By Lois McMaster Bujold; Read by Michael Hanson and Carol Cowan
7 Cassettes – 9 hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: The Reader’s Chair
Themes: / Science Fiction / Genetic Engineering / Space Travel / Space Stations / Slavery / Corporations /
When I heard about The Reader’s Chair going out of business, I couldn’t help but to revisit this book. I first started writing about audiobooks back in 2001, and one of the first columns I wrote for SFSite was about The Reader’s Chair. In that column, I said:
The audio versions are first-rate. Hanson and Cowan read the books with enthusiasm, providing different characters with different inflections. Great care was taken to make these novels a listening pleasure.
Upon listening to this Nebula-winning novel, and after hearing I have no clue how many audiobooks since, I can still say that the Reader’s Chair titles are amongst the finest out there. Michael Hanson has a deep sonorous voice that demands attention, and Carol Cowan is a warm yet feisty counterbalance.
Falling Free is a novel that fits into Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan series, but the events occur 200 years before the birth of the famous Miles Vorkosigan. The story involves a corporation that genetically engineers a new race of humans (called Quaddies) that are uniquely adapted for work in zero-gravity. Enter Leo Graf, an engineer hired to teach zero-g welding techniques to this new race of slave labor. When he sees how the Quaddies are treated, he becomes very uneasy. Think you know where this is heading? Bujold pulls it off brilliantly.
This one is now officially out of print, but well worth finding. The Reader’s Chair productions are top notch, from the high quality production value to the sturdy and fine-looking packaging. I’m very sorry to see them go.
Posted by Scott D. Danielson