cover image Callahan's Legacy: The Long-Awaited Return to Mary Callahan's Place!

Callahan's Legacy: The Long-Awaited Return to Mary Callahan's Place!

Spider Robinson, Author Tor Books $20.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-312-85776-9

Puns, palindromes and assorted witticisms abound in this latest addition to science fiction's longest running in-joke, first presented in book form in Callahan's Crosstime Saloon (1977), most recently in The Callahan Touch (1993). Robinson, who has won a Hugo, a Nebula and a John W. Campbell Award, follows his usual formula here. Lovable narrator and bartender Jake Stonebender, who took over from lovable narrator and bartender Mike Callahan after Mike decided to go time-traveling, gradually introduces the large cast of oddball drunks and barflies who inhabit the Long Island tavern known as Mary's Place (which itself replaced Callahan's Place after that tavern blew up in a nuclear explosion two episodes ago). The regulars include at least one alien, an Artificial Intelligence, a supernatural being or two and a talking dog named Ralph Von Wau Wau. As usual, a couple of new oddballs wander into the bar and tell their stories. Then a crisis arises--here, occasioned by an alien lizard-cyborg bent on the destruction of Earth. The boys soon take care of the situation, however, by drinking a lot of beer and Irish coffee, telling jokes and not losing their cool. Plot is secondary in the Callahan stories. What Robinson's many fans look for above all is humor, wordplay and a complicated web of allusions to favorite rock lyrics, classic SF stories and previous Callahan tales. They get plenty of each here and should feel right at home, again. (Oct.)