Books: Strangelove on the Beach

COMMANDER-l by Peter George. 253 pages. Delacorte. $4.95.

After giving Hollywood a whole series of Armageddon operas—On the Beach, Dr. Strangelove, Fail Safe—fiction's doom boom has worn pretty thin. But not too thin for Welshman Peter George, 41, who co-authored the Strangelove script and wrote the novel, Red Alert, on which it was based. In Commander-1, he uses the familiar formula—headline-fresh immediacy wrapped around a minute kernel of plausibility. Red China, newly armed with a few primitive but potent nuclear bombs, decides to eliminate both Russia and the U.S. by convincing each that the other has launched an all-out war. The Chinese...

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