Superpower - a novel about Europe

Please note that I have only just finished writing this book, so while I haven't made up my mind yet wether I want to go through a publisher or want to keep 100% control of my work and just publish it myself (I don't know yet),  I'll make it available right here, in PDF, ePub and just plain text format. So read it while it's still there!  -  Erik Schrama

"Book jacket" info


Author: Erik Schrama.


Date:11thof March, 2024

Wordcount: 120 551

Pages: 161 (A4 size)

Chapters: 110 – mostly short chapters, ranging from a few pages to half a page.


A mixture of eurofuturism, travelogue, police procedural, history lesson, a critical analysis of the failings of the EU, anti-colonialist diatribe, spaghetti western, anti-war story, and Cold War spy thriller, this is a book that’s written especially for and about Europe. In short, if you love Europe, then this is the book for you! And if you hate the EU, then this is also the book for you.

From the streets of an increasingly totalitarian London via the chaos of Brussels, Paris and a covert intelligence gathering outfit in the Baltic States to a shot-up European spaceport in middle of Spain,where a new generation of European idealists are setting out on the greatest technological adventure ever, stepping in the footsteps of European explorers, this book is written to make you think about the future of this part of the word that we all call home, the mistakes that we’ve made in our past and what we can do to build a better tomorrow. And the enemies we have … Because not everyone wants to see Europeans being able to stand on their own two legs.

Superpower does not readily compare to any other book in the world: It is a unique story that talks about a subject that has barely if everbeen used before as the basis for an exciting narrative, in that it is based around the question: Europe’s future is important (this is the place where we live after all), yet most people find “Europe” and the antics of the EU utterly boring, so how can we talk about Europe, its failings and its potential, in an interesting, narrative way?

Well, by making it as personal and tense as a secret agent holding a gun to your face ...



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Plain Text


a European utopia

by ErikSchrama


©Copyright 2024 Erik Schrama

All rights reserved.

I, Erik Schrama, allow for fair use of my work, but also assert my moral right to be identified as the author of this work whenever it is shared or referenced, in accordance with the British Copyright, Design and Patents Act 1988.

This book is dedicated to:

Owethu & Thomas - because I want your future to be better than mine!

Zeldah – because this is the house that hard work built.

Else - for the literature & the philosophy.

and Gemma – because you see, I didn’t turn out that bad after all …

This is an alternative.


Jacob sat back in his 1st class chair of the high-speed Eurolink train from Berlin to Brussels; and did not like what he saw. But it wasn’t the view out of the window that bothered him, no, that was just mostly Flemish countryside zipping by at a steady click of some 300 kilometers per hour – meadows full of cows, little brick stationhouses that seemed impractically far away from any nearby villages, the industrial nightmare of the endless marshalling yard at Landen, the cloying stink of the beer brewery at Leuven, the gently sloping hills of Limburg and Brabant; no, it was the news he was watching onhis phone that really shook him, that had pinned him back to the worn golden pluche of his train seat.

“Funny really,” he would occasionally think to himself (usually on one of the long business trips that took him right across the continent) “that we persist in calling these things ‘phones’,” as he reflected on the fact that a modern ‘phone’ was really more a personal handheld computer that, coincidentally, you could also use to call people with ... But right now, such frivolous reflections on the Kafkaesque absurdity of modern existence were far from his mind, as he listened to the newsreader tell him what had been happening in the world for the past couple of hours, while he had been asleep. Ofcourse, he already knew what she was going to tell him, in so many words, as the newsfeed on his ‘phone’ (which was really little more than a fat, see-through credit-card sized piece of nearly indestructible plastic, that served as both the keyboard & projector assembly for the holographic interface it projected above its surface, but was nevertheless still called a ‘phone’) and the myriad social media news outlets he followed had already told him the gist of it, condensed to single snappy headlines.

Still, despite (or perhaps because of) the endless tsunami of half-hysterical up-to-the-minute current events that the virtual interface of his “phone” gave easy access to, he liked hearing a real, living person explain the news to him. He was old-fashioned like that.

Like so many of his fellow late-21st century Europeans, he had made a grab for his phone as soon as he woke up. After all, he’d been asleep for the past three hours or so, so he needed to know what he had missed while he’d been dead to the world. Because, yes, while the high speed link between East and West Europe was “High Speed”indeed, in the very sense of the word, but Germany was still a big, big country to cross; and even with late-21stcentury state-of-the-art European technology, it still needed a good couple of hours to get from one side of that ancient tree-infested land to the other. When you were in a bit of a hurry (maybe because you were a Czech working in Brussels and were going home for the weekend, or because you had an urgent business meeting in Berlin in the morning, or because you were looking forward to spending the weekend with your Polish girlfriend, or something like that …), that long vista of endless tree-filled valleys flying across your window might fill you with endless waves of annoyance and frustration more than anything else, but at this moment in time Jacob figured that this pause, this enforced need to stop and just sit back in his chair and show a little patience for a couple of hours while Germany rolled away beneath the wheels of this train, was maybe not such a bad thing. In fact, he reckoned it was probably all for the better, as yesterday had been a long, long day, and he needed to catch up on every second of sleep he might grab.

