[LMB] Falling Free: Chapter 3

Tora K. Smulders-Srinivasan tora.smulders at gmail.com
Mon Jul 29 21:59:39 BST 2013

Argh!  Sorry for being so behind on the list (295 emails & a bunch I
never replied to, but meant to!) and on the discussion.

I didn't mean to drop a Chapter summary/discussion and run, but oh
well. Life. As I haven't read the latter discussion, I'm sorry if I
ignore any ongoing threads in this email, just missed 'em, honest, not
ignoring anyone!

Anyway, on to Chapter 3 of Falling Free!

Hmmm... my first thought on re-reading this chapter, is wish I hadn't
signed up for this one!

Most of it seems to be about Silver's sex life and the fact that she
even has one makes me uncomfortable.

Oh well, onwards we go.

I do like the beginning of the chapter, being a mother in null g has
got to be crazy!  I can only imagine raising a son without the
benefits of gravity!  It's bad enough when the poo is mostly confined!

But anyway, the little family picture with Claire, Tony, and Andy is
great. Though both Claire and Tony seem a bit like they're playing
parents (like kids do) but only with a real live baby. I guess they
both seem a bit immature and naive?  In this situation, that's how the
company/Dr. Yei have encouraged them to be and they haven't really
fought it too much, at least, not so it is apparent in their
characters as I see them so far.

Love how Tony gets excited about doing real work, until he starts
realizing what that means. Also, how Andy is so in character, trying
to get Dr. Yei's earrings!

This part makes me think that Dr. Yei is under pressure now and that's a change:

' Dr. Yei bit her words off carefully. "There is a Project-wide push
to increase productivity. In all areas." Dr. Yei, always
straightforward in Claire's experience, smiled falsely. '

Then, break up your little family says Dr. Yei. Fun. I don't like that
part. So we find out the Claire and Tony have continued sexual
relations and Silver and Van Atta do as well. And that Dr. Yei may
have known about it, but hadn't done anything about it yet. So far,
she just wants Silver to shut up about it?

Do love this part:

' "You're not supposed to help yourselves." The sting of Dr. Yei's
criticism was blunted by her suppressed smile. "You're supposed to
wait until you're served." Yei paused. "Just how many of you are privy
to this, ah, Silver-mine of information, anyway? Just you and Tony, I
trust?" '

It makes it seem like Dr. Yei isn't really all that bad, but...
Anyway, I like the Silver mine. :-)

Then, we see Leo teaching again and noticing that something is off
with Tony. Can't say I followed any of the science-y welding-y bits
very much.

The discussion with Tony that follows is so sad -- clearly Tony is
wanting to get away, but has no idea how or how hard it'll be to
actually live away from the company.

And Leo doesn't follow up because he feels the Quaddies have so little
privacy as it is:

' Leo shrank from the thought of confronting him. Every downsider
staff member in the Habitat seemed to feel they had a right to the
quaddies' personal thoughts. There wasn't a lockable door anywhere in
the quaddies' living quarters. They had all the privacy of ants under

And possibly because he has an inkling, I think the theme of this next
bit of Leo's thoughts continues through the book:

' All his life he had placed his faith in his own technical
integrity—if he followed that star, his feet would not stumble. It was
ingrained habit by now; he had brought that technical integrity to the
teaching of Tony's work gang almost automatically. And yet . . . this
time, it did not seem to be quite enough. As if he had memorized the
answer, only to discover the question had been changed.

Yet what more could be demanded of him? What more could he be expected
to give? What, after all, could one man do?

A spasm of vague fear made him blink, the hard-edged stars in the
viewport smearing, as the looming shadow of the dilemma clouded on the
horizon of his conscience. More . . .

He shivered, and turned his back to the vastness. It could swallow a
man, surely. '

Yes, definitely foreshadowing Leo's large role in the rest of the
book, but also Leo is realizing after 6 weeks and this incident with
Tony, that perhaps he's going to be forced to make a decision based on
his integrity -- step up or not -- and it's not going to be a
technical integrity question either.

The next part: Silver and Ti.

There's a lot here, but the whole situation makes me uncomfortable, oh well...

This part is so sad, and probably the first time we realize they're
actually having sex:

' She smiled, half-closed her own eyes, picked up the rhythm of her
flexing hips. "Oooh," she murmured, as Van Atta had taught her. Let's
hear some feedback, honey, Van Atta had demanded, so she'd hit on a
collection of noises that seemed to please him. They worked on the
pilot, too, when she remembered to make them. '

And this:

' What's he getting out of this that I'm not? What's wrong with me?
Maybe she really was, as Van Atta had once accused, frigid—an
unpleasant word, it reminded her of machinery, and the trash dumps
locked outside the Habitat—so she had learned to make noises for him,
and twitch pleasingly, and he had commended her for loosening up. '

Okay, now I really hate Van Atta. Argh. Anyway.

Do we know if she started with Ti or Van Atta?

And we find out something is happening with Tony and Claire:

' Hurry up Tony, Claire, Silver worried. I can't keep this guy
occupied all shift. '

Also, quite like this interchange:


"How do downsiders keep from, um, bouncing apart?" Silver inquired
curiously, taking practical advantage of having cornered an apparent
expert on the subject.

His grin widened. "Gravity keeps us together."

"How strange. I always thought of gravity as something you had to
fight all the time."

"No, only half the time. The other half, it works for you," he assured her.

He undocked from her body rather gracefully—perhaps it was all that
piloting experience showing through—and planted a kiss in the hollow
of her throat. "Pretty lady."

Silver blushed a little, grateful for the dim lighting. '

Seems like Ti isn't all that bad and perhaps likes Silver and maybe
even she likes him back a bit, certainly she thinks about maybe having
a baby with him:

' Silver suppressed a faint twinge of regret. It was just too bad Ti
wasn't one of them. Too bad she was such a long way down the roster of
those scheduled for motherhood. Too bad . . . '

I like the next bits for what they reveal about Silver, she's
certainly more interested in the book discs than much else --doesn't
hurt they sound good to me too. ;-)

Another reason to hate Van Atta:

' Although perhaps Mr. Van Atta was a bit like Sir Randan . . . high
of status, commanding, short-tempered. . . . Silver wondered briefly
why short temper in Sir Randan always seemed so exciting and
attractive, full of fascinating consequences. When Mr. Van Atta became
angry, it merely made her sick to her stomach. Perhaps downsider women
had more courage. '

And now we see that it's an escape plan!

' Tony, Claire, and Andy were just disappearing into the shuttle hatch
flex tube. '

And there's an unscheduled trip downside -- That's not going to be
good for the Quaddies!?!?!

Cliffhanger ending of sorts. ;-)

Okay, now I might just have to read to the end of the book,
uncomfortable bits and all.

-Tora, hope you guys are all enjoying the discussion, I am, when I can
get to it! :-)

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