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.
A graphic novel of the Silver Metal Lover has been published, but is currently out print (the art is by Trina Robbins). In addition,
singer Julia Ecklar in her album known as Divine Intervention has made a song titled 'Silver' which is based off of Lee's novel. The
song is from Silver's point of view on Jane and her feelings for him; basically being a tune about an impossible love, yet there are
hints, just as in 'The Silver Metal Lover', of him caring for Jane. Oddly enough the song also implies that he is not capable of love.
Clearly Ecklar is playing off of the uncertain relationship between the two characters as the melody is soft and romantic
despite it's conflicting lyrics.
'The Silver Metal Lover' is the first installment in what is recently called the S.I.L.V.E.R. Series due to it's sequel made in 2005 known as Metallic Love. The sequel does not focus on Silver and Jane (the two main characters of the first novel) but, there is a constant reminder of their legacy throughout, since Jane's story inspires our new main character known as Loren. Tanith Lee has expressed that there may be a third novel in the "series" which will go back to the story of Silver and Jane.