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Callahann's Crosstime Saloon (Callahan's #1)

4.17  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,978 Ratings  ·  218 Reviews
Time-travellers, aliens, and a host of others find their way to Callahan's, and the result is as full of humor, wit and sensitivity as anything you have ever read...

The Guy with the Eyes (1973)
The Time-Traveler (1974)
The Centipede's Dilemma (1977)
Two Heads Are Better Than One (1975)
The Law of Conservation of Pain (1974)
Just Dessert (1977)
"A Voice Is Heard in Ramah
Paperback, 170 pages
Published June 1st 1977 by Penguin Group (USA) (first published 1977)
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Sharon In some ways, but Callahans is more realistic and human. It's aliens are more of an afterthought. It has a jazzy, bluesy vibe with a theme of coming…moreIn some ways, but Callahans is more realistic and human. It's aliens are more of an afterthought. It has a jazzy, bluesy vibe with a theme of coming together as a community for healing. Beautiful, funny, warm, amazing. Try it. I especially loved Callahan's Key.(less)
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4.0 stars. I think the above describes the essence of the book much better than I can, but I will go ahead and ramble for a few paragraphs anyway. However, before I begin PLEASE BE AWARE that this review contains some overt sentimentality and just plain sappiness. If it gets to be too much, you might want to have a salty snack standing by to help take the edge off... Photobucket
...of course then you might need a
to wash it down, which is actually a nice lead in to a review about a book that takes place
Aug 22, 2012 Tfitoby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you say only one thing about this book, I believe that thing would be "fun".

Spider Robinson's collection of bar stories are barely science fiction but as Ben Bova points out in his introduction, does that really matter? These anecdotes are all about encouaging growth as people and a species and taking an attitude of emapthy towads your fellow man, and they're great fun too.

I have no idea why it is a "Crosstime Saloon," I'd assumed it was a bar in some kind of time & space vortex outside t
Enjoyable short stories, but not quite riveting or deeply involving. Robinson originally wrote these stories as a sort of serial for Analog magazine, and as a group, they show that heritage. Part of what works for them is the mood, a positive, friendly, "we welcome all" vibe with a little bit of accommodating wierdness. However, story to story becomes repetitive if attempted in one sitting.

Where Callahan's stands apart is it's focus on struggling with the problems of existence and meaning, and h
May 13, 2014 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's very, very, VERY hard to describe this book. It's actually more important to understand Callahan's.

Callahan's is a bar on Long Island that is, essentially, group therapy. The regulars help each other (and strangers) out with their problems. They make toasts by paying double for their drink and throwing the glass into the fireplace, and the toasts are often the opening to a whole new discussion about morality, politics, and empathy. Also drinking. And puns. LOTS of puns.

Is this sci-fi? Many
Jan 17, 2012 Hobbes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Hobbes by: Devin Murphy
Wow, just wow. I absolutely love this book and this author and of course, this place. Callahan's is a bar where anything can happen and they mean anything. And some of the most unbelievable things do. What I really love is the people in the stories, the feelings. At Callahan's there is no judgement, no recriminations, just people who genuinely care for one another, care about the problems everyone faces, the pain they have to go through, and the process of recovery. My two favorite stories from ...more
Feb 07, 2013 Heather rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While I am a total nerd girl, I rarely get into science fiction novels. While my old friend Richard Dansky might consider dropping me as a friend over this, he should also remember he was the first person to put this Spider Robinson book in my hand.

Originally, this was a collection of short stories published in Analog Science Fiction and Fact. What it became was an introduction to one of my all-time favorite guilty pleasure series. This is my kind of sci-fi! It's a delicious reality martini, bu
Sep 07, 2013 Tim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If anyone ever suggests that SF has nothing to say about the human condition, you could do a lot worse than point them towards Spider Robinson.

Callaghan's Crosstime Saloon (1977) - the first of many collections of stories he's produced about a very special Long Island Bar - is by some lights barely in the genre at all. The tropes it does employ - little green men, time travel, telepathy - seem in most of the tales to be window dressing for solving a patron's problems.

Taking the first story as a
Jan 20, 2016 Joe rated it it was amazing
Callahann's Crosstime Saloon grabbed hold as soon as I found out that a common practice was breaking glasses in the fireplace after a toast, that is something that appeals to me on a spiritual level.

Callahann's Crosstime Saloon is a collection of short science fiction stories that follow a weird bar, its weird patrons, and the weird events that happened there. Some are relatively straightforward, others leave you scratching your head, and still others make you sit there going, "this is good, but
Aug 02, 2011 Marichee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
A nice collection of short stories with a scifi twist, but the twist might not be quite what you expect it to be.

An easy read that will take you some place, make you think and set your giggles off.

I recommend it. Once you start on Spider Robinson, you'll be hooked.

