Young Adult to Adult
The Silver Metal Lover is a book which questions the nature of humanity. This is a love story, where a girl falls for a humanoid robot, who also loves her back. It is never determined what gives him the power to love, except that he might have been made wrongly.
In this story, the robot is more human than most of the other characters, he cares for the girl, both emotionally and physically, and he can sing and paint, things we generally see as being a human thing. Along with the female protagonist, Jane, they are the only ones that feel love or loyalty. Jane's own mother seems to regard her as a possession, a pretty toy to show off, and she 'chose her', had her mostly taken care of by machines during her childhood. It even says she was fed by machines as a baby. She says she feels more like a machine than a human because of this. However she and her robot lover, 'Silver' are the only ones who really have connections. Even her friends, most of whom don't really seem to care about her at all, are manipulative people, who enjoy sex but not love. Her closest friend, Clovis, who actually helps her buy Silver from the manufacturer manipulates and bullies his lovers, and usually drives them away, because he can't really stand being around humans.
The world presented in the story is also interesting, the machines, the cities, the way people live, are all so different from the way we live, and yet, so similar. I love the exotic names of people, drinks, the beautiful clothes, the dark beauty of the slums and the poisoned river, and the haunting memories of the asteroid. Tanith Lee has a wonderful way with words and strongly evokes the world she has created in a way that makes me long to be there.
The novel is, at its heart, a love story, and very strongly brings back the wonder and despair of first love. This is a truly beautiful book for young adults that can enjoyed by adults, too.