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Publisher's Summary

Sangamon Taylor's 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 followed, he's adopted by reservation Indians, moves onto the FBI's most wanted list, makes up with his girlfriend, and plays a starring role in the near-assassination of a presidential candidate. Closing the case with the aid of his burnout roomate, his tofu-eating comrades, three major networks, and a range of unconventional weaponry, Sangamon Taylor pulls off the most startling caper in Boston Harbor since the Tea Party.

As he navigates this ecological thriller with hardboiled wit and the biggest outboard motor he can get his hands on, Taylor reveals himself as one of the last of the white-hatted good guys in a very toxic world

©1988 Neal Stephenson (P)2009 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

"The characters are entertaining, if broadly drawn, and the rip-roaring conclusion will make a dandy denouement in the movie rendition." ( Publishers Weekly)
"Stephenson's irreverent, facetious, esprit-filled voice make this near-future tale a joy to read." (Amazon.com review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    243
  • 4 Stars
    263
  • 3 Stars
    125
  • 2 Stars
    27
  • 1 Stars
    12

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    233
  • 4 Stars
    164
  • 3 Stars
    58
  • 2 Stars
    11
  • 1 Stars
    6

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    194
  • 4 Stars
    171
  • 3 Stars
    89
  • 2 Stars
    21
  • 1 Stars
    7
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Love that dirty water!

I love this book, and this audio production is great! Funny and scary and engrossing. One little bitty caveat: a couple words are not pronounced in the true local Boston fashion. For example, 'route' is pronounced to rhyme with 'stout,' rather than sounding like 'root,' the way we say it here. And the town of 'Natick' is pronounced to rhyme with 'static,' rather than as a slant rhyme for 'jaded.' Since I grew up near Natick, this kind of makes me itch every time I hear it. And the townie accents are close, but not perfect. But that's minor. This is a great performance of a great book, and I would love to hear more by Ax Norman. And when I look out my back window at Boston Harbor -hahhhbuh as it sounds here, I wish I could see S.T. in his zode.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Matt
  • Byron Bay, NSW, Australia
  • 03-19-10

A must read for environmentalists

I've read most of Neal Stephensons books now after being introduced to "Snow Crash" by a friend. This is one of Neal's earlier books, but if you like his works then this is a definite. The whole book is written first person.. almost a prose. An intelligent, stimulating read (listen) without the pseudo intellectualism we get from many writers these days. I wish I discovered this author a long time ago.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Eric
  • Guilford, CT, United States
  • 03-12-10

Intelligent and Gonzo

I first encountered Neal Stephenson when I read Snowcrash (highly recommended)and I was impressed. I then read Cryptonomicon (highly recommended) and am a fan for life. Zodiac is an earlier work, slightly less well written but nonetheless very entertaining. Stephenon's science background shows throughout and makes his story all the more engrossing. As is always the case with Stephenson the story is a mixture of clever and intelligent plot with Gonzo elements. He is sometimes a little gross but that's just part of the fun.

The narrator does a good job and I found him easy to listen to.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • andrew
  • Singapore, Singapore
  • 12-09-11

very funny, yet gripping.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

yes. I enjoyed the story; the jokes.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

yes, it did. I found it interesting. I don't have an aversion to chemistry, so i found it interesting and 'educational'; the story itself is interesting and unpredictable.

Which scene was your favorite?

any that contains a sarcastic remark by the main character. Hilarious.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

not really.

Any additional comments?

i enjoyed the performance of the narrator. Very nicely done. It fit the mold of the main character.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Real Science in an Action Adventure Mystery

Proof Stephenson doesn't need take us to other planets, times or dimensions to spin a uniquely compelling, yet tightly coherent yarn in a world largely alien to most of us. Expertly read with perfect timing and inflection to highlight ironies without pulling the listener out of the story; enunciated clearly, enabling playback in noisy environments or at faster playback speeds.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

very engaging eco thriller

I have read it before, now we listened to it with my husband and 10th grade daughter. she wants to become environmentalists in part because of this book. it is very realistic, it has lots of chemistry terms, but all is explained so well that layman can understand. this is one of the books that makes very long lasting impression.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

difficult to follow conversations

while diction, pronunciation, and vocal quality were good, there was no differentiating different characters' voices, making dialog difficult to follow.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Karen
  • Banora Point, Australia
  • 11-05-12

Intelligent storytelling

This story makes you more aware of the dangers we unwittingly face with corporations that do pretty much whatever they like. I only hope we have a chance. Neal Stephenson has delivered again.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Really Good, one glaring production flaw

If you could sum up Zodiac in three words, what would they be?

Damn Good Book

What was one of the most memorable moments of Zodiac?

There are serveral it was a good mix of Boston Humor, some of which you really have to be from here to get.

Have you listened to any of Ax Norman’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes

Any additional comments?

There is one glaring production flaw. If the manin character is from Boston and the narration is first person I would have expected proper regional pronunciations of words. I don't mean Boson/Mass accents, a few characters use them and the narrator gets them mostly correct. However at one point the story moves to Natick. When the name of this city comes up it JUST HURTS my ears. The name is said as

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • sharon
  • wallingford, PA, United States
  • 07-31-11

Ok, but only so - so

I think this book will make a great movie one day -- and it will probably make alot more sense to me then. But until then, I'm leaving this on my (imaginary) 'why did I buy this book' pile.
Its not that well written. It took me a good 2 hours (at least) to get 'into' the book. I did learn alot about scientific stuff (specifically chemicals) and how they affect the environment/water. It does have action in it, some suspense, alot of the main character's thoughts.

I liked the characters. I liked the plot IDEA, but it did not keep me involved (especially at the beginning). On a desert island, it would be an adequate book to read, but I think that there are other books out there that deserve your $$/credits more.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful