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Falling Free

(Vorkosigan Saga (Publication Order) #4)

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  19,406 ratings  ·  801 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... until that exploitation turned to something much worse. He hadn't anticipated a situation where the right thing to do wa ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published September 30th 2004 by Nesfa (first published 1988)
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Beau Dacious There are two ways to order the Vorkosigan Saga books: by internal chronological order or by publication order. Falling Free is a prequel to the rest …moreThere are two ways to order the Vorkosigan Saga books: by internal chronological order or by publication order. Falling Free is a prequel to the rest of the series (making it book 1), but was the fourth book published (making it book 4). (less)

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Jan 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: advanture
*** 4.25 ***

"... “On the sixth day God saw He couldn't do it all, so He created ENGINEERS” ..."

Evgeny and I decided to read the whole series together:) It turned out to be a great decision:):):)

I just closed the last page and needed to get on here and say how much I enjoyed this book! It is the first one I read by this author and now I am wondering why I never read her books before? After all, I was raised on Sci-Fi and Fantasy, this should have been in my radar long time ago! However, I th
Mar 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Update 10/3/17 Re-read

I think I just relaxed into this read, knowing damn well that it was going to be a novel of revolution against corporate idiots and assholes. Understanding that this came out in '88 goes a long way to grooving to the sense of hate and loathing we all felt during that time period. Or is that just me? Maybe it's just me.

Fortunately, I love the Children's Crusade and the RAH feel, from the Can-Do engineering and idealistic gruffness to the all-out freedom brigade. :)

If I had t
Jan 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi

An Engineer dies and goes to hell. He's hot and miserable, so he decides to take action. The A/C has been busted for a long time, so he fixes it. Things cool down quickly.

The moving walkway motor jammed, so he unjams it. People can get from place to place more easily.

The TV was grainy and unclear, so he fixes the connection to the Satellite dish and now they get hundreds of high def channels.

One day, God decides to look down on Hell to see how his grand design is working out and notices that
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
Oct 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
No fate but what we make.

That could be the motto for this story and I loved the concept. This is a quite old scifi book, belonging to a quite long series. But it didn't show in the way I first thought.

The story is about an engineer arriving on a space station in order to teach some employees of the company he works for as well. When he arrives, however, he discovers that the students are children and genetically altered ones at that. The worst, though, is how they are being treated by the "norm
Jul 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-read, audiobook
Shockingly, my first book by the prolific and decorated Lois McMaster Bujold, but definitely not my last.

This was really enjoyable for me. I sometimes struggle with older SF, finding it a bit stiff and not as expressively written as I prefer. That wasn't the case here. I loved the compact story that builds up at the end for an exciting conclusion. The characters were quite nicely done, and were an interestingly different combination of both the subtle and the obvious.

In a way this book reminded
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)

💀 DNF at 20% 💀

Review to come. Maybe. Then again probably not.

P.S. Maria, Dearest Wife, I 💕lurves💕 thee, but this series just isn't for me. (Oh wow, I just made a rhyme. A poet is me and stuff.)

· Book 1: Shards of Honor ★★★
Falling Free: Enjoyable early novel, but not quite up to Miles Vorkosigan standards
I believe this is the first of Bujold's books to win a major SF award and bring her name into the spotlight, as most military SF Baen books had not been aiming for major recognition (in my opinion), but it got me started on the Miles Vorkosigan series and it's a bit of a mystery why I never actually read/listened to it till 30 years after publication! Still, better late than never.

As most readers and even fans adm
A pleasantly diverting tale that started out with a bit more teeth, a beginning that unveiled a rich ethical and moral dilemma unfolding, leading me to believe it would have more substance than it wound up having. Bujold writes clever dialogue and warm characters, but her villain in this was too one-note and the ramping up of the stakes never really took off as vividly or compellingly as they could have. According to the folks who’ve read more of her Vorkosigan Saga books, this one is a bit of a ...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
Jun 16, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 Miles.
Feb 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Falling Free is one of several Hugo winners for Lois McMaster Bujold, she is practically sci-fi’s counterpart to Meryl Streep in term of awards. This book is set in her popular Vorkosigan universe but does not have any Vorkosigan in it, not even a mention. In the time setting of this book Miles Vorkosigan will not be born for another 200 years. However, this does not mean this book is like a cup of coffee without any coffee in it, it is well worth anybody’s time.

