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Author: Neal Stephenson
Two centuries after the Boston Tea Party, harbor dumping is still a favorite local sport, only this time it's major corporations piping toxic wastes into the water. Environmentalist and professional pain in the ass Sangamon Taylor is Boston's modern-day Paul Revere, spreading the word from a 40-horsepower Zodiac raft. Embarrassing powerf...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780553573862
ISBN-10: 0553573861
Publication Date: 7/1/1995
Pages: 308
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.

3.7 stars, based on 132 ratings
Publisher: Spectra
Book Type: Paperback
Members Wishing: 0
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

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jeffp avatar reviewed Zodiac on + 201 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
This was a recommended work by Neal Stephenson, and it's pretty good. The writing is light and breezy, which is a distraction from the dark events at the core of the novel. It's called an "eco-thriller" on the copy I have, and I guess that pretty well describes it. The main character is a member of an ecology group - probably patterned after Greenpeace - and he hits all kinds of trouble when a project he's working on finds evidence that some really bad things are going on in Boston harbor. Some of the local corporations are still dumping nasty stuff into the water, and covering up for past misdeeds. It's complicated, but you can track it as events unfold.

Originally published in 1988, Zodiac has held up pretty well over time. That's actually rather depressing, since it means that the issues it addresses are still real too. Anyway, so long as you don't stop to ask questions like "why doesn't he use a cell phone?" the story is just fine, and it's a roller coaster.

My only previous experience with Stephenson was Snow Crash which I enjoyed at the time, but which I recall has some plot issues that I (as a software engineer) thought were fairly significant. This one seems to have fewer such plot holes. Alternately I just don't notice them, perhaps because it's not in my area of expertise, or because the subject matter is closer to the author's own expertise. I honestly don't know.

In any event, Zodiac is an enjoyable read. Recommended for a few hours of relaxation at some point.
Naiche avatar reviewed Zodiac on + 91 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
I love this book more than life itself. Seriously. It is a masterpiece of tongue-in-cheek humor. It takes "geek pride" to a whole new level. It has one of the most serious annoying protagonists ever and some of the least plausible plot twists imaginable and it still makes me grin just to see the title here on PBS.
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fogcityite avatar reviewed Zodiac on + 16 more book reviews
A fun, fast-paced eco-thriller. Brimming with Stephenson's trademark, offbeat humor and scientific explanations, Zodiac offers an entertaining read for fans and novices alike.