the Fiction


Counting Heads

So, your spouse is a clone, and your boss is immortal. NASTIES are eating Chicago, and there’s a baby in a drawer in Trenton with your name on it. Welcome to Counting Heads, an everyday tale about a man and his home planet—Earth. The first in a two-book series.

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 intelligences) 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, that is if she 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.

“Like a sci-fi "Syriana," "Counting Heads" offers a mélange of characters: a cloned security guard undergoing an identity crisis; a former bishop pioneering a mission to colonize distant planets; a 29-year-old man who chose to stop physically maturing at the age of 13. At its best, the novel makes a reader nostalgic (if that's the right word) for the present time, and grateful that he will never see a future in which the human body has become devalued to the point where it is merely a storehouse for information, and no one ever really dies — they are coldly declared "irretrievable." As one character sardonically puts it, "No time and no bandwidth — that's about as good a definition of death as I can imagine."   — Dave Itzkoff, The New York Times Review of Books

“With vivid characters ranging from society’s rulers to the struggling masses, and technologies scaled from spaceborne cities to bee-sized marketing drones, Marusek investigates his dark future with wild inventiveness and a rare completeness. Like one of those lush childrens’ books showing cut-aways of castles, steamships, and submarines, Counting Heads illuminates its complexities gracefully, and it’s a cracking good read as well.”   —Scott Westerfeld

Available in hardback, paperback, audio, Kindle, Nook, and other formats at your favorite online bookstore.

Available in Russian, French and Romanian editions

Mind Over Ship

The year is 2135, and the international program to seed the galaxy with human colonies has stalled as greedy, immoral powerbrokers park their starships in Earth's orbit and begin to convert them into space condos. Ellen Starke's head, rescued from the fiery crash that killed her mother, struggles to regrow a new body in time to restore her dead mother's financial empire. And Pre-Singularity AIs conspire to join the human race just as human clones, such as Mary Skarland and her sisters, want nothing more than to leave it.

Welcome to Mind Over Ship, the sequel to Marusek's stunning debut novel, Counting Heads, which Publishers Weekly called "ferociously smart, simultaneously horrific and funny."

Marusek's wide-ranging and creative imagination is very much in evidence in this ambitious second novel. In 2007's Counting Heads, a rocket ship crash, apparently sabotage, killed powerful financier Eleanor Starke and left her adult daughter, Ellen, gravely injured. Ellen, whose damaged head has been grafted onto the body of an infant, insists her mother is still alive, an apparent delusion that complicates her efforts to assert control over the family business empire. As clones and artificial intelligences begin to redefine humanity and sentience, powerful executives derail a space colonization plan for their own profit. While newcomers might wish for a short prologue or a glossary, those omissions don't significantly detract. With ambitious narrative scope and small moments of perfect prose, this tale of 22nd-century politics repays the close reading necessary to follow its many interweaving plots. (Jan.) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Available in hardback, paperback, Kindle, Nook, and other formats at your favorite online bookstore.

Getting to Know You

Not since William Gibson and Bruce Sterling galvanized science fiction in the 1980s has the emergence of a new writer been heralded with such acclaim as that attending David Marusek, whose brilliant first novel, Counting Heads, appeared to rave reviews in 2005. But Marusek did not come out of nowhere. Aficionados of the genre had already taken note of his groundbreaking short fiction: masterfully written, profoundly thought-out examinations of futures so real they seemed virtually inevitable.

Now, in this collection of ten short stories, Marusek's fierce imagination and dazzling extrapolative gifts are on full display. Five of the stories, including the Sturgeon Award-winning "The Wedding Album," a shattering look at the unintended human consequences of advanced technology, are set in the same future as Counting Heads. All ten showcase Marusek's talent for literate, provocative science fiction of the very highest order.

The author of Counting Heads demonstrates his skill with short stories in this collection of ten of his best tales, most published in magazines, including several stories set in his Counting Heads universe. From "The Wedding Album," in which a simulated groom created as an anniversary memento gets ideas of his own regarding a honeymoon he never experienced, to a pair of atmospherically contrasting short short tales, "Listen To Me" and "My Morning Glory," the stories in this volume portray a writer on the rise. A solid addition to larger collections. —Jackie Cassada, Library Journal

Available in hardback, paperback, Kindle, Nook, and other formats at your favorite online bookstore.

Five of the stories
in this collection are available
in  a
German edition