Title: The Silvers
Author: J.A. Rock
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Length: 346 Pages
Category: Sci-Fi/Alt U
At a Glance: I think you will find that this is a spectacular story of survival and, yes, love.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: 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.
Review: The Silvers is not your typical romance or sci-fi novel. In fact, I would never use the word typical in conjunction with this story. Instead, I can tell you that it is not a romance in the classical sense, nor is there a happy-ever-after or even necessarily a happy for now. What this novel is, is simply brilliant. This story is a harsh and emotional look at how destructive and inhumane humankind can be toward anything or anyone they fear or don’t understand, juxtaposed with the blinding reality that pain and love go hand-in-hand, and, if you cannot survive the one, you will never recognize the other. J.A. Rock presents a naked view of how we can be the most inhumane toward that which we find we love the most.
When B, the mission captain (and no, we never learn his name, which I found both frustrating and so very telling) discovers that one of his crew members has been sadistically abusing the aliens known as “Silvers,” he finds himself helping the one who managed to get away. Clandestinely taking Imms aboard the ship and healing him, B discovers that long-choked emotions of caring and need surface when he is close to Imms despite the fact that the creature cannot feel any human emotions. For Imms there is now a price to pay for being with the humans—it is exile from his own kind, who have come to discover that contact with the humans is not in their best interest. Imms experiences the idea of being “alone” for the first time due to B, and struggles to find a way to get back on ship so that he does not have to endure the strange and unsettling idea of “alone” again.
An accident on the ship means an immediate trip back to earth, and B makes the decision that he cannot leave without Imms—a decision that will mean irreparable and irrevocable changes for both of them. They formulate a lie about how Imms comes to be on the ship that enables Imms to come to earth under the guise of a rescuing hero. While this buys them some time, before long, the scientists and doctors are eager to figure out just what makes Imms tick, and B is in a race for both his life and that of the alien he has grown to care for despite his trying to avoid the idea of love.
I am going to assure you that the above is the worst synopsis ever written about this multi-layered, heart wrenching novel. I cannot do it justice in a few paragraphs—to experience the wonder and beauty of this story you must read it, but know it will not be easy. There is the worst of humanity in this story, the worst of our greed, our cold and uncaring thirst for knowledge, our disregard for the life and well-being of others. It is all in this book and yet there is also the incredible awakening of deep emotions within a seemingly innocent creature that are staggering to watch.
Yes, Imms suffers, mightily, and not just at the hands of the military and their restrictions and experiments. No, he also learns what it is to have loved and nearly lose it; to feel the distance of a lover who cannot seem to let their guard down and admit/accept they love you; and the fear that accompanies the idea of being alone, without anyone to share your journey, your life. There are times in this novel that I wanted to rail at the author—how could you? How could you make this innocent creature suffer so easily? Why couldn’t this just be a sweet tale about love that grows despite the danger from outsiders who are cruel—why couldn’t B become the oasis that Imms so desperately deserved? The answer is simple—this was not just a story about some imaginative race of aliens and the typical government exploitation that usually takes place. Instead, this was an expose on all that is the worst and best of humankind, our ugliest flash of underbelly and our loftiest ability to love. It all played out in this story and if you allow the worst of humanity, as it was portrayed truthfully in this book, to drag you under, then I am certain you will find it is not the novel for you. However, if you can discern the other side—the piece of beauty that makes us lovable, that calls on our greater self, that rises above the hate and greed—well then, I think you will find that this is a spectacular story of survival and, yes, love. I truly hope you can for that is what makes The Silvers an outstanding novel and one I highly recommend.
Also, if the author sees this, I want a sequel, please.
You can buy The Silvers here: