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Falling Free (Nebula Award Stories) Mass Market Paperback – 1 Jun 1999

3.9 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Baen Books; Reprint edition (1 Jun. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067157812X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671578121
  • Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 11 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 712,832 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
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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Format: Mass Market Paperback
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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Format: Kindle Edition
This is a sci-fi novel about bio-engineered people with two apairs of arms instead of arms and legs bred to work in zero-gravity conditions. The hugely expensive programme is suddenly rendered redundant by new technology and its administrators have to decide how to proceed.

The Quaddies themselves decide that they need to find a new home.......

Falling Free predates the main Vorkosigan saga by about 200 years and can be read as a stand-alone novel. There is more 'hard' science in it than most of LMB's work, but shows her style, depth, worldbuilding and character development as well as any/all of her novels. Enjoy!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is my first exposure to Bujold's work, and as a first taste it has certainly done its job as I fully intend to check out the rest of the series.

The story concerns a research space station in which a generation of workers have been created with an extra pair of hands instead of legs, intended for antigravity work. These so-called 'quaddies' are considered the property of the company they work for, and everything from the books they read to who they sleep with is chosen for them.

Bujold explores the worrying ramifications of such a situation in sympathetic detail, and when the quaddies become suddenly obsolete and therefore expendable, she turns it into a thrilling race against time, too.

The main protagonist, Leo, is likable yet wonderfully human; his passion for engineering leads to many of the hard sci-fi passages, and he is a vital counterpoint to the hissable villain.

If I have a criticism of the book, it's that I was left wanting more. The story ends fairly abruptly, and I felt that several of the characters could have done with more detailed resolutions.

Still, I thoroughly enjoyed my first taste of Bujold's universe, and can highly recommend the book to anyone that likes hard SF that makes you think.
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