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Falling Free (Vorkosigan Saga (Publication) #4)

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  8,911 ratings  ·  271 reviews
Leo Graf was an effective engineer...Safety Regs weren't just the rule book he swore by; he'd helped write them. All that changed on his assignment to the Cay Habitat. Leo was profoundly uneasy with the corporate exploitation of his bright new students�till that exploitation turned to something much worse. He hadn't anticipated a situation where the right thing to do was n ...more
Audio Cassette, 0 pages
Published April 1st 1996 by Readers Chair (first published 1987)
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mark monday
engineer encounters hideous situation involving exploitation of a unique group of workers. engineer fights against this hideous situation.

so this is really a 2 star book, whatever, I'm giving it 3 stars because yeah I liked it, and more importantly I would never give 2 stars to a friend and at this point I kinda feel like Lois McMaster Bujold is my friend. I've been working my way back and forth through her Vorkosigan Saga and I think that not only do I believe in everything she believes in - th
This is first in chronological order of the Vorkosigan Saga save for the short story Dreamweaver's Dilemma. I now have all the audio books lined up. I've read most of them in published order, but read them generally as they were published, which is a different order & has stretched out for many years. I've never tried them in audio format, but thought them well suited. I was right.

This deals with the origins of the Quaddies, a race that was first introduced in one of the early books about Mi
A few hundred years before the events of the Vorkosigan books, a galactic corporation genetically engineered the Quaddies, people perfectly suited to zero gravity engineering and construction work because of their extra pair of arms instead of legs. A human engineer comes aboard the project, and through a series of events which do not need exploring at this juncture he finds himself spearheading nothing less than a revolution in a desperate bid to get the Quaddies safely out of corporate control ...more
- Falling Free is the 11th Vorkosigan Saga novel I've read
- So far... I've been delighted to give 3 of those 5 stars
- Happy to give 6 of them a very solid 4 stars
- Only Shards of Honour has gotten a 3 stars from me (before now)
- Despite being a Nebula award winner, I'd say this is the weakest Bujold I've read.

That's not to say Falling Free is bad - 3 stars is defined as "liked it" and I certainly did that (I read most of it in one sitting in the tub), it's just that I know Bujold can do bette
BOTTOM LINE: Written in 1988, this is, chronologically, the first in the Miles series, and is a prequel that feels very 1950s in tone and style. Taking place almost entirely on a spacestation and with a very peculiar crew, it's both traditional and, with her own twists, somewhat innovative, making this a wonderful introduction to this long and very popular series.

This prequel to the Vorkosigan saga takes place a couple of hundred years prior to Miles' birth, and introduces us to a very interesti
One thing I love about Bujold is that there is a moral rightness and/or righteousness to her work. She also writes about the workplace and politics so, so well.

Here, for example, is a gem:

"And those who can't teach, Leo finished silently, go into administration."

This book is largely about a race of genetically modified children who can exist well in zero gravity environments. Bujold attacks the kinds of thinking in individuals and corporations/beaurocracies that can cause the justification of t
Not, technically, a Vorkosigan novel since no Vorkosigan family member is so much as lurking in the background, it is nevertheless set in the Vorkosiverse, though, about two hundred years before Miles’ birth. The story is about the origin of the quaddies, humans genetically engineered for work in free fall, whose most striking adaptation is the replacement of their legs with arms (and hands). Leo Graf is an engineer and teacher assigned to the habitat where the quaddies are being “reared”. The c ...more
On the one hand, I really enjoyed the story of how quaddies were created. On another, it's definitely one of her earlier novels. On the third, she was still a damn good writer at the beginning and was free of some of the phrases that occasionally trip one up in her later books (because you've seen them a million times by then). And on the fourth hand, I felt the "romance" element for the protagonist was shoehorned into the ending. It felt forced and awkward. I liked both characters and could see ...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
May 13, 2012 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Space Opera Fans
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 ...more
Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali
Falling Free is part of the Vorkosigan Saga, although I can't (yet) see the connection. I've read both Shards of Honor and Barrayar, the next two books in the saga and Falling Free does not appear to relate, but that is just fine, because I liked this tale.