Oh, one disclaimer:

If you don't like puns, avoid Spider Robinson's books like the plague!
These short stories were published in the first wave of character-centric science fiction, following the Golden Age focus of Asimov and Clarke on plot and science. I can see why they would have felt like a breath of fresh air at the time. I'm not entirely sure how well they aged, decades after the wash of disillusionment that accompanied Vietnam, Nixon, and early drug rampages. If you pay enough attention to history, then the attitude of "society is falling apart because it doesn't conform to my ...more
Feb 24, 2012 ♥Xeni♥ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those really tricky books. The kind that really don't suit a 'review' or even any ratings. I feel it's one of those "you get as much as you put in" type stories. That on the one hand.

On the other hand, this book is acclaimed for being hilarious and wonderful and I really didn't feel much of either. Yeah, the puns were pretty punny in a few cases, and the stories (since this is really a bunch of short stories strung together about the Saloon) were pretty interesting, but I didn't f
Jeremiah Fargo
Jan 02, 2014 Jeremiah Fargo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite
Spider Robinson is the king of the pun; The Callahan Series is his crowning achievement. Each chapter is a quick read so you can keep this near the porcelain throne or run through the book in a day or two reading in bed before your significant other jesters to you to turn off the light.

I regally loved this book and suggest you pick it up some knight soon.
Mildly amusing but painfully dated. I find myself relieved that the 70s are so far in the past.

Robinson is at his best when it comes to describing the zeitgeist of the 70s, and at his worst when it comes to extrapolating on the future. Unsurprisingly, then, my favorite story was "The Time-Traveler," which has so little science fiction that, according to Ben Bova's introduction, it drew letters of protest from Analog's subscribers when it originally saw print. As a slice-of-life into one man's b
Ekel Adolf
Aug 31, 2015 Ekel Adolf rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The short stories from the Callahan's series are all set at an eponymous Irish bar. The place has something special to it: Whoever comes to the bar, sooner or later gets the opportunity to get consolation or even absolution by the barkeeper, Callahan, and his bunch of merry drunkard customers. Some of the stories deal with rather down-to-earth themes, for example a former minister who "travelled through time" by means of imprisonement by a Latin American dictator. Other stories involve real time ...more
Julie Decker
Aug 16, 2014 Julie Decker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
At Callahan's Place, you can buy a drink. For twice the price, you can buy a drink, give a toast to which everyone in the bar must listen, and throw your glass into the fireplace. This is how the regulars (and not-so-regulars) of Callahan's share their stories, share their pain, and suffer less.

This collection of really inventive short stories frequently features aliens and time travelers and people with unusual abilities, but that's not the point. The point is the human experience--whatever tha
Daniel Roy
Dec 03, 2012 Daniel Roy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, collection
Try as I might, I couldn't help but groan at some of the corniness of the stories in Callahan's Crosstime Saloon. There's just something very nerdy about the whole thing. For one thing, the book is filled to the brim with groan-worthy puns. You know, the kind that make geeks chuckle with pride. The SF is clunky, and a lot of the emotional content consists of men narrating their own pain while downing copious amounts of whiskey.

But... Well, there's just something so damn likeable about Callahan's
The Flooze
In an unlikely corner of the world - Long Island, of all places - is a spot where men (and the occasional woman) can unload their troubles and find empathy and absolution. It’s called Callahan’s, and the planet would be far better off if it existed for real.

In Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon, Spider Robinson weaves together a series of stories concerning humanity at its best and worst. Though each short can stand alone, there are cross-references best appreciated by reading them in order.

The tales
Sean Kottke
Jan 27, 2016 Sean Kottke rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Where has Spider Robinson been my whole life?!? Right there, in plain sight. Thanks to a fellow Goodreads user for recommending this as my next read, based on my affinity for Douglas Adams. These stories are both ridiculous and sublime, combining profound musings on time and human nature with all manner of awful(ly great) puns. Imagine The Canterbury Tales and The Iceman Cometh shot through with Douglas Adams. Looking forward to reading more.
May 12, 2009 Swankivy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favoritebooks
All I can say is, I want to go make a toast at Callahan's Place, and become a regular at this bar where the patrons are lifelong friends and "family" first, rotten punsters second, and drinking buddies last.

This is a collection of short stories about Callahan's Place, a rather odd bar in which patrons come to have a drink, see friends, play games, and--more often than not--spill their guts (no, not literally). This saloon has more than its fair share of alien, non-human, and otherwise weird cli
I first visited Callahan's Saloon well over 30 years ago and have never really left. Spider's cast of characters and oddball stories have stayed with me far longer than many of the other books I've read over the years. Re-reading this collection was like coming home. I was also surprised as to how pertinent the stories still are. Perhaps we are not at war in Vietnam any longer, but the stories from our veterans in the Middle east sound hauntingly similar. South American countries are still dicey ...more
Conan Tigard
I found the writing of these short stories in Callahan’s Crosstime Saloonto be well done. I really liked the characters in the saloon and was pleased to find that there wasn’t that one dweeb in the group that nobody ever likes. Most of the tales revolve around stories told in the bar and how the “boys” help the storyteller.

One thing did bother me though, which wasn’t the writer’s fault, was that I found a lot of typos in and one time about three or four paragraphs were repeated, which confused
Ryk Stanton
Oct 11, 2015 Ryk Stanton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read this book about six times now and I still enjoy it. It's not really the stories so much as the ideas that drive the various tales. Here is what you need to know (and everyone can use this as a life motto): Shared Pain Is Lessened, Shared Joy Increased.

