Peter George (author)
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Peter Bryan George (24 March 1924 – 1 June 1966) was a British author, most famous for the 1958 Cold War thriller novel Red Alert, also known as Two Hours to Doom, written under the pen name Peter Bryant. The book was the inspiration for Stanley Kubrick's classic film Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.
He was born in Treorchy, Wales, and died in Hastings, East Sussex by suicide. He was a Flight Lieutenant and navigator in the Royal Air Force during World War II, where he was involved in a plane crash that nearly resulted in his death. Despite this he reenlisted in 1951. Deeply committed to disarmament and haunted by the prospects of a nuclear war he fatally shot himself in the mouth in 1966.
His best-known novel, Red Alert was written while a serving RAF officer, (hence the original use of a pseudonym: Peter Bryant – the Bryan being taken from his middle name). Drawn from personal experience, Red Alert was the inspiration for Stanley Kubrick's classic film Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.
Due to interest in nuclear themes sparked by Stanley Kramer's film version of On the Beach in 1959, the film rights to Red Alert were sold that year, only to be handed around until Stanley Kubrick bought them in 1962, reportedly for as little as $3,500.
Peter George co-wrote the screenplay for the film with Kubrick and Terry Southern, but wasn't completely satisfied with the overall satirical feel of the movie. After the film was released, he wrote a novelisation of Dr. Strangelove and dedicated it to Kubrick. This was out of print for many years, but is to be re-issued in December 2014 by Candy Jar Books, featuring never-before-published material on Strangelove's early life and a foreword by George's son, David.
George later wrote another novel to denounce the use of nuclear weapons, entitled Commander-1. He died in 1966 when he was working on his next novel, Nuclear Survivors.
In 1958 Cool Murder was copyrighted. This was translated into German (with the title Die verschwundenen Perlen – the disappeared pearls) by Magdalena Sobez and published by Wilhelm Goldmann Verlag, München. The back cover says that at age 11 he enrolled at an English International School. Die verschwundenen Perlen is a Mike Hammer type detective story set in Pacific City (Los Angeles) in the 1950s.
- Come Blonde, Came Murder (T. V. Boardman, 1952) as "Peter George"
- Pattern of Death (T. V. Boardman, 1954) as "Peter George"
- Cool Murder (T. V. Boardman, 1958) as "Peter George"; later reissued in paperback (Mayflower, 1965) as "Bryan Peters"
- Two Hours to Doom (T. V. Boardman, 1958) as "Peter Bryant" - later published as Red Alert (Ace, 1958)
- The Hong Kong Kill (T. V. Boardman, 1958) as "Bryan Peters"
- The Big H (T. V. Boardman, 1961) as "Bryan Peters"
- The Final Steal (T. V. Boardman, 1962) as "Peter George"
- Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (Corgi, 1963) as "Peter George"; novelisation of the screenplay; dedicated to Stanley Kubrick
- Commander-1 (Heinemann, 1965) as "Peter George"
- Peter George at the Internet Movie Database
- Web site of George's son with some memorabilia of George's Two Hours to Doom (Red Alert) including the letter from Stanley Kubrick
- http://homepage.ntlworld.com/elizabeth.ercocklly/peter.htm Website detailing his life, works and suicide.
- Commander-1: The Life and Death of Author Peter George