Leo Graf, our main protagonist, is an engineer who is sent to work at the Cay Habitat in zero gravity with a group of very intelligent yet emotionally naive Quaddies. Quaddies are genetically engineered human beings bred with a second set of a
Shea Levy
I could talk about the compelling tale of slavery, abusive psychological manipulation, struggles of conscience, bureaucracy, independence, revolution, and freedom. But really, I just can't get over the fact that the protagonist of our story is a goddamn engineer. Not a mad scientist, doing bizarre research in the hope of a breakthrough discovery. Not a brilliant inventor, coming up with a new widget that changes the shape of history. Not a hot-shot maverick, flying by the seat of his pants and g ...more
Caprice Hokstad
This was a good story, but I'm glad I didn't read it first. I think there's enough introduction to the concept of Quaddies in Labyrinth that this isn't needed to "explain" them. This story also does nothing whatsoever to introduce any of the Vorkosigan characters or even their setting. Barrayar is not mentioned, as of course, it's suffering its "Time of Isolation" in this period. The planet mentioned here, Rodeo, is never mentioned in the Miles books. Another how-did-it-get-a-name-like-that plan ...more

Después de darle muchas vueltas y de consultar incontables guías sobre cómo adentrarse en el fascinante universo de Lois McMaster Bujold, por fin me decidí a empezar la saga de Miles Vorkosigan. Eso sí, unos 200 años antes de que su carismático protagonista haya ni siquiera nacido. En caída libre, finalista del Premio Hugo y ganadora del Nébula en 1988, me ha parecido una novela sencillamente fascinante. Protagonizada por los cuadrúmanos, seres de apariencia humana modificados genéticamente p
Hugh Mannfield
This book revolves around the question “What can one man do?” The usual answer is not much. I this case, Leo Graf, finds a different answer and changes the question. Upon reporting for a new job, Leo meets the Quaddies, a race of humans with two sets of arms, four hands, and no legs, genetically engineered for null gee. Leo begins to like these bright young people and becomes dismayed at their plight. The corporation GalacTech sees the Quaddies as nothing more than company property and experimen ...more
Deanna Rittinger
This was one of those books that you end up learning cool things as part of the plot. In this case about the science and engineering of welding. The main character, a welding instructor with strong ethics accepts a position with a space station to train "quaddies" how to do welding in free fall conditions. The quaddies are a genetically engineered new species with a lower set of arms instead of legs. The hitch? They are considered property and not humans. Yes, with those few sentences you now ha ...more
This is not the most incredibly well written novel even withing the limits of the series it's in (it's set in the same universe as Bujold's Vorkosigan novels, though it takes place much closer to present day and doesn't have much impact on the rest of the series). I suggest "The Mountains of Morning" if you want a better gauge of what life this woman can put into her characters; it's a short story published in "Borders of Infinity" amongst other places and is much more critical to the Vorkosiga ...more
Science Fiction. I have one word for you: prequel. I knew this wasn't the best place to start reading the Vorkosigan saga, but I like to start at the beginning, and this is, apparently, the beginning -- 200 years before Miles is even born. This book is heavy on useless infodumps (pages and pages on stuff like welding and tax write offs that I think were supposed to help sell the plot, but just got in the way) and light on characterization. Silver was the only one with any personality. The main g ...more
This venture into science fiction was a faster and more engaging read for me than "Dune" ... which is not to say I thought it was a better book, because clearly "Dune" is a superior work of literature. This book felt a bit dated (copyright 1988)and a little heavy-handed, unlike the much-earlier written "Dune" which felt more timeless and more subtle. But Bujold's book was more enjoyable to me ... probably because it wan an easier read ... and also left me wanting to follow the characters into an ...more
James Broussard
This was kind of a funny book to read. Obviously Bujold has become a better writer since this book, but I still think it has a lot of merit. So often in fiction authors strive for realism and complex characterization that when an author goes for broke with melodrama it feels like a breath of fresh air. The villian of this novel is one of the most villainous characters I've ever read that didn't involve world war 2 or space opera that it's almost comical. But if you look back on the origins of sc ...more
Falling Free: Interesting book. Sci-fi engineering pr0n. One of the most intense plot threads weaving through the climax involves (view spoiler) But there's also a lot of stuff about following orders and genocide and social justice. So yeah, awesome sci-fi success! Bujold for the win.

Personal notes: Not sure this t
You know that song or Frosty the Snowman? The line "there must have been some magic in that old felt hat they found..."

