Bellwether

by Connie Willis

Cover image

Publisher: Bantam
Copyright: March 1996
Printing: June 1997
ISBN: 0-553-56296-7
Format: Mass market
Pages: 256

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This is the second book by Connie Willis that I've read, the first being Passage. Her books all have a very similar style, one that I rather like. Bellwether is not as thought-provoking for me as Passage, but was still very interesting. It's a quick read (I read the whole thing in one day).

A statistician, one of Willis's classic disorganized, non-confrontational, and persistent scientists, meets up with a chaos theoretician in the process of researching fads. The organization they both work for gives new meaning to pointy-haired Dilbert management, but the characters muddle through regardless, aided unexpectedly by a slacker office assistant. There's not much else to say about the plot. The story is driven by the characters and their quirks and digressions (such as checking out classic books from the library to make sure that the library won't sell them).

I love the way that Connie Willis writes scientific exploration. It strikes me as very honest and true-to-life, and brings scientists alive for me in a way that few other writers I've read have managed. After reading one of her books, I feel like I've learned something interesting about the topic that they're researching, and her brilliant sense of subdued humor leaves me smiling.

Highly recommended as lighter fare. You won't look at a Barbie in quite the same way again. Or a sheep.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Reviewed: 2003-09-29

Last modified and spun 2014-12-21