Did you ever wonder where hair-bobbing came from? Okay, maybe not, but you’ve probably wondered how some other fad popped up, especially if you thought it was a particularly silly fad. Obviously, author Connie Willis has pondered the question deeply, or she wouldn’t have written this book. Her main character, research statistician Sandra Foster is trying to find out where hair-bobbing (and other fads) came from and to simultaneously navigate the difficult twists and turns that her company, HiTek, throws at its employees.
One such twist, a package misdelivered to Sandra by the terminally hip interdepartmental assistant Flip, meant that she met a scientist on the other end of the building, Bennett O’Reilly, a terminally unhip chaos theory biologist. Due to another tw
ist thrown by the company, Sandra and Bennett find their projects thrown together and changed—they find themselves trying a cross-departmental experiment on a herd of sheep. Of course, by the end of the book they discover much much more than either of them had imagined they would.
You don’t have to like science or science fiction to like this book. All you need to have is curiosity about how things and people work—for instance, why did Barbie catch on and stay caught on when Davy Crockett caps were gone in six months? These are the sort of human-behavior questions Sandra Foster’s trying to answer in her experiments.
In the quest of appreciating this book, it helps to have worked in a corporation at some time. Even if your corporation has never gone so far as to incorporate “sensitivity exercises” or 68 page forms, the description of HiTek should make you smile if you’ve tried to work in any kind of company.
This book is witty, fast-paced, and well plotted. It’s a great light read that gets you thinking without too much work.