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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 listeners say about Callahan's Key

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Dan
  • 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.

16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • 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 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • 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 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • 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.

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • 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 people found this helpful

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

A good idea poorly exicuted

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

10 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ronald Halladey
  • 06-12-20

The best ever

highly recommend anything from spider Robinson or Robert Heinlein they are the best writers ever

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Liz
  • 21-11-20

Most Excellent

I love Spider Robinson and dearly wish The Place was real and wish I could be there. I will take Jamison, brown sugar and double cream in my own God's Blessing. Thanks

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Shawn B Force
  • 03-10-20

fantastic always

this was as wonderful as when I read it the first time. the narration was great and the whole story was made more by it.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sue Spencer
  • 20-08-21

Spider, 'nuff said.

A great continuation to the Callahan saga. Jake and friends are out to top their performance as saviours of the world. This time they're out to be saviours of the universe. That's not hyperbole it just came to me in a flash..ahh...ahh.