Even so: “Thank God though for the invention of high-speed rail!” was a thought that had crossed his mind often enough, usually when he was coming home from one of his various trips that ping-ponged him across the European continent. Because for his job, Jacob had to travel alot. A lot a lot! And traveling led to waiting and waiting led to thoughtfulness. And there was much to be philosophical about while speeding through the landscape on a high-speed train in late 21st century Europe: After all, not many people realized this in these more enlightened days, but he understood full-well that in the bad old days, before the founding and glorious ascendancy of the European Confederation, it might’ve taken him a full day, or even two, to travel the exact same distance!


Just consider: To start with there hadn’t been that many real international trains in Europe, as for the larger part of the 21stcentury, the number of trans-European trains could be counted on the fingers of a blind chainsaw operator’s hand: To get from one of Europe’s national capitals to the next, he would first have had to hopscotch from one local line to the other until he finally found one that would get him across the border. That alone took hours extra, because many national train services didn’t seem to be very interested in maintaining routes that connected their own country to the rest of the continent. But then, when you finally found a connection that would get you there (which was usually either a ratty-ass, piss-smelling local clunker that stopped at every single little station on the way, or a comfy high-speed line that no working man could afford on a regular salary), he would still have been stopped dead in his tracks at every border crossing. Just so some punk in a uniform, some wannabe soldier with an unresolved Rambo-complex could rifle through his passport, his proofs ofvaccination, as well as the semi-official, quasi-legal EU “Green Card” that had been issued him by his employer and was supposed to show that he was in legal possession of a genuine, legitimate reason to want to cross the border; because previously acceptable reasons for travel, such as: “because I really want to” or “because it’s my fundamental right as a European citizen” suddenly didn’t seem to fly anymore ...

Often enough, this endless bloody rifling through official documents would then be followed by an unsympathetic pat-down (or if the border crossing were a bit more modern: a scan with one of those little wand-like detectoring devices that look as if they should be making lightsaber Zzzzzzmmm-Zzzzzmmm-noises … but don’t) followed by acompulsory physical check of all your private belongings, whichusually involved some overbearing customs official (often accompaniedby a dog) sniffing through your bags looking for contraband, any kind of contraband, such as guns or booze or fruit or boxes of cigarettes, or little bags of mysterious powders that on closer inspection invariably turn out to be instant coffee, rather than the hard drugs the custom officer suspected …

Luckily, the Schengen Treaty, that beautiful, historical agreement that had provided for open borders between six West-European states (to wit: the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, West-Germany and Italy, although it is jarring to consider the fact that twoof those countries at this point intime technically don’t exist anymore …) and which later on had been exported across almost but not quite all of the European Union*, had put a final and decisive end to the need to ever carry a passport again, at least if you wanted to cross the border from one European state into another. Passports, never again!

Well… That was the reality now, today, under the Confederation. But you know and I know that it hadn’t always been like that. Looking back, it’s no shame to admit that life had been a lot worse in the rotten old Union, where lady Europa had been forced to carry the yoke of a corrupt and cynical oligarchy on her dainty shoulders: An unelected politburo of Commissioners that had happily betrayed the Union’s founding principles of open borders and human rights and freedom of movement for all, by loudly cheering on the various border closures and pass laws that had been reintroduced across many of the Union’s member-states. Despite the Union’s pretty sounding mantras of “solidarity” and “freedom” and “fundamental human rights”, its unelected** leadership had been neither willing nor able to keep Europe’sborders open for her own citizens …

Infact, it was ironic – he thought - to consider that the so-called “European Spring” (which was the largely, but not entirely bloodless revolution that had led to the collapse of the rotten old Union and the rebirth of that ancient dream of a “United Europe” in the shape of the Confederation) had been kicked off by a virulent outbreak of European countries closing their internal borders against each other, once again demanding to see passports and permits to travel, usually with the lame excuse of warding off terrorists, illegal immigrants, killer viruses, and all the other tired, old, implausible excuses; so that for a short while Europe had once more become as balkanized and divided and paranoid and turned into itself as it had been, let’s say, right before the last big war, which had been well over a century ago by then …

That, though, had only been the first hint of trouble: The first seed of open rebellion that quietly germinated in the heart of “the average European”. It wasn’t ready to bloom yet at this time, but it was there. And just like any non-metaphorical seed, like a seed of a grape, or a spring-onion, or, oh, I don’t know, a daffodil, this one too needed watering and time to grow. And luckily, it got more than enough of that.

In fact, there had been a lot more stuff going on at the time that had really, really antagonized people all over the European continent: We’re talking about stupid stuff here that (we can say in hindsight) had spelled unavoidable doom for the technocratic elite that ruled the European Union at that time, simply because it never ever occurred to the bunch of dumbasses that you really do need popular, grassroots support if you want to push through massive (even megalomaniac) programs that affect literally everyone. But no, high up in their ivory towers in Brussels and Strasbourg it never occurred to the idiots that you actually need some kind of basic support from the bottom 99 percent: A solid base that they did not, in fact, have. So that the-powers-that-be never noticed that they were trying to build ahouse of cards with far too few cards on the bottom, until the whole rickety structure came crashing down around their ears.

