Could he just stand there and allow the exploitation of hundreds of helpless children merely to enhance the bottom line of a heartless mega-corporation?
He hadn't anticipated a situation where the right thing to do was neither safe, nor in the rules. Leo adopted a thousand quaddies. Now all he had to do was teach them to be free.
©1988 Lois McMaster Bujold; (P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"Superb....Read, or you will be missing something extraordinary." (Chicago Sun-Times)
"Bujold's best work in my opinion." (Science Fiction Chronicle)
I stumbled across the 1st "Miles" book (--Falling Free; it's sort of a prequel, actually, 200 years in the future) by accident, & enjoyed listening to the audiobook. When I went to go on to the next books, I found it annoying that they're not numbered. I did find a site that lists the books in order, for those who want a shortcut: http://www.dendarii.co.uk/FanFic/timeline.html.
As to how good they are, I've enjoyed the next 2 books enough that I bought them in order, & am about to buy the next. I like her characters, good plots that keep moving right along, & her 'sociological' sci fi of the planets Barrayar vs Beta is interesting.
It is a good novel & and a good listen. If you have read Lois McMaster Bujold, you know that her novels don't usually do scene setting before commencing on meaty bits.
Well, here the listener gets a decent build up of the story unlike her earlier works.
Overall, I think it is a good book, the characters and the scenes are quite unique and has some humourous scenes which are rare in sci fi books. In short, it is a scifi meets dilbert story and while at the end it feels predictable, its humour and interesting characters sufficiently compensate for it.
I would rate it a 4.5 stars rather than 5, but audible's rating system's setting means that I have to rely on other people giving it a 4 stars to make it 4.5.
Genre fiction, trashy to literary--mystery, action, sci fi, fantasy, and, yes, even romance. Also history. Listener reviews help a lot!
The Vorkosigan series is one of the best! But this "prequel"--set 200 years before the "real" series--is an outlier, very different from the others and (in my opinion) not nearly as good. Its story is almost totally exclusive of the series; the "Quaddies" do figure in later Vorkosigan books, but in a fairly minor way. "Falling Free" is best approached after you've already become hooked by the Vorkosiverse.
Start with either Shards of Honor or The Warrior's Apprentice. An interview with Lois McMaster Bujold appears with her book listings on Amazon and will advise the best order in which to read the series.
While not in the top 10, this was a good listen and well worth the credit
Well told, good character development and interest. Left me wanting to know what happens to the characters after the end of this book.
I was recommended this book as the first in the Vorkosigan series, but, as far as I can tel (just starting to listen to a proper Vorkosigan book), I don't see any real connection.
I love the Vorkosigan universe and this is a great story. It stands completely on it's own and fills in a piece of history of the greater universe. The characters are interesting as is the story itself. The story does bring up some moral questions about slavery and personhood. Grover Gardner does a great job narrating as always. I always lean towards listening to a book if he's the narrator.
I adore British literature from the Victorian Age through World war II, primarily, and fantasy, but also enjoy mysteries once in a while.
This compelling story draws you into the fate of the Quaddies, genetically engineered slaves with a second set of arms in place of legs. Their desire to procreate and live as normally as they can, to experience the kind of lives we, as humans, take for granted, became far more absorbing to me than I had anticipated.
Lois McMaster Bujold is a truly fine writer, with a superb ability to capture your imagination when you least expect it...Grover Gardner does complete justice to her storytelling, narrating convincingly and without any distractions for the reader. Lois's "voice" still rings true.
I recommend you read this book as background after experiencing a few of the early Miles Vorkosigan novels.
I am a huge Fan of Lois McMaster Bujold. This EXCELLENT novel shows how the idea of Human Cloning might be treated from a social and legal standpoint. When is a person NOT a person? Is an artificially designed and genetically altered living artifact really a "person"? Or are they "property"? If they are, what "rights" do they have if any? when is slavery NOT slavery? Who owns a person that has been designed and manufactured?
