCoy displacing either Kirk or Spock, that K and S would be okay and totally solid, etc.--and she said she still got a lot of flack for it. Dovya, a regular publisher of Trek zines back in the ToS day, published "Shades of Gray," which also welcomed Kirk/McCoy/Spock, and this still troubled many people. I suppose OTPers had been in a golden age, when almost *everyone* agreed on who the ship was in the fandom, who the OTP was, and there was no stress or conflict or... I dunno, let's say no sense of competition for resources. That was a safe, fulfilling, "We're all alike and we all love the same thing" sense of community.

[snipped] Back in the day, too, ensembles were less common and pairs (of men) were much more common. Even in Star Trek, only Shatner and Nimoy initially had above-the-title credits. They were intended as the focal pairing. We (Spones people) just lucked out that McCoy was such a useful foil to who Spock was--and vice versa. Add to that the stark contrast between Kirk and Spock's comfortable relationship, and the early enmity of Spock and McCoy, and you've got people thinking Spirk is the OTP and Spones isn't. [5]

A Place in Awards

The pairing has received recognition in some of the online fan fiction awards. In 1997, the ASC Awards began offering awards for Best Spock/McCoy Fanfiction. In 1998, the Golden Os followed suit.

[Note: was the pairing recognized in print fan fic awards? were there awards any for pairings or were there just general categories?]



Several fan historians have attempted to pin down the first Spock/McCoy story with little luck. The first known Kirk/Spock/McCoy threesome story was "Between Friends" which is part of Gayle F.'s Cosmic Fuck series. It was published in Obsc'zine #3 in 1978.


a very rare example of some Spock/McCoy poetry, this one by Jennie Watkins from the gen zine, Voyager #10 (1985), click to read



Before the Internet, Spock/McCoy fanart was vanishingly rare. Spock and McCoy were not usually depicted together in the same scene without at least Kirk also present, and almost never were they drawn into an unambiguously sexual or romantic scenario. Compare the few zine art examples below with the K/S art category on Fanlore, which contains over 300 images. Note that most of these images are from Mind Meld, officially a gen zine.

Post-Internet Fanart Examples



  • Spiced Peaches (2005-2019) (online e-zine anthology and archive)
    • In 2005 the first issue of Spiced Peaches, the first online Zine totally dedicated entirely to Spock/McCoy, was published by Tempest Coyote.
    • The last Spiced Peaches issue was #58 published in 2019.
  • We Go Together


Archives and Links

Spock/McCoy Archives - Multi-Author

Single Author Websites


  1. ^ What is Spock/McCoy FAQ at The All-Ages Spock/McCoy Online Archive.
  2. ^ from The K/S Press #24 (1998)
  3. ^ vickyblueeyez's profile at trekspace.org.
  4. ^ from Not Tonight Spock! #9
  5. ^ comments by Charlotte C Hill in the discussion Coyotes, let's talk about Spones, October 26 and November 4, 2018
  6. ^ WebCite for Artwork.