Yeah, I know. I know.
I’ve been slacking.
Life getting in the way, computer down, reasons and excuses and you’ve heard them all before so, to hell with it.
I’m back, with a vengeance.
A former boss of me shared a list of the 100 Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy books of all time today. I’ve read 70+. But what appalled me is a series of my favorites were NOT on the list.
The Callahan Chronicles.
Bear in mind, this is a collection of short stories, which all started as works in Analog Science Fiction & Fact in the 80s. The cast of characters included a time-traveling Irishman, references to his brothel-running wife, a doctor afflicted with puns, an ex-hippie guitarist, alcoholic vampire, and more, all set in a Long Island, NY bar.
I stumbled on the series out of order (that’s a shock if you know me) with a side-project called “Lady Slings the Booze” – how Lady Sally Callahan and her staff, Nikola Tesla, a PI and a mutant dog save the world from nuclear annihilation in the mid 1980s, and cause Dan Rather to get beat up, and an REM classic to be written (What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?).
The humor, wit, and “well hell, maybe that coulda happened” had me hooked. It was my dad’s book. Totally his fault I’m a geek. And I’m totally ok with that.
My dad and I both read that one, then quickly acquired the previous short stories about Callahan and his crew. The Crosstime Saloon is the first anthology – and “The Guy With The Eyes” is the first story. Over time the stories and anthologies have combined and evolved. Every one as hysterical and well-written as the last. Most of them revolve around humanity – and simply being a decent human being, with the plot inclusions of nuking New York, aliens, mobsters, and music thrown in for good measure.
The longer stories, including Callahan’s Touch, Callahan’s Con, Callahan’s Lady, and Callahan’s Key, all involve some element of saving the world, whether from “local” terrors or alien forces and AI.
Yes, the issues have been covered a million times over in sci-fi/fantasy, but it’s the humanity of the characters and frankly the balls out humor that makes Robinson’s tales special.
Of course, while researching the book, I discovered that sometime in the 1990s, a computer game was made.
And the gamer geek in me, who helped her dad code Hitchhiker’s Guild to the Galaxy for his TI99 on cassette tape as a kid, just screamed “OMG OMG GET IT GET IT GET IT NOW.”
There may be a review of that to come.
Until then – I’m going to revisit the bar, and have a God’s Blessing or three.
If you’re looking for something new and good, even if it’s old, to read. Pick up or download Callahan’s tales. You won’t be disappointed.