OK, here's a plot synopsis I just wrote. I'm sure to rewrite it a couple of times, but I wanted to get it out for comments. Have any? Please post or email them to me.
Counting Heads Synopsis
What will our world be like when today's leading-edge technologies have matured? How will human clones, artificial intelligence, bio-engineering, and nanotechnology affect our jobs, our relationships, and our dreams and goals? Counting Heads explores these questions in a fully-realized, futuristic America of the 22nd Century.
Samson Harger is an artist, a packaging designer, who falls madly in love with an influential corporate prosecutor, Eleanor Starke. They, like most affluent residents of the United Democracies, are practically immortal; they command the loyal services of intelligent machines and indentured humans, and they compete for shrinking resources and markets. It's an exciting time to be rich, and on top of everything else, they are rewarded with a rare and coveted baby permit to conceive their own child.
An assassination attempt against Eleanor strikes Samson instead. He survives but is "seared" by the Homeland Command. That is, his bodily cells are rigged to self-immolate in the event that his body is hijacked for nanobiological terror. He can no longer avail himself to modern medicine, which means he is no longer immortal. As Samson comes to grips with his new condition, his marriage falls apart, and he finds himself shunted aside to the lumpen world of cloned workers, "free-range" chartists, and the cellularly challenged.
The Information Age of the 20th Century has given way to the Boutique Economy in which shoe box-sized nano assemblers can produce most consumer goods one copy at a time, without the need of a labor force. Mass production and mass consumption are rendered obsolete, and the majority of the planet's fifteen billion inhabitants are deemed superfluous and wasteful. Wealth has been consolidated into relatively few hands, and the wealthy take privatization to a whole new level. They hatch a 200-year plan to quietly buy up the planet--the entire planet--and turn it into a private club. With membership comes privileges--such as the right to live on Earth.
Eleanor takes part in this plan, but when a second assassination attempt is made against her, Ellen, the daughter she and Samson produced, must assume her role. But Ellen needs help, and Samson, now old, tired, and sick, must decide once and for all where his loyalties lie.