• Fiona McIntosh: Voyager Author of the Month

    Fiona McIntosh was born and raised in Sussex in the UK, but also spent early childhood years in West Africa. She left a PR career in London to travel and settled in Australia in 1980. She has since roamed the world working for her own travel publishing company, which she runs with her husband. She lives in Adelaide with her husband and twin sons. Her website is at www.fionamcintosh.com.

    Her latest book, The Scrivener's Tale, is a stand-alone and takes us back to the world of Morgravia from her very first series, The Quickening:

    About The Scrivener's Tale:

    In the bookshops and cafes of present-day Paris, ex-psychologist Gabe Figaret is trying to put his shattered life back together. When another doctor, Reynard, asks him to help with a delusional female patient, Gabe is reluctant... until he meets her. At first Gabe thinks the woman, Angelina, is merely terrified of Reynard, but he quickly discovers she is not quite what she seems.

    As his relationship with Angelina deepens, Gabe's life in Paris becomes increasingly unstable. He senses a presence watching and following every move he makes, and yet he finds Angelina increasingly irresistible.

    When Angelina tells Gabe he must kill her and flee to a place she calls Morgravia, he is horrified. But then Angelina shows him that the cathedral he has dreamt about since childhood is real and exists in Morgravia.

    A special 10th Anniversary edition of her first fantasy book, Myrren's Gift, will be released in December!



Love and Robots …

The Silver Metal LoverThe Silver Metal Lover by Tanith Lee is one of my ‘life changing’ books. It’s the book that made me realise how deeply I love fantasy – and how much an author can change your point-of-view, your feelings, make you so emotionally caught up with a character. I read it on the recommendation of Cecelia Dart-Thorton (author of the Bitterbynde trilogy) – and I have never been more glad about a suggestion for reading material! While trawling the web (as I do) I came across this review – which I think captures the spirit of the book. Victoria Strauss kindly gave me her permission to reproduce it. Voyager publishes The Silver Metal Lover in Australia – with a beautiful cover done by Kinoko Craft. I can’t recommend it more highly.

I’ll be asking various Voyager authors about the book that made an impact on their life – whether it was the one that turned them to writing, or one that made them weep, laugh, exult in life! Let’s see what they have to say.



I read my first Tanith Lee novel when I was in my teens, and I’ve been eagerly devouring her fiction ever since. Sadly, a great deal of her work is out of print, and so it’s an occasion for rejoicing when one of her books is re-issued. The re-publication of The Silver Metal Lover (out of print for more than a decade) is an especially exciting event, for it’s one of Lee’s best — lush, sensual, dark, and utterly enthralling.

Jane is a pampered rich girl. She lives in a fantastic house raised high above the city on metal struts. Her doting mother gives her everything her heart could desire: luxurious rooms, fabulously expensive clothing, a bigger allowance than she can think how to spend, all the conditioning and cosmetics and beauty aids that money can buy. Jane has no idea that she’s bored until she encounters Silver, an impossibly beautiful, impossibly human-seeming robot created by a company called Electronic Metals Ltd. Silver has been built to be a musician, and his exquisite singing stirs something in Jane that she has never felt before.

Jane knows it’s crazy to fall in love with a robot. But she thinks she’s seen something in Silver — something more than clockwork and computer chips, something beyond the machine. When she discovers that Electronic Metals intends to dismantle Silver, because he hasn’t checked out on their function tests, she persuades a wealthy friend to buy him. Together, she and Silver flee to the only place where they can live undisturbed: the city’s decayed and violent slums. There, in a dilapidated apartment they transform into a fairy tale refuge, Jane begins to understand that she wasn’t mistaken when she glimpsed a soul inside the metal body of her lover.

The accompanying literature describes The Silver Metal Lover as a romance. And indeed it is, capturing with breathless intensity the delirium of first love. But it’s also a story of becoming human. Silver, acquiring free will, learning to feel love and fear, makes this journey; and so does Jane, who has spent her whole life cocooned in wealth, parroting the tastes and beliefs of those around her, pre-programmed by her environment and education just as Silver has been pre-programmed by his builders. Layer by layer they shed their conditioning, a struggle to freedom that parallels their unfolding love story, and lends it depth and poignancy.

Lee’s prose is lush and lyrical, her settings exotic and powerfully atmospheric. There’s a cyberpunk feel to the world she creates, with its machine-driven culture and huge gap between rich and poor, but unlike a lot of early cyberpunk, it doesn’t seem dated. The characters — Silver and Jane especially, but also the many secondary players — are unforgettable, rendered with great feeling and delicious flashes of humour. The Silver Metal Lover is a feast for the mind and the heart, one of the most purely enjoyable reads I’ve had in ages. Bantam is to be commended for bringing this wonderful novel back into print, and giving a new generation of readers a chance to discover it.

Copyright © 1999 by Victoria Strauss, reproduced with permission, originally appeared at http://www.sfsite.com/07a/sil60.htm

Victoria Strauss is a novelist, and a lifelong reader of fantasy and science fiction. Click here to visit her website.

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