The first Neal Stephenson book I read was Cryptonomicon and I jumped from there right into The Baroque Cycle and then the brain-busting brilliant behemoth that was Anathem. I loved them all, but saw frequent com...more
Sangamon Taylor is Boston Harbor's very own Toxic Avenger. Working for GEE -- a thinly veiled, fictional Greenpeace -- ST spends his days...more
I just finished reading your Zodiac adventures and how I loved them. At first I was a bit confused since I was expecting a science-fiction novel. I know, I know, you did start your memoirs clearly stating that this is an eco-thriller, but I was misled by the GoodReads shelving. Have you seen it? Oof! "Science Fiction," "Horror," even "Fantasy." Although "Cyberpunk" has be the best one given that your colleagues refuse to work in an office with a computer and you use yours only for pr...more
Even when attached to a name such as Stephenson’s, a novel that bills itself as an “eco-thriller” does not earn eager anticipation from me. My opinion of thrillers is low in general, and when combined with ecological mo...more
It was reminiscent in a way to the cable television show Leverage, and if it were the show, it would have broken up nicely into three episodes -- the Swiss Bastards Job in Blue Kills, New Jersey; the Boner Chemicals Job in Bu...more
This is also an interesting time period for that sort of person; the book came out in 1988. This is a time at which the dinosaur chemical companies were moving toward greener chemistries and were stuck with numerous lawsuits and other a...more
The is the earliest book of his that I've read. And since the last book I read by him was his most recent REAMDE, it was even more of an obvious chance to observe how his style has developed.
but yada yada yada.... right?
So ok, let's get past the fandom for a moment.
Seriously, though: this is more about the environment, and activism, than technology (speaking in the context of this book as a Neal Stephenson novel.) So it's a little bit less appealing. Though still sciencey, and also really gross and completely terrifying. We are all going to die of cancer or something else even more horrible. I'm glad I don't live in Boston.
Really seriously, though: Zodiac is about a...more
The basics: toxic waste fighting James Bond type takes on big chem.
The good: fun period piece from the late 80's, excellent use of setting for people who know Boston, pretty decent introduction to toxic waste issues and chemistry, and some nascent hints of the Stephensonian high-adventure that will become is trademark in later books.
The bad: it's hard to like the main character S.T.. He's just a really arrogant assho...more
Republicans without a sense of humor should beware...this is NOT the book for you! It is unapologetically liberal in regards to the damage being done to our environment by big business. In this day and age when many liberals (I am talking...more
Early Stephenson is also very good. Zodiac is one of those rather rare books on ecological theme and it's well-done. Captivating plot; vivid and exaggerated characters; early Neal's brand humour; lot of information on environmental issues.
It's true that this book was published in the late 1980...more
The book's structure was a little rough in places, and the copy-editor was asleep at the wheel--I can see that this was where Stephenson was still getting practice at wri...more
Stephenson’s earliest works all have similar elements: quirky names for the protagonist, an edge of satire, and subtle allegory. These items are why I consider Stephenson a gem in whatever...more
Zodiac, the brilliant second novel from the New York Times bestselling author of the The Baroque Cycle and Snow Crash, is now available from Grove Press. Meet Sangamon Taylor, a New Age Sam Spade who sports a wet suit instead of a trench coat and prefers Jolt from the can to Scotch on the rocks. He knows about chemical sludge the way he knows about evil—all too intimately. And the toxic trail he follows leads to some high and foul places. Before long Taylor’s house is bombed, his every move foll...more
As mentioned by the author in his acknowledgments, the protagonist is an asshole. While not an anti-hero, his behavior is that of someone whose inter personal relationships serve only to help him accomplish his current task. Stepping on toes and hurting feelings are just not things that bother him. The kind of guy who never did learn how t...more
But Zodiac is also a great Boston novel -- and with a 1980s flavor I wasn't familiar with...more
They shut off our phone service so we all had to sit down and thrash out about three months worth of unpaid long-distance bills. In the middle of a spirited discussion of who had made seven consecutive calls to Santa Cruz at three in the morning, Ike got up and announced that he was moving out. He was tired of the plumbing problems, he said, and the weird messages on the answering machine, and Roscommon had come in while he was at work and torn down the Mel King ca...more
Zodiac is the story of Sangamon Taylor, S.T., an eco-warrior employed by a Greenpeace-like organization in Boston to take direct action against polluters with the goal of getting the EPA to enforce environmental laws. S.T. is a self-describ...more