Book Reviews,  Classics,  Humor,  Short Stories,  Speculative Fiction

Book Review: Callahan and Company: The Compleat Chronicles of the Crosstime Saloon

Callahan and Company: The Compleat Chronicles of the Crosstime Saloon (Callahan Trilogy)Callahan and Company: The Compleat Chronicles of the Crosstime Saloon by Spider Robinson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Many years ago I read all of the Callahan’s stories, and enjoyed the witty wordplay and deadly puns. Recently I purchased this collection, thinking a re-read might be fun. And it was. I enjoyed the stories the second time around, in fact, a lot more than I did the first time. I think I was too young and full of myself to really grasp some of the layers back then.

One complaint I’ve heard is that these stories feel dated. Well, of course they do. They were written long before pandemics, social media, sexual moderation, and politicians piping gaslight through the twitter tubes existed. The vibe is relaxed, half-drunk and touchy-feely hippy-ish. The characters are opinionated, smoke too much, have no concept of recycling glass, and for the most part, are unlucky in love.

But, they have each other. And a tighter, more respectful chosen-family has never existed. There are rules that must be followed in Callahan’s Place, but they all exist for damn good reasons. The overall theme is ‘how can we help you heal’. If a place like Callahan’s existed for real, you’d know where to find me on any given night.

The stories told and adventures shared by the patrons of Callahan’s are outrageous. Tall tales of the highest elevation. The puns are wicked good. The easy-going tone of the narrative lets you forget that there’s an author behind these contrived stories and people, they just seem so real.

I highly recommend getting to know what’s going on in Callahan’s Place to those born after the Boomers and Generation Jones. You may not have heard this sort of mind-play in a novel before, and I think you’ll find it worth exploring if you sincerely want to understand the generations that came before you.

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Lori Alden Holuta lives between the cornfields of Mid-Michigan, where she grows vegetables and herbs when she’s not writing, editing, or playing games with a cat named Chives.

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