The Bohr Maker

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Nagata, Linda. The Bohr Maker. New York City: Bantam Spectra, 1995. See Internet Speculative Fiction Database for other editions, translation, and awards.[1] First in series, or after "0", The Nanotech Succession.[2]

Blurb from author's website:

It is the most powerful technology known to humanity, microscopically small, allowing its user to control and change other's moods and emotions, and even to reprogram his or her own genetic structure. Its potential as the ultimate weapon or an instrument of peace has led to its ban by the Commonwealth.

Someone has stolen this outlaw technology, the Bohr Maker [...] at the command of a man with a genetic time bomb coded into his DNA. Nikko Jiang-Tibayan has only weeks to live, and he will do anything to stay [...] alive [...].

But then the Bohr Maker falls into the hands of a beautiful young woman in the poverty-stricken slums of Sunda. Its technology will make her both fugitive and messiah.[...].[3]

Cf. Nexus Trilogy, Eclipse Corona, and Interface.

From the book jacket one the April 1995 Bantam Spectra edition — the "beautiful young woman" in Sunda is Phousita:

[* * *] In actuality, Phousita has been infected with an artificial intelligence system called the Bohr Maker [Bohr: last name of inventor of this instance of Maker technology].

It was the most powerful technology known to humanity — microscopically small, which allowed its users to control and change others' moods and emotions undetected, and even to reprogram his or her own genetic structure.

The Bohr Maker's potential as the ultimate weapon or an instrument of peace has led to its ban by the Commonwealth — and the assassination of its inventor [which doesn't stop him from being an active character in the story].

But it was stolen from the secret files of the Commonwealth Police at the command of Nikko Jiang-Tibayan, a bioengineered man with a genetic time bomb within him.

Willing to do anything to stay alive, Nikko had planned to use the Bohr Maker to countermand the expiration date coded into his DNA. Now the option had been taken from him; the device had fallen into the unwitting Phousita's grasp.

The question was, what would an impoverished, uneducated[,] and highly superstitious person use it for?

The answer is that she'd learn to use it responsibly, by the end of the novel, with the implication of future use for the good of her impoverished and oppressed people.

The Bohr Maker is a variety of satura: mixing together police procedural, cyberpunk with heavy emphasis on the poor and exploited, feminist freedom narrative, and other genres, including a kind of rationalized magic realism — providing an appropriate mixed medium for an exercise in testing and transgressing boundaries between highly advanced AI and nanotechnology on the one hand and actual magic on the other. For racing with a genetically encoded termination date, cf. and contrast BLADE RUNNER. Note also motifs of consciousness transfer, as in "The Day the Icicle Works Closed" and similar works;[4] biological machines and "biogenesis"; and digitalized intelligence as a kind of ghost — and called "ghosts."

On-line reviews as of 4 December 2021:

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RDE, finishing, 25Nov21, 4Dec21