The Luck of Han'anga
War of the Second Iteration, Book One
by Thomas Watson
The Human Commonwealth of Worlds had colonized their small corner of the galaxy for almost four centuries before an intelligent non-human species was encountered. During that time hundreds of stellar systems were settled in an effort to spread life out into the Great Void, creating a thriving culture shared by flesh and blood people and machine minds known as Artificials, vast intellects that opened the way to the stars for the Human species. The economics of scarcity and want are ancient history, and illness and old age have been banished. The Commonwealth is a civilization at peace with itself, but it is all Humanity knows.
Like many citizens of the Commonwealth, the crew of the probeship William Bartram has come to believe Humanity is alone in the galaxy. Then they meet the Leyra'an. In that encounter they find an unsettling mystery, for the Leyra'an are so similar to Humans that it defies both science and belief.
But before the crew of the probeship can investigate this mystery, there is a darker and far more dangerous matter before them. Someone else met the Leyra'an first, and started a war.
The War of the Second Iteration depicts a future in which economics as we know it has come to an end, and Human civilization pursues other priorities. The Great Age of Changes – in which we now live – has long since become something like an asymptotic curve, along which change, both technological and social, comes gradually, slowed in part by the length of time required for a change to spread through the vastness of Human civilization. Humanity spreads steadily outward from star to star, colonizing star systems and bringing life to lifeless places, while preserving native life when they find it. These goals are shared by Humans and the descendants of artificial intelligence, beings known simply as the Artificials. This is the beginning of the story of how this long, quiet episode in the history of the Human species comes to a sudden end, and how Humanity and its allies fight to defend what they have become, and what they hope one day to be.
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