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The Callahan Chronicals

(Callahan's #1-3)

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  2,444 ratings  ·  118 reviews
Callahan's Crosstime Saloon is the neighborhood tavern to all of time and space, where the regulars are anything but: time travelers, talking dogs, alcoholic vampires, cybernetic aliens--and a group of people who really, truly care about each other. It's the rare kind of place where bad pun are as appreciated as good conversation.

Time Travelers Strictly Cash is their polic
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Paperback, 416 pages
Published October 15th 1997 by Tor (first published 1988)
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Average rating 4.31  · 
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 ·  2,444 ratings  ·  118 reviews


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Oleksandr Zholud
This is a collection of short stories taking place in Callahan's Crosstime Saloon, a place where anything can (and eventually will) happen. The stories are full of puns and I guess are great for reading aloud in for a good audience. However, this play with the language makes it hard to follow for a non-native speaker like me, which I guess influenced the final rating.

There are stories inside stories. Almost every one starts with an evening in the Saloon where regulars play their games like a bes
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Jim
Mar 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I needed a break from a couple of tomes I'm reading & I've been wondering how the Callahan stories aged. The first are a product of the 1960s - 70s, but that's OK with me as I am too. Even better, Callahan's is located off 25A in Suffolk county, Long Island, NY, an area I grew up in, so I get the local references without his explanations. For instance, "King's Park" is mentioned. It's both an area & a mental hospital, but when someone in the area refers to it, it's generally the latter. It's som ...more
Rob Howard
Nov 16, 2015 rated it it was ok
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
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Jen
Nov 09, 2009 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
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Katie Mercer
Feb 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
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Diane
Mar 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book, mostly for the warm fuzzies. Listening to the puns and riddles wasn't always great (I'm not too quick on my feet with those sort of things) and probably would've been better for me in print, but I wasn't too bothered that I didn't figure them all out. In fact, Spider didn't even know the answer to one anymore for a very long time. The narrator was fantastic, his characterizations were well done, not over done, and always consistent. He even has a nice singing voice! I ...more
Laurie
Aug 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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!)
Randy
Nov 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Even though this compendium collects the early Callahan stories, the fact that it leaves out some non-Callahan works from the second book counts as a loss, in my estimation. For good or ill, those stories were part of the second book, and, even though they had different settings (and some were not even fiction) they are part of the original work, and I feel like this collection is worse for not having them.
Itamar
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Inventive, different, heart-felt and heart-warming. This collection is well worth your time, especially as it's so much more positive than pretty much anything this side of Disney (Or maybe Discworld).
Funny, punny and somewhat touching, it's not at all what I'd expected, but I really like the characters and camaraderie that inhabit this bar.
Jeff
Apr 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
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Christian Lipski
Oct 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Raj
Aug 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Dave
Feb 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Tom
Dec 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun read, excellent voice work.
Lori S.
I figured it was time to revisit some old favorites and Callahan's Saloon seemed like a good place to start. I've missed Jake, the Doc, Fast Eddie, and Callahan, himself, and the others, so it was nice just listen to some truly awful puns and fun storytelling. The riddles in book two don't quite work in audio format, but otherwise, not bad as an audio book.

>Steps up to the chalkline with a glass of Shirley Temple and holds it up: to some wonderful memories of the past! Drinking off the rest of t
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Srochat
May 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
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Frank
Jan 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
Lori
Mar 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
A collection of previous collections, this is the definitive collection of short stories set in Callahan's Place, a special bar where everyone and anyone can appear and tell their tale. My favorite story is the "Time Traveler," which has nothing to do with science fiction, despite the title.
Eleanor
Dec 26, 2012 rated it liked it
The details and ideas are fun, but the stories lack meat, there's never any real challenge for the characters, and the sexism and lack of interesting female characters are turn-offs. This is really a 2.5 star book, if Goodreads allowed half-star ratings.
Diana Koenig
Dec 12, 2014 rated it it was ok
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.
Titus Fortner
Jul 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Spider Robinson was a guest of honor at the 2018 World Science Fiction Convention, the first one I attended. I'll admit that I'd never heard of him, but I added this collection of his apparently popular stories to my list of things to read. This quirky set of 17 stories and at least 4 separate author's notes is truly special. It's a little interesting bingeing them all at the same time; I actually think processing these in the serial manner in which they were originally written would provide mor ...more
Scott Brillon
Jan 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Callahan's Crosstime Saloon: 5

Tim Travellers Strictly Cash: 5

Callahan's Secret: 1

This is a review of the entire series.

Callahan's Crosstime Saloon was given to me by a once dear friend and I read it during the summer after I had been fired from the Hotel from Hell. It was something sorely needed at the time. I remember devouring the book in a day or two. The idea of a place like Callahan's truly appealed to me at the time and I remember my once dear friend suggesting that the bar we hung around
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Ali
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio-books
I listened to this an as audiobook. I greatly enjoyed the narrator and absolutely loved this book. I found the location and characters intriguing and life giving. The people who frequent Callahan’s place care about each other, but also tell it like it is. Like many readers before me I long for a place of that of my own. The only problem with this publication is a strange addition by the author at the end (perhaps an afterword, but I don’t recall hearing that as I listened). Other than that I lov ...more
Martin Smith
Apr 05, 2020 rated it liked it
I came to Callahan’s via the PC adventure game, which I greatly enjoyed. The original short stories don’t quite measure up to that. It takes a little while to properly reach the level of weirdness present in the game, which is understandable, but the stories are fairly hit and miss all throughout. The bigger, more “important” stories I found to be the least interesting, especially the Blacksmith’s Tale.

I was also was a little disappointed that the stories are so solidly rooted in the pub, as opp
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Naughty Sparkle
In general, I really liked the audiobook. It was funny, witty and I enjoyed my time with it. I can see listening this one again. There unfortunately was parts that haven't aged well. I got the impression that homosexuals are to be despised but I can see an argument that it wasn't intended that way. There were parts about adoption but it can be interpreted that way it was the characters thoughts. Anyway it was a fun collection of stories. I wish there at the end there wasn't a literal self insert ...more
Charlene
Aug 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I just finished rereading these for the 3rd or 4th time.

Callahan's is exactly the kind of place with the kind of people you need during Covid-19 insanity. Humor, friendliness.

I need to get a hard copy of this again for the number of times I've reread it. It's getting harder to find copies to borrow from libraries. I had to get a digital copy via my library to read it this time. I'm not terribly into e-readers though.
Charles Dingman
Dec 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wisecracking, cracking up at their own as well as each other's puns, competing for booby prizes and, in passing, saving the world from annihilation by hostile aliens and building a community that knows how pain shared is lessened, and joy shared made fuller, all centered around a barkeeper and his most unusual bar. Curiously endearing and surprising.
Bob Jordan
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Several other readers have said this already: you forget this is a fiction book. I listened on audio book and it just seemed like it was a real person telling us about things that happened at a real place.

"Shared pain is lessened
"Shared joy is increased"
Dragonstar1
Jun 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Bought this to start on replacing my lost copies of the series. Great one time purchase way to get into the Callahan series. Love the stories inside, full of wacky characters, off the wall, and punny humor. I go back and reread the series time and again.
Mojoey
Dec 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I revisited this classic from the early 80s. It's easy to forget what a shit show the 70s were.
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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
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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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