on 29 April 2001
This is, quite simply, fabulous. It is a love story, but for once, this is a love story with a point, a story worth telling. Everyone has already described most of the plot, so I won't do that again, but I got this on their recommendations and they are not exaggerating. This is a wonderful book, the type you don't find very often. I've always liked Tanith Lee, but this outclasses everything else I've read by her. It feels as if it had to be written, something that made so much sense that you wonder why you hadn't read this book already. It doesn't feel formulaic, it doesn't feel forced at any point, the social observations which the book make are not crowbarred into the plot as they too often are, its, well, you can tell I like it, can't you?!
on 29 August 1999
Jane, pampered, protected, and stifled by her controlling mother, leaves her home in the clouds to live a bohemian life with her lover in the slums of a city wrecked by frequent earthquakes. Her lover, Silver, is one of a new line of robots designed to do anything humans can do -- and to do it better. If the premise sounds frivolous, the novel is anything but. The characters are deftly drawn, complex creations, and the novel's denoument, as Jane realizes her own independence and strength, is genuinely moving.
Most of Tanith Lee's brilliant early fantasy and science fiction (which precedes her recent move into writing primarily horror) has been out of print far too long. Hopefully the republication of Silver Metal Lover is a sign that her other early work is soon to follow.
on 2 July 1999
Having just recently discovered Tanith Lee, I am avidly reading everything of hers that I can get my hands on. So far, "The Silver Metal Lover" ranks as one of my favorites. I have not yet read the Paradys tetralogy, which I have been told is superb, and a friend has promised me "Faces Under Water", so this book may be outclassed...but somehow, I think that would be hard.
One of the things I love most about "The Silver Metal Lover," besides the compelling characterization and the fully realized and believable setting, is Lee's writing style. It changes with each section of the book, mirroring Jane's growing maturity, so that the style of the first part is completely different from the style of the last. I find this an extremely talented turn of writing; as well as being fun to read, it's impressive.
I usually avoid love stories. If romance is a sub-plot to a larger story, fine, just don't give me a love story and nothing else. I have had to break my rule with "The Silver Metal Lover," and have done so with absolutely no regrets. The story feels real; you care about the characters and follow them as avidly as if they existed in our place, our time. Although I can't rate it as a love story, I can certainly say that it is one of the best science fiction books I have read: it focuses not on the future setting, not on the technology that can produce Silver and the Sophisticated Formats, but on the characters that populate the world. They are made very real, and for that reason I am now re-reading this book for what must be the third or fourth time in two weeks.
What else can I say? I highly recommend it!
on 18 April 1999
A friend lent me this book and promised me I would be a complete mess after having read it. I just finished it about 20 minutes ago, and my god was she right! I'm still shaking and trying to get a grip of myself between tears and laughter. As soon as I was fit to stand up I threw myself in front of the computer, to find a copy of my own of this wonderful book! Tanith Lee has managed to capture the essence of love on a sheet of paper(!), something I never thought possible, and as I still shiver from the last three hours of reading I know I shall never look at the world in quite the same way as before. For your own sake, read this book! Cry, laugh, mutter, smile and scream together with the poor maiden who fell in love with a robot. In short, rejoice in the narrative skills of this wonderfully talented author!
on 5 August 1999
There are three kinds of books out there in my opinion - those that make you laugh, those that make you cry, and those that leave you so stunned by their beauty that all you can say is "Wow." This is the rare book about which I would circle all of the above. You must read this book - it will change forever your view of life, of love, and of what it means to be human.
on 9 April 1999
I read this book years ago during its first debut in paperback form. I am very happy to see it being reissued as my old paperback is rapidly falling apart in spite of the care I treat it with. The Silver Metal Lover is one of the few books that I never tire of rereading (which I do about three times a year.) I think the reason this book is so special to me is the caring treatment Ms. Lee gave this topic. Though the book ends on a sad note, you are left with hope both for Jain and yourself as well. I have often noticed when I reread this book when I am blue, that I feel as though there is hope for me as well. Perhaps this is because Ms. Lee is one of the most skilled writers at setting mood I have ever encountered. I could only wish more writers had writing gifts to equal hers. Definitely "A Must-Read".
