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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Prequel to the Vorkosigan Universe, 25 Aug 2006
By 
Marshall Lord (Whitehaven, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This book is set in the same Universe as the Vorkosigan adventures, but about 200 years earlier.

It is a much more "straight" work of science fiction than some of the Miles Vorkosigan stories, e.g. it is not quite as side-splittingly funny. The tone and style are quite similar to the two books about the romance between Mile's parents, "Shards of Honour" and "Barrayar."

"Falling Free" is the story of the quaddies, a group of modified humans who have been bioengineered for zero gravity, the main change being that they have four arms instead of two arms and two legs. An engineer, Leo Graf, is concerned at the way the quaddies are exploited and decides to do something about it.

It is a well-told story and highly entertaining.

There are two subsequent stories with quaddie characters set in Lord Miles Vorkosigan's time, some 230 years later. The first is the novella "Labyrinth" which is part of the book "Borders of Infinity" - Miles and Bel Thorne meet a beautiful quaddie musician, Nicol, on Jackson's Whole. ("The Mountains of Mourning" is the previous novella in the same book.)

A better picture of the society which quaddies make for themselves in the future is given in the tenth and currently most recent Vorkosigan adventure, "Diplomatic Immunity" which is set on a space station in Quaddie space.

Bottom line - this is an extremely good book, and if you liked any of Bujold's other SF novels you are very likely to enjoy this one.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Grand Theft, 25 Oct 2005
By 
JA Fairhurst "johnfair" (Edgeley, Stockport) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Leo Graf was only an engineer, moving on from one job after another as the needs of the company required. But when he arrived on GalacTech's orbital above Rodeo, he was... startled to find out the nature of his trainees. Known as quaddies all had been bioengineered to have a second set of arms where their legs should have been. It was Leo's job to train these people to build the booming space habitats and they were doing well right up until Beta Colony announced their gravity generator that made the Quaddies uneconomical and with the local GalachTech director only looking at the bottom line, the Quaddies were now an embarrassment. Seen as freaks by most, Leo saw his trainees as people and along with a few other sympathetic employees they pull off the biggest heist in history.
This is set about two hundred years before the events in the rest of Ms Bujold's Vorkosiganiverse. It does have a common denominator with those books - Beta Colony and GalachTech both get mentions in the other books and we also meet a quaddie in one of the short stories in 'Mountains of Mourning' as well as finding out how quaddie civilisation got on in 'A Civil Campaign'. This is a different style of book in a way than the rest of the books but has its similarities as well. Unlike Miles, Leo is settled in his job but like Miles he is incapable of sitting idly by while an injustice is carried out. Also like Miles Leo finds things don't always run smooth and he has to think on his feet.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Evidence that science fiction can still be fun, 7 July 2003
By 
Neal Reynolds (Indianapolis, Indiana) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Falling Free (Paperback)
This takes place some 200 years before the Vorkosigan Saga, and is an enjoyable introduction to that universe, although far different from the later stories.
This is one to sit down with, relax, and enjoy. It's the story of welding engineer, Leo Graf, and his assignment to the planet Rodeo to teach welding to a group of genetically altered humans, Quaddies. He soon learns of the attitude toward these Quaddies which is held by most of those on the planet, but he comes to recognize them as qualified, if not yet fully developed into maturity, humans.
This conflict in viewpoints leads to a rip roaring adventure tale which for all it's lightness of tone, has some very touching sequences, and fully rounded characters, human and mutated human alike.
A very good read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy! Buy! Buy!, 26 Jan 2001
By 
MJS (The Kingdom) - See all my reviews
Falling Free was the first novel by Lois McMaster Bujold I read and I haven't been able to stop reading her stuff since.
I read the whole of Falling Free in one sitting, not so much on purpose, I just forgot to put the book down. It was originally serialised in a magazine before being collected here, considering that it's amazing how well the story flows together.
For those not in the know: the story involves genetically enginneered beings designed to work in zero-gravity (they have four arms no legs). That's about as far as the science-fiction element stretches as the bulk of the novel is beautiful human drama featuring great characterisation and development between all the main characters.
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Falling Free
Falling Free by Lois McMaster Bujold (Paperback - 18 May 1989)
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