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Zodiac Paperback – August 10, 2007
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Cruising Boston Harbor with lab tests and scuba gear, S. T. rides in with the ecosystem cavalry on his 40-horsepower Zodiac raft. His job of tracking down poisonous runoff and embarrassing the powerful corporations who caused them becomes more sticky than usual; run-ins with a gang of satanic rock fans, a deranged geneticist, and a mysterious PCB contamination that may or may not be man-made--plus a falling-out with his competent ("I adore stress") girlfriend--all complicate his mission.
Stephenson/S. T.'s irreverent, facetious, esprit-filled voice make this near-future tale a joy to read. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
_Zodiac_ is my pick of NS's work. I buy used copies and give them away to people. It's better than his later works because he's on his own turf, writing more tightly and realistically about stuff he really knows. The manuscript glitters with one-liners; I sometimes slowed down and read whole sections out loud to myself to get the full enjoyment out of them.
Sangamon Taylor, ego and all, has become one of the most memorable characters of my long SF-guzzling career. I recommend this book to sci fi and non-sci-fi readers alike. I still don't believe you can punch a hole in a zode with a wired tazer, but I love the book anyway :-)
And yes, it's a cautionary tale. It has a moral message. So has Dickens, most of Shakespeare, and most of Star Trek for that matter. There's nothing wrong with preaching if it's done with wit, style, and real passion. I think NS pulls it off. If I didn't dread sequels so much, I'd love to see a volume of the prior, or continuing, adventures of ST.
The story is told in the first person, from the perspective of Sangamon "S.T." Taylor, a Boston chemist employed by the Group of Environmental Extremists (GEE), International - an organization probably inspired by Greenpeace. S.T. works as a professional headache for industrial polluters flaunting the law and endangering their communities. His job is to terrorize the companies into acting in what is really their own best interest (i.e., not destroying the earth for short-term savings). Of course, it should go without saying that S.T. does not actually use terrorism to terrorize these polluters. Rather, he works with a potent mix of trespassing, his classic tactic of plugging up the pipes dumping toxic waste into the water supply, and his ultimate weapon: Bad Publicity.
"Zodiac" starts of with some fun actions of this sort, but the story does not really begin until S.T. unexpectedly finds incredibly large amounts of incredibly toxic PCBs in Boston Harbor. Just as soon as he starts his investigation, however, the poisons disappear - which, if it had happened spontaneously, would be a mind-boggling 'violation' of the Second Law of Thermodynamics.Read more ›
I did a lot of chortling while reading this adventure. I had avoided picking it up for a while because I was worried that an eco-thriller would be preachy. Luckily, it is no such thing. It has a point to make and makes it well, weaving the environmentalism and science into the story.
Although it is smaller in scope than books like Snow Crash, Zodiac contains enough of the inimitable Stephenson writing style that it should keep fans of his later work happy. Some people may actually find that they prefer Zodiac despite the scale-- it is breathlessly exuberant in a way that his other later works never manage to recapture. Highly recommended.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The thing I like about Neal Stephenson is that he actually explains the science. I don't know if he's considered a science fiction writer because all of his books are so different. Read morePublished 21 days ago by Wendy Busby
Read this book in middle school and then again a decade + later after I got a job... genetically engineering microbes in Cambridge MA. I recommend it to my colleagues, too. Read morePublished 26 days ago by Amazon Customer
Sounds funny that an "old" book -and with that I mean one that definitely looks into wars from the past, not that they're gone away- can result so entrancing. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Irene Del Pino
Ok, kind of a fractured story line, but in a strange way, it fits. Would like to see more of this character in a updated story. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Curt W Taylor
Interesting read. I've read most of Neal Stephenson's work at this point and it was fun to see how he's evolved as a writer. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Heather
I love science fiction with real science in it! The story in itself was very good- it was fun, funny and scary, all at the same time. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Tanya W.
Loved this book, was surprised that I would be interested in this genre, but I actually learned so much important stuff about pollution and government cover ups. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Lovers of Stephenson will not be disappointed by this exuberant journeyman effort. First time readers will still find much to like here and will be motivated to sample the rest of... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Mr. Alex G. Fiedler