I have this novel I've been working on since my early 20s. It's called "The Little World" and it revolves around the relationship between the main character Alex Stone, and his fiancé, Ana Silva.
It's set in the near future where breakthroughs in nano technology have spurred a mini renaissance in biotech innovations. The story makes use of 3 specific innovations:
- the artificial blood cell
- the artificial skin cell
- the artificial neuron
In combination, these artificial cells give a person "freedom" from the regular constraints of life. Namely, the need to eat, sleep, breathe, work hard to learn, or struggle to manage one's emotions.
Our protagonist, Alex, works in biotech, but he's basically a low level drone. He is inspired by new technologies, and wants to be as involved with these discoveries as he can.
He's also relatively financially unsuccessful and envious of his friends and peers who have either made better decisions or have been more consistent in life.
As these technologies reach the level of human trials, he figures if he can't make himself successful enough to feel equal to his peers, then he will take risks with his body to make the constraints of everyday life irrelevant.
The progress of Alex getting into these trials, the sacrifices and risks he takes, changing his body, and exploring the effects of the changes is one of the major arcs of the story. He's able to learn things quickly, SCUBA dive without tanks, go without sleep indefinitely, and throttle his emotions up and down at will.
Contrasted with this, is the stress it puts on his relationship with his fiancé. Ana is a warm, loving, artistic person who is much more accepting of herself and Alex. She largely doesn't see the need for pursuing these things that excite Alex so much. She supports him initially but as things progress, Alex's new abilities become eery and inhuman. It disrupts daily routines and gives Alex arguably sociopathic or manipulative qualities. It puts heavy strain on their relationship to the point of being unacceptable.
Eventually we reach a breaking point where Alex and Ana split up. The denouement and resolution of the novel is Alex traveling the world in otherwise impossible ways like swimming across the ocean and walking across the Sahara desert.
With such heavy modification to his form, we're led to wonder how human modified Alex really is. Is he superhuman? Or something else entirely? Is he still able to find purpose and meaning in his life? And is he really alive? Or just an android after image of a guy who used to be named Alex?