For me, Bujold's writing just has some kind of magical touch. If I'm going through a rough patch, her stories gather me up, take me away for a while, and remind me that the troubles really aren't so bad. Her characters are all real people to me, ones I would hopefully become friends with. They're moral, hard working, humorous, a little flawed, and deeply human. She takes us out
The Vorkosigan universe prequel, set approximately 200 years before Miles’ birth. Interesting to read AFTER Diplomatic Immunity, as that book deals with the modern-day Quaddies; this is their origin story. Quaddies are people bioengineered for free-fall, with a second set of arms instead of legs; I still can’t quite picture exactly how this would look, which frustrates me. Nevertheless, this is a solid, if not spectacular, space adventure; Bujold, as always, packs her book with interesting idea ...more
ms bookjunkie
Nov 03, 2014 ms bookjunkie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to ms bookjunkie by: autobuy author
Story: I very much enjoyed it. Leo was the perfect reluctant hero, the quaddie origin story everything I could want. 4 stars

Narration: Great as usual. Basic narrative and voices (male and female) were great, accents not so much in use in this one. 4 stars
This book is so formulaic on the surface. It has the hero, the hero's girl, the totally unsympathetic villain, and a blindingly blatant rehash of the same Hero's Journey formula.

Wait, what?

Half of the main cast has hands where their legs should be? And the main character is a steady, dull, experienced engineer goaded into stepping out of his comfort zone to save them?

See, this book is why the Hero's Journey formula still works when it's done properly. One might call Leo Graf boring, but he's exa
A stand-alone in the series; most closely related to Diplomatic Immunity, but set 200 years earlier.

Leo Graf, with a wide-ranging engineering career and an impeccable safety record - the basis and in some ways the full extent of his moral code - has no idea what to expect when he's shuttled to a zero-gravity space station at the armpit end of the universe, to teach the one thousand permanent residents there. Once there he finds those residents are one thousand kids between the ages of five and t
Although set in the same universe as the Vorkosigan saga, this book is almost entirely detached from it: set hundreds of years earlier, in a new place, and with no repeating characters (I almost want to say "they're all OCs", but that doesn't really make sense outside of the context of fanfiction). It's also fairly different in tone from the rest of the Vorokosigan saga: this is definitely hard SF. According to a review I read, it was originally intended to be the first of a trilogy. You can't t ...more
Julie Czerneda
Brilliant, moving sf that thoughtfully considers our future in space. I've used this many times as an example of how it's done -- and with non-sf readers, to show them the passion and ideas within our genre. A must-read, if you ever look for the space station and wonder.
A cheerfully old-fashioned space opera pitting a heroic engineer and a space habitat full of genetically engineered humans optimized for life in zero gravity, and featuring a cackling, mustache-twirling villain everybody can hiss at. Fast-paced, light, pleasant reading.
Paul Parsons
This award winning Sci-Fi novel is set in the future in a satellite colony light years from Earth (where the "downsiders" reside) and is manned by thousands of genetically altered humans (four arms and no legs) who work with their normal human bosses in zero-gravity. These "quads" are not really seen as human by those in charge and when their job is rendered obsolete, their satellite world and life are scheduled for termination. The story is about their struggle to survive and live out their liv ...more
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Romance Lovers fo...: Falling Free by Lois McMaster Bujold , Sometimes in September 20 15 Oct 15, 2013 08:58PM  
SFBRP Listeners: Falling Free 10 45 Mar 27, 2013 06:53AM  
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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.

Her fantasy from HarperCollins includes the award-winning Chalion series and the Sharing Knife tetralogy; her science fiction from Baen Books features the perennially bestse
More about Lois McMaster Bujold...
The Curse of Chalion (Chalion, #1) Barrayar (Vorkosigan Saga, #7) The Warrior's Apprentice (Vorkosigan Saga, #2) Paladin of Souls (Chalion, #2) Shards of Honour  (Vorkosigan Saga, #1)

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“On the sixth day God saw He couldn't do it all, so He created ENGINEERS” 23 likes
“This is the most important thing I will ever say to you. The human mind is the ultimate testing device. You can take all the notes you want on the technical data, anything you forget you can look up again, but this must be engraved on your hearts in letters of fire. There is nothing, nothing, nothing, more important to me in the men and women I train than their absolute personal integrity. Whether you function as welders or inspectors, the laws of physics are implacable lie detectors. You may fool men. You will never fool metal. That’s all.” 15 likes
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