Much of me in the slightly overweight Big Mac munching bike riding drugged up hypocritical invirinmentalist that I have no alternative but to like him Whatever the motivation ST is likable and that likability allows Stephenson to do one important thing with Zodiac that other eco thriller writers cannot make the issues secondary Eco thrillers tend to be terminally preachy particularly those written in the last twenty or thirty ears You open to page one see the soapbox
and spend the rest of the book reading a never ending speechifying guilt trip But Zodiac lets entertainment be the thing spend the rest of the book reading a never ending speechifying guilt trip But Zodiac lets entertainment be the thing if Governance and Politics in Africa you develop an increased sense of moral outrage at real world toxic dumping corporations then so be itFinally here s one warning to those who may be fooled by Stephenson s body of work Zodiac is at best Sci Fi lite But it isn t really even that Ifou re looking for his Sci Fi work look elsewhere If Literatuur van de Moderne Tijd - Nederlandse en Vlaamse letterkunde in de 19e en 20e eeuw you are looking for Stephenson having fun however and writing so thatou can have fun Zodiac is the book for Seksuele geheimen van de man: moderne taostische liefdestechnieken you 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 Haveou ever seen pictures of people ou 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 much like someone trying to riff on Carl HiaasenThe book is decidedly coherent that some of his later books and its fun and a bit weird but its nowhere near as fun as Snow Crash or Diamond Age and the weirdness doesn t approach some of the stuff in Anathem The ending ties things up neatly that he does in his other books And that neatness left me feeling a bit flat I ve always been a bit dissatisfied with Stephenson s endings except for the Baroue trilogy which has a few amazing and perfect endings And here the ending was probably right in some sense but I still didn t feel particularly satisfied This time because it seemed too patWhat I really liked seeing here was Stephenson s geekiness Darth Vader suits Star Trek analogies comparisons between chemical plants and Mordor Then there was the fun of having a hyper aware environmentalist who seems to rival Hunter Thompson in drug consumption Nitrous Oxide LSD shrooms speed And there were some entertaining but very brief digressions and infodumps here the sort of thing that become the meat of the later fatter books All in all I took this as Stephenson Lite It was fun and I m glad I read it 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 aren t happy and don t take his interference lying down The book is probably better classified as a Thriller than as Science Fiction There was at least one small science fiction element but for the most part it seemed entirely based on technology and scientific knowledge from the 1980 s when the book was published There s a decent amount of science usually explained well enough for the layman to understand and I never felt like I
reading infodumps I learned some things and I liked that On the other hand the story itself just wasn t appealing to me Since the book is story driven than character driven it was hard to be too enthusiastic about it if I wasn t enthusiastic about the story itself I liked the main character well enough but I never felt attached and I didn t feel much interest in the other characters at all As far as entertainment level this was pretty middle of the road for me There were parts when I did feel eager to learn what would happen next but mostly I didn t feel any compulsion to keep reading when I had other things to do Fortunately this was a pretty short book If it had been stretched out into a longer book I might have had trouble making it to the end I haven t had this much fun since Metzger s Dog I wonder if Chinese Gordon and Sangamon Taylor are related somehow. 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 StephensonS T's irreverent facetious esprit filled voice make this near future tale a joy to re.
was reading infodumps I learned some things and I liked that On the other hand the story itself just wasn t
The Fish Tank Went Mysteriouslyfish tank went mysteriously overnight despite being recently cleaned and our two goldfish who were like ten ears old went belly up So that was kind of creepyThe first Neal Stephenson book I read was Cryptonomicon and I jumped from there right into The Baroue Cycle and then the brain busting brilliant behemoth that was Anathem I loved them all but saw freuent complaints from other Stephenson fans that he d gotten boring and his books were too long After reading Snow Crash last Harry Potter en de Vuurbeker (De Harry Potter-serie) year and now Zodiac I understand where they re coming from I d politely disagree but now I think I ve got a better idea of why fans of earlier work are frustrated with Stephenson s later books And oh by the way his new novel coming out in September is over 1000 pages so I don t think he ll be scaling back any time soonSangamon Taylor is the granola James Bond and a self described professional asshole A chemist who works for an environmental outfit that starts with the letter G ST works tirelessly to stage flashy events that expose the illegal dumping of toxic waste and sometimes he gets a little hands on then just calling the media but he refuses to cross the line into violence His main area of expertise is all the illegal dumping into Boston Harbor and he spends most of his time zipping around on his Zodiac boat charting the chemical levels figuring out how it s getting in the water and then ripping the ass out of the corporation doing the polluting ST is cocky smart and has the MacGyver like mechanical skills to use toilet parts and salad bowls to block off a mile long underwater pipe being used to illegally dump toxins ST s crusade against the illegal waste dumpers of the Boston area eventually gets him mixed up with a conspiracy involving some extremely dangerous toxic waste and a presidential candidateAs usual Stephenson is a bit ahead of his time in this book written in 1988 ST and his friends seem like Gen X 90s then the New Wave 80s and the book manages to avoid seeming dated despite the lack of cell phones and the Internet in the story I loved the character of ST who seemed like a foul mouthed version of one of the Mythbusters who has nothing but hatred for the soulless corporateuppies and contempt for the spacey granola heads of the environmental movement who can t do the
