Pop culture, chaos theory and matters of the heart collide in this unique novella from the Hugo and Nebula winning author of Doomsday Book.
Sandra Foster studies fads and their meanings for the HiTek corporation. Bennet 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
1. indicator of future developments or trends
3. a sheep that leads the rest of the flock, usually wearing a bell around its neck
"Bennett told me you're working on fads analysis. Why did you decide to work with fads?"
"Everybody else was doing it."
Sandra Foster works for the HiTek corporation studying fads. How do fads start? Why do some things catch fire while others fizzle? And how can HiTek get in on the action? Purely by accident, she meets Bennett O'Reil...more
I love everything about this book. I love that it gets science right. I love how it characterizes bureaucracy. I love how it's told. I love the details. I love the relationship and how it develops between Ben and Sandy. I love how Connie Willis does relationships more than most romance novels. it's so delightful. probably because the romance isn't everything, it doesn't feel separate from reality, but rather like i...more
Sandra studies fads. What triggers them? Why do people follow them? What's the new "it" thing? She hopes to find the initiation point of such phenomena, and in examining each "next big trend," she becomes increasingly disheartened with the Public. Independent thinking is something Sandra cherishes, and when she meets a scientist whose dress and behavior mark him as the antithesis of the...more
I did enjoy it, all the way through, which is a step up for me when it comes to Connie Willis. (I found The Domesday Book painful when it comes to pacing, but good...more
Note: Gotta love a protagonist who checks classic books out from the library regularly, even when she doesn't have time to read them, so their circulation stats stay high enough to keep them on the shelf. Even more because I like the books she checks out :)
it's not popcorn because Willis does an interesting thing: she tells you a lot about chaos theory and statistical analyses while keeping you very, very amused about Cerenkov blue, and Barbies, and sheep.
this novel should be a foundation work for writers studying how to incorporate science into their fiction without being boring about it.
so! the plot. our heroine is a researcher named Sandy. she is studying fads--how they begin, bow they spread, in an effort to un...more
Sandra Foster works for a corporation that employs scientists. Honestly, just reading the description of the staff meetings is enough to recommend the book. They are absurdly ridiculous. Sandra's job is to figure out how...more
The discussion of fads and tipping points, and the Dilbertesque workplace, right down to Flip as Wally, were a lot of fun.
Perhaps this book feels special to me because a) it's set in Boulder, which I miss; and b) I read it on a hidden beach on the Lost Coast, which one can only reach by hiking 8 grueling miles of very poorly maintained, crumbling, steep trails through nettle fields. Literally NOTHING could have made those 2 days of hiking okay except lying on a black sand beach with a great book. I feel like having Bellwether with me to gobble up replenished my s...more
What worked for me (and what didn’t): Oh, this book was so much fun! I don’t know really that it is properly categorised as science fiction – it’s more science geek but there’s no time travel or alien technology. The book is firmly grounded in the 1990s. In some ways it is...more
But damn Willis seems to have her hackles up about young people. Everyone in this story under the age of 30 is rude, shallow, and a constant slave to trends. I get that it's probably supposed to be comedic, but...more
This is a novel about sheep. Well, it has sheep, of the livestock and human variety. A sheep will follow the actions of the bellwether, the member of the flock who is a little more motivated than the rest. What makes them blind followers and what causes humans to follow trends and take up the latest fads?
Sandra Foster is a stats expert and scientist researching the origin and causes of fads in order to be able to predict – or instigate – them. This...more
Willis shows a fine understanding of the workplace ethos of the late 1980s, and skewers it masterfully. Her rundown of various fads of the 60s-90s is mostly spot on. But, as in Passages, the "science" that forms the core of the story is utterly sill...more
She has won, among other awards, ten Hugo Awards and six Nebula Awards. Willis most recently won a Hugo Award for All Seated on the Ground (August 2008). She was the 2011 recipient of the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award from the Science Ficti...more