Basically this is a story of a ra
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
Sep 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Leo Graf is an engineer, assigned to a space habitat to teach advanced welding techniques. Residing in the space habitat are a thousand young and very young quaddies, genetically engineered with no legs but four arms and hands to be especially well adapted for working in a gravitation-free environment. Everything at first seems fine, except that the director is inhumane. He looks at the quaddies as if they are mutants, they are property of his corporation. They can be manipulated and worked in a ...more
Oct 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is the start of my chronological read of the Vorkosigan books. I have read many of them previously, but out of order. This is my first exposure to Falling Free and despite some minor issues, I think it's held up pretty well.

Leo Graf is a testing engineer whose latest posting at the Cay Habitat leads to some surprises. The people he's come to teach zero-G engineering practicalities to are an engineered variety of human: free-fall adapted "quaddies" with a second set of arms instead of legs.
Oct 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: r2017, scifi, stars-4-0
"If you ever have to make a choice between learning and inspiration, boy, choose learning. It works more of the time."

If you're interested in science fiction, you will eventually hear of Bujold and her Vorkosigan Saga. Falling Free is the first title in the chronological order and my first forray into this author's world.

Yes, it has an old fashioned aspect (it was written in the late 1980s), perhaps due to the cringing mysoginy and racism. Stereotypes abound too, with the big 'baddie', who beca
Jul 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
I’m thinking of rereading all of the Vorkosigan books in chronological order. This is the first one, although it was published fourth. I find Bujold’s writing very soothing to read right now. Often humorous, always thoughtful. I didn’t love this book as much as later books in this series, it lacks both Miles and Cordelia who remain as always two of my favourite characters ever. I did like this a lot though. It had a slow start, but I found myself increasingly caught up in the Quaddies plight, en ...more
Actual rating: 3.5 stars.

This book reminded me strongly of C.J. Cherryh’s book Downbelow Station. In both books a huge intergalactic company is using and abusing a population of people who are considered somehow “less than” humans. In DbS, it was an alien race, the Hisa (also known as Downers in human slang). Here in Falling Free it is the quaddies, the result of human genome manipulation, who have four arms instead of two arms & two legs, supposedly to be make them more suited to zero gravity.

Oleksandr Zholud
May 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: vorkosigan-1
This is the first in the internal chronology volume of Vorkosigan saga, which can be seen as a sidequel, for it happens two centuries before and on a planet unrelated to neither Barrayar nor other major players. The book won both Hugo and Nebula Awards. I read is as a part of Vorkosigan Challenge read in May 2020 at Hugo & Nebula Awards: Best Novels group.

The story sets an interesting problem: we know what happens to obsolete machinery, but what can be a fate of bio-engineered beings? There are
Oct 12, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Our intrepid engineer Leo starts a new job and gets to know genetically engineered humans--optimized for life in free fall, with another set of arms instead of legs. Fittingly they are called quaddies. They are also treated as something less than human and our engineer finds himself in the position of wanting to help the underdogs.

This hasn't aged well. It feels pretty old-fashioned and quite a little sexist. If you can get past that, the story is entertaining.

The audiobook narrator does a dece
3.5 stars rounded down because of a way too shallow villain.

This was a nice space adventure with LMB's usually witty character/dialogue writing (minus the above mentioned villain who didn't really fit her usual quality).
It was nice to read a complete standalone in the Vorkosigan saga, so that I didn't have to ponder constantly if I should know character xyz like it happens to me in the later Miles' books.

Nothing deep, but a good concept and a twist-ful action story.
Ivana Books Are Magic
Jul 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is my first ( and so far the only novel) by Lois McMaster that I have read. I don't know anything about Vorkosigan saga nor about this author save the fact that she got a Nebula award for this novel, which I happen to think she deserved. I’m not sure will I explore this saga or not. I mean, taken the fact how much I was impressed by this novel, sure I would love to but with so many books on my reading list, who knows? In any case, this review will focus solely on this novel and explore it ...more
Executive Summary: Much like Ethan of Athos this one had a very strange premise. I thought it was alright, but I'm hoping the series focuses on Miles again soon.

