Michael Swanwick

Author

Michael Swanwick (guest author) has received the Nebula, Theodore Sturgeon, World Fantasy and Hugo Awards. He has written nine novels, 150 short stories, and countless flash fictions. His latest novel, Chasing the Phoenix, is available from Tor Books. FloggingBabel.blogspot.com.

#ColdWitch History Lessons

Rectal Kits, Cyanide Spectacles, & Lipstick Guns: Even More Cold War Era Spy Gadgets

As any real agent knows, inconspicuous accessories are some of the most important gear a spy can carry. Now, who can truly say they've never dreamed of owning a gun disguised as lipstick? James and Jane Bonds of the world, eat your heart out.

#ColdWitch History Lessons

Czech Film Posters of the 1960s and 1970s

During the post-Stalin period, cultural institutions were given a new life and, fueled by increased cultural import, artistic experimentation grew dramatically throughout the country. This growth was particularly apparent in Czech film poster design, lasting even past the Prague Spring and up to the fall of the USSR. Take a look at some works by our favorite graphic designers of the era.

#ColdWitch History Lessons

Smuggling Jeans Behind the Iron Curtain

"There is more power in blue jeans and rock and roll than the entire Red Army” --Régis Debray

#ColdWitch History Lessons

Espionage Target: You!

Want to learn the art of Cold War espionage? Need to guard some Very Important Secrets? Wow, do we have a video for you!

#ColdWitch History Lessons

Microdot Technology and Compression Reading

Microdot encryption, a spy favorite, refers the reduction of a text or an image to the size of a small disc, often the size and shape of a typographical dot, such as a period or the tittle of a lower-case j or i. This encryption technique was primarily used to prevent detection by unintended recipients, particularly when conveying sensitive or classified materials.

#ColdWitch History Lessons

Assassination Umbrellas, Exploding Paint Sets…and Dead Drop Rats? More Strange Declassified Spy Gear from the Cold War

Of the many devices these spies used, some are certainly more *creative* than others. Take a look at some of the stranger spy gear we've come across in our #ColdWitch research journey

#ColdWitch History Lessons

Czechoslovakian espionage in Cold War Australia

Who was Horace Pile? For a humble Australian electronics components salesman, he made a surprising number of visits to the Weapons Research Establishment (WRE) at Salisbury. Could he have been one of the leading Soviet intelligence operatives in Australia?

#ColdWitch History Lessons

Soviet Broadcast Jamming and Radio Design

Soviet radio jamming couldn't keep Soviets from jamming to western broadcasts.

#ColdWitch History Lessons

Josef Koudelka: The Man Who Risked His Life to Photograph the Soviet Invasion of Czechoslovakia

After years of taking striking photos of Rromani people, Josef Koudelka stood before the tanks during the 1968 Soviet invasion of Prague. He smuggled out his images, which circulated the globe while he fled to Britain. Here's a look at his most poignant and powerful shots.

#ColdWitch History Lessons

Insecotocoptors, Robofish, and Microdots: CIA Spy Gadgets of the Cold War

If you thought James Bond had cool tech toys, get a load of some of this stuff.

#ColdWitch History Lessons

The Sky Is No Limit: Communist Life in Space

The Soviet Union didn’t just imagine a worker’s utopia on Earth—they also hoped the great communist experiment would eventually reach other worlds as well.

#ColdWitch History Lessons

Vladimir Remek, first Czech Cosmonaut

Most of the visitors to Salyut 6, the Soviet Union's International Space Station, came from smaller Communist nations sympathetic to the Soviet ideal. Yet to much surprise, the first of these visitors, Vladimir Remek, launched in March 1978, was from the most unlikely country: Czechoslovakia.

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