Love Hurts: Examining the Sequel to “Silver Metal Lover”

Apr 20th, 2005 | By | Category: Columns, Eileen: This is Your Brain On...
ACT 1
SCENE 1

(An office. Present day. Tanith Lee, writer extraordinaire, is meeting with her editor. She is dressed sensibly because she is British and holds an aura of excitement. The editor is seated behind her desk. The audience can immediately tell the editor is hard at work by the weary look in her eyes and also because she is shackled to one of the mahogany desk legs by a length of chain purchased from Sears)

EDITOR
Tanith, how lovely to see you!

LEE
Hi there.

(Lee takes a seat and admires the detailing of the Editor’s spiked manacle)

I’ve been thinking about a new book.

EDITOR
Oh really? Well don’t keep me in suspense!

LEE
It’s very exciting, very exciting. You see it starts out with a young heroine.

EDITOR
Yes, yes.

LEE
And it’s set in the future.

EDITOR
I see.

LEE
And she’s under the thumb of a very controlling mother. And then she falls in love with a robot!

EDITOR
A  robot.

LEE
Yes!

EDITOR
(Pause.)

LEE
I know it’s a very shocking concept but I can make it work.

EDITOR
Yes it’s very shocking. Because you already wrote that book.

LEE
I did?

EDITOR
Yes. It was called The Silver Metal Lover.

LEE
(Blinks.)
Really?

EDITOR
Yes. Remember? It was about a girl named Jane in this future world full of robots and she finds herself desperately in love with a robot named Silver designed to pleasure humans. She runs away with him and they find happiness but only for a short time because he’s quickly captured and dismantled. It’s all very lovely and heart wrenching. One of your best young adult novels in my opinion.

LEE
Oh.
(Pause.)
How terribly embarrassing.

EDITOR
Oh Tanith, no! You’ve written over a hundred books, it’s very hard to keep everything straight–especially since your themes are so similar.

LEE
What?

EDITOR
Well you know. The mother thing.

LEE
I see.

EDITOR
And the rape of a very  young woman, usually of high status, which is committed by a bloodthirsty but thickheaded warmonger.

LEE
Well, why aren’t more people reading it?

EDITOR
What?

LEE
This Silver Metal Lover. It’s an excellent premise. I mean, I’ve thought of it twice. I suggest more press!

EDITOR
For a ten year old book? I’m sorry Tanith, I can’t do that.

LEE
Then I’ll write another one. A sequel!

EDITOR
Wonderful! A continuation of Jane’s story?

LEE
Well. It will be about another girl.

EDITOR
Jane’s daughter  perhaps?

LEE
No, completely unrelated. I’ll throw in some sort of crazed religious group and make her a little bit of a bad girl to solidify how different she and Jane are.

EDITOR
Okay. So what’s the plot?

LEE
Hmmm…
(Pause.)
I know! She falls in love with a robot

EDITOR
(Hides head in hands)

END SCENE

And so it is written, and so it is that Eileen pours herself a drink in order to medicate herself for this impending catastrophe.

ACT TWO
SCENE TWO

I stumbled upon the sequel to Silver Metal Lover, aptly titled Metallic Love, purely by accident, like when one accidentally lights themselves on fire. Tanith Lee is an award-winning novelist. She is a prolific writer who has written hundreds of books, effortlessly moving from young adult to horror to historical romance. This genre hopping goddess, a writer I admire above all others, has decided to pen this sequel for no other reason than the fact that she has completely gone off her nut.

This calls for another drink! Mmm, delicious.

I guess this is a replica of the Garden of Eden? Silver seems to enjoy hawking. Also, Loren (the narrator and Silver’s love interest) looks like Vanessa Carlton.

Tanith quickly starts out Silver Metal Lover Two with an introduction to Loren. She’s the complete opposite of Jane, which means she’s a big slut and swears a lot. What a stretch of characterization (get this goddamn lime out of my drink, it’s sucking up all the vodka).

Loren is part of a fanatical group called the Acolytes. OMG I love X-men! Is Magneto going to fight Professor Xavier in the next paragraph?

Nope. Damn.

Instead, there’s a lot of exposition about how being part of a religious zealous sect is so not cool. Like having to work all day, wear robes that do nothing for the figure, and downing Kool-Aid laced with cyanide.

However, Loren finds a magical book underneath the floorboards. “Of course I kneeled down and peered in, my heart stood still, and when I saw that what was wrapped in the scarf was only a battered paper book, I felt a wrench of bitter disappointment (7).”

