In Willis’s (Doomsday) fifth solo novel, her practiced screwball style yields a clever story which, while imperfect, is a sheer pleasure to read. In the very near. Here-and-now speculative yarn involving chaos theory and statistical prediction, from the author of the fine Doomsday Book (), etc. Connie Willis has won more Hugo and Nebula awards than any other science fiction author. Now, with her trademark wit and inventiveness, she explores the.
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Bellwether by Connie Willis. Pop culture, chaos theory and matters of the heart collide in this unique novella from the Hugo and Nebula winning author of Doomsday Book. Sandra Foster studies fads and their meanings for the HiTek corporation. Bennet O’Reilly works with monkey group behavior and chaos theory for the same company.
When the two are bellewther together due to a misdelivered package and a run of Pop culture, chaos theory and matters of the heart collide in this unique novella from the Hugo and Nebula winning author of Doomsday Book. When the two connid thrust together due to a misdelivered package and a run of seemingly bad luck, they find a joint project in a flock of sheep.
But series of setbacks and disappointments arise before they are able to find answers to their questions. Paperbackpages. Published June 2nd by Spectra first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Bellwetherplease sign up. Lists with This Book. Jul 07, carol. I owe bellwether a review. Bellwether is bellwethher book that Bfllwether inevitably turn to when I want something that is light, clever, literate and sweet.
Sandra Foster has been studying fads, specifically trying to identify what started the willks hair craze at some time in the s. The company administrative assistant, Flip, is pretty much the worst ever, and one day when she mis-delivers a ‘perishable’ not ‘fragile,’ as Pip says cohnie Sandra, Sandra finds herself taking the package down to the Biology Departme I owe bellwether a review.
The company administrative assistant, Flip, is pretty bellwethfr the worst ever, and one day when she mis-delivers a ‘perishable’ not ‘fragile,’ as Pip says to Sandra, Sandra finds herself taking the package down to the Biology Department, where she meets Bennett O’Rielly, a chaos researcher who seems to be entirely immune to fashion fads. What happens is a more than a bit of gradually escalating chaos as they each try to work on their respective projects, turn conniee the annual funding request to the Hi-Tek Corporation, dodge team-building meetings, and avoid Flip’s oblivious tendencies towards destruction.
Each chapter begins with a description of a fad, much like certain books begin chapters with aphorisms. I actually learned a little bit about a number of fun things, including hula hoopshair dioramas mah-jongg There are numerous references to scientific discoveries, fascinating if you know your scientific history.
There’s a mention of Fleming leaving a Petri dish cracked as he headed out to golf, and a researcher hiring a Polish woman named Marie Curie to help him with radiation research.
It’s one of bellwethfr things that elevates this beyond your average rom-com. I’ll also note there’s a definite feel of verisimilitude about this; on this reading I noted Sandra referencing SPSS software, classic software that I’ve used myself in statistics class.
As in To Say Nothing of the Dogthere are a number of running gags, including corporate insensibility “Tell them any number of scientific breakthroughs have been made by scientists working together. Crick and Watson, Penzias and Wilson, Gilbert and Sullivan–“bigotry against smokers, personal ads, where rivers begin, and the unrelenting cheer of Donnie Pippa. In a nod bellwether having a life outside of work, she weaves in her adventures at the local trendy cafe and her regular visits to the library.
While I understand this isn’t highbrow literature, it is one of those reads that make one feel delightfully entertained, resulting wi,lis a lingering feeling of happy once it’s over.
It’s my go to read when I need something light and clever to cleanse my palate in between those nail-biters. How much do I love it? I own a hardcover In view of my recent review of The TrespasserI absolutely give this five stars.
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Bellwether is one of Connie Willis’ non-SF satirical even farcical at times comedies. It took me a couple of reads, about 10 years apart, to really appreciate it. The bellwether sheep, who leads the flock Bellwether Read 1, sometime around I’m a big Connie Willis, but she connue be a little uneven. She seems to have two primary modes: Sometimes the two mix together, cknnie delightful results my favorite is To Say Nothing of the Dog. Bellwether is in the farcical vein.
It’s not really science fiction since there’s not much really speculative about it. Sandra Foster is a scientist who is researching the phenomenon of fads, in particular, how they start and spread. The plot felt like kind of a mad scramble, mixing the stress of research with the competition for a grant, the complications of Sandra’s attraction for another researcher, and her frustrating daily run-ins with Flip, the Administrative Assistant from Hell.