This is how the old European Commission, that - let’s be honest here - utterly undemocratic and megalomaniac pseudo-government that had just stood by for years and years and let it all happen, everything that was dumb and evil and stupid and pointless and blatantly anti-European, without ever saying a single dumb word about any of it, even though these people claimed to be the self-appointed “moral leaders” of Europe who were forever striving for “solidarity” and “human rights” and “strategic autonomy”, got tossed out and replaced by the far, far more democratic structure of the European Confederation. And not a moment too soon, either.

And thus, Europe was saved. From itself.


* As there were a couple of countries in the far east of Europe who had been allowed to join the Union, but had not been allowed into the private old boys’ club that was Schengen …

** but somehow still totally“democratic”…

Well, to be fair - Jacob thought to himself - the border closures and the seemingly endless lockdowns that he remembered from his youth had just been the start of Europe’s misery, as there had been a lot more stuff that had gone horribly wrong in those terrible days. In fact, there were so incredibly many more problems that had needed to be urgently addressed back then, but were instead just casually ignored by those whose job it apparently was (or should have been, at least) to
fight for Europe’s interests. Until they could be ignored no longer.

It boggled the mind to think about it, but to name just a few: Problems such as the rampant corruption of the old Union’s bureaucratic elite, which had made the word “eurocrat” a universally understood byword for “short-sighted, money-grabbing, thieving, corrupt, unprincipled plutocrat” - a reality that was neatly demonstrated by the blank refusal of those same greedy bastards to even pay income taxes on their extremely “above average” and fully tax-exempted salaries * . So while the average Belgian or Dane saw over 50% of his or her hard-earned euros evaporate into the coffers of the state through the merciless application of direct income tax, the not-so-very-average members of the European parliament and the so-called “civil servants” of the Commission were only politely requested to pay a completely voluntary 8% “solidarity contribution” – which they, more often than
not, never, ever paid … Obviously, this culture of ingrained, institutionalized, legalized corruption that reigned supreme in the old EU could not go on forever. Not forever. As it became more and more obvious to many observers across the continent that this culture of corruption was both a very real and a very serious problem that had to be dealt with. Even though nobody in Brussels wanted to.

In Jacob’s opinion, one of the big problems of the time was pure, blind ignorance. As most European citizens didn’t yet know just how deep the rot really went in Brussels; not until a whole string of ugly corruption scandals got smeared out across the European papers and newsfeeds. Of these, the ironically named “Qatargate” spying & bribery affair was just one of the few really public examples of runaway EU corruption that briefly came under the magnifying glass of public scrutiny, even though there were many more of these scandals that never even managed to make it onto the news …

Looking back, that was a real spark in the powder keg though, something that really annoyed a lot of people who otherwise wouldn’t have given a square fig about European politics. Because while a bunch of thieving MEPs had been caught with their pants down (one of these, a young MEP’er from Greece had literally been caught by the Belgian federal police lurking about the hallways of the European Parliament at the dead of night holding onto a suitcase of inexplicable cash), these “European representatives” were in the same breath still trying to push through a whole slough of new direct taxes. These included a “carbon tax” on central heating for private homes and businesses. Think of it: The EU literally wanted to put a tax on being warm in winter! In the meantime the European Parliament was still making money flow like water by wasting well over 100 million euros a year on its monthly move from Brussels to Strasbourg and back again 4 . But instead of cutting down on such pointless expenses, or getting rid of the EU’s tax exempt status so that European bureaucrats would have to pay their taxes for a change, they preferred to squeeze a little more dough out of the subservient population …

You can imagine that this was a rather stupid move that kinda rebounded magnificently on them, as this ill-advised “climate action” managed to fire up a lot of people; ordinary people who otherwise wouldn’t have given a red cent about European politics. After all, if corrupt eurocrats dip their hands into the EU’s public coffers all the way up to the elbow, that’s one thing, but if those same fat pigs subsequently blow up your monthly bill for gas & heating to record levels, that’s something else entirely! In the end, the most effective way of eroding political support for whatever insane agenda you’re trying to push through is by hurting people directly in their wallets, especially if those are the same people who need to vote for you in the next elections. It’s an ancient law of politics, as ancient as the Roman Republic - and one that the Eurocrats, in their infinite hubris, had obviously forgotten …


* Hell,in those evil days of the early 21stcentury, EU employees and politicians were even legally exempt from paying a single red cent of VAT on the purchase of their privatede- luxe dictator-mobiles. As modern Europeans, we may find it hard to believe that Europe could ever have been that unfair, but it’s nevertheless true …

* As the EU really did have 2 parliament buildings, one in Brussels and one in Strasbourg, both of which had to be used. It’s totally absurd, but true! Of course, the Confederation did away with all this: Now, there’s only one parliament, not two, and European politicians pay their taxes just like the rest of us.

Please note that I will try to release a new chapter of my book every day, right here.

But if you can't wait another day, scroll back up to read SUPERPOWER: A European Utopia in PDF or ePub format!

Copyright Erik Schrama 11.03.2024

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