Callahan's Crosstime Saloon

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Callahan's Crosstime Saloon
CallahansCrosstimeSaloon.jpg
First edition
Author Spider Robinson
Cover artist Vincent Di Fate
Country United States of America
Language English
Publisher Ace Books
Publication date
1977
Media type Print (Paperback)
Pages 170
ISBN 0-441-09034-6
Time Travelers Strictly Cash
Publisher Ace Books
Publication date
1981
Media type Print (Paperback)
ISBN 0-441-81277-5
Callahan's Secret
Publisher Berkley Books
Publication date
1986
Media type Print (Paperback)
ISBN 0-425-09082-5
Callahan's Lady
Publisher Ace Books
Publication date
1989
Media type Print (Hardcover)
ISBN 0-441-09073-7
Lady Slings the Booze
Publisher Ace Books
Publication date
1992
Media type Print (Hardcover)
ISBN 0-441-46928-0
The Callahan Touch
Publisher Ace Books
Publication date
1993
Media type Print (Hardcover)
ISBN 0-441-09075-3
Callahan's Legacy
Publisher Tor Books
Publication date
1996
Media type Print (Hardcover)
ISBN 0-312-85776-4
Callahan's Key
Publisher Bantam Spectra
Publication date
2000
Media type Print (Hardcover)
ISBN 0-553-11163-9
Callahan's Con
Publisher Tor Books
Publication date
2003
Media type Print (Hardcover)
ISBN 0-7653-0270-5

In the fictional universe of Spider Robinson, Callahan's Place is a bar with strongly community-minded and empathic clientele. It appears in the Callahan's Crosstime Saloon stories (compiled in the first novel of the same name) along with its sequels Time Travelers Strictly Cash and Callahan's Secret; most of the beloved barflies appear in the further sequels The Callahan Touch, Callahan's Legacy, Callahan's Key, and Callahan's Con, and the computer game.

Synopsis[edit]

The bar is run by Mike Callahan. The regulars are welcoming and willing to listen to any visitor's problems, no matter how strange, but do not snoop if a visitor is unwilling to share. Strange and unusual events and visitors turn up with frequency in the stories. Regulars at Callahan's include a talking dog, several extraterrestrials and time travelers, an ethical vampire, a couple of Irish mythological beings, and an obscenity-spewing parrot. The stories make heavy use of puns. Irish whiskeys are the preferred beverage, with Tullamore Dew and Bushmills mentioned in nearly every collection of shorts or novel that references the saloon. The stories make an obvious homage to Fletcher Pratt and L. Sprague de Camp's Tales from Gavagan's Bar and Arthur C. Clarke's Tales from the White Hart.

Lady Sally McGee, the madam of a house of excellent repute (and Mike Callahan's wife), stars in Robinson's Callahan's Lady and Lady Slings the Booze. The regulars at Lady Sally's brothel (where the employees are "artists" and the patrons are "clients") insist on the same empathy and humor as those at Callahan's, and they are just as likely to have fantastic backgrounds. Relatedly, nobody in Lady Sally's is forced into anything they are unwilling to do.

This is the source of Callahan's Law (also known as the Law of Conservation of Pain and Joy): "Shared pain is lessened; shared joy, increased—thus do we refute entropy." Stated another way: "Just as there are Laws of Conservation of Matter and Energy, so there are in fact Laws of Conservation of Pain and Joy. Neither can ever be created or destroyed. But one can be converted into the other."

Characters[edit]

  • Jake Stonebender: The narrator of the Callahan stories; he tried to commit suicide after losing his wife and daughter to a car accident which he believes to be his fault. His physician, Doc Webster, saved him and sent him to Callahan's. Jake is a master with his guitar, whom he calls "Lady Macbeth".
  • Mike Callahan: The owner of the bar, he is always ready with a drink and a friendly word.
  • Sam "Doc" Webster: M.D.; one of the oldest regulars and a master of puns. He works shifts at Smithtown General.
  • Fast Eddie Costigan: The bar's piano player; he jams with Jake and is equipped with a blackjack to discourage nosy questions.
  • Long Drink McGonnigle: One of the oldest regulars; a night watchman and also skilled at puns.
  • Tom Hauptman: An ex-minister and widower, who was locked away for ten years with his wife in a Latin American banana republic. He believes missing out on ten years of sociological development means he cannot do his job. Callahan offers him the job of assistant bartender after he tells his story.
  • Noah Gonzalez: A sergeant in the police force who has a prosthetic leg. He works on the bomb squad.
  • Michael "Mickey" Finn: He is a humanoid alien who was sent to destroy Earth. Coming to Callahan's makes him want to reconsider; with the assistance of the patrons he is able to become his own being and save the planet.
  • Tommy Janssen: A teenager who comes to Callahan's and gives up his heroin addiction.
  • Tom Flannery: One of the former regulars who has eight months to live at the start of the series.
  • "Slippery" Joe Maser: He is bigamous; both wives are aware of one another.
  • Marty Matthias: had a gambling issue, but got it fixed after he came to Callahan's.
  • Rachel: A woman, which is a rarity in itself at Callahan's. She also may be immortal, but is long-lived at the very least.
  • Shorty Steinitz: Had his appendix removed by Doc Webster on Callahan’s bar. World's worst driver; makes a living restoring antique vehicles.
  • Big Beef McCaffrey: Was kicked out of the bar in 1947 by Mike Callahan, without opening the solid oak door first. The door has been since mended, but poorly.
  • Mary Callahan Finn: Mike Callahan's daughter and woman blacksmith. The love of Jake Stonebender's life and the wife of Mickey Finn.
  • Ralph Von Wau Wau: Mutant talking dog and regular customer. Regular at Lady Sally's. Also, skilled ventriloquist.

Stories[edit]

Callahan's Crosstime Saloon contains the following stories, virtually all of which were published in Analog Science Fiction and Fact:

  • "The Guy With the Eyes"
  • "The Time-Traveler"
  • "The Centipede's Dilemma"
  • "Two Heads Are Better Than One"
  • "The Law Of Conservation of Pain"
  • "Just Dessert"
  • "A Voice is Heard in Ramah..."
  • "Unnatural Causes"
  • "The Wonderful Conspiracy"

Time Travelers Strictly Cash contains four Callahan stories and several non-Callahan stories and essays.

Callahan's Secret contains four Callahan stories; there is only Callahan material.

Callahan's Legacy contains three sections that were not separately published as stories.

All of the later works appeared as individual novels.

Some elements of Callahan's Lady and Lady Slings the Booze have been separately published in Pulphouse.

Other versions[edit]

The series has inspired several social media sites:

In 1997 Legend Entertainment released a graphic adventure game for the PC, designed by Josh Mandel (of Freddy Pharkas: Frontier Pharmacist fame), based on the series. The player controls Jake Stonebender (narrator of the books) through a series of bizarre adventures. Included in the game are several songs performed by Spider Robinson himself, which can be heard by talking to the pianist in the bar and asking for "one of your specialties".

The series has also been adapted as a setting for the GURPS roleplaying game.[2]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Conch%20Republic/142/138/22
  2. ^ http://www.sjgames.com/gurps/books/callahan/

External links[edit]