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Extended Audio Sample Bellwether Audiobook, by Connie Willis Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.8 out of 53.8 out of 53.8 out of 53.8 out of 53.8 out of 5 3.80 (35 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Connie Willis Narrator: Kate Reading Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2009 ISBN: 9781455190935
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Pop culture, chaos theory, and matters of the heart collide in this unique novella from the Hugo and Nebula Award–winning author of Doomsday Book.

Sandra Foster studies fads—from Barbie dolls to the grunge look—how they start and what they mean, for the HiTek corporation. Bennett O’Reilly studies 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 seemingly bad luck, they find a joint project in a flock of sheep. What better animal to study both chaos theory and the herd mentality that so often characterizes human behavior? Unfortunately, Sandra and Bennett must endure a series of setbacks, heartbreaks, dead ends, and disasters before they are able to find answers to their questions—with the unintended help of the errant, forgetful, and careless office assistant Flip.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Connie Willis deploys the apparatus of science fiction to illuminate character and relationships, and her writing is fresh, subtle, and deeply moving.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Willis’ story builds slowly but is realistic and engrossing.”

    Midwest Book Review

  • “Reading, an experienced science fiction narrator, has a knack for making even the most otherworldly and bizarre stories sound entirely plausible and real. Reading’s delivery is smooth and unwavering yet weighted with a certain uneasiness that abounds in the central character of Sandra Foster. As Flip, the annoying yet helpful sidekick, Reading becomes a distracted, disorganized individual, yet one with underplayed redeeming qualities that inadvertently save the day.”

    AudioFile

  • “The versatile Kate Reading skillfully renders Sandra’s first-person voice throughout, does well with audibly differentiating the various characters from one another, and especially shines when it comes to Flip’s ‘Valley Girl’ drawl. Bellwether is an amusing diversion for anyone who has ever wondered how fads get started and how they spread.”

    SFSite.com

  • Winner of the Audie Award for Science Fiction/Fantasy

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Blaire | 2/20/2014

    " I love the liveliness of Connie Willis's mind. This is a small book about a big abstract idea, masquerading for a long time as social satire. Ms. Willis manages to stretch my brain and be entertaining at the same time - no mean feat. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susan Wells | 2/11/2014

    " Also, libraries are great places to observe trends in best-sellers, and library management. And librarian attire. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andrea Malcomb | 1/27/2014

    " This book makes you look at interpersonal relationships differently and laugh about it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Barbara | 1/26/2014

    " Witty and full of fun facts on fads through the ages. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Karla | 1/19/2014

    " This book had a lot of interesting components for me...a lot of science, a lot of literature references and a little romance. But it took a really really long time for it to come together as far as a plot. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Charlotte | 1/16/2014

    " This book is light, fluffy, and delightful -- with a dab of social commentary mixed in just for fun. The romance is sweet, if not particularly substantial, and the depiction of the scientific method is a bit too close for comfort. I know too much about chaos theory to be satisfied with the explanation in the book but I very much appreciated the descriptions of the fads. This is the type of book that can be read in an evening or two and I would strongly recommend that everyone do so. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Laurie | 1/13/2014

    " I don't know what to call this -- it's light science fiction, light romance. Light reading? Enjoyable, clever comments on fads throughout history into today. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alisha Pulsipher | 1/12/2014

    " A really fun read. Didn't expect to be a fairy tale but it really kind of was. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Austinani | 1/7/2014

    " A fascinating read about science, fads, and chaos. Somewhat slim on character depth & development. Not Connie Willis' best work, but a quick, tasty read nonetheless. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mike | 12/29/2013

    " Connie Willis is an excellent author and this story is a lot of fun to read. Ostensibly a story about scientists it's actually very funny and a quick read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brooke | 11/25/2013

    " As always, Connie Willis is erudite, charming and wonderful. I think she may be the best sci-fi/speculative fiction author that no one knows about. Bellweather is a bit fluffy for her but very funny and interesting and well worth reading "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Keaio | 11/18/2013

    " Wonderful. Hilarious! Her characters, as usual, are brilliant. This is the third book of hers I read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tressa | 9/27/2013

