Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Silver Metal Lover

Title: The Silver Metal Lover
Author: Tanith Lee

This slightly dated Sci-fi novel was recommended to me during a lecture for teachers (upper secondary educators) in Uppsala, Sweden, and as a sci-fi fan, I promptly purchased a copy for my school and read it.

The story revolves around a pampered sixteen-year-old girl living in a distant future where flying cars, nifty gadgets and houses in the sky serve as a contrast to rampant pollution and social inequality. The wayward girl is lacking maternal (or any) guidancy and, thus, happens to fall in love with a new make of robot, who is designed to make its owner happy. Suddenly, her empty life is filled with meaning, passion and sensational sex. She runs away with her newfound paramour and by loving him the right way, she manages to transform him into something almost human.

The cover of the novel is reminiscent of the romance genre and is not misleading. The characters are not very nuanced and, occasionally, I feel like slapping our young heroine around to make her come to her senses. Also, if the description of the silver robot's amber chest hair is supposed to turn me on, it does not do the trick.

However, the novel does raise an interesting question, which is not exactly new: what makes us human and who are we to decide who is?

I migh give this book to some students and I think some of them might like it, as I would have at that age. After all, who am I to say what is good literature?

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