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Callahan's Con (Callahan's Place series Book 9)
 
 

Callahan's Con (Callahan's Place series Book 9) [Kindle Edition]

Spider Robinson
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product Description

Review

"Robinson is the hottest writer to hit science fiction since Harlan Ellison."

Product Description

Jake Stonebender's bar in Key West gets a visit from mafioso Tony Donuts, who is looking for "protection money". Jake and the barflies have other challenges as well, as when Jake's wife is suddenly lost in a space-time continuum... Publishers Weekly says, "Blend a madcap plot involving the legendary Fountain of Youth with a zany cast of barflies, garnish with a thin SF twist, and you've got the ingredients for the latest frothy concoction in Hugo-winner Robinson's (Callahan's Key) multivolume tall tale."

"The wordplay flies fast and funny as always in a Callahan's romp, and the characters, regular and new, are pretty darn amusing. "
- Booklist

"Blend a madcap plot involving the legendary Fountain of Youth with a zany cast of barflies, garnish with a thin SF twist, and you've got the ingredients for the latest frothy concoction in Hugo-winner Robinson's (Callahan's Key) multivolume tall tale."
- Publishers Weekly

"If one were given the task of creating Spider Robinson from scratch, the best way to do it would be to snatch James Joyce from history, force-feed him Marx Brothers films and good jazz for the better part of a decade, then turn him loose on a world badly in need of a look at itself."
- The Vancouver Sun

"Spider Robinson is the hottest writer to hit science fiction since Harlan Ellison, and he can match the master’s frenetic energy and emotional intensity, arm-break for gut-wrench.”
- The Los Angeles Times

“Nobody’s perfect, but Spider comes pretty damned close.”
- Ben Bova

"Spider Robinson is the Tom Robbins of the 21st century."
- John Varley

Spider Robinson is a master storyteller…"
- Allen Steele

[Spider Robinson] "embodies the best of Sturgeon, Heinlein, and Asimov."
- David Gerrold

"Robinson's creative imagination is admirable."
- Publishers Weekly

Spider Robinson has published over thirty-five books since 1973, won three Hugos, a Nebula, the John W. Campbell Award, and numerous other international honours. In 2006 he became the first Writer In Residence at Vancouver’s H.R. MacMillan Space Centre, and in 2010 he was named sixth Writer In Residence at the Vancouver Public Library. He has written songs with David Crosby and Todd Butler, and recorded original music with Amos Garrett and Michael Creber. His award-winning podcast Spider On The Web has appeared regularly since 2007, and he has been Toastmaster at two World Science Fiction Conventions. He was married for 35 glorious years to Jeanne Robinson, a dancer, writer and Buddhist priest with whom he co-authored the Hugo- and Nebula-winning THE STARDANCE TRILOGY.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 592 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Spectrum Literary Agency, Inc. (22 Jun 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0057R5FCY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #147,287 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Laughter with a Heart 4 Sep 2009
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Jake Stonebender just can't get any peace. Having saved the universe twice and the Earth at least three times, does he now get a little break from busybody bureaucrats? Of course not - mainly because, if he did, Spider would have had no story to tell. So we open this latest segment in the Callahan saga with the entrance of the bureaucrat from hell in the person of Senior Field Inspector Czrjghbczl of the Florida Department of Education, wondering just what is being done about the education of Erin, Jake's daughter, and if her home environment is conducive to producing a fine, wholesome, upstanding lady. Of course, Jake's explanation of the situation is upstaged by his rather non-standard denizens of The Place, especially by the talking dog Ralph and the equally unusual deer Alf, and the sudden appearance of Erin herself, sans clothes - and then things really start to go downhill.

One problem is never enough for a Callahan novel, so the appearance of Tony Donuts, Jr. demanding protection money is par for the course. To fully appreciate the gravity of the appearance of this persona, you need to have read Callahan's Lady, but even without that benefit, this current incarnation of the man-mountain is suitably threatening and just bright enough to foil simple solutions.

