Bellwether by Connie Willis (1996)

Bellwether by Connie Willis (1996)Bellwether by Connie Willis
Published: Blackstone Audiobooks (1996), Audiobook, Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Humor, Romance, Satire



Pop culture, chaos theory, and matters of the heart collide in this unique novella from the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author of Doomsday Book. Sandra Foster studies fads and their meanings for the HiTek corporation. Bennett O'Reilly works with monkey-group behavior and chaos theory for the same company. When the two are 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 a series of setbacks and disappointments arise before they are able to find answers to their questions—with the unintended help of the errant, forgetful, and careless office assistant Flip.

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I have no idea why I thought this was a scifi novel, expect that most of Connie Willis’ other books are scifi so I just assumed this one would be, too. I mean, look at the cover! It totally looks like a SFF book, right? Only it’s not. It’s a satire about pop culture with some romance thrown in.

Y’all, I really wanted to like this book. But I didn’t. I didn’t like it AT ALL and I really should’ve DNF’d it except that the audiobook was only about 6 hours long and by the time I realized I hated it I was 2 hours from the end, so I felt obligated to finish it.

What I didn’t like about it: it is a story about nothing, like a Seinfeld episode only with scientists. Almost all the characters were extremely irritating because they were satirizations of people instead of three-dimensional personalities. I am also just not a fan of satire on the whole.

What I DID like: the narrator did a terrific job! The beginning of each chapter had a mini-history about the evolution of certain fads (like the hula hoop, for example) which I though was really interesting. Also, the criticism of various pop culture movements and how people follow them without really thinking about them was ON POINT.

Unfortunately, I am almost never in the mood for satire, especially when it’s about sheep and flappers and people duct taping their hair. While I liked the narrator and the protagonist and some aspects of the story, on the whole I wish I’d just reread To Say Nothing of the Dog instead.

Read: March 13-17, 2015

6 thoughts on “Bellwether by Connie Willis (1996)”

  1. I remember Bellwether as being cute and funny, but I’ve never been inclined to reread it. Whereas I’ve read To Say Nothing of the Dog probably 4 times, and Passages and Doomsday Book at least twice.

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