Sci-Fi Book Club – Falling Free

Manchester Sci-Fi Book Club

Title: Sci-Fi Book Club – Falling Free
Location: MadLab
Description: Book Club for Science Fiction Fans
Start Time: 19:00
Date: 2011-04-19
End Time: 21:00

Falling Free

This month we are reading the Nebula Award winning Falling Free by Lois
McMaster Bujold.

The novel relates the creation of the “Quaddies”, genetically modified people who have four arms, the second pair appearing where unmodified humans would have legs. They were intended to be used as a space labor force, not only superbly adapted to zero-gravity but unable to function “downside” in any but the lightest gravitational field. From the point of view of the commercial interests responsible for their creation, they would be highly-profitable, requiring none of the special facilities or mandatory time off needed by other humans, whose bodies tend to deteriorate over the long term in weightlessness. They would also be completely beholden to the company for life support, and would have no rights as human beings.

Legally, the Quaddies are not classed as human but as “post-fetal experimental tissue cultures”. The company treats them as chattel slaves. Their access to information is tightly controlled. Even their children’s stories are about working in space. They can be ordered to reproduce or to have a pregnancy terminated. They are the subject of breeding programs, the company compelling them to mate only with one of the company’s choosing, regardless of existing partners. When a new artificial gravity technology renders them both obsolete and a potential political embarrassment to the executives, there are discussions about killing them or sterilizing them. Bipedal engineer Leo Graf, who had been assigned to help train them, instead helps them break free. They eventually settle in an initially remote system that gradually becomes a major part of the Nexus.

Manchester Sci-Fi Book Club Contacts

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Sci-Fi Books for following months are:

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K Dick

The Cyberiad by Stanislaw Lem advocate Naomi Jacobs

Snow Crash by Neil Stevenson advocate Simon Carter

Anvil of the Stars by Greg Bear