The stories are replete with puns, tall tales, and ideas to make you consider just what life is really all about after all. The narrator, Jake Stonebender, is a very sympathetic character, and his backstory as well as viewpoints will dr
Jeremy Preacher
I've spent time in bars. I've even been a regular at one or two - I'm familiar with the vibe. It really can be a great experience, with the right bartender and the right crowd. So I totally buy in to Callahan's as a place where remarkable things happen to people.

What's even better is that the remarkable things aren't just time travel and telekinesis. They're emotional things - that is very much the point, not the science fiction parts. The important thing about Callahan's is that it's a place wh
Aug 01, 2014 Hester rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very different from the "usual" science fiction. Callahan's Crosstime Saloon is a jolly place, where the customers know how to really listen to a guy down on his luck. Aliens, time travelers, and others of their ilk wander in with heavy hearts. The author's conceit is that trouble shared is trouble halved -- or maybe disappeared. Depressed people often have inflexible, black-and-white extreme thinking. The book encourages people to share what is troubling you; people who aren't stuck in the same ...more
Sabrina Rourke
Jan 28, 2015 Sabrina Rourke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Disclaimer: I will say up front that by today's standards (mine, anyway) this book contains sexism, racism, and other kinds of prejudices. Taking into account the socio-political climate during its original publication year, 1977, it is actually kind of progressive in many ways, so I do not let those things ruin my enjoyment of the book.

This book is fun pure fun for me. I reread it often and because it is set up as a series of vignettes, as are the majority of Callahan's books, it's easy to tear
Христо Блажев
Спайдър Робинсън описва най-якото място на планетата – “Кръчмата на Калахан:

Рядко казвам, че една книга ми е “отвъртяла главата”. “Кръчмата на Калахан” не просто направи това, а я хвана с неспасяема хартиена хватка, засили се със страхотната си корица и запрати мозъкосъдът ми далеееч, далеееч отвъд планините на читателското наслаждение. Разбит от съвършеното оргазмично удоволствие от шедьовъра. Като оставянето на празната чаша след съвършената последна по
Brett Hospital
Mar 13, 2015 Brett Hospital rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After finally tracking down a copy of this book, I set about reading it after checking it out a dozen times from the Gaithersburg Library and never even starting it.
I love this book. I want to go to Callahan's. I love that this is stories about regular people(mostly) in irregular situations. And you will never find a group of more empathetic people.

Also all drinks are fifty cents.
Jun 05, 2015 Bill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Damn cool. That's what it is. There was some deja vu moments associated with the reading, although I don't remember reading it before. It may be that I remember some of it from Analog; I read that mag like a geeky fan way back when. What strikes you first is the pure wordplay fun. Next is the fact that it hails from a time when there wasn't as much freaking emphasis on whether something fit into some absolute genre. This could or could not be Sci-Fi; who cares. It's one damn good wordslinger let ...more
This is a good coffee break book--you really wouldn't want to read more than a chapter at a time. Although I can appreciate puns, I guess I'm not as into that as most Spider Robinson fans.
Mar 06, 2014 Thomas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one that's been on my to read list for a long time. Finally got to it. I was not disappointed. A series of short stories (fantasy, science fiction) that take place in a Callahan's bar. The patrons go there for friendship and fun and of course healing. You will find just abount anything can happen and will at Callahan's

It's presented in the form of stories told by Jake, your humble narrator. I actually listened to it as an audio book and the reader brought it to life. The stories are smoo
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The Wonder of Spider Robinson 7 53 Sep 19, 2014 08:41AM  
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Spider Robinson is an American-born Canadian Hugo and Nebula award winning science fiction author. He was born in the USA, but chose to live in Canada, and gained citizenship in his adopted country in 2002.

Robinson's writing career began in 1972 with a sale to Analog Science Fiction magazine of a story entitled, The Guy With The Eyes. His writing proved popular, and his first novel saw print in 1
More about Spider Robinson...

Other Books in the Series

Callahan's (9 books)
  • Time Travellers Strictly Cash (Callahan's Series, #2)
  • Callahan's Secret (Callahan's Series, #3)
  • Callahan's Lady (Lady Sally's, #1:Callahan's Series, #4)
  • Lady Slings the Booze (Lady Sally's, #2: Callahan's Series, #5)
  • The Callahan Touch (Mary's Place, #1:Callahan's Series, #6)
  • Callahan's Legacy (Mary's Place, #2) (Callahan's Series, #7)
  • Callahan's Key (The Place, #1) (Callahan's Series, #8)
  • Callahan's Con (The Place, #2) (Callahan's Series, #9)

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“Some guys step on a rake in the dark, and get mad and go punch somebody. Others step on a rake in the dark and fall down laughing at themselves. I know which kind of guy I'd rather be. So do my friends.” 39 likes
“Just as there are laws of Conservation of Matter and Energy, so there are in fact Laws of Conservation of Pain and Joy. Neither can ever be created or destroyed. But one can be converted into the other.” 30 likes
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