This is a very faint memory of a book I read about 1972/73.

I don't recall very much, the protagonist got involved with some kind of hypnotic street advert and got addicted to a soft drink.

I think he went to see a high level executive in a corporate building and, when he asked for this drink at refreshments time, their security threw him out because only addicts drink it.

He may have then been involved in a military operation, because I have an image of a female squad leader marching over a parade ground, just like the protagonist she carried a little pouch with a half dozen bottles (or maybe cans) of this drink.


This sounds like The Merchants' War (1984) by Frederik Pohl. (I had originally associated this plot with the previous book The Space Merchants (1953) but the plot is from the sequel.)

Cover of The Merchants' War

At the beginning of the book the protagonist gets ambushed by a hypnotic ad and addicted to "Mokie Coke." The scene where his new employers discover he's an addict ("Moke head") goes almost exactly as you recall it.

He gets sent to Venus as part of a covert operation to introduce a consumer culture there. It's been a while, but I believe he gets turned by a female Venusian agent.

This identification is less positive since the plot matches, but the time-frame doesn't fit.

  • 3
    The "Mokie Coke" scene appears in the 1984 Pohl-only sequel, The Merchants' War. "Coffiest" is the big deal in The Space Merchants.
    – Spencer
    Sep 5 '19 at 22:20
  • @Spencer You must be right; I have dug up my copy of TSM, and it's not in there. I haven't found my copy of TMW yet to get quotes from, but the details I can find online match. Unfortunately the dates are off.
    – DavidW
    Sep 5 '19 at 22:35
  • Yeah, I think I must have got the two books merged in my memory, read the first one back then and the sequel in the eighties and, years later, thinking the entire story was from the early seventies.... probably why the 'MokeyCoke' thing was fresher in my mind
    – Danny Mc G
    Sep 6 '19 at 1:08

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