The introduction explains how Eurostyle is the new cool that any 'punk worthy of the name wants to acquire, and the best way to get it is to visit the source: get across 'the pond' to visit Europe itself. If you can scrape up the cash to do so... It is a place of contrasts, extreme wealth and power, corruption in high places (and low ones), tough brawlers, the repression of dictatorships, riots and parties... It's all here, along with a few adventures to make sure you don't sleep through your visit.
We begin with The New Europe, in which the nations to be found there are detailed beginning with Germany. Only just reunited at the time this book was written, Germany has held a leading role in the European Community, dominating the political and economic scene whilst doing their best, apparently, to be good Europeans rather than seeking dominance over others. They've just about gobbled up Austria, but now are being challenged by France which is growing more powerful by the day... so naturally we meet them next. They're obsessed with something called dreampainting (which isn't well explained) and are good at bureaucracy, which is leading to their renewed success on the European scene. Britain on the other hand is getting marginalised and ignored, suffering under martial rule brought about by the chaos ensuing from a perfect storm of Chinese immigrating from Hong Kong, a massive plague spreading across all of Europe, refugees from southern Europe and the middle east, and an economic downturn. The core of the British spirit is reflected in nomads and street culture, groups and gangs more at home at a gig than in a fight. Then there's the South: faction-ridden, poor and unstable. The north of Italy is up there with the rest of industrialised Europe, the south is seething with unemployment, poverty and resentment, and the Mafia is on the rise again! Spain is in danger of fragmentation. Portugal has been reltively calm and prosperous under the thumbs of a few corporations, but now two of the biggest are backing rival political candidates so there may be trouble on the horizon. Greece is ruled by Generals once again and overrun by migrants from the south and east, and Turkey is impoverished. Eastern Europe is free from Communism but struggling to raise living standards to match the rest of Europe, chiefly by brawling amongst themselves over limited resources. Scandanavia is clinging on by providing black market goods to the rest of Europe. The USSR is hanging on, barely.
Next The European Community looks at how Europe is governed. It opens with the claim that the European Community is not a political entity, but a cultural, economic, and historical one... which might be laughable except it was said by the Speaker of the Council, its governing body. Does he believe this, or is it an attempt to pull the wool over everyone's eyes? Be that as it may, it is a political entity, like it or not. It'srun by the rich and smart, with constituencies based not on population or area but on the tax take. It's expensive to get elected and, once elected, to stay there, but fortunately there are plenty of opportunities to add to your wealth once elected. Graft and corruption are a way of life. There are Commissioners who take care of various aspects of life, a cabinet if you please, mostly drawn from France and Germany; and several major institutions: Interpol, the European Bank, the European Defence Corps, and the European Space Agency. That explained we take a look at how you enter Europe and get around. All European citizens have an ID card, which does duty as passport, EuroBank credit card, driving licence, work permit, and medical record. Of course, there is a roaring trade in forgeries. Legitimate visitors are issued an equivalent, the Provisional Alien's Card. The section rounds off with quite a lot of detail about Interpol.
Next up, Life in Europe explains what it is like to live here, be you part of the elite or one of the common folk. Pblic transport is good and relatively cheap, so fewer europeans than Americans run their own vehicles - mostly small cars and motorcycles. Next we hear about how people occupy their time - the groups they join and the lifestyles they present. Remember, even here it's all about style, whatever it is you are up to. There's still plenty of crime, so we then here about the law - what it is and how it is enforced. Mostly, there is less crime and a more relaxed attitude in urope than in America. except Britain. That's just as rough, and martial rule is probably more harsh than American law enforcement.There are other regional variations, and several police officers from various jurisdictions are presented as examples. Cybertech is much more low-key, too. Presenting acres of chrome bodywork is deemed gauche, the archetype of the 'American hitter' or worse, someone who cannot afford any better.
This is followed by Roles in Europe. This explains the differences and similarities between characters from Europe and America... and points out that European 'punks expect visitors to conform to the European way of doing things while there. So we hear about the music scene for Rockers and the life of a EuroSolo who is highly educated in their trade at school, then works for corporations directly rather than being hired on a job-by job basis - true there are independents but even they have to be more discreet than their American counterparts. If you're looking to employ Solos, don't forget governmental operations: the French Foreign Legion or the British SAS for example. Or cheap, poorly trained and equipped Turks of JanissarCo. The medical retrieval firms also need Solos, and there are plenty smaller operators as well as the likes of TraumaTeam. Paris, for example, has Au Secours who handle both policing and emergency medicine in the city and they are always hiring Solos who speak French and have a work visa. Netrunners will find the European net more highly regulated and policed than in America... which means that a good European Netrunner is quite hard to find. Techies will find plenty to do too... one novel area being in power supply. There's never quite enough to go round. Medtechies will find Europe really shines at biotech, though, to the extent that there's a whole new role of the Biotechie, who works his magic with nanites and other marvels. Medias find themselves, like the Rockers, mixing with independents, corporations, governments and the EC nets all peddling their version of the truth. The overriding theme is, isn't it great in Europe? Cops have a somewhat different situation, with far less overt violence and a population more acquiescent to the rule of law - but they do have to cope with riots, smuggling and terrorism. Eurocorporates are probably the role most akin to their American counterparts, although with greater isolationism, close links with government rather than attempts to supplant government, and a more paternalistic approach to their employees. Fixers are more likely to be involved in white-collar crime. Nomads are less common than in America for various reasons, but there are still those unwilling to stay put - Roma (called 'gypsy' here but as that's deemed a racial slur now, we'll call them Roma), displaced Turkish workers, folks from central Europe, and migrants from North Africa. On land they're mostly well-behaved, perforce, but at sea...
Scene set, we move on to Playing Eurostyle. This final section contains three scenarios, which begin with American 'punks being brought over to Europe to formet a corp war, being nicely deniable (and disposable) assets. If they survive that one, they'll be looking for work, which arrives in the shape of a mission to raid a mid-ocean smugglers' meeting place to retrieve something that's been stolen. Finally they get embroiled in some high-level skullduggery as European and Soviet bureaucrats negotiate crop quotas. Don't gawk.. there's a real mission in there and your 'punks are the ones to do it.
Providing a good introduction to Europe for American 'punks and with three diverse and exciting adventures, this can prove entertaining.
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Reviewed: 15 March 2019