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The Callahan Chronicals (Callahan's #1-3)

4.31  ·  Rating Details ·  2,071 Ratings  ·  83 Reviews
This omnibus edition collects Spider Robinson's first three books about the Long Island bar that attracts the weirdest clientele and the tallest tales in the known universe. Callahan's Crosstime Saloon, Time Travelers Strictly Cash, and Callahan's Secret are playful, pun-filled delights from the pen of a truly inimitable writer, winner of the Skylark and John W. Campbell a ...more
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Published January 1st 2010 by Playaway (first published 1988)
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Rob Howard
I expected to really like this book. It's one of the few books regularly listed as a science fiction classic that I hadn't read. But, so far I really find it kind of "meh..." I'm only about half way through it, so my view may change, but I kind of doubt it.

There are several things I find annoying in the book that someone with a different viewpoint might not. For example the relentless hippy politics with the smug assumption that the reader will wholeheartedly agree, or the intensely negative vie
Nov 09, 2009 Jen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh, the humanity!
While listening to this, I sort of forgot for long stretches that I was listening to a sci-fi story; it's way more about interactions and acceptance than any sci-fi I've ever come across. Callahan's Bar, the setting for every story, never gets old and never gets tiring. It is peopled with aliens, time travellers, telepaths...and people. I was amazed at how some of the stories sucked me in totally, made me laugh (and groan at the sheer audacity and amount of terrible, terrible p
Katie Mercer
Feb 28, 2012 Katie Mercer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites

I briefly touched on my love of Spider Robinson in my ancient post about Super Secret Guilty Reading Pleasures. Spider Robinson was just one of those authors - along with David Eddings he arguably shaped why exactly I love reading for fun. I picked up Callahan's Crosstime Salon for 100% the opposite reason most people do - I got a kick out of the cover. I've heard time and time again that people hate the cover of this compilation book. Well, it made me laugh and for better or for worse, I grabbe
Apr 10, 2010 Jeff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There's a place out on Route 25A in Suffolk County, Long Island, New York; a unique tavern, indeed, but you couldn't tell by looking at it. Oh sure, the jumble of parked cars out front would seem a little odd, like a bumper cars rally frozen in time, or the fact that there was no mirror behind the bar like you'd see in any other drinking institution.
But that's all superficial and easily explained. What makes this institution so very special would require you to spend some time seated at the bar
Christian Lipski
Oct 04, 2008 Christian Lipski rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: science fiction fans, pun lovers, beer snobs, smart people
Recommended to Christian by: alt.callahans
Spider Robinson's tales about the denizens of the bar called Callahan's Place are the prescribed elixir for depression and worry. I avoided re-reading these stories for a while because they were unfailingly "perfect": everything happens exactly right, the right things happen to the right people, and it's all unrealistically utopian. But then, that's exactly what I want to read when I'm convinced that there ain't no justice in this world. I want to read about people who all get along and love eac ...more
Aug 25, 2015 Raj rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm a very recent convert to Callahan and his place, but I already adore it. These stories, all centred around Callahan's Place, its weird and wonderful regulars and how they all go out of their way to help others are a joy to read. Warm, witty and humanist, Robinson shows a depth of feeling and empathy that really resonates with me. And the puns, oh goodness, the marvellous truly awful puns! I love puns (even if I'm not very good at them myself) so seeing them celebrated here was a(nother) wond ...more
Feb 15, 2009 Dave rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of humorous science fiction or fantasy.
Shelves: fiction-read
A wonderful collection of connected short stories. Imagine a series like the TV show 'Cheers' or 'Night Court' (two of my favorites) where the characters not only care about each other but come from across time and space to talk about their troubles in a very unusual bar with a lovable, quirky group of characters. Community is a constant theme in the stories and I presume throughout the series' other books as well. As I read I laughed at the puns and the many joking references to classic science ...more
Apr 21, 2013 Diana rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unfinished
Кофти сготвена кръчмарска яхния от скучни, тъповати истории без никаква свързваща нишка, на светлинни години от фентъзи, фантастика и хумор.
По-лошото в книгата обаче е стилът или подобието на стил в опит да се имитира Хайнлайн и ужасният, дразнещ, изнасилен жаргон, използван за целта.
Твърде, твърде далеч от литература и без грам оригиналност ...
"Нахвърли се на храната като женкар на порносписание."

