Callahan's Crosstime Saloon is the neighborhood tavern to all of time and space, where the regulars are anything but. These time travelers, talking dogs, alcoholic vampires, and cybernetic aliens really, truly care about each other. It's the rare kind of place where bad puns are as appreciated as good conversation.
Time Travelers Strictly Cash is their policy. Lay your money on the bar, name your poison, step up to the line drawn on the barroom floor, and after drinking make a toast and throw the glass into the fireplace. It's an odd tradition but one that's led to some interesting stories.
Callahan's Secret may be something even the regulars would never guess. Then again, it may be as simple as listening to those post-toast stories. After all, like Callahan says, shared pain is lessened and shared joy is increased, a simple concept that could, after a few drinks, lead to saving the world.
©1997 Spider Robinson; (P)2003 Blackstone Audiobooks
"Robinson is the hottest writer to hit science fiction since Ellison, and he can match the master's frenetic energy and emotional intensity, arm-break for gut-wrench." (Los Angeles Times)
"Tall tales....fine and funny....A significant achievement for light humor!" (Houston Post)
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Having read all of Robinson's Callahan books from this one through Callahan's Key (available here on Audible), it was a pleasure to revisit these stories where the Callahan legend begins. New readers should not beleive Robinson when he says in the Forward (or "Backward" as he calls it) that there will be no more Callahan stories. He went on to write a number of other Callahan books between this one and "Key". They are all just as fun.
My only beef is with the narrator. The book is made up not so much of chapters as with interrelated short stories, yet the narrator makes the transition from the end of one into the beginning of the next without so much as a pause for a breath.
With luck, Robinson and Audible will see fit to add all the intervening books that fall between this one and Callahans Key.
If you are a fan of Science Fiction, Mysteries, puns, riddles, tall tales and just plain good story telling, I highly recommend this book.
"The Callahan Chronicals"
I had never heard of Callahan's place. I downloaded it out of curiosity. Oh the puns, such groaners, but oh how I grew to love those mutants and misfits. I miss them already. I am going to listen to the next Callahan book, and then go back and listen to this one again and again.
"New regular to Callahan's"
I was totally unfamiliar with Spider and Callahan's place. I selected this book based on its rating and its length. One of the BEST decisions I ever made. I can't wait to listen to more of the Callahan saga.
You gotta get this one!!
"Punday Night comes to life"
If you're already a Callahan's regular you don't need any encouragement. If "The Place" is new to you, come on in, we've been waiting for you. What took you so long?
Barrett Whitener's reading does Spider's creations proud. Audible, thanks for finally getting the right strings pulled to bring Spider's books into the fold - MORE, MORE!
And, yes, as Spider once told Ben Bova - "apparently it is supposed to hit the fan"
"The Callahan Chronicals"
Enjoyed reading them as they where published and always wished to have them collected. The audio collection is a great success. I was entertained with each presentation.
"I was skeptical...."
I had never heard of Callahan's Place, mostly I bought this based on others reviews, and due to the legnth because I had a long road trip ahead of me. Listening to the first short story, I wondered if I had made the right decision, by the end of the first story (The Man with the Eyes) I was in love with Callahan's Place! I found myself sitting in my car just to hear the rest of the chapter. I also purchased the other one Spider Robbinson book that Audible has (Callahan's Key) and have listened to all 12 hours of that in record time as well. The characters are very loveable, and I found part of myself in each one. "Shared pain is lessened;
Shared joy is increased"
"A Classic SF Author..."
Spider Robinson is not only a gifted science fiction author, he is a gifted humanist, and it shows in this book exceptionally. I never laughed so hard when listening to a book before. The reading of this version is excellent and I found a new appreciation for characters voices in interestingly and unique ways. I've read the entire series and can't recommend enough that if you enjoy science fiction, humor, and excellent stories you must listen/read this.
Although I love science fiction, I don't read just everything and that's my only excuse for not having found Calahan's before. There are a lot of in jokes, many of which I get. This is for people who don't mind thinking about what they heard. I agree with a previous reviewer that the lack of breaks between stories is mildly irritating. The biggest drawback I had was that if I were reading it would be easy to go back over things like some of the riddles. Maybe Audible could have a link to an online addendum for visual jokes and riddles. The sections are wonderfully set up for the beginning of each story. There is a dark section that I might not listen to each time. You can't help but care about the characters. I will definately buy everything that Audible offers, and maybe even buy the books as well. Advantage to the audio version in that we get to hear a couple of the songs instead of just reading them. I guess that balances out not being able to see the riddles.
Consider that Heinlein's estate has chosen to allow Spider to write a book which was completely outlined and populated with characters but never actually fleshed out into a book. So this guy is good enough to be Heinlein's co-author.
"Come on in..."
The audiobook is made up of the novels Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon, Time Travelers Strictly Cash, and Callahan’s Secret. These three books contain the stories of Mike Callahan and the visitors to his bar somewhere in the Northeast. It is the type of place with the type of people that all of us would like to find. Where no one is a stranger for long and people are willing to lend a helping hand.
I first read paperback versions of these books years ago and could not get enough of Spider Robinson’s writing after that. His sense of humor fits perfectly into what I find funny and the audiobook does a great job of conveying it.
Warning: if you do not like dry humor and puns, this series is not for you.
"Spider Weaves a Web of Pun"
The first three collections of Spider Robinson's stories about Callahan's Place, dating from the 70s and 80s, originally published in Analog, are collected in this omnibus edition. Though each story stands on its own, there are enough threads connecting them all that this can accurately be described as more than just a collection.The characters of course. But more than that, the philosophy, summed up in Robinson's and Callahan's maxim that "shared pain is lessened, shared joy increased".
For someone new to Callahan's world, like me, these stories mostly read as fresh, despite being slightly dated (although change Vietnam to Iraq, and most of the issues Robinson tackles are still relevant). For veterans of Callahan's, I'm sure there is nothing I can say that you don't already know. The only thing I can add for this audio edition is that the narration is a good fit with the writing style -- if you've read the books, listening to the audiobook would be a great way to revisit them.
My only caution, in hindsight -- as this is a collection of three books, I wish I had listened to them one at a time, reading something else in between, and then returned to read the next volume. 15 hours in a row does not do the material justice, just as the 15th slice of even the best pizza is not going to be as good as the first if you eat them all in one sitting. Otherwise, good stuff for newcomers and longtime denizens alike.
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