Bellwether by Connie Willis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I'm caught in a horrible quandary. On the one hand, this is a purely wonderful and madcap whirlwind of farcical trendsetting, and I mean that most literally, in that it's ABOUT the madcap whirlwind of farcical trendsetting, and yet for all its humor, its chaos, its insight into human and animal behavior, and even how fads rule the sciences, I have to admit that this isn't *actually* science fiction.
It is a fantastic novella, though. :) It's funny on so many different levels, and there's even a romance that hits us like a fad from out of nowhere and changes everything, just like the never-ending quest to discover the source of the Bob hairstyle or the source of the Nile when people don't understand that gravity goes down.
I'm still chuckling after reading this. There's something truly awesome about reading really great writing, no matter what the subject matter. I've always thought that Connie Willis is a brilliant writer, and I've come to trust that it doesn't matter in the slightest what the topic is. Her craft is amazing and she can turn anything at all into something that feels wild and chaotic while always holding us firmly in a narrator's hands. I love how I can feel both overwhelmed and zinged and yet always feel like the narrator is always in control of her own destiny, even so.
But is it SF? In the sense that SF is the fiction of idea exploration, absolutely, and what she does with it is clever, creative, and so, so fun. Baaaaaaaa!
Who cares. I can't pigeonhole her. Shouldn't ever try. She's just too good and is too competent in her voice, knowledge, humor, and talent. :)
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