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Callahan's Crosstime Saloon Mass Market Paperback – December 15, 1999

4.5 out of 5 stars 72 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"If one were given the task of creating Spider Robinson from scratch, the best way to do it would be to snatch James Joyce from history, force-feed him Marx Brothers films and good jazz for the better part of a decade, then turn him loose on a world badly in need of a look at itself."-Vancouver Sun

"Nobody's perfect. But Spider comes pretty damned close."-Ben Bova

About the Author

Spider Robinson, winner of three Hugos and a Nebula, was born in the Bronx and raised on Long Island, and has been a Canadian resident for 30 years. Holder of a bachelor's degree in English from the State University of New York, he worked as a folksinger and journalist before publishing his first story in Analog in 1973. He now lives with his wife Jeanne Robinson (co-author of the Hugo- and Nebula-winning Stardance trilogy) on an island outside Vancouver, B.C., where they raise and exhibit hopes.

Eleven of his 31 books are set in Callahan's Place, a fabulous tavern founded by a time traveler, where puns flow as freely as beer, and smell far worse. The most recent is Callahan's Con [Tor July 2003]. He has contributed a regular editorial column, "Future Tense," to Canada's national newspaper, The Globe & Mail, since 1995. In 2000, he released Belaboring the Obvious, a CD of original music with the legendary Amos Garrett ("Midnight at the Oasis") on lead guitar, and in 2001 he was a celebrity judge at the Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Science Fiction (December 15, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812572270
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812572278
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 0.6 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #887,640 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
These were the stories that kick-started Robinson's writing career. Originally appearing in Analog, they met such a warm reception and requests for more that Spider was almost forced to oblige, even though these stories have only a bare minimum of that 'hard science' feel that is the normal requisite for stories in that magazine.

The reason these stories got that kind of reception is simply that they deserved it. All happen within the confines of Callahan's bar, a most congenial place that people seem to find just when they need it, for the patrons of this bar are always willing to listen to and help anyone who truly needs it. Fully loaded with humanity even when dealing with aliens out to destroy our world or turn us into their own private feed cattle, these stories are tightly plotted, filled with recognizable people from just down the street, and just wacky enough to engage both your interest and your funny bone. Just to add icing to the cake, most of these stories are also loaded with puns (most especially in those stories that occur on Tuesday night, officially designated PunDay), some of them quite good and original, and guaranteed to raise a groan or two. And then there is Tall Tales Night, where some really, really tall ones get told just as sidelights to the main story.

The stories I liked the best in this collection were "The Time Traveler" which is science fiction only by courtesy, but is a riveting story that may have you reaching for your handkerchief, and "The Law of Conservation of Pain" where science fiction mixes with the world of music in a most painful and joyous manner. These are two of the longest stories here, and Robinson does seem to do better at this length.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Callahan's Crosstime Saloon," by Spider Robinson, is a collection of 9 linked short stories. All are set at the saloon of the title. Callahan's has a colorful collection of regulars and is often visited by aliens, time travelers, and humans with paranormal gifts. The book contains a fascinating introduction by Ben Bova entitled "Spider Robinson: The SF Writer as Empath."
This book is a great blend of humor and science fiction. Robinson puts inventive spins on classic sci-fi themes. He also deals effectively with such down-to-earth issues as war, motherhood, and personal loss. The book is also full of puns--the Callahan's regulars observe a Punday contest.
Along the way Robinson invokes Isaac Asimov and Charles Fort. The book as a whole is grounded by a real compassion for the human (and nonhuman!) condition--this is sci-fi with both brains and heart.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've loved CCS since I stole the paperback off my brother's bookshelf in the 80s. The Kindle version leaves much to be desired, and there's one change to the text in the 1995 version that I vehemently disagree with.

First, considering that this e-book costs the same as a paperback, I would expect that some proofreading had actually been done. There are so many wrong words that it's distracting. There's even a word or two that just aren't words, just a few random letters strung together. As much as I love the Callahan and Lady Sally books, I won't be buying any more electronically.

Second, there's an "update" in "A Voice is Heard in Ramah..." that makes no sense. Tom Flannery is a character who'd been given 9 months to live when he first walked in to Callahan's. In "A Voice..." it's mentioned that he has some of his skin cells preserved at a place in Manhattan where they're holding cells for the future when cloning humans is possible. It states that he's frozen there "waitin' for 'em to invent a cure for AIDS". Now, these stories obviously take place in the 1970s, and the original text in my paperback says that he was waiting for a cure for leukemia. HIV and AIDS weren't recognized by the CDC until 1981, the folks at Callahan's wouldn't have known about it. Also, HIV is a disease you catch, not a genetic disorder. Someone with AIDS could be cloned without any risk of having the disease.

I recommend that anyone interested in the Callahan books pick up the dead-tree versions. They are, quite simply, fantastic. The e-books obviously need some serious polishing.
1 Comment 12 of 13 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I first came across the stories of Spider Robinson's Callahan's Crosstime Saloon while on deployment in the navy. What an eye opener! Talk about something that will grab your imagination and happily drag you into its world. After I finished the first book, I had to find them all. Still can't find off the wall at Callahans but am perseveering. The first thing I thought when I read the time traveler and the descripions of the bar owner, Mike Callahan, and the patrons was that this was what would happen if Cheers did an outer limits type episode. ANd I was hooked!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I love these Callahan stories. It took me a while to realise why I love them. You see, Callahan's is the current reincarnation of the legendary Inn at the Crossroads. It is a place where travellers and strangers and seekers and lost souls can tell their stories. Nothing is a surprize at Callahans, for anything can happen there. For the price of a drink you can tell your story- and have it respectfully listened to by people who will try to help you if they can- or at least sincerely try to understand. Needless to say, this is not your modern sports bar....
Did I mention that the clientel of Callahan's are not just your ordinary Outsiders? It is not at all uncommon for time travellers, aliens, mutants, to cross the threshold. As long as you don't pull any rough stuff there, all are welcome at Callahan's.
The funny thing is, places like Callahan's do actually exist. You don't find them, or even here about them, unless you really need to find them. They are havens outside the world where good fellowship, respect, and empathy still maintain a toehold in this brave new world.
If you'll excuse me, I feel a need to hurl yet another glass into the fireplace....
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