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The Scheme for Full Employment (2003)

by Magnus Mills

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351973,554 (3.72)33
Life on The Scheme is like being in a feather bed. You've got your full uniform provided, cups of tea and sandwiches, the odd comfy snooze in a lay-by while you wait to clock off, and a healthy weekly wage. And all you've got to do is turn up for work But it could all so easily come to an end.
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» See also 33 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
A curious little novel that might have made a better short story. It's charming and has a few funny moments, and is probably worth a read if you fancy something light and gently silly. ( )
  elahrairah | Dec 30, 2021 |
In The Scheme for Full Employment, our nameless narrator is a driver on The Scheme, which maintains a fleet of delivery vans that circulate goods among the various depots in the region. Benefits are good, and the hours reasonable. But every system is at risk of collapsing under its own weight, or being undone by its own practitioners.

I dispute the Daily Mail’s claim that this is “hilarious”; at most, I chuckled. It was well constructed and rolled on like a smoothly running UniVan. I just did not find it laugh-out-loud funny. Readers who want things to happen might find this a bit dull, and it’s not entirely clear what the narrator thinks of the whole situation, or what the intended message is. Is it a sympathetic warning to proponents of schemes for full employment, to be aware that systems need to be constantly reviewed and adapted to suit the times, or is it a criticism of such schemes? (My thoughts are still confused, mainly because of that Daily Mail blurb—the Daily Mail would be more likely to see the book as a criticism.)

I am not sure who to recommend this to, but I was sufficiently interested to be willing to check out some of Mills’s other books, including The Maintenance of Headway, which was the book of his I bought first (but of course still haven’t read yet). ( )
  rabbitprincess | Sep 12, 2020 |
The Scheme works like clockwork: a vast fleet of vans transport goods between depots, everything is meticulously checked in and out, and everyone gets paid for their day's work. But the goods they're transporting rounds and round in circles are merely parts for more vans, and tensions are building between those who think it's acceptable to clock off a few minutes early and those who insist on the full eight hours...

This is a passable satire on the workplace and job creations schemes, but while the book has some good moments, it has a tendency to be a bit vague. It was okay, but it could have been really spectacular if it had been pushed a bit further. I kept thinking about what it might have been like if someone like Terry Pratchett had started with the same scenario, and the real book didn't come off well.

It's not bad. In fact, it's decently plotted and vaguely amusing. But its probably one to pick up if the library hasn't got the book you really went in for, rather than one to buy. 3/5. ( )
1 vote Eat_Read_Knit | Jun 15, 2011 |
An extraordinary tale told in a matter of fact way and in Magnus Mlls' own concise style. My only criticism with this one may be that it was a bit rushed at the end, but well put together and a fantastic read, as ever. ( )
1 vote CarolKub | Jun 21, 2010 |
I picked the book because of its very funny blurb and intriguing title. Unfortunately my expectations were a bit disappointed. It's an unusual book and for this alone I'll give it 6 points, but it wasn't as funny as I hoped it to be.

Although I usually like it when the whole story is unravelled bit by bit and you have to read between the line to get it completely. But with this book, when I finally got it, it didn't make me go "ah!" it made me go "eh?".
1 vote verenka | Jun 13, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
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For my father
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Of course, if this had been any other country The Scheme would still be going today.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Life on The Scheme is like being in a feather bed. You've got your full uniform provided, cups of tea and sandwiches, the odd comfy snooze in a lay-by while you wait to clock off, and a healthy weekly wage. And all you've got to do is turn up for work But it could all so easily come to an end.

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