simplest mechanical task The schemes he cooks up are innovative and funny and it was nice to have a mainmechanical task The schemes he cooks up are innovative and funny and it was nice to have a main who was genuinely trying to do something for the greater good without being either cynical or sanctimonious I did get a few laughs out of ST s strategies which usually involved exposure to the media and his confidence that public shaming was the way to force a giant corporation out of business Oh how uaint that seems when we all watched an oil company spill crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico on cable news daily for over two months and is still doing business as usual This was a smart and funny ecological thriller that was way ahead of its time 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 bySangamon Taylor is Boston Harbor s very own Toxic Avenger Working for GEE a thinly veiled fictional Greenpeace ST spends his days testing the waters in his Zodiac so that he can trace the waste dumping of Boston s big bad corporations He s already got two corporation kills on the side of his boat and he s going for the kill that will make him an ace ST declares himself to be an asshole I do it for a living and he is to some extent He hangs up on a cranky old cancer victim he strings along Debbie the girl he loves and runs away from any chance of commitment with assiduity he regularly partakes of any drug that doesn t break Sangamon s Principle of Simple Compounds and even a few that do he s foul mouthed cynical and egotistical But the very fact that he knows he s an asshole and is the one to admit all of these flaws to his audience suggests that he really isn t and that little twist makes all the bad bits of ST enjoyable than they should be and all of the good bits positively entertaining Or maybe there s just so. A non profit environmental group as his weapons S T chases down the bad guys with James Bond like Zen 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. .
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 waterways in his sometimes trusty Zodiac and overall is pretty
Much Eual Parts Supereual parts super mad scientist and sardonic badass at large So what makes Sangamon Taylor so swoon worthy 1 He s great at hand to hand underwater combat which is kind of a must 2 Dude knows his way around a lab but he s a nerd of the people using six packs of beer to illustrate the difference between benzene rings and phenyls is beyond brilliant In a pinch ST would definitely know how to make use of dry ice and a fun sexy little molecule some like to call dihydrogen monoxide 3 Speaking of molecules Sangamon s Principle The simpler the molecule the better the drug comes in handy in the event that one needs to decide what kind of pick me up to employ before going into battle 4 ST knows that no grenade is a good grenade but sometimes Out of My Comfort Zone: The Autobiography you ve gotta lay all tinnitus concerns aside and pull the pin 5 He definitely knows how to make the best of a bad situation 6 Last but not least Sangamon Taylor understands that it s not about the size of the boatit s about the engine and knowing how to use it I could go on but I don t want to induce seizures among the gif sensitive masses I m far from being a Neal Stephenson expert but rumor has it that Zodiac is an exception to the rule for those who otherwise are not big Stephenson fans This book is a thriller a detective story with science lots of chemistry in fact but it isn t uite a science fiction novel Neal Stephenson has created a memorable main character Sangamon Taylor a chemist and ecology activist The emphasis is on the activist He lives in Boston and gets around mostly on his zodiac a small fast boat He is always on the lookout for polluting waste products being dumped by factories into the waterways of Boston Of course he is not on the good side of the chemical companies that do the dumping He is constantly being stalked and occasionally mugged or kidnapped or However Sangamon is a very clever fellow He has to be clever since he was invented by Neal Stephenson He is very enterprising and has a big mouth though he is usually tactful He knows how to evade his enemies usually And he knows that sometimes offense is the best defense You just can t go wrong with a book by Stephenson While Sangamon is evading and investigating the bad guys his good natured witticisms permeate the dialogues Andou can even learn some chemistry by osmosis from this book as it is everywhere an important character in its own rightI didn t read this book I listened to the audiobook narrated rather well by Ax Norman 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 personZodiac 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 ou name it Stephenson foresaw it A uirky scientistToxic 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 dangerMore science based adventure thriller than science fiction it is still a fun little romp through the Hub of the Universe and my old stomping groundFulfills several possibilities on my St Mary s County Library Summer Reading Challenge bingo board Fulfills part of several Seasonal Reading Challenge tasks primarily Task 2510 BellaGBear s Task OLD LOVE AND NEW LOVE Another book towards my goal of Read All The Books 2017 Edition A New Hope 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 This bo. Believe it or not some readers find Zodiac even fun than Neal Stephenson's defining 1990s cyberpunk novel Snow Crash Zodiac is set in Boston and hero Sangamon Taylor S T ironically describes his hilarious exploits in the first person S T is a modern superhero a self proclaimed Toxic Spiderman With stealth spunk and the backing of GEE. ,