Don't know for sure but think this was a book as opposed to a short story...

Premise as far as I can remember: Cold war between US and USSR had reached the point that prohibited conventional war, so the countries would do things like get the youth hooked on heroin or taint the water supply, etc. The only other thing I can remember is that the book ended by the main character (I think he was a CIA operative) visiting a prostitute that turned out to be his daughter. Thanks in advance for any help!!

  • 4
    Because it's bound to be asked, my opinion is that this fits as science fiction as it's pretty obviously an alternate universe / history.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Nov 7, 2016 at 16:26
  • 3
    I'm reasonably sure this isn't scifi. That's precisely what the CIA tried to do in real life.
    – Valorum
    Nov 7, 2016 at 16:55
  • 2
    What about this book made it SF? Contrary to the opinion of @FuzzyBoots, this sounds like Spy-Fi rather than Sci-Fi. In other words, the realm of James Bond and CSI: high tech gadgets, but other than that, not Science Fiction.
    – SQB
    Nov 7, 2016 at 17:09
  • 2
    @SQB - Alternate universes, dystopian futures and alternate histories (in other words, speculative societies) are very much on-topic. That’s why we have a question about the-purge, for example.
    – Adamant
    Nov 7, 2016 at 21:22
  • 2
    Maybe Frederick Pohl's The Cool War?
    – Joe L.
    Nov 8, 2016 at 0:12

1 Answer 1


Possibly Frederick Pohl's 1982 novel The Cool War.

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From a review on the Amazon link:

Unitarian minister Reverend Hornswell "Horny" Hake is forced to join a secret government cadre of dirty tricksters called "the Team" in this wry, futuristic spoof of a spy novel. Hapless Hake's total incompetence becomes apparent almost immediately when he is abducted by the mysterious Leota, who works for an underground organization dedicated to fighting the Team. This doesn't stop Hake from carrying out his first assignment: escorting an unruly bunch of teenagers on a tour of Europe in order to reduce worker productivity. This campaign is typical of the "Cool War" Pohl envisions in which nations engage in covert operations designed to make the opponent significantly less competitive economically without the kind of national culpability that might generate a military response. Hake finds himself well rewarded for his pains, but is troubled by the moral implications of his actions. In particular, he worries that the minor annoyances caused by the Team are hurting innocent people more than their governments. The intentional wastefulness of the Team goes against his long-ingrained distaste for what this resource-starved society calls "piggery", and in several subsequent encounters Leota asks him how he justifies his part in activities that seem so morally abhorrent and at the same time so politically meaningless. As Hake begins to act more independently, he falls afoul of the Reddi brothers, a pair (literally) of professional mercenaries who sometimes work with the Team, and other times work against it. Will Hake make his final stand for the Team, against the Team, or for himself?

  • I was able, with your help, to find a paperback edition. I'm sure from reading the synopsis that this is the book. Thank you so much!
    – D.Doe
    Dec 6, 2016 at 16:18
  • @D.Doe: Glad to help! If it's the right book, please check it as "answered". It helps others who might be looking for the same book, and we get bragging points. ;)
    – Joe L.
    Dec 7, 2016 at 15:51
  • I will do that. The book should be here in a few days.
    – D.Doe
    Dec 8, 2016 at 16:58

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