BellwetherBellwether by Connie Willis

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

a fun read that is not popcorn.

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 understand how a thing reaches a critical cultural mass and is adopted (however briefly) by huge numbers of people. she’s chosen to do so via the somewhat obscure trend for hair-bobbing: why vast numbers of women in the ’20s suddenly chose to whack off their culturally-mandated long hair. what was the epicenter of hair-whacking? why at that moment?

and so Willis takes us off on a romp including tattoos, brands, duct tape, ostriches, and other fads both numerous and silly, and office politics, and a pair of dichotomous office assistants named Flip and Shirl.

this book is funny. and it is extremely well-written, nicely plotted, and will teach you something new. you have everything to gain by reading it.