Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars
What humans want from the Silver Planet is water. What they find is a race of humanoids who are sentient, but as emotionless and serene as the plants and placid lakes they tend. B, captain of the mission, doesn’t believe that the “Silvers” are intelligent, and lets his crew experiment on them. But then he bonds with Imms, who seems different from the others-interested in learning, intrigued by human feelings. And B realizes that capturing, studying, and killing this planet’s natives has done incalculable damage.
When a fire aboard B’s ship kills most of the crew and endangers Imms, B decides to take him back to Earth. But the simplicity of the Silver Planet doesn’t follow them. Imms learns the full spectrum of human emotions, including a love B is frightened to return, and a mistrust of the bureaucracy that wants to treat Imms like a test subject, even if they have to eliminate B to do it.
The version I read is a revised second edition. I owned the original version by Jill Smith but had not gotten around to reading it, so when I noticed a new edition was coming out and that it was actually by an author that I’d read and enjoyed other stories by, I had to read it.
Outstanding world building in this sci-fi story. It takes place partially on an the Silver planet and partially on Earth. The description of the Silver planet and the culture of its people is vividly drawn, detailed, and fascinating. I adore reading sci-fi stories where the aliens are truly unique and different from humans, not just merely humans of a different skin color or something. This was totally that. I loved the description of the silver anatomy with its bruise like skin, floating heart, and some of the special abilities they have such as staying under water for a long, long time and going into the ground. Excellent sci-fi elements! The Silvers were original, and the first part of the story written while they were on their planet, while the darkest and most disturbing part, was also my favorite. Unfortunately, once the story moved to Earth, it began to slow down and really drag for me in parts.
This is not a light or happy story, in fact, it read as rather depressing a lot of the time. It deals with issues that made me think and feel and ponder. There are some parts that shimmer with tension, and some other parts that seemed flat, unemotional and slow. The first part, set on Planet Silver, was heartbreakingly sad as we see the way the humans thought of and treated the peaceful Silvers. The cast of characters on that ship was quite interesting, as was the outcome of their time there. To be honest, I didn’t like B at all at the beginning, but as the story went on, I at least began to understand him if not ever fully liking him.
On the other hand, Imms (who B started out calling Roach…shudder) was fascinating and heartbreaking right from the beginning to the end. He reminded me a little of Pinocchio wanting to be a real boy.
The prose is sometimes very simple and other times flowery and lyrical almost poetic. The writing style of it didn’t draw me in as closely as it could, which in this case was actually a good thing as it was plenty heart wrenching as it was. A touching, thought provoking romance with mention of sex, but it is all off-page. I enjoyed the ending and yet it did leave me with questions and wanting more.
The new cover on this version is lovely, a subtle, different take on sci-fi that makes me curious. Unique
Pre sales link: Riptide Publishing
ebook, 2nd edition, 323 pages
Expected publication: July 9th 2016 by Riptide Publishing (first published February 16th 2014)
ISBN 1626493863 (ISBN13: 9781626493865)