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Encyclopedia > Callahan's Crosstime Saloon

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 Travellers 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. Spider Robinson (born November 24, 1948 in New York City) is a Canadian science fiction writer. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... This article is in need of attention. ... This article is about the literary concept. ... A computer game is a game composed of a computer-controlled virtual universe that players interact with in order to achieve a defined goal or set of goals. ...



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 Old Bushmills referenced in nearly every collection of shorts or novel that references the saloon. For other uses, see Pun (disambiguation). ... Irish Whiskeys For the novel of the same name, see Irish Whiskey (novel). ... Tullamore Dew Tullamore Dew is a brand of Irish whiskey. ... The Old Bushmills Distillery is the oldest licensed whiskey distillery in the world. ...

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. Callahans Lady is a science-fiction novel by Spider Robinson, published in 1989. ...

(Lady Sally's last name is almost certainly a tribute to the fictional character Travis McGee, who appeared in a number of novels by John D. MacDonald, whose works are referenced throughout the Callahan novels.) Travis McGee is a fictional character created by American mystery writer John D. MacDonald. ... John Dann MacDonald (July 24, 1916 – December 28, 1986), writing as John D. MacDonald, was an American writer best known for his series of detective novels featuring protagonist Travis McGee. ...

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."


  • Jake Stonebender: The narrator of the Callahan stories; he tried to commit suicide after losing his wife and daughter to a car accident ,but Doc Webster saved him and sent him to Callahan's. He's 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.
  • Doc Webster: M.D.; one of the oldest regulars and a master of puns. He works shifts at Smithtown General.
  • Fast Eddie: 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. Callahan offers him the job of bartender after he tells his story.
  • Noah Gonzalez: A sergeant on the force, 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; and, with the bar patrons' collective efforts, he does not and instead joins them.
  • 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 and frequently referenced afterwards.
  • "Slippery" Joe Maser: he is bigamous and has two wives with full knowledge of each other.
  • 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. In the process, the solid oak front door is split on his head. It is mended, but poorly.


Callahan's Crosstime Saloon contains the following stories, virtually all of which were published in Analog Science Fiction and Fact: April 1997 issue of Analog. ...

  • "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 4 Callahan stories and several non-Callahan stories and essays. The Centipedes Dilemma is a concept related to cognitive behavior theory that describes a way of confusing someone who was self-taught. ...

Callahan's Secret contains 4 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 singular novels.

Some elements of Callahan's Lady and Lady Slings the Booze have been separately published in Pulphouse. Pulphouse Publishing, founded by science fiction writer Dean Wesley Smith and edited by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, was a small press publisher devoted to short fiction in many formats and genres. ...

Other versions

The series has a related Usenet newsgroup, alt.callahans, and two IRC channels, #callahans on Undernet and #callahans on freenode for fans. Usenet (USEr NETwork) is a global, decentralized, distributed Internet discussion system that evolved from a general purpose UUCP architecture of the same name. ... A newsgroup is a repository usually within the Usenet system, for messages posted from many users at different locations. ... alt. ... IRC redirects here. ... The Undernet is one of the largest Internet Relay Chat (IRC) networks. ... The title of this article should be freenode. ...

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". Legend Entertainment was an American developer of computer games. ... Josh Mandel is a voice actor who provided the voices of King Graham, Shamir Shamazel, Oxymoron, Druid, and a Guard Dog in Kings Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow. ... Freddy Pharkas: Frontier Pharmacist is a comic Old West adventure game created by Al Lowe, the creator of Leisure Suit Larry series, and published by Sierra On-Line. ...

External Links

  • The Official Semi-Official Web Site for All Things Callahanian
  • Callahanian Community Wiki



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