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Zodiac

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3.7  ·  Rating details ·  15,267 Ratings  ·  593 Reviews
"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 i ...more
ebook, 320 pages
Published December 1st 2007 by Grove Press (first published April 30th 1988)
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Kemper
Jul 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book revolves around toxic waste being illegally dumped into Boston Harbor. While I was reading it, the water in the fish tank went mysteriously cloudy overnight despite being recently cleaned and our two goldfish who were like ten years old went belly up. So that was kind of creepy.

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
Mara
Apr 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mara by: Kemper
Sangamon Taylor just might be the love of my life (and, as far as I'm concerned, the fact that he's an emotionally unavailable, fictional character is kind of a win-win). By my metrics of greatness, billing ST (that's what all the cool kids call him) as the “Granola James Bond” undersells him by a long shot.

Employed as a “professional asshole” (his words) by GEE, an environmental activist group in Boston, ST is a chemist by training, a fan of avoiding Boston traffic by taking to its waterw
...more
Brad
Sep 13, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: intrigue, ecological
If not for the voice of Sangamon Taylor, Neal Stephenson's Zodiac would have been a relatively okay eco-thriller, but the book isn't just the voice of Sangamon Taylor, it IS Sangamon Taylor, and once again Stephenson's ability to create compelling leading men (think Hiro Protagonist in Snow Crash) makes one of his books superior to the pulp it was inspired by.

Sangamon Taylor is Boston Harbor's very own Toxic Avenger. Working for GEE -- a thinly veiled, fictional Greenpeace -- ST spends his days
...more
Duffy Pratt
Sep 11, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I'm not sure what I would have thought about this book if it had been by another author, or an author I didn't already know. It's a fun book, and decent in its own right. Have you ever seen pictures of people you knew when they were babies, and tried to scope out the resemblance to their adult appearance. That's sort of what I found myself doing in this book. There are lots of hints and suggestions of the kind of writer Stephenson would become. But standing on its own, this book seems just as mu ...more
YouKneeK
Zodiac is the first book I’ve read by Neal Stephenson, an author I see mentioned fairly often, often with mixed reviews. My own reaction to this particular book is a little mixed.

The title, Zodiac, refers to a type of motorized raft the characters used. The story is set in Boston and is told from the first-person perspective of a character who tries to catch, publicize, and prevent corporations from dumping toxic chemicals into the Boston Harbor. Naturally the big, powerful corporation people a
...more
Abram Dorrough
Mar 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An extraordinarily fun book - Stephenson meshes hardboiled crime with the pacing of a thriller, and he populates the book with his typical nerdy, witty humor. It's not so much a sci-fi book as it is a thriller with a lot of hard science behind it. It is so delightful reading a Stephenson book narrated in the first person!

Zodiac was WAY ahead of its time upon publication in 1988. Computers, gadgets, pollutants and the corporations (legally inculpable for complex reasons) that dump them everywhere
...more
Mike
A quirky scientist/"Toxic James Bond" for the environmental group "G International" cruises Boston harbor in his Zodiac boat, looking for chemical hot spots. When he finds on that mysteriously disappears again, he is on a search that puts his career in danger, and then puts his life in danger.
More science-based adventure thriller than science fiction, it is still a fun little romp through the Hub of the Universe and my old stomping-ground.

[Fulfills several possibilities on my St. Mary's County L
...more
Robert
Mar 23, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
Zodiac is described as an eco-thriller, which about sums it up, actually! It certainly is a thriller - I read all 290 or so pages in one (long) night, gripped from the outset. The hero of the story is a chemist working for GEE, a direct action environmental organisation, in its Boston branch. He's out to get the companies dumping toxic waste into the harbour and the rivers and canals that feed into it. He has three company logos on the bows of his inflatable raft with its over-size outboard moto ...more
Andreea Daia
Dear S.T. -

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
Steve
Sep 01, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
An early variant of Stephenson's 'Snow Crash' writing style. More down-to-earth plot, set in the present rather than the near-future, but just as much fun. It definitely feels rougher and less polished than either Snow Crash or The Diamond Age, but it's great fun. And the description of trying to cross the street in Boston is worth the purchase price.
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SciFi and Fantasy...: Zodiac - Final Thoughts **Spoilers** 3 19 May 07, 2015 06:26PM  
  • Heavy Weather
  • All Tomorrow's Parties (Bridge, #3)
  • Wetware (Ware #2)
  • Roadmarks
  • The Eternal Prison (Avery Cates, #3)
  • Headcrash
  • Glasshouse
  • Antarctica
  • Quarantine (Subjective Cosmology #1)
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Neal Stephenson is the author of Reamde, Anathem, and the three-volume historical epic the Baroque Cycle (Quicksilver, The Confusion, and The System of the World), as well as Cryptonomicon, The Diamond Age, Snow Crash, and Zodiac. He lives in Seattle, Washington.
More about Neal Stephenson...
“If you've put yourself in a position where someone has to see you in order for you to be safe - to see you, and to give a fuck - you've already blown it.” 16 likes
“I had to ride slow because I was taking my guerrilla route, the one I follow when I assume that everyone in a car is out to get me. My nighttime attitude is, anyone can run you down and get away with it. Why give some drunk the chance to plaster me against a car? That's why I don't even own a bike light, or one of those godawful reflective suits. Because if you've put yourself in a position where someone has to see you in order for you to be safe--to see you, and to give a fuck--you've already blown it... We had a nice ride through the darkness. On those bikes we were weak and vulnerable, but invisible, elusive, aware of everything within a two-block radius.” 6 likes
More quotes…