Yet Loren’s disappointment soon turns into revelation: “What do I say to you, then, about reading that Book (9).”

No she hasn’t found the Bible, you stupid losers. It’s Silver Metal Lover!

Loren is then kind enough to present the reader with THE ENTIRE PLOT of The Silver Metal Lover.

“Okay. Plotline. There’s this girl of sixteen (Jane), rich and naive, and under the thumb of her tyrannical, bloody, mind-fucking bitch of a mother; only Jane innocently doesn’t know how terrible Mom is; but one day the girl meets a robot. Now we’ve had robots for ages, right. They do most of the jobs people used to and so create a permanent underclass of unemployed subsistence plebs, like me, he’s part of a new line designed for pleasure: he’s tall, strong, elegant, and handsome. A musician, a lover. And Jane falls in love with him. So she leaves Dire Momma, and goes to live with Silver in the pits and craters of the slums. But then the firm that created him calls back all the robots of that special super-deluxe line. He’s caught. They dismantle him. They kill him (10-11).”

I smell a fucking skunk, Tanith.

Drink, please!

Soon the foul smell evolves into aged Vieux Boulogne as Loren becomes entrenched in the story of Silver. Stating that Loren read a certain paragraph of Silver Metal Lover is not enough. She has to DIRECTLY quote a paragraph from the book. Quoting a book quoting a book? How am I supposed to properly cite that?!

“I locked the door and sat down on his unmade bed, and started reading Jane’s Story for the thirteenth time.

She writes:

“He came within three feet of me, and he smiled at me. Total coordination. He seemed perfectly human, utterly natural, except he was too beautiful to be either.

“Hallo,” he said.

(Silver Metal Lover aka Jane’s Story aka Metallic Love 13)

So the book completely changes Loren’s life; screw scrubbing for Jesus, she’s going to scrub on her own terms!

So that’s just what Loren does. She becomes a cleaning lady. And who wouldn’t after such a sexy revelation? She’s so good at Windexing that she gets her own little satellite group called “The Dust Babes.”

“My gang, the Dust Babes, were over on Compton with a new client, when I got a call at the room in the bat-block.”

“Lor, Lor, wake up. We got some difficulties.”

“What? Can’t you deal with it Jizzle (23)?”

Freeze, at ease, now let me drop some more of them keys/It’s 19-9-tre so let me just play/it’s Snoop Dogg, I’m on the mic, I’m back with Dr. Dre!

Oh, sorry.

Drink!

Loren, with her good looks and whorish charm, ends up at the corporation that once created Silver and his robot lover cohorts. There’s some sort of wonderful bazaar, because the company, META, has decided to reinvest in the line of pleasure robots. So it’s a great big show of singing and tap dancing and shadow puppets. Wait, that was my 21st birthday.

She quickly meets Sharffe. He’s French, so he’s associated with the finer things in life: wine, food and the backseat of a car.

Loren settles for the latter. He talks to her, half in French and half in English, because that’s what Frenchmen do, “Quelle  joie. Get in. The seats are fun (55).”

He expresses his interest in Loren. Not for himself, as Frenchman are homosexual, but for an experiment regarding the META robots. You know what that means: orgy time!

“In the champagne room people were dancing the Chaste, the two-together dance where you keep both your upper bodies plastered on each other by sheer ability or determination, not touching with hands or arms (63).”

Lucky for Loren (unlucky for us readers) she won’t be engaging in an orgy–but a one on one–with, OMG SILVER!

It is quickly decided that Loren is there to “test” Silver like the highly motorized vehicle he is. Like a Saturn. I have one, very comfortable.

Loren takes Silver to her apartment, which is on Tolerance Street. Oh, God I can’t take this. Can you mix gin and beer?

Loren confronts Silver about Jane. Silver tells Loren he’s not Silver, but Verlis. He’s a changed man. Like I haven’t heard that line before.

Silver/Verlis/Livers is different from Silver. Not because he was recycled from Silver’s parts like a Coke can, but because he’ s a virgin and Loren was his first! Shit, girl, now you’re stuck with him.

Livers leaves and promises to come back. Loren ponders their night together and is kind enough to use her own thoughts instead of directly quoting from The Silver Metal Lover.

Other things happen and Loren finds out that Jane’s evil mother is the one who has been running the META corporation all along. Livers turns into a dragon. Loren finds out she’s half robot. She doesn’t turn into a dragon. She and Dragon Livers run away and melt together into some sort of weird 7th grade science project.

But I’m drunk now, so whatever.

———-

Eileen really, truly loves Tanith Lee. Truly, truly.

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