Falling Free takes place in a future galactic setting often used by Lois McMaster Bujold, in which Earth has colonized planets in other solar systems. The main characters are Leo Graf, a career engineer for GalacTech, and his supervisor and antagonist, Bruce Van Atta. Their conflict centers on the quaddies, one thousand bio-engineered humans who have been created to live and work in free fall. The quaddies have four arms and are more resistant to radiation and the lack of gravity than are bipedal humans. They were developed in a decades-long project funded by GalacTech, and the corporation sees them as company property rather than as human beings with legal rights. Leo goes to the Cay Habitat, a space station orbiting the planet Rodeo, to teach the quaddies free fall welding and construction, but he ends up helping them in a revolution against the company. The other bipedal humans on the habitat are all GalacTech employees whose job is raising and educating the quaddies.
Tony, Claire, and Silver, all quaddies, are important characters, both to Leo and in leading the revolution. Tony and Claire are the parents of one of the first quaddie children born naturally, and Silver is their friend. Leo becomes disturbed by what he sees as the beginnings of slavery on the part of the company, but he realizes that he has little power to help the quaddies.
Three events force Leo to become active in defending the quaddies. First, Claire is told...
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