Book Review: Callahan's Crosstime Saloon

I like to think of myself as an avid reader, and sometimes I even follow up on that.  Over the last couple of weeks, I've finally been reading a series of books that I've heard quite a bit about, but never actually started until this attempt.  "Callahan's Crosstime Saloon" by Spider Robinson.

This isn't serious sci fi by any stretch of the imagination, and in the author notes it's clear that he wasn't even really trying for sci fi when he started, and some people even wrote him nasty notes about wanting to cancel their subscriptions to the magazine they were published in since they weren't publishing science fiction anymore.  But it's still good.

Over the course of the 9 books that are loosely a part of this series (many of them taking place at Lady Sally's brothel, or in the bars that took over for Callahan's after it was destroyed in the nuclear blast), we meet a few time travelers, witness them all "getting telepathic," get an inside view of things at the weirdest sounding brothel ever, move to Key West, stow a toddler aboard the space shuttle, take on the mob, and generally deal with a lot of weirdness.

Most of the characters can't resist punning at every opportunity, so reading it was a lot like hanging out with my friend John, except that I had to be content with groaning in my head.  I do enjoy a good pun now and then, and I'd have read them just for the puns if I'd known about them going into it.

I don't think my son is old enough to read these just yet, but that's not really a point for or against the stories, just something that's been on my mind since I started reading.

That's not to say that I didn't enjoy them immensely, but I'm the sort of reader who will re-read his favorites until he wears them out, and then read the ebook equivalent until entropy changes the bits enough for it to be a completely different book.  I don't think I'll be re-reading this one, at least not for a long time to come.  I'm a huge fan of weird, and these books have it in spades, but since a good bit of it was published in short story form before it was published in book form, there's an awful lot more author notes than I care for.  It was a little bit like reading fan fiction, actually...

So, I guess I would recommend these books if you like puns and are looking for some lighthearted sci-fi ish reading to fill in the space between the serious books.  I'm glad I read them, after all...

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