    " This is the second time I've read Bellwether and I enjoyed it as much as when I read it for the first time. In fact, this is one of my favorite books by Connie Willis. I love the intersection of trends, statistics, and chaos theory. Those subjects delight me. The story was quite amusing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy) | 9/23/2013

    " Just a great book...funny but smart. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 T | 7/25/2013

    " if you liked to say nothing of the dog, this one is similar "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Devorah | 3/21/2013

    " I hate Flip. No wait, I love Flip. This was a great read (listen, since I did the audiobook). I really love Connie Willis. This an older title but I loved it. Thank you, Connie! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sherry Ramsey | 11/23/2012

    " I didn't mean to read this book so fast (this is the second time I've read it)...but it's too good to put down! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Chad Post | 6/2/2012

    " At least it distracted me while running. Too bad the reader's voices were so god awful. And that the writing was very pedestrian, the story predictable, the "science" of mediocre interest, the . . . "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael | 5/28/2012

    " A very nice book. The Connie Willis I've read all has had a cute feeling of "full circle" at the end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jo Marie | 5/15/2012

    " This was a lot of fun to read. Not a lot of plot and no time travel but a lot of interesting facts about fads. Also fun stuff about research scientists fighting for funding from corporate types (especially if you're married to one!) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Arwen | 3/26/2012

    " Not as good as To Say Nothing of the Dog but still very funny. I enjoyed her take down of management as well. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jessica Petree | 3/4/2012

    " This is a short read, and rather hilarious. I really enjoyed it! It's about the herd-like nature of people and how someone can unconsciously step out and lead the others without realizing it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Denny | 12/30/2011

    " Light, enjoyable fun - totally up my alley. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bethany W | 12/10/2011

    " Quick, fun read. Fiction but provides great food for thought on trends. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Yolanda | 9/1/2011

    " This was a fun little novella to read. Just the right "in between" distraction. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mw | 6/18/2011

    " Fun to read, light. Interesting choice of fads used to start chapters. The author uses humor well. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chris | 6/12/2011

    " This is not science fiction in the sense of "sci-fi," it's fiction about scientists. It weaves scientific ideas seamlessly into the narrative without feeling didactic or contrived. Plus, it's pretty funny! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jean | 6/10/2011

    " I love Connie Willis's comedies, not only are they hysterically funny, they're achingly smart, even early works such as this. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 LP | 6/10/2011

    " Witty, illuminating, and fun to read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Don | 5/31/2011

    " This one took me by surprise. I was expecting sci-fi, but got a nice satiric piece of fiction instead. Nothing of profound depth, but somewhat thought-provoking nonetheless. Flip has to be one of my favorite characters, she so, like, NOT totally farb and leaves me feeling just a little itch. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bonnie | 5/26/2011

    " In the spirit of 1930s mad-cap comedies, Connie Willis leads us on a wild ride of crazy situations and unexpected romance. Definitely a fun read! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Clio | 5/13/2011

    " Wonderful. Hilarious! Her characters, as usual, are brilliant. This is the third book of hers I read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mereke | 5/13/2011

    " I read this on the airplane yesterday and it kept me more or less entertained. It was a tidy little piece of fiction, almost too tidy, which I enjoyed but didn't love. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jenn | 5/11/2011

    " A bit of the lighter side of Connie Willis. Pretty sure that my enjoyment of the book was greatly enhanced by imagining that our characters worked for Veridian Dynamics. (points for the reference, not that they'll get you anything) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Yolanda | 4/25/2011

    " This was a fun little novella to read. Just the right "in between" distraction. "

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About the Author
Author Connie Willis

Connie Willis has won six Nebula and nine Hugo Awards (more than any other science fiction writer) and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for her first novel, Lincoln’s Dreams. Her novel Doomsday Book won both the Nebula and Hugo Awards, and her first short-story collection, Fire Watch, was a New York Times Notable Book. She lives in Greeley, Colorado, with her family.

About the Narrator

Kate Reading is an Audie Award–winning narrator and has received numerous Earphones Awards from AudioFile magazine. She is also a theater actor in the Washington, DC, area and has been a member of the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company since 1987. Her work onstage has been recognized by the Helen Hayes Awards Society, among others. She and her husband live in Hyattsville, Maryland, with their two children.