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

4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  6,609 ratings  ·  171 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...more
Paperback, 170 pages
Published June 1st 1977 by Penguin Group (USA) (first published 1977)
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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...more
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...more
Carol. [All cynic, all the time]
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...more
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...more
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...more
Jan 17, 2012 Hobbes rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
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!
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...more
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
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...more
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...more
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...more
Jeremiah Fargo
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.
Julie Decker
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...more
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
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...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.
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...more
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
A collection of short stories. They are mostly very good.
Meghan Pinson
i no longer need to read spider robinson.
Jim Kennedy
I don't think I've ever read anything like this book. I find it hard to describe. It is the story of a pub - or to be more exact, the stories of a variety of people who go to this pub and, well, get a sort of psychotherapy :) A little bit of Cheers, some group therapy and a soupcon of science fiction. It is a little preachy at times. And you have to be warned about the puns, the never ending puns!

But I'd like to have a beer in this pub. I really enjoyed the stories and will definitely be trying...more
I've been an Adventure Gamer for almost 30 years now, and one of my favorite adventures of all time is Callahan's Crosstime Saloon ( I played it several years ago, and I've been wanting to read the books ever since. I finally got around to reading the first one, but it turned out it didn't thrill me as much as the game. Not even close actually, but of course that's not to say it's all bad.
The book contains 9 stories, which can be divided into 4 shorter a...more
This is one of the most uniquely written soft sci-fi short story collections I've ever read. All of Spider Robinson's fanciful stories of aliens, time traveling, and history changing occur around the setting of Callahan's bar. Callahan's is the sort of bar you wish you had in your neighborhood. A good-time pub full of your favorite people. The regular's at Callahan's are all men who've been put back together by Callahan and his generous pours. And there's always room at the bar for one more.

My o...more
A book about puns, darts, group therapy, and weird happenings at a grungy Irish bar.

Now, I'm not going to rip into the book, but I just couldn't enjoy it at all. I think I'm just too old, and I've been in and out of too many bars over the last decade for any of this bar therapy to make sense. I get that it's repeatedly highlighted that it's so unque, especially at very end of the book, but that doesn't make it any easier to relate to. It's a juvenile, romantic ideal of a kind of sappy Cheers tha...more
Eric Tracy
Spider's best work is his first work (His first three, to be exact, though he will vehemently insist, "it is NOT a trilogy, damn it!")

Callahan's Place is a bar, and yes, Michael Callahan serves alcoholic beverages, but that's where any similarity to any other drinking establishment anywhere else on Earth, comes up short. (For you Trekkies, Michael Callahan may be compared quite favorably and fondly to Guinan, save the fact that he smokes the most gagalicious cigars and seems to always have abou...more
Daniel Roy
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...more
I was pleasantly surprised to find that Callahan's Crosstime Saloon offers an entertaining demonstration of folk (ie: the author) coming to terms with the state of the world at the end of the 1960s, as most evidenced by the second story "The Time Traveler". Wikipedia sums up my observations quite well: "Robinson's stance may be described as humanistic and humorous. He has frequently encouraged a positive attitude towards world issues, claiming that a pessimistic world view will yield pessimistic...more
I remember this this book back when I was introduced to Spider Robinson back in college. At that time Callahan's Cross-Time Saloon, Shogun and Asimov's Foundation trilogy were my favorites.

Well, Spider's tales are not up there with those great writers. In fact the stories are pretty strange, enlightening and give a lesson at the end. Even now in my reread, the lessons seem a bit trite. But I am getting ahead of myself.

First published as a collection in the 70s, Robinson's bar joint with its misf...more
Dawn Vanniman
Don't let the publish date or the old time cover put you off, this is a great book!

People, and aliens, are drawn to Callahan's Saloon. There they will find a kind word, a ready ear and an open mind. The regulars here all arrived in bad shape and were healed, so they stuck around to help others.

The tagline is 'Shared pain is lessened, shared joy is increased. Thus we refute entropy.'

It might sound a little dated or trite, but don't give up on it just yet.

The best part of all the stories, aside fr...more
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The Wonder of Spider Robinson 7 50 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...more
More about Spider Robinson...
Callahan's Lady (Lady Sally's, #1:Callahan's Series, #4) Time Travellers Strictly Cash (Callahan's Series, #2) Lady Slings the Booze (Lady Sally's, #2: Callahan's Series, #5) The Callahan Chronicals (Callahan's Place Trilogy, #1-3) (Callahan's Series, #1-3) Callahan's Secret (Callahan's Series, #3)

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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.” 34 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.” 27 likes
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