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Someone on the Mass Effect subreddit recommended it to someone a while ago.

From what I remember in the book, Earth has been abandoned due to pollution. The main character is part of a gang, IIRC. The book is in space and on different planets. In the book there is also a council made up of a race of aliens.

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This could be We Are Legion (We Are Bob) by Dennis E Taylor.

  • Earth abandoned - at least, being abandoned
  • Main character part of a gang - Yes, in a way
  • In space and on different planets - Yes
  • Council of aliens - Yes

Bob Johansson has just sold his software company and is looking forward to a life of leisure. There are places to go, books to read, and movies to watch. So it's a little unfair when he gets himself killed crossing the street.

Bob wakes up a century later to find that corpsicles have been declared to be without rights, and he is now the property of the state. He has been uploaded into computer hardware and is slated to be the controlling AI in an interstellar probe looking for habitable planets. The stakes are high: no less than the first claim to entire worlds. If he declines the honor, he'll be switched off, and they'll try again with someone else. If he accepts, he becomes a prime target. There are at least three other countries trying to get their own probes launched first, and they play dirty.

The safest place for Bob is in space, heading away from Earth at top speed. Or so he thinks. Because the universe is full of nasties, and trespassers make them mad - very mad.

It forms part of a trilogy set in the 'Bobiverse'.

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  • I love that trilogy, but I don't remember any council of aliens, unless you mean the group of Bobs.
    – NomadMaker
    Commented Jun 24, 2020 at 3:58

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