Book 21 in my 1001 list has to be Tanith Lee's The Silver Metal Lover! It is a classic sci-fi romance all about a spoiled little rich girl, Jane, living in a dystopian society who falls helplessly in love with a new pleasure droid capable of imitating human emotion. Before long, just being in her presence seems to be making S.I.L.V.E.R more human with real genuine emotions not just synthesised replacements and soon the two find themselves struggling to survive as not just society but even Jane's own mother turns against them and their supposed infantile infatuation with each other!
When S.I.L.V.E.R's creators introduce a recall, pulling all of the robots in his model type back to the factory following complaints, Jane and S.I.L.V.E.R hit the road in a bid to escape but their love is doomed from the start and what we are left with is a tragic Romeo And Juliet story for a twenty-first century cyberpunk generation!
This is a real classic piece of sci-fi that is forgotten or ignored ninety-nine times out of ten by people who have failed to hear of it or have perhaps been put off by Tanith Lee's other work which never quite matched the dizzy heights that this book achieves. Certainly it is amongst my favourite novels of all time and still brings a tear to the eye every time I read it. Think Bladerunner but without the guns and blasting and maybe you will get close; this is a book that asks very important questions about what it is to be human and begs the age old riddle: just what exactly constitutes a soul and could it be recreated in an artifical enviroment?