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Counting Heads by David Marusek
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Counting Heads (original 2005; edition 2007)

by David Marusek

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4081826,080 (3.63)1 / 14
Member:Tobu
Title:Counting Heads
Authors:David Marusek
Info:Tor Books (2007), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 336 pages
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Counting Heads by David Marusek (2005)

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Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
Meh. Its interesting, but I got sick of the scattered plot lines that really don't seem to go no where. I suspect it might get interesting at the end of the book, but I have better things to read than a book that isn't interesting.

Some things I liked - the technology. It is lovely. I can totally see a large chunk of this book actually happening. The writing is spot on within each segment, but the segments don't seem to go anywhere. Anyway, Maybe I'll pick it up again at another point in time and give this book a real review. ( )
  TheDivineOomba | Feb 22, 2014 |
Maybe it was me but this book felt like it was 80 percent filler and 20 percent story. If you can't get enough of holograms and people living as them then this book is for you, otherwise stay away from this one. ( )
  Punchout | Apr 17, 2013 |
I purchased Counting Heads because I was captured by the central premise, as expressed on the back of the book: "An assassination attempt nearly kills his daughter, and Sam's only hope of saving her is to recover her cryogenically frozen head before it falls into the hands of his enemies. But in a world of clones, robots, and advanced artificial intelligences, how can one crippled man overcome a top secret cabal that seeks to control the future of the entire human race?"

The notion of a protagonist was struggling desperately with evil forces over a cryogenically frozen head is both funny and horrific. I thought it might make for a strangely wonderful sci-fi adventure and perhaps even a wonderful RPG adaptation.

In the end, this struggle isn't the highlight of the book, and in fact Sam isn't the most important protagonist. A number of other characters, each with their own quirks and goals, take center stage at various times, and you come to empathize with some of them more than you do with Sam. The plot lines have various twists and turns, often unpredictable, but sometimes a little slow and lacking in an over-arching, grand framework. If this had been all there was to the book, it would have earned 3 stars.

However, there is one undeniable asset this book has: two amazingly inventive settings (separated by a moderate span of time). Both are filled with new ideas as well as eerie reflections of modern concerns, from rampant consumerism and mass culture to the sacrifice of privacy in the name of security from terrorism. Counting Heads makes you think about many real world issues, from human genetic engineering to government surveillance, in new ways.

The setting easily pulls the book into the 4-star range, but I'll hold out against giving it 5. If only the plot were a little more meaningful– rather than simply acting as a vehicle to show off the setting– this would be a cracking good piece of science fiction writing. Counting Heads is quite an achievement, but it falls just a little short of the mark. ( )
  jrissman | Nov 4, 2012 |
How do we tell good science fiction from bad? By the rhapsody of language and scientific ideas. Counting Heads flickers us into the 22nd century in a fast-paced narrative of cascading tech-extrapolations that actually drive the story. It’s exhilarating! This is arch science fiction flexible as music. Keenly imagined future-science is the eerily beautiful femme fatale of this noir portrayal of our mercantile culture as a murder mystery – where the victim is the human soul. A masterful work. ( )
  AAAttanasio | Jun 20, 2012 |
Tons of interesting ideas. Reminiscent of Charles Stross. Enjoyable, but I found the writing uneven. ( )
  viking2917 | Apr 28, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
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David Marusekprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Moore, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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My father, bless his sensibilities, sanitized books with a black marking pen before adding them to his library. He indelibly struck out all words of an offensive nature. I fear that this, my first novel, would not be permitted to join his library unmarked. Nevertheless, I dedicate it to his memory:

Henry Paul Marusak

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On March 30, 2092, the Department of Health and Human Services issued Eleanor and me a permit.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0765312670, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:25:09 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"The year is 2134, and the living is easy. The Information Age has given rise to the Boutique Economy, in which mass production and mass consumption are rendered obsolete. Almost everything one needs - clothing, food, furniture, medicine, electronics, etc. - can be easily fabricated in the home with nanotech assemblers. Life-extension therapies have increased the human life span by centuries. Loyal mentars (artificial intelligence) and robots do most of society's work. What they can't manage is performed by a contented labor force of human clones." "If this sounds like paradise, it is - but only as long as you make your payments. And that's the problem. The Boutique Economy has made redundant 99 percent of the world's fifteen billion human inhabitants. The world would be a much better place if they all simply went away. And conditions on Earth are about to get a lot worse." "Without much in the way of public debate, greater Chicagoland announces the deactivation of its canopy. Its canopy is a region-wide filtering dome structure that protects the city from airborne and waterborne viruses, toxins, and nanobots (a legacy of the terror wars of the mid-twenty-first century)." "By 9:00 A.M. on the date Chicagoland plans to "break out of its shell" - its region-wide canopy will be deactivated during a ceremony with fireworks - the day has swerved off its tracks. Eleanor K. Starke, one of the world's leading citizens, is assassinated, and her daughter, Ellen, is mortally wounded. Her cryonically frozen head is in the hands of her family's enemies." "A ragtag ensemble of unlikely heroes joins forces to rescue Ellen's head, all for their own purposes. They include family retainers and friends and their artificial intelligence mentars and cloned human helpers, as well as destitute chartists, assorted robots, and a defrocked bishop of a radical Gaiaist movement."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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