Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon

{4/5} “We abhor violence. The fact that you can be induced to inflict it upon yourselves, is, to us, proof that you are food, less-than-Krundai. If you and other races did not spare us the necessity, we should be forced to kill our own food like beasts. But the Great Brood saw our needs and fashioned the lesser races to breed and feast upon, without the need to nurture violence in our own hearts.”

Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon by Spider Robinson was published in 1977. It’s a collection of short stories, all set in the same bar, and the first in a series. You never know who’s going to come into Callahan’s Place — a 200-year-old woman, a time traveller, an alien, a telekinetic, or a minister who spent 10 years in a Central American prison. The regulars at the bar try to help each other out with their problems. They also have competitions for who can create the best puns.

“The Law of Conservation of Pain” — Bobbi Joy has led a difficult life, but she sings amazing heartbreaking songs. Her producer got very rich off her music but he is also desperately in love with Bobbi. So much so that he goes back in time, to make things better for her. He ends up at Callahan’s Place.

It’s about music and meddlers.

“Unnatural Causes” — It’s Halloween and everyone is in costume. Tony tells the story of why he first came to the bar. He’s a Viet Nam veteran who saw and did some terrible things. Coming to Callahan’s helped him see what he wanted to do with his life. The next story was told by Raksha. It was almost unbelievable because he didn’t just look like an alien — he was an alien.

This story is about the point at which you decide to make a change in your life — to see things clearly and do what’s right.

There are a few great stories here, and a few that didn’t do much for me. One of them had an ending I didn’t really understand.

I was under the impression these stories were funny, but they’re not. If you’re a fan of puns, you might appreciate them more than I do.

Robinson is able to create characters you care about within a short story. The stories in this collection are in chronological order and occasionally refer to previous ones.

Although I won’t be putting further stories in this series at the top of my list, I might give one of Robinson’s novels a try one of these days.

This entry was posted on Sunday, February 9th, 2014 at 7:46 pm and is filed under Reviews of books. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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