I read a novel in the last few months, that probably wasn't more than a few years old, in this novel "humanity" was composed composed of a majority of transhuman cyborgs in alliance with powerful AI, floating black teardrops called Intellects and posthuman "source coders" (or similar): human personalities created by algorithm or AI, it's not clear, that seem to often be treated as second class citizens. Or maybe not. We get their perspective through a convicted mutineer/deserter/revolutionary. The novel is set very far in the future and opens on a long period of peace for the alliance but there is an attack coming from a group, now an empire, of exiled baseline humans without any augmentations, they're not referred to as humans except by themselves.

The first wave of this new war is a cyber attack that kills the vast majority of augments and AIs. The action centres around the many times resurrected general who won the war to exile the baselines. The crew of a ship that survives the first attack and a young corporate heiress who is not yet old enough for augmentation under her family's strict code.

This was the first novel in a series that I couldn't find the later books of and now I can't look again because I can't remember the author or title. I feel like it was the name of the enemy humans or the protagonist ship or something like that but of course those details have slipped my mind as well.


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This is The Cruel Stars by John Birmingham.

The galaxy was once terrorized by the Sturm, a group of “species purists” intent on destroying any human with genetic or cybernetic enhancements. Fashioning themselves as the one true “Human Republic,” the Sturm cut a bloody swath across the stars, killing billions before finally being defeated and driven into the far reaches of Dark Space. Centuries of peace bred complacency. Everyone believed the Sturm had died out in the Dark. They were wrong.

The enemy has returned and, with a brutal and decisive attack, knocks out almost all of humanity’s defenses. Now on the brink of annihilation, humankind’s only hope is a few brave souls who survived the initial attack: Commander Lucinda Hardy, thrust into uncertain command of the Royal Armadalen Navy’s only surviving warship. Booker3, a soldier of Earth, sentenced to die for treason, whose time on death row is cut short when the Sturm attack his prison compound. Princess Alessia, a young royal of the Montanblanc Corporation, forced to flee when her home planet is overrun and her entire family executed. Sephina L’trel, the leader of an outlaw band who must call on all of her criminal skills to resist the invasion. And, finally, Admiral Frazer McLennan, the infamous hero of the first war with the Sturm hundreds of years ago, who hopes to rout his old foes once and for all—or die trying.

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The book features teardrop shaped AIs known as 'Intellects'

At first they passed no other personnel, but the traffic in automats and bot trains was moderate to busy, and once a Flotilla-class Combat Intellect floated past. They saluted the black ovoid lozenge.

Un-augmented humans known as 'source coders'.

"Booker sighed and rubbed at his eyes. He was tired, and his palm rasped on the stubble of his cheeks. He didn’t want to argue theology with this well-meaning idiot. He was content to pass his final hour in better company than Keller could offer. But he didn’t want to have to defend and justify his own faith as a source coder.

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