Falling Free (Miles Vorkosigan Adventures (Paperback))

Falling Free (Vorkosigan Saga, #4) - Lois McMaster Bujold This is marked as the first work in Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga, but I don't think it's necessarily the one you want to read first. This is more a prequel to the main timeline of the series. It's known as the "Vorkosigan Saga" because it mostly focuses on the family of that name, and particularly Miles Vorkosigan--who isn't even mentioned in this standalone story set 200 years before the character that gives this series its name was born. It's also an early work of Bujold, only her fourth published novel, and I think she's one of those writers who only got better with time rather than peaked early. So I'd recommend starting with the omnibus works Cordelia's Honor (centered on Miles' parents) or Young Miles, where Miles finally takes center stage. This is recognizably in the same universe though, and is an entertaining story in its own right. But while Miles Vorkosigan is one of the most memorable fictional characters in science fiction, this merely has likable ones. Leo Graf, an engineer, finds himself teaching "quaddies," a bioengineered species of human with four arms designed to work in free fall who are disturbingly treated like property--and a new tech is about to make their purpose obsolete. The story is good space opera in the tradition of the Heinlein juveniles--but with stronger, more believable female characters. I liked and enjoyed this--but I love lots of the other entries in the series. So if you don't find yourself entranced by this one, do try Young Miles before giving up on the series.