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The Callahan Chronicals  By  cover art

The Callahan Chronicals

By: Spider Robinson
Narrated by: Barrett Whitener
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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 listeners say about The Callahan Chronicals

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

47 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

28 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

New regular to Callahan's

I was totally unfamiliar with Spider and Callahan's place. I selected this book based on its rating and its length. One of the BEST decisions I ever made. I can't wait to listen to more of the Callahan saga.

You gotta get this one!!

21 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

A bit too sickly sweet for me

I really enjoyed these books when they first came out, but that was a long time ago. I tried to listen to them now, and I gave up after an hour or two. Everybody loves everybody, and everyone takes care of everyone. The author never lets a real storyline get in the way of the general lovefest. I finally stopped listening, because I was afraid I was going to get diabetes from all of the sugar.

17 people found this 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.

16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

TERRIBLE

Spider Robinson notes in his book that if people remember "shared pain is diminished, shared joy increased" but forget his name he will have been a tremendous success in his life. Let me share my pain with you in the hopes of diminishing it. This was maybe the third or fourth worst book I have ever read. The characters are superficial and cliched at best (this is all the more amazing because as the author says: these are not primarily science fiction stories but rather stories about people). The story lines are often disjointed, the plot devices incredible, and the plots juvenille.

One of my favorite, and most repetitive, features of the stories are about how "SF" readers (the author's term for science fiction) would automatically understand all the unusual time traveling, intergalactic happenings at Callahan's Place while other people might not. Thank goodness for guys like Spider Robinson to make it all ok for us. Another example of the author's deeply evocative narrative is when his main character ("a really empathic guy") uses a personal computer as a metaphor to describe his response to an attractive woman. (AMAZING: an empathic computer) I can't tell you for certain that this might be what your average techie 8th grader taking a computer class thinks is the height of wit but I don't think I'd be far off.

Did it work? No such luck. My pain is just as bad as it was before. Maybe I can just forget Spider Robinson and his book and make him a success after all.

16 people found this 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.

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

hated it.

This is a childish book. THe fact that it's dated is not the problem.

After the first three or four stories I just couldn't take it anymore. They are all sappy crap stories with a different main character surrounded by the same barely deveolped supporting cast. It reads like a hardy boys mystery.

The glowing intro from Ben Bova lead me to believe I was in for a treat. Like I would be in some wonderful literary club where I could say "hey you ever read about Callahans"? and if someone said yeah, I could dish out a few names and "puns" and we could fondly remember how cool it was....

I can tell you that will never happen. If I were ever to meet one of the people who wrote one of those glowing warm fuzzy reviews. I would have to question their IQ and slowly disengage myself from their presence.

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Like having a flower stuffed up your nose

I had read several of the Callahan stories in Analog magazine over the years, and generally enjoyed them. However, having the whole collection in one book was too much syrup and sweetness for me. The book was essentially 16 hours of Co-dependents Anonymous with a bit of pop psychology thrown in. There were moments of decent SF, and some fairly good characters, but the effect was, for me at least, buried in the sugar.

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Story, language and narrator is awful

Of all the audio books I have listened to this is by far the worst one that I could image. The foul language was uncalled for and could have been easily left out. The story was so far out that even a real space travler would have laughed. I found it totally ridiculous. What a waste of money.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-17-21

The pub we all need

The only time I ever heard of Callahan’s was from an old video game by the same name. Thank god I watched a let’s play of it because this is genuinely one of the funniest and most heartfelt stories I’ve heard.

  • Overall
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  • Diane Severson
  • 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.