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The Silver Metal Lover by Tanith Lee

The Silver Metal Lover (1981)

by Tanith Lee

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Silver Metal Lover (1)

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Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
So, this is my first Tanith Lee, and it was suggested as a robot book when I was asking for them. And I really, really loved this one. It's about so much more than robots, or even robotic love - although, damn, there is a lot of human/robot lovin' going on in here. No, there's so much detailed introspection, about family, about friendship, about love and loss, and even the social balance between the rich and the poor.

Beautiful prose. Just delicious.

And I was drawn in, right until the end. Which made me gasp and cry, by the way. Because as much as the gorgeous language makes you want to linger over the descriptions of people and places, the characters and their stories propel you along right until the end.

Jane is rich, and while not as spoiled as her friends, she is undoubtedly spoiled. When she meets S.I.L.V.E.R - referred to simply as Silver - she is, at first, horrified. An android who can sing as well, with as much tone and range, and emotion, as a human. And who can come up with his own lyrics as well. However, she is compelled to see him again, at least after her friend hires Silver for a party.

And there is a love story that slowly builds up, nothing erotic - or I should say, you're not given the juicy erotic details. The truth is that they don't really matter. Jane feels a pure love for Silver, so much so that she literally gives up everything for him.

I'm going to be even vaguer when I say that circumstances, and even people, work against Jane and Silver. To give away too much would be to spoil that lovely, slow build up of love, and the way it can both build and be unraveled by another's hand. It's truly touching, and all told from Jane's point-of-view.

I'm very much looking forward to reading Metallic Love, the sequel. I'd highly recommend this book. There are mentions of underage sex - although, again, no details - but this is a society that seems to accept teens having sex. At fifteen or sixteen, the upperclass teens are living alone, and if not, their parents talk to them about sex quite openly. (Or at least, Jane's does, and she's not presented as odd in that respect, especially given the kids living alone!) That is really one of the only things that kind of squicked me out, and it was presented in such a matter of fact matter that I'd accepted it as part of the world by the novel's end. (I'd also argue the kids act more like adults by sixteen or so than they do in our current society, so it also felt a little more like they were adults by the end of the novel.) ( )
1 vote All_Hail_Grimlock | Oct 25, 2015 |
This was so much more than I expected. I loved it.
My full review is here, on Hot Stuff for Cool People. ( )
  hotforcool | May 31, 2015 |
Engaging coming-of-age story. Pampered, weak, rich Jane falls in love with a human-looking robot, gives up all her worldly wealth to buy him, and lives -- and grows personally -- in poverty.

There are some interesting ideas here about emotions and love and souls, but it's usual fare for robot spec fic. It's a very engaging tale, though, and worked well for me as light reading even in the harder parts. Enjoyable. ( )
  pammab | Jun 6, 2014 |
I am more of a fan of Tanith Lee's darker fiction, however this is a beautifully written story and I enjoyed it for what it is; young adult fiction. Although the heroine can be annoying at times, this is a superb coming of age tale with compelling characterisation.

Jane, a pampered, poor little rich girl, is stifled by her over-controlling mother and left unfulfilled by a frivolous, meaningless lifestyle. When she meets and fall in love with Silver, a new line of robot designed to be as human-like as possible, she flees her luxurious home in the clouds to lead a bohemian life with her inhuman lover in the slums of the city. As Silver grows and begins to realise his emotions and his humanity, Jane also grows and realises her strength, individuality, and her independence.

A lovely, bitter-sweet story about first love and growing up. This is definitely a keeper and one to give to your daughter once she starts her own journey towards independence.

( )
  TillyTenchwiggle | Sep 26, 2013 |
I was intrigued by the idea of the graphic adaptation of this novel. The theme and scope are entirely different; the author worked with the adapter/illustrator to change the story so some main elements remain, but it is truly a different story. Still interesting, but not as good as the longer novel (which was wonderful!). ( )
  Krumbs | Mar 31, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tanith Leeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Craft, KinukoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Flynn, DannyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maitz, DonCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, between picnics.
To Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Between picnics.
First words
Mother, I am in love with a robot.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Mother, I am in love with a robot.
No. She isn't going to like that.
Mother, I am in love.
Are you, darling?
Oh, yes, Mother, yes I am. His hair is auburn, and his eyes are very large. Like amber. And his skin is silver.
Mother. I'm in love.
With whom, dear?
His name is Silver.
How metallic.
Yes. It stands for Silver Ionized Locomotive Verisimulated Electronic Robot.
Silence. Silence. Silence.
It is a world of the future, where beauty is available to all, given the sophistication of technology and medicine. Yet Jane is - well, surely pleasant-enough-looking, with her soft brown hair and slightly plump body. Years back, when Jane was tiny, her beautiful, wealthy mother had her analyzed for perfect body type, and now cosmetic medications keep her true to form. And she questions little. After all, her mother has so much authority, so many opinions, that there's nothing for Jane to say.
And Jane's lovers are largely in her mind - men from films she's seen, from books she's read. The thought of confronting a flesh-and-blood lover makes Jane grow cold. What would she say to him? What would he think of plain Jane?
Until she meets Silver, a singer and guitarist. And a robot - with all the adoration and compassion that in-the-flesh lovers lack.
But, unlike human lovers, Silver is for sale, and Jane - desperate for his love - risks estrangement from her mother and friends to possess him. With Silver as her partner, she tastes the first happiness and independence she has ever known. She even grows pretty, as she stops taking the pills and treatments her mother had ordered for her.
Yet - what would you do if the manufacturer decided to recall the particular model of lover you'd bought?
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0553581279, Mass Market Paperback)

The Silver Metal Lover is a classic tale of transforming love. It's a keeper, a book that gets reread 'til it falls apart. Fans petitioned to get it reprinted, and after 10 years of waiting, here it is. Oddly, the book is seldom mentioned when Tanith Lee's work is discussed, perhaps because Lee's usual milieu is horror, and The Silver Metal Lover is a poignant romance requiring at least two hankies before the end.

Robots have replaced human labor on earth, causing massive unemployment in a world devastated by pollution and natural disasters. Then Electronic Metals releases a new line: performing artists and sexual companions designed to entertain human partners. Jane, a rich, lonely, and insecure 16-year-old, meets one, the minstrel Silver, and falls passionately in love, despite revulsion at the idea of preferring a mechanical man to a human. She gives up everything she has known for him, and discovers herself. Silver becomes more and more "human" in loving her--a clever illusion created by his programming. Or is it? This unstable society can't afford any evidence that some robots might be indistinguishable from humans. Tragedy is inevitable. Read it and weep--and don't forget to put it on the keeper shelf. --Nona Vero

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:02 -0400)

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