Counting Heads is a first novel by a respected short-story writer David Marusek. This shows, a little, in the structure of the book. It’s a bit choppy.
You know, in retrospect, there may be some resonance with David Brin’s The Kiln People.
It’s a really interesting work – AIs and nanotech and cloning. Memorable for those certainly, and the plot does well stitching it together. Scads of points of view.
- Entire segments of the work force are ‘iterative’ people – clones of one original successful unique person. One guy, the ‘Russ’, was a secret service agent. They are ‘always’ happy with an Evangeline.
- There is also ‘the seared’ – a main character is the man who was arrested wrongly for some nano-bio-terrorism suspicion… because he was married to powerful Eleanor.
- The world was polluted in the past by runaway nanotech – most cities are domed.
Teensy quibble: I cannot connect the title of the book to the story, except as a little joke about the main plotline of the disembodied head that everyone is searching for. The title is too not-memorable.