If you know Connie Willis at all, you probably think of her as a science fiction author. I just finished reading her 1997 novel Bellwether, and indeed it was marketed as science fiction; it even was nominated for a Nebula Award! And yet it is science fiction only by the very loosest of criteria: it is fiction that contains some science in it. Basically it’s a mainstream novel that happens to be about scientists. There’s a bit toward the end where some speculation about chaos theory veers into science fiction territory, but otherwise it’s an entertaining satire about life in corporate America and about worldwide trends and fads. (The connection is that the protagonist, Sandy Foster, is a sociologist who studies the origins of fads as her research at HiTek, a high-tech company in Boulder.) Some of it is laugh-out-loud funny, and all of it is at least amusing. Along the way you’ll learn about Robert Browning, sheep, Barbie dolls, other fads, the People’s Republic of Boulder, coffee shops, grant applications, incompetent employees, incompetent bosses, libraries, paperwork, more paperwork, and corporate meetings. Read it; you’ll enjoy it.

Categories: Books