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Publisher's Summary

This omnibus edition contains the trio of books that introduced the world to Mike Callahan, Jake Stonebender, Doc Webster, Mickey Finn, Fast Eddie Costigan, Long-Drink McGonnigle, Ralph Von Wau Wau, and the rest of the regulars of Callahan's Place, in the stories that helped Spider Robinson to win both a John W. Campbell Award and a legion of fans.

Callahan's Crosstime Saloon is the neighborhood tavern to all of time and space, where the regulars are anything but. These time travelers, talking dogs, alcoholic vampires, and cybernetic aliens really, truly care about each other. It's the rare kind of place where bad puns are as appreciated as good conversation.

Time Travelers Strictly Cash is their policy. Lay your money on the bar, name your poison, step up to the line drawn on the barroom floor, and after drinking make a toast and throw the glass into the fireplace. It's an odd tradition but one that's led to some interesting stories.

Callahan's Secret may be something even the regulars would never guess. Then again, it may be as simple as listening to those post-toast stories. After all, like Callahan says, shared pain is lessened and shared joy is increased, a simple concept that could, after a few drinks, lead to saving the world.

©1997 Spider Robinson (P)2003 Blackstone Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"Robinson is the hottest writer to hit science fiction since Ellison, and he can match the master's frenetic energy and emotional intensity, arm-break for gut-wrench." (Los Angeles Times)
"Tall tales....fine and funny....A significant achievement for light humor!" (Houston Post)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    433
  • 4 Stars
    206
  • 3 Stars
    97
  • 2 Stars
    58
  • 1 Stars
    38

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • 4 Stars
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    54
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    9

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    45
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    25
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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Not my cup of tea.

Got thru 3 and a half hours and had to give it up. Nothing funny or entertaining for me there. My one and will be my only listen to Spider Robinson.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Boring!

I too was looking forward to this book after all the hype. This is one of the few books that I actually stopped listening to. It's the same story over and over and over... you get the idea. After 2 stories I had enough touchy feely to last for years.
I really wouldn't characterize this as SF. I always get the feeling that Robinson throws in some SF element so he could get the thing published.

13 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Dann
  • Los Angeles, CA, United States
  • 08-28-14

I'm sorry but this just kept losing me ...

Not being a BAR type person I couldn't get into the whole bar scene no matter how 'alien' it got. And the pun material just left me dry. There's very few puns that do anything for me but just make me want to walk away.

I know this has a cult following, mainly people who think the bar actually exists and this should have been a clue for me. Unfortunately the mainstream story lines don't really do it for me. Give me sci fi with deep thought.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Zach
  • Medford, OR, USA
  • 06-11-08

How did this get so much hype?

What a waste of a credit. Extremely repetative. Some stories fall completely flat and make no sense. Perhaps you have listen to 30 of them before you get some of the references but if you can't enjoy them after 3 or 4 what is the point?

12 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

I had hoped for better

I enjoyed reading them as when they first published and always wished to have them collected. Listening to them all at one time is tedious. They were written as short stories and maybe that is how they should remain.

12 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Bad Surprise

I was looking forward to this audio book, it had such good reviews. Then I started listening, and it was the same story over & over again. Stranger walks into bar, stranger tells story, moment of enlightenment, compassion or bonding, over & over again. And the introduction is also repeated over & over again. Maybe, a few more hours in, something changes, and maybe not.
I no longer care.

15 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Marjatta
  • Los Angeles, CA, USA
  • 03-20-04

Not what I expected

If you've read these books before jump right in, I'm sure you'll enjoy them. the stories were good, and well written- but had more of a serious moral overtone to them than I expected from the other reviews. I got this book primarily because the reviews gave me the impression it would be a tounge-in-cheek Douglas Adams type farce and in that I was dissapointed. If you're looking for something to cheer you up and make you laugh aloud this doesn't really fit the bill.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Dissappointing

I thought I was really goig to like this one. It is not really Science Fiction. The first few stories were interesting because they were different. But I soon tired of them.

13 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Charles
  • St Petersburg, FL, USA
  • 02-29-04

Great listen

Having read all of Robinson's Callahan books from this one through Callahan's Key (available here on Audible), it was a pleasure to revisit these stories where the Callahan legend begins. New readers should not beleive Robinson when he says in the Forward (or "Backward" as he calls it) that there will be no more Callahan stories. He went on to write a number of other Callahan books between this one and "Key". They are all just as fun.

My only beef is with the narrator. The book is made up not so much of chapters as with interrelated short stories, yet the narrator makes the transition from the end of one into the beginning of the next without so much as a pause for a breath.

With luck, Robinson and Audible will see fit to add all the intervening books that fall between this one and Callahans Key.

If you are a fan of Science Fiction, Mysteries, puns, riddles, tall tales and just plain good story telling, I highly recommend this book.

38 of 51 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Uggg....

Any additional comments?

Peter is a great story teller, and I can't say that for one or two of these stories I was not totally engrossed, but this got tedious quickly and I found myself dreading my commute and having to listen to more, so I quit. I can see why these are not widely known.

10 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Diane
  • 03-22-17

Heart-warming

It's maybe not the best book to read (listen too) straight through. One should really spend more time at Callahan's. Nevertheless, it's a wonderful book. The stories gain more and more SF elements so don't be put off by the first story if you expect a lot of SF. But that is not the best part of it. The characters are real (and the narrator is fabulous at delineating each character's voice and sings well too) and so kind. Not without foibles, but kind and decent. And Callahan's Place is a place where everybody knows your name.