Audiobook: Grover Gardner does another good job. When you're not sure about a book, having a good narrator can be a big help.

Full Review
I had issues with this book. It wasn't the idea of Quaddies themselves, but the idea of genetically engineering what are essentially slaves. Leo was a pretty good character, but the book felt like a
Megan Baxter
Nov 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
I found Falling Free to be an extremely stressful book to read! Around the halfway mark, I was dreading picking it up, as I wasn't sure how much more I could take of quaddie mistreatment. I started to give myself permission to just read a chapter at a time, instead of pushing for 100 pages. Luckily, shortly after that, the quaddies started fighting back, and I got right back into the swing of it. I just don't deal well with lack of agency.

Note: The rest of this review has been withheld due to th
Sam (AMNReader)
Feb 16, 2021 marked it as life-is-too-short  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
I'm not patient or forgiving enough of these choices.

20 pages though, and I saw the appeal. I think I could try her again. I just didn't see how I was going to get past this choice of the savior and the slaves and some of the language therein. I'm going to take some time to decide how I feel about trying another book by her.
Sara J. (kefuwa)
Feb 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Reading the Vorkosigan Saga in internal publication order except for Falling Free which I am reading between Cordelia's Honor & Young Miles. Read as part of the Miles, Mutants and Microbes Omnibus.

I really appreciate Bujold's characters. Going into this I was wondering whether I would enjoy it after all the Cordelia and Aral we had in Shards & Barrayar. But, nope, my fears were unfounded as Bujold just pulled another one out of her hat! Likeable & believable characters, all so different from ea
Kat  Hooper
May 03, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Falling Free is an early stand-alone story in Lois McMaster Bujold’s VORKOSIGAN SAGA. It takes place before the events we read about in the other books and tells the story of the Quaddies, those genetically engineered “mutants” who have four arms and no legs and who, therefore, make good workers for zero-gravity situations. They were created in secret by a corporation who is using them as free labor.

The story starts when Leo Graf, an engineer, is hired to train students on a distant planet. Leo
Dec 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars

Starts out a bit slow and sophomoric, but by about half-way through becomes a bit more complex and satisfying. The writing style is very straightforward and almost simplistic, and the plot is completely linear.

Still, the characters are mostly charming, the villain not quite a cardboard cliché, and the hero an Engineer, of course.

Bujold is clearly not showing off in this book, and I hope "Shards of Honour" has a bit more depth and breadth.
This was another book in the box of old books we inherited and had a space station on the cover and if you've read my reviews, you know how this goes. This also happened to be the first of Lois McMaster Bujold that I've read. What can I say, there are a lot of books to get around to in life but I'm getting in my fair share of old science fiction in 2020.

So let me start with what I liked. I very much liked the set up of the story. Bujold drops you right into the story with Leo Graf, the protagoni
Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-audible
A fun space opera. I wasn't sure I'd enjoy it as it is a Vorkosigan Saga without a Vorkosigan. But it was a lot of fun.

The fun of these space adventures is the fact that there's plenty of action and outer space fun along with thought provoking ideas. Also, Bujold makes it seem scientifically accurate without drowning you in tech speak. (I'm looking at you, Greg Bear!)

The audio performance was pretty good too.
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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

Other books in the series

Vorkosigan Saga (Publication Order) (1 - 10 of 16 books)
  • Shards of Honour  (Vorkosigan Saga, #1)
  • The Warrior's Apprentice (Vorkosigan Saga, #2)
  • Ethan of Athos (Vorkosigan Saga, #3)
  • Brothers in Arms (Vorkosigan Saga, #5)
  • The Vor Game (Vorkosigan Saga, #6)
  • Barrayar (Vorkosigan Saga, #7)
  • Mirror Dance (Vorkosigan Saga, #8)
  • Cetaganda (Vorkosigan Saga, #9)
  • Memory (Vorkosigan Saga, #10)
  • Komarr (Vorkosigan Saga, #11)

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