This is the first official review of the audio version of Falling Free which was published in the St. Louis Post Dispatch.
The performance of Michael Hanson and Carol Cowan in this Nebula Award-winning novel is the kind of work you would like to hear with all audio books. Not only are these two readers among the best of the current crop of narrators, the producer has eliminated a lot of the "he said" and "she said" descriptions, allowing the dialogue to seem much more conversational.
Falling Free, the first in a much-praised science fiction series, concerns genetically engineered space workers in a part of the galaxy ruled by the bylaws of a company called GalacTech. These bylaws, unchecked by government moderation, are largely interested in the intense worship of the bottom line. So all decisions in the corporate pecking order are based on protecting one's posterior when either profit or potential profit are threatened.
The workers, who refer to themselves as Quaddies, look normal except that they have arms and hands where their legs and feet should be. The Quaddies are the product of a long-term, secret, bio-engineering enterprise designed to give GalacTech the upper hand on projects demanding trained personnel working for extended periods in gravity-free conditions.
As a result of the secrecy, engineer Leo Graf is stunned at what he finds when he is transferred to teach free-fall welding and construction on the Quaddies' orbital habitat. As a Downsider, it doesn't take Graf long to adjust to what he sees, because the Quaddies are so well-adapted to their environment. None is much more than 20 years old, and all are bright and eager to please.
Except for a jerky Downsider or two, everything is proceeding as GalacTech has directed until the company brass learns of a major technological breakthrough that may make the Quaddie project redundant. What happens next creates a pretty exciting scenario.
This review was written by Dick Richmond. It was published on June 6, 1996 in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Everything that appears in the Post-Dispatch is copyrighted by the Pulitzer Publishing Co. Dick Richmond has given permission to post this.
The Reader's Chair is a small company, but has produced a number of award-winning audio books. To introduce listeners to their products, the firm has produced a sample tape of its books, which may be requested by calling (800) 616-1350. This is the same number that may be used to order Falling Free.
© 1996 by Dick Richmond
Added to The Bujold Nexus: June 30th 1996
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