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Introduction of the ebook: Zodiac: The Eco-Thriller

Đánh giá : 3.72 /5 (sao)

Believe it or not, some readers find Zodiac even more 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 (a non-profit envir Believe it or not, some readers find Zodiac even more 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 (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 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. …more

Review ebook Zodiac: The Eco-Thriller

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 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 complaints from other Stephenson fans that he’d gotten boring and his books were too long. After reading Snow Crash last 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 soon.

Sangamon 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 more 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 candidate.

As usual, Stephenson is a bit ahead of his time in this book written in 1988. ST and his friends seem more 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 more foul mouthed version of one of the Mythbusters who has nothing but hatred for the soulless corporate yuppies 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 main character 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 quaint 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. …more

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