A Wigan scientist has made the jump from fact to fiction by getting his debut sci-fi novel published.
Peter Gregory, who was brought up in Aspull, has penned The Dark Freeze in which humans face a chilling and apocalyptic environment caused by an unwelcome arrival from outer space.
Peter is no stranger to seeing his name in print, having written a best-selling ascience textbook on chemistry and penned other full-length works and shorter papers in his professional life which saw him work for international companies as a research chemist and lead his own group developing new products.
However, that is a far cry from The Dark Freeze, in which probes from an alien civilisation are discovered in the coldest parts of the Earth and which then escalates to a dramatic and horrifying battle for the human race’s survival.
Peter, 73, said: “I’ve always had lots of ideas. When you’re a research chemist you are very creative.
“There have been two or three ideas I’ve wanted to write books about and this was one of them.
“I’ve always got a lot of satisfaction from seeing my name in print. I’ve written lots of papers, chapters and books and have been to lots of conferences.
“Now I’ve retired writing keeps me occupied through the dark winter nights. It took me about six months to write the book in total although I’ve done it on and off.
“Once I got started it was easy to get going, the book takes on a life of its own.”
The Dark Freeze vividly tells of the confusion the alien probes cause, with people working out if they are an attempt at communication or a prelude to something more sinister, such as an invasion.
Scientists are also baffled in the book by the fact the least hospitable regions of the Earth have been targeted.
Peter’s answer to this riddle is a horrifying one, which causes drastic changes to the Earth and plunges people into a desperate battle to stay alive.
As the stakes rise but the temperatures stubbornly refuse to go up it is up to a group of scientists to find a way of defeating the alien civilisation which has got its eyes fixed on our planet.
Peter was brought up in a working-class household on Crawford Street in the borough but studied part-time and got a degree in chemistry from Salford University.
He began working at ICI and then AstraZeneca and ended up leading the High Technology Colours research group.
The organisation became a world leader in supplying and inventing dyes and inks for printers to companies in the USA and Japan.
The researchers also came up with invisible infrared absorbers which are used in banknotes for security purposes as well as inventing new chemicals for military and medical organisations.
Since retiring in 2002 Peter has begun turning his hand to fiction and has now been buoyed by The Dark Freeze’s publication.
He has already completed a second foray into sci-fi called Darit, which describes what could happen if the genes for ethnicity fell into the wrong hands, and has also written thriller The V-
Girls which tells a brutal revenge tale after a young female pharmacist is the victi of a gang rape.
Although he now lives in Bolton Peter describes himself as a proud Wiganer, with a particular passion for the Wigan Warriors.
The Dark Freeze, by Peter Gregory, is out now. For more information visit troubadour.co.uk/matador