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Bellwether by Connie Willis

Bellwether (original 1996; edition 1997)

by Connie Willis

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,084833,172 (3.98)167
Authors:Connie Willis
Info:Spectra (1997), Mass Market Paperback, 247 pages
Collections:Your library, To read
Tags:fiction, science fiction

Work details

Bellwether by Connie Willis (1996)

  1. 42
    Doomsday Book by Connie Willis (Kichererbse)
  2. 10
    So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld (mzonderm)
    mzonderm: Both books are interesting commentaries on how fads get started.
  3. 00
    PopCo by Scarlett Thomas (shelfoflisa)

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English (79)  German (1)  Dutch (1)  Spanish (1)  All (82)
Showing 1-5 of 79 (next | show all)
The writing is good. The characters are likable and well-developed, but the promise of this soft sci-fi story is never realized. It devolves into a light romance without resolving much. ( )
  DLMorrese | Oct 14, 2016 |
I went ahead and tagged this as science fiction because Willis is classified as a sci-fi author, but it isn't sci-fi at all. It is partly a romance novel (as many of her books are); it's partly a satire on many obnoxious aspects of contemporary American life (very much to my taste, but Willis, as she tends to do, runs it into the ground); and it's a well-researched think piece on the process of scientific discovery. There is lightweight Connie Willis, and there is heavyweight Connie Willis, best exemplified by the great Doomsday Book; this one is lightweight, but enjoyable.

The main topic of the satire, and of the protagonist's research is the human weakness for fads. As the story opens angels are being replaced by fairy godmothers as the prevailing craze among the empty-headed; it is a nice touch that SPOILER ALERT a fairy godmother has an important role in the story.
  sonofcarc | Aug 17, 2016 |
A very different type of science fiction. On one hand you have chaos theory and on the other hand you have fads. Each chapter starts with a description of a fad (and its life span). You have the typical idiocracy of management and you have a sheep. What more could you want in a light read. ( )
  Patty6508 | Jul 10, 2016 |
Only Humboldt (Nancy Pearl says it's a 'sweet intelligent love story')
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 5, 2016 |
Bellweather - Connie Willis
audio performance by Kate Reading

4 stars

Chaos theory, popular culture and romantic comedy; shaken, not stirred. This was a fun book.
Sandra Foster is studying fads to determine how they begin. This allows the author to preface each brief chapter with fun historical fad facts. Bennett O’Reilly is a chaos theorist investigating group behavior in monkeys, until he loses his funding. ( Sheep, it seems, are cheaper.) Both of these eager scientists work within the Dilbertian confines of the corporation, HiTek. Anyone who has ever suffered through inane staff development meetings will appreciate this one. I laughed out loud. And unlike Connie Willis’ longer books, this one did not annoy me with unnecessary repetition. Kate Reading did a great job of delivering the satire and the slapstick comedy.
( )
  msjudy | May 30, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 79 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Connie Willisprimary authorall editionscalculated
Jensen, BruceCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reading, KateNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Brothers, sisters, husbands, wives--
Follwed the Piper for their lives.
From street to street he piped advancing,
And step by step they followed dancing.
robert browning
To John
From Abigail

First words
It's almost impossible to pinpoint the beginning of a fad.
"Do you like po-mo pink?" I asked her.
She sighed. "It's the boss color for fall."
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0553562967, Mass Market Paperback)

A sociologist who studies fads and a chaos theorist are brought together by a strange misdelivered package. This book has all the wit and clever writing that characterized Willis' earlier Hugo and Nebula Award-winning Doomsday Book.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:06 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A romantic comedy on two scientists using the chaos theory to predict fads in our society. They are Sandra and Bennet, working on the premise that a tiny action like the flap of a butterfly's wings in Arizona has an impact on the whole world, perhaps resulting in a hurricane in China. The couple's work on fad-diffusion produces comic as well as tragic results.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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Average: (3.98)
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1.5 2
2 21
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3 148
3.5 56
4 248
4.5 47
5 208


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