Then what happens to these "manufactured human artifacts" when technology bypasses them and makes them OBSOLETE? what then? Who will maintain the very expensive habitat that they require for survival when it becomes no longer financially feasible ? And most importantly, are PEOPLE, even manufactured ones, more important than money? what is the obligation of the corporation toward their "artifacts"? Dispose of them? Sterilize them and place them in institutions downside, where they will live short and painful lives as cripples? and what happens when these "artifacts" begin to form emotional bonds in defiance of the designers plans?
I continue to be fascinated by Lois Bujold's examination of social implications of a universe where people can be "gene cleaned", or redesigned, or even their sex changed, at will! Is a Woman who becomes a Man still a woman? (Civil Campaign) or can She/he take the place of a man? Is an 8 ft tall, female "super Soldier" with fangs, still a woman? or a thing? Is a planet full of MEN only who fear women as terrors beyond imagining who will control your mind with a glance from her evil eye...still PEOPLE. Or some sort of perverse wart on the universe that is best shoved aside?
BEST of all, it is FASCINATING reading! (and listening!) from a very good story teller! Wow COOL, GOOD BOOK. I have read it and listened to it SEVERAL times!
I'm the managing editor of the Fantasy Literature blog. Life's too short to read bad books!
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature.
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 doesn’t know, and isn’t told, that his new students are Quaddies, so he’s quite surprised and repulsed when he first meets them. Despite their strange anatomy, though, the Quaddies are just as smart as other humans and their four arms makes them better at some mechanical tasks. Soon it becomes apparent that the Quaddies are really just children and teenagers who want to be as normal as they can and don’t even realize that other humans would find them hideous. The corporation gives them no privacy and tries to keep them ignorant of other cultures, but the Quaddies have found ways to smuggle in trashy romance novels and videos. Leo struggles with the ethics of what the corporation is doing, but he initially decides not to rock the boat…. until a new technological advancement makes the Quaddies suddenly obsolete. Now Leo has to decide whether or not to help the Quaddies escape the fate that their owners have decided for them. If he does, he’ll ruin his illustrious career.
All of Lois McMaster Bujold’s VORKOSIGAN stories are fast paced, fun, and amusing, and Falling Free is no exception. On the surface it’s an entertaining adventure that’s often funny, such as when a Quaddie couple is trying to escape with their baby and worried about the trail of dirty diapers they’re leaving behind like breadcrumbs. It’s hard not to adore the Quaddies — they’re clever and sweet — and it’s easy to be outraged at their circumstances. The stakes are certainly high.
Falling Free is a story about revolution, and who doesn’t love a good revolution story? It’s also about the seduction of power, the difference between free time and freedom, what makes us human, how doing nothing can be morally wrong, and how just one person really can change the world.
Falling Free is not as wonderful as the other VORKOSIGAN books. The characters aren’t nearly as well developed. Leo, the hero, has little personality and the villains are obvious and one-faceted. Bujold fans know that characterization is what the author does best and that is missing here. Also, the humor isn’t quite as clever, which is disappointing because I love Bujold’s sense of humor. But Falling Free is still a fun story that’s worth your time, especially if you’re interested in the history of the Quaddies.
Falling Free won the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 1989. I listened to Bernard Setaro narrate the excellent audio version produced by Blackstone Audio. It’s 8.75 hours long.
I would definitely listen to this again. This series is enthralling and I have already listened to several pars of it more than once.
I love the narrator of these books. He brings it off perfectly.
"Good old-fashioned science fiction"
Straightforward and fun: engineers are good, managers are bad, individuals good, corporations bad. Like much sci-fi of the era, it oozes with optimistic projections of American values of that time - don't look for any modern political correctness Some nice sci-fi ideas, and a story the trots along cheerfully, if a little implausibly.
The reader was no better than OK, but didn't get in the way too much.
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