Review: Bellwether

I haven’t picked up anything by Connie Willis in quite some time, which is really a shame.  She’s won more Hugos (ten as of now) than any other writer, not to mention six Nebulas.  I’ve read most of those and she deserves all the praise she has received.  Willis is simply a natural writer, equally adept at drama and comedy, not to mention a writer with a real gift for research.

All of her strengths are clearly on display in Bellwether, a light hearted musing on the modern scientific process (complete with middle managers and grant applications).  The protagonist is Sandra Foster, a statistician researching the causes and transmission of fads.  Her work soon puts her in contact with a chaos theorist and a small flock of particularly stupid sheep.  Together they have to survive the horrors of company-wide inspirational meetings, incompetent interdepartmental assistants, and of course trendy coffee bars.

There’s nothing in the course of the story that an experienced reader won’t see coming after about five pages, but that doesn’t mater.  Willis tells the story with enough wit and charm to compensate.  All in all a very fun book, definitely recommended.

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