the Little Red Reviewer

Archive for the ‘Spider Robinson’ Category

CallahansCallahan’s Crosstime Saloon, by Spider Robinson

published in 1977

where I got it: purchased used

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I suppose Spider Robinson wasn’t the first guy who started writing because he passionately hated his day job. Not the first, and certainly not the last. But when was the last time I ran into scifi that was so casually inviting?  Reading this short story collection felt more like chatting with a friend over a beer than reading a book.  I finished it in two sittings, which means Jake Stonebender and I will need to have another chat (beer for me, he’ll have a whiskey) soon. Had I know how good it was going to be, I’d have savored it, only allowing myself one story an evening, instead of seemingly rushing through it.

How to describe Callahan’s Saloon? Drinks are cheap, toasts are required,  references to classic science fiction is appreciated, puns are a dime a dozen, and there’s always a story to be told and a laugh to be had, often at the same time, especially if it isn’t a funny story. The bar doesn’t advertise, only accepts cash, and if you need to be there you’ll find yourself at the front door and welcomed in. Anything, and I do mean anything, can happen at Callahan’s.

The stories in this collection are told through Jake Stonebender, a regular patron of Callahan’s who found himself there after blaming himself for the car accident that killed his wife and child.  We’re quickly introduced to the owner of the bar, Mike Callahan, and a few other regulars, including piano playing Fast Eddie, and the incorrigible punster Doc Webster. Each story introduces another character who will be referenced later, so it’s a good idea to read them in the presented order.

Some evenings momentous things happen at Callahan’s, such as when an alien walked in with regret at his mission to destroy the earth, and Mike Callahan ended up offering him a job as a bartender. Other evenings it’s simply the weekly punning contest, which I guarantee will have you laughing out loud, or at least groaning at some truly awful wordplays (and then using them on your friends later!).

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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.