It was an interesting read with some fun moments, but ultimately this one didn’t really stick with me. Interim thoughts in between Read 1 and Read 2: Even though Bellwether didn’t wow me the first time I read it, I’ve downloaded it and am going to give it a reread. The Wikipedia article on this novel makes a fascinating but pretty spoilerish comment about a particular name that opened my eyes to some interesting symbolism, and makes me want to revisit this book.
Flip is a trendsetter, like Pippa’s evil twin: But is her influence for evil, or is it just mundane? I’m finished with my totally unplanned reread, and this one definitely deserves another star. I think the first time I read it I just expected more science fictiony stuff because, well, Connie Willisand this short novel isn’t that.
But it is very funny; Willis’ send-up of the worst parts of corporate culture is to die for, and her exploration of the way people unthinkingly jump on the bandwagon and adopt often really idiotic fads is worth reading.
Interestingly, the “Pippa Passes” theme is much stronger and more explicit than I remembered from my first read.
I kept an eye out for it this time, and it pops up repeatedly, as does a fascinating minor theme related to the “Toads and Diamonds” fairy tale that I had bel,wether forgotten. This book also willid a point about how society also cycles through phases of being “anti” various things–drinking Prohibitioncertain religions that are persecuted, obesity, smoking–and how those attitudes are also fads, in a very real sense.
Minus a star for being a bit slow in places and because the big reveal at the end didn’t seem to me to be as earth-shattering as the book and the main characters were making it out to be. But still, this was very funny but thought-provoking reading, and I recommend it. Nov 05, Lyn rated it liked it. And like the difference between a platonic and an amorous relationship, this book is fun without too many complications.
It’s about trend analysis, meaning a sociological study of fads, and chaos theory and how they interrelate. It’s also well written, chatty and a light, enjoyable read.
I’ll read more of her work. View all 7 comments. Jun 20, Bradley rated it it was amazing Gellwether I’m caught in a horrible quandary. It is a fantastic novella, though.
brllwether It’s funny on so many different levels, and there’ Baaaaaaaa! It’s funny on so many different levels, and there’s even a romance that hits us like a fad from out of nowhere and changes everything, just like the never-ending quest to discover the source of the Bob hairstyle or the source of the Nile when people don’t understand that gravity goes down.
I’m still chuckling after reading this.
There’s something truly awesome about reading really great writing, no matter what the subject matter. I’ve always thought that Connie Willis is a brilliant writer, and I’ve come to trust that it doesn’t matter in the slightest what the topic is.
Her craft is amazing and she can turn anything at all into something that feels wild and chaotic while always holding us firmly in a narrator’s hands. I love how I can wiklis both overwhelmed and zinged and yet always feel like the narrator is always in control of her own destiny, even so. But is it SF?
Bellwether (novel) – Wikipedia
In the sense that SF is the fiction of idea exploration, absolutely, and what she does with it is clever, creative, and so, so fun.
I can’t pigeonhole her. She’s just too good and is too competent in her voice, knowledge, humor, and talent.
View all 16 comments. Jul 13, unknown rated it really liked it Shelves: I go back and forth on whether these quirks ruin her novels or just make them more frustrating than they should be.
Bellwether is, on the other hand, a thin novel, but bizarrely, instead of a plot it includes only the narrative padding that makes up the worst third of any of her other books. And some how, it is kind of great! I mean, no, there isn’t a plot. And the characters are her typical bumbling, absent-minded professors, researching something while making wry observations about how annoying everyone around them is.
It’s right in the author’s wheelhouse, and she does it well here. The topic of the day this time is fads — the origin of groupthink, essentially — as well as chaos theory, which was kind of a big deal at the time thanks to the release of Jurassic Park a few years earlier come on, admit it: Connie Willis Protagonist Sandra Foster think Kate Hepburn is working for HiTek Corporation, a ludicrous parody of the worst in ’90s corporate trends, trying to figure out what caused the hair-bobbing craze of the ’20s She falls in with another scientist, an affable Spencer Tracy type, who is studying chaotic systems.
Toss in some colorful supporting characters Sarcastic slacker office assistant! Management-type only referred to as Management, like that is his name!