Title: Falling Free
Author: Lois McMaster Bujold
First published January 1, 1988
288 pages, Hardcover
Leo Graf was a skilled engineer, dedicated to upholding safety regulations wherever he worked. But when he is sent to the remote planet of Kibou-daini to oversee a new project, he quickly discovers that the corporation he works for has a disturbing agenda.
Tasked with training a group of genetically modified humans known as “quaddies,” Leo is horrified to learn that they are being exploited for profit. As he tries to protect the quaddies from harm, Leo is forced to make difficult choices that defy both the rules and his own beliefs.
Falling Free is a thrilling tale of one man’s quest for justice, set against a backdrop of corporate greed and genetic experimentation. While it takes place before the events of Cordelia’s Honor, fans of Lois McMaster Bujold’s acclaimed Vorkosigan Saga will find plenty to love in this gripping standalone novel.
About the Author
Born in 1949, Lois McMaster Bujold’s love of science fiction began early on thanks to her father, an engineering professor at Ohio State University. Today, she resides in Minneapolis and is a proud mother of two adult children.
Bujold has made a name for herself in the literary world with her award-winning Chalion series and Sharing Knife tetralogy, both of which fall under the fantasy genre and are published by HarperCollins. Her science fiction work, featuring the incredibly popular Vorkosigan Saga, is published by Baen Books and has consistently topped bestseller lists.
Her writing has been translated into more than twenty languages, making her a truly international author.
For a comprehensive list of Bujold’s awards and nominations, please see this page:
And for those interested in learning more about her and her work, a collection of interviews can be found here:
Additionally, longtime fans may want to check out The Bujold Nexus, a fan-run website dedicated to Bujold and her writing.
Falling Free by Lois McMaster Bujold is a science fiction novel that was first published on January 1, 1988. Bujold is a talented writer, having won multiple Hugo and Nebula awards for her well-known Vorkosigan Saga series.
Her writing style is often characterized as intricate and inventive, with a strong focus on character development and exploring complex social and political issues. In this novel, Bujold takes a critical look at the idea of corporate greed and the exploitation of vulnerable, genetically engineered workers.
Falling Free tells the story of Leo Graf, an engineer who is sent to train a group of quaddies humans who have been genetically altered to have an extra set of arms instead of legs for the galactic corporation, GalacTech. Leo quickly sees that these workers are being exploited and begins to question the ethics of their creation and treatment.
As he tries to free them from their bondage, Leo must navigate treacherous political waters and confront his own prejudices about the quaddies. Bujold’s writing is riveting, transporting readers to a future world where genetic engineering is the norm and corporations rule with an iron fist.
Her characters are multifaceted and engaging, with Leo Graf standing out as a relatable protagonist who deeply cares about the well-being of others. The other quaddies are also well-fleshed-out, each with their own unique personalities and struggles.
The storyline is well-paced and gripping, keeping readers on the edge of their seats as they follow Leo’s journey. One of the book’s strengths is its exploration of issues that are still relevant today, such as corporate greed and the ethics of genetic engineering.
Bujold does not shy away from difficult topics, forcing readers to confront the uncomfortable realities of a world where people are valued solely for their ability to work. She also weaves in themes of identity and belonging, showcasing the struggles of the quaddies as they try to find their place in a world that often does not accept them.
That being said, Falling Free is not without its flaws. Some readers may find the ending to be somewhat abrupt, and there are a few plot threads that do not feel fully resolved.
Additionally, the book can be dense at times, with technical jargon and complex political machinations making it difficult to follow at points. Overall, Falling Free is a must-read for fans of science fiction and social commentary.
Bujold’s writing is top-notch, and her exploration of complex issues leaves readers with plenty to ponder long after putting the book down. While it may not be perfect, Falling Free is a thought-provoking and engaging read that is sure to resonate with anyone who has ever doubted the morality of capitalism and corporate culture.
I give Falling Free a rating of 4 out of 5 stars, based on its strong characterization, gripping plot, and thought-provoking themes. While it has a few flaws, it is a compelling read that is well worth your time.