Connie Willis
Bellwether Cover



After reading Bellwether by Connie Willis I know two things. Number 1: Sheep are stupid. Number 2: People are sheep. At least the people in the novella are. The story reads as a simple love story between Sandra Foster and her Co-worker Bennet O'Reilly. Through a series of apparently random events Dr. Foster and Dr. O'Reily are forced to work together on a project for the company they both work for Hitek. They fall in love and in the meantime create a viable theory as to how and why trends and fads surface.

This novella has to be read as a satire on trends and fads in society and in corporate life. Anyone who has ever worked for a corporation of any size will recognize the frustration of "Team Building" exercises and fad management techniques. I myself still have nightmares about "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People".

Although this is a short story at 248 pages, the characters are well developed especially the supporting characters. I knew every time Dr. Foster went to the library or interacted with "Flip" I was going to be in for a hilarious bit reading.

One of the things Ms. Willis excelled at was in expressing just how desperate people can be to ride on the waves of a fad. I finished this novel one day after "Black Friday" shopping and this experience really drove home how well she had gotten the panic people experience at the idea of being out of step. Friday I watched a woman literally crying to a sales person over the store being sold out of a pair of headphones. I had flashbacks to the year my nephew wanted a "gaming chair" and I sat outside in the cold a 2am outside a Target to get him one. I look back now and smile, but at the time I would have done just about anything to get that chair. (I still say a prayer of Thanks to the stranger who gave me one of the chairs in her basket after I failed to get one when the store opened, even though my nephew has not had that chair in about 6 years)

Although I had figured out the story arc about half way through the story, I still enjoyed the ending. I feel this is a great introduction to Connie Willis' work and I am now looking forward to reading her other work.