Falling Free (Vorkosigan Saga)

Falling Free (Vorkosigan Saga)

by Lois McMaster Bujold

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Product Details

BN ID: 2940014120982
Publisher: Spectrum Literary Agency, Inc.
Publication date: 04/09/2012
Series: Vorkosigan Saga , #1
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 129,516
File size: 641 KB

About the Author

Lois McMaster Bujold was born in 1949, the daughter of an engineering professor at Ohio State University, from whom she picked up her early interest in science fiction. She now lives in Minneapolis, and has two grown children. She began writing with the aim of professional publication in 1982. She wrote three novels in three years; in October of 1985, all three sold to Baen Books, launching her career. Bujold went on to write many other books for Baen, mostly featuring her popular character Miles Naismith Vorkosigan, his family, friends, and enemies. Her books have been translated into over twenty languages. Her fantasy from Eos includes the award-winning Chalion series and the Sharing Knife series. www.dendarii.com

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Falling Free (Vorkosigan Saga) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
fyrefly98 on LibraryThing 23 days ago
Summary: Leo Graf would be one of the first people to tell you: he¿s just an engineer. A very skilled and accomplished engineer, for sure, but otherwise just an ordinary middle-aged man. He¿s been summoned by his employer, GalacTech, to travel to the remote space station known as the Cay Habitat, and to teach safety inspection and welding to a new bunch of workers there. When he arrives, he¿s shocked to discover that the workers are not your average students, but are instead have been genetically engineered to be ideally adapted to working in zero G: bones and muscles that don¿t lose density while in free-fall, inner ears stabilized to prevent the nausea that so often afflicts ¿downsiders¿... and, most noticeably, a second set of arms where their legs should be. This extra set of hands allows the Quaddies to be twice as efficient at most tasks in zero G, thus making them the perfect workers¿ especially since they¿re not technically human, so GalacTech can treat them as mere inventory: tools to be used as they are needed.The other members of the Cay project, particularly its boss, Bruce Van Atta, see nothing wrong with treating the Quaddies as property. After all, hasn¿t GalacTech spent incredible amounts of money creating, raising, and housing them? But the more time Leo spends aboard the habitat, the more uncomfortable he grows with the Quaddies¿ nebulous legal status ¿ because while they¿re not technically human, they are undeniably people. Although he might wish things were different, Leo is just one man ¿ just an engineer ¿ and what can he possibly do to change things for the Quaddies?Review: Falling Free is one of Bujold¿s earliest books, and it shows in the general lack of subtlety and finesse that she would later develop. That subtlety is certainly missing from the plot, which practically beats the reader over the head with its Message of ¿slavery is bad, okay?¿ I did spend the first half of the book shocked and disgusted by the variety of callous and cruelly dehumanizing ways the Quaddies were treated, which I¿m sure was Bujold¿s intent. But after a while, I started to go ¿yes, okay, I get it, the Quaddies are people too; owning people is wrong; can we move on?¿It didn¿t help that a lot of Bujold¿s characterizations were also rather shallow (which is surprising, for her). Leo was a believable if not particularly complex character, and the main Quaddies with which he interacted all had interesting and unique personalities. Where things fell down, I thought, was with the villain of the piece, Bruce Van Atta. He was just so unrelievedly nasty about everything that it was hard to take him seriously as a threat, because I couldn¿t imagine Bujold letting him win. Just like the plot lacked any interesting moral grey area, so too did the characters: the good guys are good, the bad guys are bad, and that¿s the end of the story. And really, Graf was the only person in the twenty-year history of the Cay project that had both a moral compass and the will to act on it? Really?But, despite all that, I did mostly have a good time listening to Falling Free. Bujold¿s lively dialogue and bright spots of wit are as present here as in any of her books. The whole thing is very fast paced, with the second half of the book moving breathlessly from crisis to crisis. It¿s a little bit more tech-heavy than I usually prefer my sci-fi, but that¿s only to be expected when your main character is an engineer, and Bujold handles it smoothly. It certainly served as a jumping-off point for thinking about some interesting questions about the ethics of genetic engineering, some of which scientists are already beginning to face today. Grover Gardner¿s narration was as enjoyable as always, managing to inject some emotional realism into the mix without over-acting. So, while this wasn¿t Bujold¿s best book by a long shot, I¿m still glad I read it. 3.5 out of 5 stars.Recommendation:
