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Summary

Nobody blends good science with bad puns as brilliantly as Spider Robinson. Now he's back with the latest chapter of the Callahan saga: an improbable tale of impending doom, a road trip, space, drugs, and rock 'n' roll.

The universe is in desperate peril. Due to a cluster of freakish phenomena, the United States' own defense system has become a doomsday machine, threatening the entire universe. Only one man can save everything-as-we-know-it from annihilation. Unfortunately, he's not available. So the job falls instead to bar owner Jake Stonebender, his wife Zoey, and their superintelligent toddler, Erin, not to mention two dozen busloads of ex-hippies and freaks, Robert Heinlein's wandering cat, a whorehouse parrot, and misunderstood genius-inventor, Nikola Tesla, who is in fact alive and well.

©2000 Spider Robinson (P)2003 Blackstone Audiobooks

Critic reviews

"Fans and the uninitiated alike will devour this intoxicating blend of character comedy and hard sci-fi, for [Spider] Robinson's writing remains as potentially addictive and as full of earthy delight as [Jake] Stonebender's famed Irish coffee." (Publishers Weekly)
"[Spider] Robinson resembles [Robert] Heinlein in his mild anarchism; oft-cited, never described sex; and characters that think they're smarter than the rest of us, and are." (Booklist)
"I'd nominate Spider Robinson as the new Robert Heinlein." (The New York Times)

What members say

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No Reviews are Available
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Dan
  • 04-07-09

Too much drugs and whores

Clearly Spider Robinson has an active imagination; but his stories have lost something since the Callahan Chronicles....or maybe, more accurately, the stories have gained something: Sex and Drugs.

He reminds me why I don't like hippies.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Sabine
  • 11-01-08

Stupid

This was my first Spider Robinson book and maybe I should have read the previous Callahan's books first to better understand the story. I thought it was plain stupid. Looking at the reviews - you either love it or hate it. I did not want to waste a credit so I listened to the end - would not recommend this book to anybody.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • R. Kottke
  • 26-05-04

The New Spider is not a new Heinlein

"Callahan's Key" is about as far from a Heinlein tale is you can get. Heinlein dealt with the individualist. Spider in this book became very political and 'Green'. His characters formed committees to work on problems. Heinlein characters felt that committees were creatures with many legs and no brains. This is too bad since the early Callahan tales in Analog had such potential.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Alex
  • 06-02-04

psychedelic dream of an old hippie

I found this book to be mildly entertaining, with few OK puns that were greatly diluted by the mediocre ones. This sci-fi is pretty low on "sci" and not too high on original "fi". The most annoying recurring phrase was "he was right...". It repeated too many times throughout the book and tasted like yet another spoonful of sugar in the same cup of tea. I was somewhat bored. However overall, it is not the most horrible piece of literature I was exposed to.

14 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • W. Seligman
  • 17-09-04

Keeps the plot. loses the emotion

"Shared pain is diminished, shared joy is increased." That was the motto of "Callahan's Chronicles," the first of the Spider Robinson's Callahan books available via Audible. That first audio book (actually a compilation of three Callahan story collections) dealt with crazy, wild, innovative personal problems of individuals and the crazy, wild, and innovative solutions they found.

All of that is lost by the time we get to "Callahan's Key." I listened for 1 1/2 chapters, then I couldn't stand it anymore: It was just plot, plot, plot. The layers of super-powers, special abilities, and strange circumstances established in the earlier books were just feeding off each other. Where was the shared joy? Where was the diminshed pain? I heard none of that.

It doesn't help that apparently there are two intervening books between "Callahan's Chronicles" and "Callahan's Key": "Callagan's Legacy" and "Callahan's Touch." These are not available from Audible at the time I write this review. Plot elements from these earlier books are constantly refered to in "Key"; it makes things hard to follow.

About the only good thing I can say about this one is that the reader, Barret Whitener, is still excellent. But he can't turn dross into gold.

If you loved the characters from "Callahans Chronicles," you'll get more of them here. But if you listened to the stories for that central motto, "Shared pain is diminished, shared joy is increased," you'll be disappointed in "Callahans Key."

19 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Ryan
  • 26-08-08

A good idea poorly exicuted

I liked the idea of this book but found the dialouge trite and cheesy.

10 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kathryn
  • 25-03-04

Purchase Callahan's Chronicles First!

I really enjoyed this book, but would suggest to anyone to purchase Callahan's Chronicles first, without that you miss out on a lot of background, as well as some of the spirit of the novel. This one doesn't have the heart of the Callahan's Place, but, none the less, it still holds its own, with a great fun story that keeps you wrapped up. Audible - More Spider Please!!

7 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jason
  • 14-02-04

Loved it!

I'm a huge Douglas Adams fan. I just happened upon Callahan's Key durring a search and it sounded a bit like a Douglas Adams book. I couldn't have been more on the money. Spider is like the American Version of Douglas and I can give no higher priase then that. Barrett Whitener is a great narator! Listening to this book was like going on a great vacation with good friends. Audible, PLEASE GET US MORE SPIDER ROBINSON BOOKS NARRATED BY BARRETT WHITENER! I'll buy them all!

6 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • A. Pippin
  • 02-02-04

Callahan's Key Was Outstanding

One audio book that you can not wait to finish. I listen mainly on the way back and forth from work and found myself sitting in my driveway wanting to hear more.

5 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mark
  • 03-02-04

Didn't want to stop listening.

This is one book I never wanted to stop listening to during my day at work. It was really well read.

3 of 14 people found this review helpful