I was REALLY blown away by this book, and it was probably the most exciting romance novel I've ever read that was not soppy and was about a robot - not a man! But this is no ordinary robot, and not one without character and a mysterious edge! Only a really talented writer I believe could carry such a thing off in my opinion!
This has been my first book (but I suspect first of many) that I have ever read by Tanith Lee. Her books I have occasionally come across casually over the years in book shops - at least I was familiar with the name, but to my utter shame and regret have ever paid little attention to... It's strange how one imagines someone to be when unknown; I always imagined Tanith Lee to be perhaps a little Japanese lady for some bizarre reason!? Perhaps it was because I had a penfriend years ago from Japan whose surname was Lee; and that I'd also heard of a very similar sounding christian name used by another Japanese lady, though I am guessing it is perhaps Irish in origin? I was then surprised when I went to look her up on Wikipedia as I often do with writers I'm unfamiliar with after purchasing their books, that she is in fact British and has written about seventy or so books during her career!! That's just great for me, because now I have LOADS great more reads hopefully to look forward to!
This novel is simply RIVETING!! The instant `Silver' (this is the name given to the robot) enters the story; whenever he exited, I was constantly awaiting his return like a drug! Somehow Ms. Lee has had the ability (and credibility) to get the reader just as `hooked' on this robot as the character Jane who falls in love with him does! She seems addicted to this amazing, enigmatic and wholly mysterious human - yet not human-like robot! Oh; how when I finished this book I SO wanted Silver for myself...
Now; I often say in many of my reviews when I learn that books I've just finished have tie-ins that I'm not that keen on sequels or trilogies, but I must confess that after initially being put off by learning early on into the reading that this was the first one in a supposed series of novels - having already even by that early stage become SO hooked, I was actually quite delighted at the very prospect of more to come! I also discovered on Wikipedia that the sequel took almost a quarter of a century to actually appear! Surely there has to be a record broken somewhere in there!?? This has to be one, if not the longest gap between a first and second book of a series I've ever heard of... I see we're still awaiting the third instalment, and have been since 2005, and so we'll probably have a lot longer to wait yet...
However; having just finished this amazing story, I've already purchased the sequel entitled `Metallic Lover' - can't wait to get into that, though as I was just finishing this, and having been made aware of the follow-up, I did expect a more open-type ending from the first than there was as a result. I am guessing this wasn't the case because Ms. Lee perhaps (considering the huge gap in publication) had not originally intended a second book or a series to follow in the beginning. But I felt the ending to this first instalment to be VERY sad and final indeed... So when I read the synopsis of the follow-up, I was just a teeny bit disappointed when the story - though being part of the same theme, does not in fact continue with the same characters - or where it left off, which I felt a bit of a shame... Despite this though, I suspect this lady's writing ability so clever it will be just as riveting and fascinating all the same! I expect I'll soon be finding out!
All the characters here are convincing - some I did not warm to at first, but then like in real-life; as I read more about them, I began to get to know and understand them better, and to perhaps reason why some were behaving the way that they did, which makes the whole story even more credible and convincing to the reader.
Another aspect of Ms. Lee's writing I liked was the fact that some of the names of her characters - though inventive, were extremely pronounceable. I also noticed that it's perhaps better to even use some foreign names in order to be different as she has also done in this story. These can have the same desired effect in sounding `futuristic' instead of this constant barrage of complicated and unpronounceable names we find in similar books that tend to give the reader indigestion - as if the author is out to prove something, and I'm pretty tired of it...
I would recommend this book to anyone; there's sci-fi - romance; (and not too slushy) It's imaginative - thought-provoking - with really a bit of everything in there, and for young or old alike! I would have loved this just as much if I'd discovered it in my youth more than thirty years ago when it was first published had I read it then, as I did now! I rarely read a book twice - however good it may be, but I just KNOW I shall most definitely be reading this one again without a shadow of a doubt!
