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Cool War

Written By:Frederik Pohl - 1981

  • Cool War - Frederik Pohl cover


One day, the Reverend Hornswell Hake had nothing worse to contend with than the customary power shortages and his routine pastoral chores, such as counseling the vivacious Alys Brant—and her husbands and wife. At nearly forty, his life was placid, almost humdrum.

The very next day, Horny Hake was first enlisted as an unwilling agent of the Team—secret successor to the long-discredited CIA—and then courted by an anti-Team underground group. In practically no time at all, Horny and Alys were touring Europe on a mission about which he knew zip, except that it was a new move in the Cool War, the worldwide campaign of sabotage that had replaced actual combat.

For the team and its opponents, though, the Cool War could be as perilous as any hot one, as Horny Hake discovered when he came up against


"No," said Horny, for whom things were going much too fast. "I mean, can't you let me know what this is all about first? I guess it's some kind of CIA thing, but—"

"Oh, Horny, you're tiresome. Look. The CIA was disbanded years ago, after the scandals. Didn't you know that? There's no such thing any more. What we have here is just a Team. With a job to do."

"Then what kind of job—"

The man stood up, and suddenly looked a lot taller. He said in a flat voice, "You have two choices, Hake. Take the oath. Or go to jail for evasion of service. That's only a five-year sentence, but they'll be hard years, Hake, they'll be very hard years. And then we'll think of something else."


A dazzling novel of espionage and escapages with a walloping future shock...

Fred Pohl, multiple winner of science-fiction's top awards, presents a breathtaking romp through the energy-poor world of the 2020s—a gripping chase-intrigue novel with highly unlikely stand-in for James Bond.

Picaresque and fast-movey, THE COOL WAR is also a deeply ironic, often hilarious, yet thought-provoking look at where we could be, some forty years from now.