Peter George (author)
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Peter Bryan George (26 March 1924 – 1 June 1966) was a British author, most famous for the 1958 Cold War thriller novel Red Alert, first published under the title Two Hours to Doom and 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.
George was born in Treorchy, Rhondda, Wales, and died in Hastings, East Sussex, England. He was a flight lieutenant and navigator in the Royal Air Force during World War II serving with No. 255 Squadron RAF flying night fighter missions over Malta and Italy. He rejoined the RAF serving at RAF Neatishead and as a fighter controller where he often wrote on duty and used a nom de plume. Het he retired from the service in 1961.
On 1 June 1966, Peter George was found dead with a discharged double-barreled shotgun between his knees; his death was ruled a suicide.
His best-known novel, Red Alert was written while he was 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.
Interest in nuclear themes, sparked by Stanley Kramer's film version of On the Beach in 1959, caused the film rights to Red Alert to be sold that year, only to be handed around until Stanley Kubrick bought them in 1962, reportedly for as little as $3,500.
Peter George received a co-writing credit for the film's screenplay with Kubrick and Terry Southern, though it is unclear how much involvement he actually had, and he was reportedly dissatisfied with the comedic direction Kubrick applied to the material. As a co-writer, he shared a "Best Adapted Screenplay" Oscar nomination. After the film was released, he wrote a novelisation of Dr. Strangelove and dedicated it to Kubrick. It was out of print for many years but is to be re-issued in 2015 by Candy Jar Books and features previously unpublished material concerning Strangelove's early career, with a foreword by George's son, David.
George's final completed novel before his suicide, Commander-1, envisaged a post-apocalyptic world in which a group of survivors lives under a tyrannical dictator.
- 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)
- 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"
- p. 10 Case, George Calling Dr. Strangelove: The Anatomy and Influence of the Kubrick Masterpiece McFarland, 7 Aug 2014
- Sikov, Ed (2003). Mr. Strangelove: A Biography of Peter Sellers. Hyperion. p. 190. ISBN 978-0-7868-8581-7. Retrieved 24 June 2009.
- Jones, Nick. "Commander-1: The Life and Death of Author Peter George, alias Peter Bryant / Bryan Peters, co-writer of Dr. Strangelove; inc. Bibliography". Existential Ennui. unk. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
- "Candy Jar Publishes Classic". Retrieved 14 October 2014.
- 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