N.B. Fantastic artwork by the way to the Bantam editions by the fabulous Kinuko Y. Craft!
on 24 June 1999
So Perfect. This is more than a love story, but also the story of a young woman's journey to independence. Set in a post-apocalyptic land, Jane, the daughter of a wealthy & controlling woman, purchases a robot that is so totally lifelike she falls in love with him. The limits and nature of love are tested through their ensuing relationship, revealing its transformative powers. Lee has managed to make what seems a trite subject so real and beautiful that I was sobbing by the end.
on 20 October 2015
I loved this book in so many ways. At first I wasn't getting on with it much at all, but as I kept reading I found myself to be surprised at how I didn't get the usual uneasy feeling I get when I read stories that revolve heavily around love in a couple, which is weird, if you know who's involved, I guess! I blame my SO for teaching me what real love is. :P
I think that the reason why I liked this so much is that the story is not just a story about love, but also and mainly about the protagonist's evolution as a person. I found her to be rather unlikable at first (in a similar way to Jane Austen's Fanny Price, maybe?). Jane is rather sheltered at first and the author doesn't spare you any of her flaws. However, once Silver was introduced I got really interested in knowing about him: was he really who I thought he was? Were his motives really what I thought they were? As I was busy trying to figure things out, Jane showed some signs of promise and then of change and gradually my interest was shifted again and I loved to see her grow and ended up appreciating that I had to endure a bit of dullness before I got to witness her maturing. It felt much more real and deserved.
I thought the ending was perhaps a bit abrupt or cheesy, I'm not sure what the exact adjective would be and I fear I might spoil it by going too much in detail. However, I'm talking about the very end, I enjoyed the vast majority of the book and I might even come back to it and see more in the ending, too, with time. I'm open to that possibility (that's why it's 4 rather than 5 stars, at least partly).
I think I really need to go back to Tanith Lee's books. I read a few when I was really young (in Italian) and liked them a lot, but reading this now I found so much more about relationships; about letting go of things that are just going to upset you (some of the stuff that Silver says sounds to me like it could be out of a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy book, at times!), about finding one's true purpose in life or actually just going through life in a meaningful and as honest as possible way.
I don't know, I'm really not confident when it comes to reviewing books because I don't read that much and I'm not great at explaining what I mean, but I do think it's useful to leave one's impressions so that if someone else reads they can gauge whether they'd like the book or not but it's hard to do without saying exactly how it goes.
The bottom line is that I think that if you like to analyse how people behave, if you have a soft spot for love stories that aren't all around the roses and flowers of a relationship but are about the growth of trust between two individuals and the inevitable changes that occur in their outlook on life and you like stories about a speculative future, you might want to give this a try. You *might* struggle to keep reading it at the beginning, but you might also find that having to do that at the beginning is actually not a detriment to the story but, rather, a very fitting "payment" for what you get later on and mirrors what the actual relationship is like. I think it's not a very long segment at the beginning, and after that I was hooked.
(I know the title for the review is cheesy, I deliberated for a while and that's really how it felt to me.)
on 2 August 2008
I read this as a teenager and I return to it again and again. I well remember my first reading of this novel- sitting up to 3am and sobbing my heart out over the ending. Even now many, many (ahem - too many to note here!) years later, it can still make me cry.
Despite the wholly convincing futuristic sci-fi setting, this is first and foremost the most compelling and moving love story. Lee deliberately quotes from Romeo and Juliet and there is a Renaissance feel to this.
Jane, the poor little rich narrator, moves through her life in a sort of cocooned dream; vaguely aware of her unhappiness and the cruel, bored posturings of even those of her friends who might like her; but without the drive or the emotional maturity to do anything to change things. Then she meets Silver - vital, beautiful and a robot - and she falls in love so completely that nothing in her world will ever be the same again.
This is a simply wonderful book, uplifting, emotional and colourful. I haven't ever really got on with many of Lee's other titles but the simple beauty of her narrative here and the emotional pull of story is too strong to resist. I'm really glad to see it's available again because I hope other readers will get to experience the same bittersweet joy it still brings me.