От изгубено време за част тази толкова прехвалена боза мога да си направя два извода:
1. Безвъзвра
May 09, 2008 Srochat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Get ready to laugh and to love. This is a collection of three of Spider Robinson's classic "Callahan's" novels: "Callahan's Crosstime Saloon," "Time Travelers Strictly Cash," and "Callahan's Secret."

The stories center around a Long Island bar that is the merriest place in the universe, where coincidences (and puns) pile up like home runs in Coors Field, and which you only find if you need to. And this bunch of barflies may be the only hope for saving our species.

Not only fun, but SMART fun. Ye
Jan 15, 2013 Frank rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The collection of all the stories that take place in Callahan's. Full of puns, some obvious some subtle. And a valuable lesson; Pain is reduced when shared, and joy in multiplied when shared. You got to love a bar where you can break a glass in the fireplace and the mirror leads to another dimension.
Aug 26, 2012 Laurie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have a copy of this that Spider very graciously inscribed for me at Darkover XX (it is one of my most treasured possessions, fully as much for the content as the inscription!)
Diana Koenig
I found that these are a bunch of entertaining stories with some sentimentality, but lacked a lot of depth or character development etc. Kind of like an episode from the Outer Limits.
Jan 15, 2017 Sergio rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These books were an unexpected surprise. They weren't at all what I expected given the titles of the books. That being said, I wasn't disappointed in the slightest. The characters, the relationships between characters, the terrible puns, and the setting of the book really shine.
Apr 11, 2010 Don rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
This book is case-in-point for "don't judge a book by it's cover." I've read some of Spider's other books and enjoyed them, but skipped this one for quite a while. Partly, it's because I'm not a drinking man so a book about a bar didn't have much appeal. And, partly, it's because of the cover art.

That said, READ THIS! I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The puns are so bad they're hilarious and the way the characters evolve and solve the unique situations they find themselves in is a lot of fun. And
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
Aug 01, 2008 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. (I have no idea why "Chronicals" is spelled that way; Chronic-cals, maybe?)

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 saloo
Nov 04, 2015 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, short-story, humor
On my crotchety normal book rating scale, this would be 4.5 stars, but I loved listening to this book. Like the patrons of the fictional pub Callahan's Place, it seems like I found this book exactly when I needed it. At times the stories are sentimental, but the true stinker puns contained in them, oddly enough, give this collection the quirkiness and comic relief to temper the sentimentality and what might otherwise feel cliché. One of the reasons Spider Robinson's Callahan Chronicles have aged ...more
Dec 09, 2008 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Dr Who fans. Nerds with humor. Perpetrators of perfectly pugnacious puns.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 05, 2008 Mouse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Spider Robinson wrote stories here that were more than pure entertainment. They actually have the power to heal a torn soul. If life has beat you down, pick up this book. You'll be introduced to a cast of characters that won't stop until you can smile again.

These stories get shoved into Science Fiction category, but if you aren't a fan of that genre don't walk away. They are actually stories that defy easy classification. Technically, they may fall into the "you won't believe what happened in th
Brian Layman
Apr 24, 2009 Brian Layman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2009
This is by far the best book I have read in years and by far these are the best short stories I have ever read. Just based on the first five, I am wondering if I have a new favorite author. I'll just have to force myself to read more of his works to test that theory.


Two pages after this, the storyline took a twist that I didn't like as much, but this is still one of my favorite books and that story is then again referenced in the last story of the book, so that makes it a little bette
Theis collects three of Spider Robinson's books about Callahan's Place. Callahan's is an unusual Long Island bar where patrons share the joy and the pain of the people that cross it's threshold. Each tale spins very interesting charachters (MOST of whom are human) and their lives, loves, and adventures.Spun with lots of humor, some irreverance and often a kick in the pants about the human condition, one never knows what to expect from one tale to the next, but one can be insured that they will b ...more
Apr 23, 2012 Kate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy
In terms of sheer fun, you really can't top Spider Robinson's Callahan stories. My husband and I read this version aloud years and years ago, and I still clearly recall how loudly we both laughed. While I remember the laughter best, these stories also delve into what truly matters about the human condition, in the best way possible -- without being heavy handed, sometimes without us really noticing it all, until we were through the story and talking it over.
The individual stories made for good s
Allen Berry
Oct 08, 2012 Allen Berry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is Sci Fi for Joe Sack-a-Doughnuts, the working crowd at the bar who like a little Sci-Fi with their brews. Although by today's standards, some of the tech might be out of date, a good story never gets old. This is true of Callahan's.

