Review: everything is under control. by Oli Jacobs

I received a free copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

‘There is no need to panic. There is no need to be scared. Joy will protect you.

‘In this helpful guide designed to allay all sorts of fears and concerns that have risen in the post-Joy utopia, Ward Christopher – with assistance from The Union – presents explanations, examples, and solutions to the things that may be scaring you.

‘From the shadows in your bedroom to politics, and even the very end of the world, this Joy-approved Reassurance Guide produced by The Union is here to tell you one simple thing.

‘Everything is under control.’

In the world of everything is under control, by Oli Jacobs, a ruling group called The Union spreads and enforces the message of Joy – a mysterious entity that has made contact from outer space.

In short, now that all of Earth’s problems – including poverty, war, and climate change – have been solved, everyone should be happy.

However, a growing minority of people are expressing fears that should no longer exist. everything is under control. is a celebrity-authored handbook on behalf of The Union that outlines these fears and explains, through case studies, how it resolves them.

everything is under control. is such a creepy, imaginative read! The Union tries to present itself as a benevolent entity that only corrects people because it cares, but it can’t help but let the mask slip, and slip, and slip…

The fears it covers range from the prosaic – creepy-crawlies and things that go bump in the night – to the large-scale – wars and pandemics – to the existential – the judgment of the now-supplanted gods, and the infinite mystery of space.

As the fears under examination escalate, so do the methods The Union uses to deal with them, as demonstrated by the case studies. Through these, the author gets to exercise his talent for the comically extreme and absurd, in terms of both the situations and The Union’s solutions to them.

What becomes clear is that giant spiders with bat-like wings and the Boogeyman are real, though The Union vehemently denies this, blaming mass hysteria and fake news. This strong line in gaslighting extends to denying eugenics, racial and economic segregation, and genocide are, well, exactly those.

Naturally, this doublespeak, as well as the re-education and other punishments doled out to those who rebel against Joy and The Union, put me in mind of various regimes throughout history.

The Union also has parallels with many of the religions and sects it discredits, what with its claims to hear a message from another world, and its use of this message to control people.

The main message I took from everything is under control., though, is ‘humans gonna human’.

While the book’s universe, to begin with, seems utopian, with equality between all races, classes, and genders, people really don’t like being told what to do (especially when they’re told it’s ‘for their own good’) or not being allowed to disagree with those in charge, and there are always going to be people who feel hard done by or miss how things used to be.

And while – not unlike the rats in 1984 – the creatures and disasters bring the flavour, but the totalitarianism is the central horror.

everything is under control. is an unconventional, sinister, and thought-provoking horror story.

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About Alice Violett

Writer of blogs and short stories, reader of books, player of board games, lover of cats, editor of web content, haver of PhD.

Colchester, UK