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Falling Free (Miles Vorkosigan Adventures) (original 1988; edition 2008)

by Lois McMaster Bujold

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1,901473,607 (3.68)1 / 102
Member:mrund
Title:Falling Free (Miles Vorkosigan Adventures)
Authors:Lois McMaster Bujold
Info:Baen (2008), Edition: Reissue, Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

Work details

Falling Free by Lois McMaster Bujold (1988)

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Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
This is a pretty good book. It still sad to see in the future that sexism and misogyny is still alive in the casual asides leveled at some of the women, the fact the creche people are all women and wear pink and the fact that Van Atta exists at all.
The sad fact is that the men in the book do most of the heavy lifting. Leo has the plan, Ti is the one to pilot the jumper, Pramod and crew are the ones to redo the configuration etc. Silver and Claire are the only two women that really feature prominently. Claire being a baby clutcher at that.
Also in the end there was no reason for Andy to be male. SO once again we have the "all babies are male" coming into play. Someone might point out that this was written back in the 80s, but that's still no excuse.

The good points of the book though is that there isn't really any violence. There are a few incidents that happen, but unlike [b:On Basilisk Station|35921|On Basilisk Station (Honor Harrington, #1)|David Weber|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1390456253s/35921.jpg|965345] there's no ship combat, people shooting everything up, dead bodies hanging everywhere. So it's a nice relief from all that.
Overall this reads a lot better than [b:The Cage of Zeus|10201361|The Cage of Zeus|Sayuri Ueda|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1347225826s/10201361.jpg|15100643] too, which is turning into a shit show.
There is diversity also in this book. Maybe not executed so so well, but we have Ti, Pramod, Yei, and a few others.
The only squicky thing is that Leo is said to be around 40? and Silver is 15? And they make googly eyes at each other. I guess maybe it's excused because quaddies have a shorter life BUT... they look like children, which goes back into that whole fetish/pedo thing.

As and aside I read some of the short reviews for the [b:The Warrior's Apprentice|61906|The Warrior's Apprentice (Vorkosigan Saga, #2)|Lois McMaster Bujold|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1170597854s/61906.jpg|2792] and te first comment is about how Bro McDudely is picking apart her work because she's a woman and "what do wimminz know of military!" and he can't find fault with it. I be he doesn't pick apart the men's SF. The next one just outright calls Bujold a "girl". Doesn't even see her as a woman. Gross on all accounts that these mindsets are STILL ALIVE TODAY.
  Maverynthia | May 11, 2016 |
Interesting world building with some consideration of the potential outcomes of corporations owning life and what happens when they are no longer financially viable. ( )
  kale.dyer | May 7, 2016 |
Something of a prequel to the Vorkosigan Saga, Falling Free is Bujold's story of the origin of the quaddies and a look at an earlier stage in the development of the galaxy as Miles knows it. I really enjoyed reading about Leo Graf and the quaddies and noticed the brief mentions of Beta Colony.
  hailelib | Apr 13, 2016 |
Fun read with engaging characters. ( )
  csmith0406 | Mar 18, 2016 |
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 race of bioengineered humans called the “Quadies”. They have four arms but no legs, the lower pair of arms are placed where the legs normally are. This configuration is designed for living and operating naturally in freefall. They live in a space habitat where they carry out engineering and other work for no payment. Their needs are provided by GalacTech, the company that fund their creation and own them. As such the Quadies are basically lower than second class citizens, they are perhaps only a few steps above beasts of burden. They lack the most basic human rights, as these do not extend to transhuman rights.

As you can imagine the central theme of this book is about the right to live a good life, free from tyranny. A right which we would have to extend to any sentient beings we create, be they transhumans or artificial intelligences. Thematically it reminds me a little of Heinlein’s [b:The Moon is a Harsh Mistress|16690|The Moon is a Harsh Mistress|Robert A. Heinlein|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348768309s/16690.jpg|1048525]. However, Falling Free is not some heavy-handed propaganda, Ms. Bujold never loses sight of her role as a storyteller. The story of the Quadies’ struggle for independence and freedom is told in Bujold’s dependable breezy and graceful narrative style. The ethical aspect of the story is for the readers to infer at their leisure or completely ignore if they just want to kick back and soak in a few hours of escapism.

As always Bujold is able to create a cast of relatable characters, the hero Leo Graf (human with legs) is suitably resourceful, honorable, slightly insecure and humble. The main Quaddies characters are very likable and tend to have a childlike earnestness to them. The villain of the piece, Mr. Van Atta, the general manager of the space habitat project, is not one of fiction’s most formidable antagonists. He lacks the competency, his villainy is more of a “boo-hiss” variety. This is not a densely plotted novel, but it does move along at a fair clip.

The Vorkosigan series is often classified as “military science fiction” but Falling Free does not have any military in it, just a few ineffective security guards. This is closer to being a “hard SF” novel than a military one. In fact the science or the “SFnal” aspect of the book may be its best features. The advantages of having four arms and no legs is vividly depicted, as is the Quaddies’s first experience of a planet with gravity, how mobility suddenly becomes much more of an issue. I can just about imagine being a Quaddie. The outcome of the book is fairly predictable but given the plot trajectory I do not see that Bujold had any choice. If you are new to the Vorkosigan series Falling Free is not a bad start, it works 100% as a standalone book, though I believe there are some better books in the series.

About 4.5 stars. ( )
  apatt | Dec 26, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
Falling Free is one of Bujold’s early books, and it isn’t as technically accomplished as her later work. It’s definitely one of her minor books, but she’s so good that a minor book for her would be a major one for anyone else.
added by Shortride | editTor.com, Jo Walton (Aug 6, 2009)
 

» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lois McMaster Bujoldprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Elson, PeterCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gardner, GroverNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gutierrez, AlanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Seeley, DavidCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Turner, PatrickCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 067157812X, Mass Market Paperback)

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 corporation 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 neither safe, nor in the rules...Leo Graf adopted 1000 quaddies - now all he had to do was teach them to be free.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:05 -0400)

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A Vorkosigan adventure. Sci-fi. Winner of Nebula Award.

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