Thursday, August 18, 2005

What it's about--take 2

I don't know why this synopsis is so hard for me. I'm too close to the material and can't seem to distill it down to a jacket flap. Anyway, here's my latest attempt.

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 year is 2092, and it's a good time to be rich and rejuvenated. Nanotech has fulfilled its promise and ushered in the Boutique Economy, in which closet-sized assemblers manufacture everything from hairbrushes to taxi cabs, on demand and one copy at a time, without the need for factories or a large labor force. Mass consumption and mass production are becoming obsolete, as are the very masses themselves.

Global wealth has been concentrated into a few million hands, with the majority of Earth's fifteen billion inhabitants mired in contentious poverty. The rich decide that idle populations are unnecessary, wasteful, and an undue strain on the environment. In an act that takes privatization to its logical conclusion, they collude to quietly buy up the planet--the entire planet--and turn it into a private reserve. It will be the solar system's most exclusive club, and with membership comes privileges--such as the right to live on Earth.

Against this backdrop, two extraordinary people, Samson and Eleanor, meet and fall in love. Their marriage is celebrated by friends and colleagues, and they are showered with gifts, career advancement, and a baby permit. But on the day their baby is to be conceived, a nano-terror attack--a NASTIE--aimed at Eleanor strikes Samson instead, and he is grabbed off the street by the Homeland Command and placed in total and permanent quarantine.

It takes all of Eleanor's resources to free Samson, but not before the authorities "sear" him, effectively sealing and booby-trapping his bodily cells against future NASTIE attacks. Samson enters the ranks of the cellularly challenged.

The strain of Samson's new condition saps their marriage. Whereas he and Eleanor were both rich and rejuvenated when they met, now he is sick, weak, and mortal. After a year of sulking, Samson leaves Eleanor and baby Ellen and tries to make a fresh start in an unfamiliar new world.

Forty years pass, and Eleanor has continued to amass wealth and influence. Not only has she embraced the secret land grab of her fellow billionaires, but added a wrinkle of her own. She has assembled a consortium of leading capitalists to foster a space colonization program that trades land on Earth for a grubstake on a new planet in a neighboring solar system. Passage for colonists will be provided aboard millennial ships called Oships on voyages lasting hundreds of years.

Samson, meanwhile, has been sinking slowly into the middle class, which has shrunk to the point of vanishment and is being supplanted by temp agencies that hire out legions of cloned workers. Samson joins Charter Kodiak, a contractual family that has seen better days. Samson's medical condition has prevented him from using regenerative therapies, and without rejuvenation he's reached the end of his rope; he's over 180 years old and feeling every day of it. Then, on the very day he plans to end his life, a second assassination attempt is made against his estranged wife.

Eleanor's space yacht, with her and daughter Ellen aboard, crashes, and suddenly everything changes for Samson. Tragedy has opened a door to return to his family, but to pass through it he'll need the help of clones, bees, his dysfunctional clan, and a smart machine called Skippy.

1 comment:

Kathy McCoy said...

I like this synopsis better than the last. I especially like the hook - beginning. I planned on reading your book anyway since you are my brother (lol) but now I am sure I am going to enjoy it.