The Bohr Maker by Linda Nagata
Nikko is the first true "post human"-a man genetically engineered to survive in the airless void of space-but the research permit that allows his existence is about to expire. His body has already begun an insidious, pre-programmed failure that will end in his death. Nikko's only hope for survival rides on an illegal and extremely powerful nanotech device known as the Bohr Maker, that will allow him to rewrite his genetic code and extend his life. He attempts to steal the Maker from the archives of the Commonwealth police, but his plan goes awry. The device escapes into the wild, infecting a young woman named Phousita who lives in an impoverished slum where nanotechnology is regulated only by the black market. Phousita's genetic code is rewritten by the Maker. Her senses are enhanced, and she gains extraordinary powers of healing, but like Nikko she has become a fugitive. The Commonwealth police are on the hunt, determined to sterilize all traces of the Bohr Maker before it can be copied and spread throughout the population. Together, Phousita and Nikko must evade a ruthless pursuit, both to preserve their own lives and to save the Bohr Maker, which holds the promise of re-defining humanity-for good or for ill.
A brilliantly original, fast-paced thriller, The Bohr Maker won the Locus Award for Best First Novel.
The Bohr Maker is Book 1 of The Nanotech Succession, a collection of stand-alone novels exploring the rise of nanotechnology and the strange and fascinating future that follows.