Callahanians! Fall in!

Hello. If you have clicked on this thread I take it that you have read the Callahan books by Spider Robinson. If so, good for you! If not, do so.

I just recently finished reading the latest of the books Callahan’s Key, and despite heavy competition from the other books, I must say that I find this one the best.

So, for all the rest of you, just wondering, which book did you like the best?

I liked Time Traveler’s Strictly Cash – and I think I’ll reread a bunch of it tonight.

I liked TTSC as best of the bunch. Of course I find the majority of them fun and enjoyable.

I just found my copy of George RR Martin “Portrait of his children” so I will be rereading it tonight.

Has anyone read Spiders collection of short stories “by any other name” If not I would recomend it :slight_smile:

Welcome to the Boards OnlySaneOne! You’ll find there are a LOT of Callahan and Robinson fans here and it’s always good to meet another! That said, please don’t take offense when I strongly disagree with you about Callahan’s Key:

I hated Callahan’s Key. I hated the cutsie “in jokes” with what I assume were real fans, I hated the guest appearance of Pixel, I hated the travelogue through Key West, I hated the superbaby, and I hated the damned parrot most of all. I can’t believe the Spider Robinson who’s work I’ve know and loved for 25 years wrote it!

I’m not saying you’re wrong for liking it, just that I hated it a lot. It’s only the years of “credit” that Robinson has built up by writing good books that I didn’t stop reading him in hardcover after Key.

That said, I’ve been a fan of Robinson’s and Callahan’s since one of the early stories appeared in Analog (not “The Guy with the Eyes” it was a later one) and I really, really liked Robinson’s newest one Free Lunch. I even subscribed to Galaxy/Worlds of If (and even worse, the ‘bookzine’ Destiny) soley to get Robinson’s brilliant SF review column “Spider vs the Hax of Sol III” (best damned review column ever! )

My favorite Robinson is probably Time Pressure, but if we’re limiting it to Callahan books it’s gotta be the first one, I think (Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon) or the second, before Robinson’s need to be nice to his characters destroyed Jake in the Deus Ex Machina scene where

it turned out that Jake hadn’t killed his wife and kid. That completely negated the growth that Jake had done and still had yet to do. And what’s funny/sad is that Jake became the irresponsible lunkhead he’d always feared in one of the later Callahan books (he didn’t bother to get/renew the liquor license!!! :rolleyes: Up 'till that point, Jake was one of my favorite characters. I identified with him and admired Robinson’s skill at crafting a character who’d made an unthinkable mistake, but was still trying to repay/repair it and go on. After the revelation, I lost all connection with and interest in him.

Anyway, Only, have you ever read Zenna Henderson? If you like Spider Robinson, you’ll like Henderson as well. She and Robinson are probably two of the most “restore your faith in humanity” authors around.


grins Hate to tell you this Fenris, but the Superbaby was why I loved the book so much. It got me to thinking about just how I would handle it if (Heaven forbid) I had a kid that was smarter than me.

Her best line in the whole book:

“Thanks, Uncle Nikky. I plan to start having sex when I’m sixteen, would you like to take a number? If you hurry, I can squeeze you into the single digits.”

grins Wonderful, that Superbaby.


But hey, even if we disagree, that’s cool. I’ll respect your tastes even though you’re wrong :wink: :smiley:



(GD&R= Grins, ducks and runs (away) )

Personally I like Spider’s older stuff (back when it was still Callahan’s place, for the most part), though it has been a long time since I’ve ready any of it.

Being the deviant that I am, however, I think I like the Mary books the best. :slight_smile:

I was pretty light on Callahan’s Key myself. I loved the earlier books, especially (as others have mentioned) Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon and Time Travelers Strictly Cash.

And like Fenris, I immediately felt a connection with the character Jake. In my case, I had lately come through a situation kind of remotely similar to Jake’s, and I was in pretty bad shape emotionally. My younger brother gave me a copy of Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon and I fell in love with it immediately. Without getting too maudlin (although it may be too late) that book played a part in saving my life.

So I’ll always be a Spider Robinson fan, even if I didn’t think Callahan’s Key was that great. I’ve hung out in the usenet group alt.callahans on and off for years, although I’m 99.99% lurker.

Spider rocks, no doubt about it.


Dang. I thought this was going to be a forum for “Dirty Harry” fans.

I’m sorry to say, but I find Spider’s books increasingly pathetic. I don’t know how many of you are familiar with severe substance abuse, but his idolizing how wonderful, creative and sensitive people are when they’re loaded to the gills is self-deception.

I think the arrival of the Lucky Duck is one of my all-time favorite scenes, but the dousing of the Ukrainian fireplug comes a close second.

I have to admit, though, that I was a little disappointed in Callahan’s Key, not least because I could not understand how a man who has made a very big point that Driving While Drunk is Bad[sup]TM[/sup] would then turn around and start smoking marijuana while driving a school bus that is transporting his wife and child. I’d call that a synapse misfire of epic proportions.

Even though I personally liked Callahan’s Key , I prefer most of the earlier stories for the simple fact that they were just that: Stories.
I feel that the narrative suffers when the whole thing is supposed to be one long novel. The early Callahan’s were just collections of individual stories. Spider Robinson even said he deliberately put contradictions in the stories to see if anyone was paying attention story to story.

The real question now becomes: Is this the last Callahan’s Book? Should it be? Discuss.

Chris W

I’m another fan. In fact, thanks due to a thread which got lost in the Winter of Our Missed Content, I wound up starting a Depression Support Group for Dopers which was intended to be a cross between Callahan’s and this place. Callahan’s Key was so-so. My favourite was Callahan’s Cross-Time Saloon, although I’ve got a weakness for The Callahan Touch because of 9 puns based on That’s Amore. I’ve also read most of his other stuff, including his short story collections.

I’m with partly_warmer in not being happy with the amount of drug use, but some of his other points strike a chord with me, especially the principle of “joy shared is joy increased; pain shared is pain decreased.” I’ve had the opportunity to see some of these things in action the past couple of years, and they seem to work. Then again, your mileage probably will vary.


I have to agree mostly with partly_warmer. The drug abuse is one of the few things I look down on the books about. Especially in Callahan’s Legacy.

(Oh, I get it now! To be telepathic you have to be drunk and high! I get it now!)