Counting Heads

Counting Heads

Book - 2005
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"Counting Heads" is David Marusek's extraordinary launch as an SF novelist: The year is 2134, and the Information Age has given rise to the Boutique Economy in which mass production and mass consumption are rendered obsolete. Life extension therapies have increased the human lifespan by centuries. Loyal mentars (artificial intelligence) and robots do most of society's work. The Boutique Economy has made redundant ninety-nine percent of the world's fifteen billion human inhabitants. The world would be a much better place if they all simply went away.
Eleanor K. Starke, one of the world's leading citizens is assassinated, and her daughter, Ellen, is mortally wounded. Only Ellen, the heir to her mother's financial empire, is capable of saving Earth from complete domination plotted by the cynical, selfish, immortal rich, if she, herself, survives. Her cryonically frozen head is in the hands of her family's enemies. A ragtag ensemble of unlikely heroes join forces to rescue Ellen's head, all for their own purposes.
Counting Heads arrives as a science fiction novel like a bolt of electricity, galvanizing readers with an entirely new vision of the future. It's the debut of the year in SF.
Publisher: New York : Tor, 2005
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780765312679
0765312670
Branch Call Number: Science Fiction F Mar

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s
sanspeur
Apr 04, 2010

The description is of A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson.

e
erigami
Feb 15, 2010

This book is a blast. It has all of the tropes you'd expect in cyberpunk: massive corporations that rule the world; clone armies; loyal AI retainers; and inscrutable robots on a morally ambiguous mission. Despite that, it remains a light and enjoyable read.

The story is simple: the president of a corporate conglomerate is lost in a crash, her head stored away in a cryogenic container. The good guys want her head back in one piece, while the baddies want to finish her off.

Although there's lots of world building, there isn't much depth: we get to know some of the characters, but the ins and outs of the future world aren't explored too closely. Yeah, there's overpopulation, a ban on unlicensed human reproduction, rampant nanotech terrorism, and rejuvenation treatments; but those are used as part of the setting.

The book contains a few inexplicable events and scenes that feel more like they're there for atmosphere rather than moving the plot along. But they're fun to read, so I can't complain too loudly.

The writing is strong. The Marusek ties four or five plot lines together for a tight ending that is well paced and explicable. Most of the characters are well drawn, with interesting personalities and backgrounds.

Overall: it's a great genre book. If you enjoy cyberpunk, or any near future SF, you'll probably enjoy it. For what it is: highly recommended.

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