It's a place you can only find if you need to, and when you need to, you'll be glad you did. Belly on up to the bar at Callahan's, where a load shared is a load off. No matter what time or sector of space you've happened to come from, you'll always have a place
Aug 20, 2008 Gretchen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I first picked this up at Chapters I thought it would be something like Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, instead I got this. It was funny, but the heavy use of puns can get on your nerves. Beyond that, Spider Robinson is a highly human writer and you get a sense that for all humans failings, it can’t be all bad if there’s a bar full of generally nice guys and aliens and time travelers and talking dogs who get together and hang out, or at least someone who can think up something like that.
Spider Robinson captured the optimism of 70's Sci-Fi really well. Perfectly, even.
I read this all in one go, and I think I would be better if spaced out over a longer time period. Strongly disliked the Mary character, and I really hate it when an author writes themselves into their own work. For those points it's coming in at a 4 out of 5, but that ending was strong and poetic and resolved the characters so well it had me smiling ear to ear.
Jun 14, 2009 Blanche rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
If you love a good pun (or 500), then this book is for you. If you love compelling characters, then this book is for you. If you enjoy sci-fi... then this book might take you aback for a bit. If you enjoy a compilation of short stories about a remarkable collection of empathetic barflies, populating an establishment where the paranormal is normal, accepting anyone who comes along and committed to lessening the pain in the world, then this book is DEFINITELY for you.
Sep 29, 2012 Dave rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read most of these when they first appeared in Analog. I have just recently re-read this compilation and find most hold up quite well. If you like puns, Spider is your man. The stories are funny and wise. I can't give it 5 stars, because there never seems to be any downside to people who spend much of their lives hanging out and drinking. Real world experience doesn't agree. But these stories are SF/F, so the bar too is something of a fantasy.
Laura Tyler
Mar 30, 2013 Laura Tyler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
This collection of short stories is one of my favorite possessions. I truly believe that every one should read it at least once. The humorous science fiction is lovely, but the messages involved are actually quite important. Shared sorrow is divided while shared joy multiplies. The world would be a much better place if more people thought about the things that Spider Robinson brings up in this brilliant work of fiction.
Nov 24, 2008 Keith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first 3 Callahans book are collected in this book. They are a sum that is greater than the whole. Some people may not enjoy the punny nature of Mr. Robinson, but I have been punny from birth. Even if you don't enjoy puns, the key element of all Spider writings is "What it truly means to be human." Much like Heinlein, to whom he is often compared, his stories in this book will make you laugh, cry, and you almost cannot help being a better person by the time you have finished.
Aug 29, 2012 Catherine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It gets a good rating because it's basically a bunch of short stories and these are very difficult to do well. For me, if it's a good story then it's too short and and if it's not, well.... So when they are enjoyable without the total frustration aspect - that's well done.
But while they are well written and highly entertaining, the stories don't have the great world weaving or depth of character or other aspects that make the really great novels.
So overall, it's probably just 3 stars.
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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)
  • Callahan's Crosstime Saloon (Callahan's #1)
  • Time Travellers Strictly Cash (Callahan's #2)
  • Callahan's Secret (Callahan's #3)
  • Callahan's Lady (Lady Sally's #1, Callahan's #4)
  • Lady Slings the Booze (Lady Sally's #2, Callahan's #5)
  • The Callahan Touch (Mary's Place #1, Callahan's #6)
  • Callahan's Legacy (Mary's Place #2, Callahan's #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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“In 1971, after seven years in college, with that magic piece of paper clutched triumphantly in my fist, the best job I was able to get was night watchman on a sewer project in Babylon, N.Y. guarding a hole in the ground to prevent anyone from stealing it. God bless the American educational system!” 13 likes
“Shared joy is increased;
Shared pain is lessened.”
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