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PALM LATITUDES

THE BIZ : Tracking Trek

March 07, 1993|Sheldon Teitelbaum

He broke the story of the first-season writers revolt that rocked the fledgling universe of "Star Trek: The Next Generation." When the late producer Gene Roddenberry broke a promise to put a gay character in the cast, he moved that story into print as well. Recently, he disclosed that Paramount's "Star Trek" spinoff, "Deep Space Nine," may have been conceived as a pro-Palestinian parable.

For the past five years, Mark Altman, 25, has chronicled the behind-the-scenes drama of "The Next Generation" for the sci-fi film magazine Cinefantastique, earning a reputation as the nation's top trekspert. Indeed, when producers discussed titles for the spinoff, one suggested "Deep Space Nine: The Mark Altman Chronicles." Altman also speaks at Trekkie conventions and has begun writing film books for a small press.

Those aboard the Enterprise still captivate him: "It's a show full of complex personalities and egos that often come into conflict. But ultimately they also manage to create some immensely popular entertainment, which may eventually endure as art."

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