Friday Review: Bellwether by Connie Willis (Audiobook)

Narrated by Kate Reading

BellwetherBellwether by Connie Willis

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Sandra Foster is a research scientist working for the Hi-Tek corporation studying fads, specifically the bobbed hair fad among women in the 1920s. Hi-Tek is hoping she will discover how fads begin in order to use that to their marketing advantage. Mail room clerk Flip, who follows every fad that comes along, is incompetent at best, and dead on lazy. She misdelivers a package labeled “Perishable” to Sandra, mainly because Flip doesn’t want to take it to the Biology department it was addressed to since that department is a farther trip. So, Sandra takes it herself, and there she meets Bennett O’Reilly, a chaos theorist working with monkeys (that he doesn’t have yet). Bennett seems totally immune to any sort of fad, or even fashion, sense. But when management needlessly complicates the funding application process and becomes obsessed with winning a grant that is awarded under mysterious circumstances, Sandra and Bennett combine their projects in order to save both.

This is a lovely little comedy of manners. It is delightfully written, pokes fun at social conventions in a quietly genteel way, and frolics on to a satisfying conclusion. There are snippets at the beginning of every chapter about past fads (hula hoops, mah-Jong, and dance marathons, among others). We get glimpses of Sandra’s life through her weekly visits to the library, where she checks out classics to try and prevent them from being discarded in favor of the latest trendy books, and her visits to her favorite cafe, which cycles through decor and menu changes as the food whims of the general public change. Sandra’s love life is no more stable than the fads she researches. Her sometime boyfriend is a rancher who is almost never actually on his ranch and is just as much a fad follower as Flip, although his fads are the animals he chooses to raise, most depending on what the current food fads are. Through it all are the convergences, coincidences, and serendipities that make up a life. And they all converge on one sheep and one unlikely human- the bellwether, the sheep that the rest of the flock follows because, well, no one really knows.

This was a lovely story. It is fairly short, very engaging, has subtle comedy and romance, and also poses some interesting questions about who we are and why we do some of the things we do.

View all my reviews

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Two's Company small thumbnailOn presale now and coming in December 2018: Two’s Company, a sci-fi novel in the space opera tradition.

Medusa “Deuce” Grainger is smart, confident, and as good a pilot as she is a poker player. A freelance shuttle jockey working for an independent terraforming company, she’s left her former life, and her father, behind. Mostly.

Now, her AI has downloaded another Personality off a wrecked ship, and he’s acting oddly ever since. Someone wants to sabotage her friend’s company out of business, evidence of tampering is being corrupted, and people have died.  With an investigation looming that could shut down the company and cut off her main source of income, it’s up to Deuce to figure out what’s going on, and how all the pieces fit the puzzle. Along the way, she reconnects with an old friend and discovers someone is stalking her. Deuce will need to connect all the dots fast, because more lives are at stake than anyone suspects.

Learn more here, where you will find links to the presale.

Two’s Company is listed on Goodreads. If you like what you see above, I’d appreciate you adding it to your Want To Read list. Thanks!

Available now :

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Feed My People is a short story, set in a dystopian science fiction world, and is free. Learn more here

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Five and Daemon, the Yo-Yo Files #1, is a short novelette in an urban fantasy setting, with elements of the supernatural and humor. Learn more here

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Things have been quiet. No demonic possessions, no otherworldly intrusions, nothing. And then Lucifer shows up in Johnny’s living room, claiming that two archangels are missing, and something is definitely not right in the heavenly- and other- realms. Saying he has nothing to do with it- this time- he asks Johnny and Cerise to help him find out what’s happening, and who is behind the disappearances. While they are trying to do just that, Lucifer is devilnapped by a larger-than-life serpent. He manages to get a clue to Johnny before he disappears. Johnny and Cerise are left to puzzle out the disappearances and try to find the missing angels. Oh, and stop what could mean the ultimate destruction of pretty much everything.

Snake’s Alive, the Yo-Yo Files #2 is an urban fantasy novelette with elements of the supernatural and humor. Learn more here.

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