LisaMaria_C on LibraryThing 23 days ago
This is marked as the first work in Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga, but I don't think it's necessarily the one you want to read first. This is more a prequel to the main timeline of the series. It's known as the "Vorkosigan Saga" because it mostly focuses on the family of that name, and particularly Miles Vorkosigan--who isn't even mentioned in this standalone story set 200 years before the character that gives this series its name was born. It's also an early work of Bujold, only her fourth published novel, and I think she's one of those writers who only got better with time rather than peaked early. So I'd recommend starting with the omnibus works Cordelia's Honor (centered on Miles' parents) or Young Miles, where Miles finally takes center stage.This is recognizably in the same universe though, and is an entertaining story in its own right. But while Miles Vorkosigan is one of the most memorable fictional characters in science fiction, this merely has likable ones. Leo Graf, an engineer, finds himself teaching "quaddies," a bioengineered species of human with four arms designed to work in free fall who are disturbingly treated like property--and a new tech is about to make their purpose obsolete. The story is good space opera in the tradition of the Heinlein juveniles--but with stronger, more believable female characters. I liked and enjoyed this--but I love lots of the other entries in the series. So if you don't find yourself entranced by this one, do try Young Miles before giving up on the series.
jamespurcell on LibraryThing 23 days ago
Prior to Miles time in the Vorkosigan Saga but its antecedents are quite evident .
JechtShot on LibraryThing 23 days ago
The "Quaddies" are a genetically manufactured human-like species designed to function best in a zero gravity situation. Why? They have four sets of arms, which turns out is far more useful for space related manufacturing operations than two-legged humans. The "Quaddies", though human-like are in fact considered capital equipment of mega corporation GalacTech. As capital equipment, the "Quaddies" do not have nor or they aware of basic human rights. They are a race of disposable slaves. In Falling Free, an engineer, Leo, is sent to train the "Quaddies" only to find that he may become a hero for a new breed of human.This is my first Bujold read and I look forward to exploring her writing more. Very solid and enjoyable science fiction.
librisissimo on LibraryThing 26 days ago
Substance: Moral dilemmas satisfactorily resolved.Style: Action-oriented, straight-forward narrative.Personal Reaction: Definite family resemblance to the characters in the Vorkosigan novels. This is my second reading (the first before LibraryThing) and I did not remember that the sexual situations were so explicit (although not graphic). Rating: PG-13-youth for language, sexual situations.
c.pergiel on LibraryThing 26 days ago
The story sounded vaguely familiar, but it wasn't until Leo got around to fabricating the three meter mirror in orbit that I was I sure I had read this book before. I remembered it happending but I didn't remember some of the details, like the explosive made from gasoline, or the mold made of ice.
sheherazahde on LibraryThing 26 days ago
Leo Graf thought the Cay Project would be just a routine engineering safety training job. He wasn't expecting 1000 genetically engineered children. This is a fun Sci-Fi space adventure, an easy read. If you like that sort of thing.
Uffer on LibraryThing 26 days ago
This book is many things; it tackles the question of individual responsibility in the face of monolithic administrative indifference, it considers the rights of the genetically modified to be people and not 'experimental tissue cultures' to be disposed of when no longer convenient, and it makes engineering a fascinating and even exciting thing. And it does all these things without ever getting bogged down in the philosophical or ethical details, or dropping the pace.Overall, a good, well-paced read, which leaves you wanting to know more about what happened next, without leaving any loose ends lying around.
rexton on LibraryThing 5 months ago
This book is a rollicking adventure with great charracters, as is usual with this author. However, this book speaks with unusual personal impact to two issues; when does one accept personal responsibility to avert a great wrong, and how does one treat genetically engineered workers with no legal status as people? This is one of her better novels, which is saying something!
libraryofus on LibraryThing 6 months ago
(Alistair) While not one of what, I suppose, most people would consider the "major Bujolds", of all her books I own, this is probably the one I re-read the most. Make of that what you will.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
And thought provoking.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
GeneG More than 1 year ago
It is an ok book, not one of Bujold's better. I just wanted to warn you that is NOT a Miles book.