The early portion of this book, where the above situations are laid out, is hilariously funny, replete with Spider's trademark groan-inducing puns, fractured syntax, tall tales, incredible characters, biting satire, and song spoofs - Spider at his best. But when he turns to how to solve these twin problems, some of the fun seems to go away. The 'con' that The Place gang of very unusual beings comes up with is far from original (how many have been scammed by being sold the whereabouts of The Fountain of Youth?
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Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  22 reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best of a classic series. 13 Sep 2004
By James Yanni - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
The last few of the books derived from the old "Callhan's" series had seemed somewhat of a letdown from the older books; not that they were bad, but I didn't enjoy them nearly as much as I had the originals. I was beginning to wonder if it was me, not them; if I had changed sufficiently as I aged from my twenties into my forties that I could no longer appreciate the kind of story I'd enjoyed then.

I'm still not sure, but this book was definitely back on a par with the older entries in the series; it was flawed (so were they, if you looked hard enough) but it was good enough to overcome its flaws. More, it was good enough to overcome one of the flaws that really bothered me about the previous entry, "Callahan's Key"; I can't say too much without giving a spoiler, but suffice it to say that I don't expect Jake and the other Callahan's regulars to be insensitive jerks; they don't prejudge people simply because they're alien cyborgs, or sentient computer networks; it seemed wrong that they would prejudge someone just because she was (A) ugly and (B) had a silly name. The fact that they did made it pretty clear that Spider was, and that bothered me; in this book, we get his apology (via Jake).

If you've tried the Callahan's books before and found them pointless and silly, your opinion of this one will be the same. If you loved them all, you'll certainly love this one. If you've felt that they'd been slipping for a while, give this one a try; you may enjoy it. If you've NEVER tried the Callahan's books before, then if you like your science fiction WEIRD, well-written and moving in spite of being silly, you will probably enjoy this book, but you might want to read some of the earlier entries in the series first.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Laughter with a Heart 30 Sep 2003
By Patrick Shepherd - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Jake Stonebender just can't get any peace. Having saved the universe twice and the Earth at least three times, does he now get a little break from busybody bureaucrats? Of course not - mainly because, if he did, Spider would have had no story to tell. So we open this latest segment in the Callahan saga with the entrance of the bureaucrat from hell in the person of Senior Field Inspector Czrjghbczl of the Florida Department of Education, wondering just what is being done about the education of Erin, Jake's daughter, and if her home environment is conducive to producing a fine, wholesome, upstanding lady. Of course, Jake's explanation of the situation is upstaged by his rather non-standard denizens of The Place, especially by the talking dog Ralph and the equally unusual deer Alf, and the sudden appearance of Erin herself, sans clothes - and then things really start to go downhill.
One problem is never enough for a Callahan novel, so the appearance of Tony Donuts, Jr. demanding protection money is par for the course. To fully appreciate the gravity of the appearance of this persona, you need to have read Callahan's Lady, but even without that benefit, this current incarnation of the man-mountain is suitably threatening and just bright enough to foil simple solutions.
The early portion of this book, where the above situations are laid out, is hilariously funny, replete with Spider's trademark groan-inducing puns, fractured syntax, tall tales, incredible characters, biting satire, and song spoofs - Spider at his best. But when he turns to how to solve these twin problems, some of the fun seems to go away. The 'con' that The Place gang of very unusual beings comes up with is far from original (how many have been scammed by being sold the whereabouts of The Fountain of Youth?), although the particular implementation of this scam has some very unique aspects. When the Donut problem is solved, Spider now invents a new problem - his wife has gone time-travelling (without appropriate spatial correction) in an attempt to find out what was going on with her daughter while operating the scam. And the only way to find her calls for, once more, (and one time too many), the gang to get together in a telepathic group bond. This seemed to me to be unnecessary padding, and the real ending to the story would have read just as well without this incident thrown in.
There are multiple references throughout this book to happenings in other Callahan books, many insider jokes from the SF field, and even at one point an underhanded reference to Spider's musical recordings (he has a fine voice that should be more well-known, but such are the vagaries of the music business). All rather standard for a Callahan novel, but I did feel he may have overdone it a little in this one, possibly making it difficult for someone who hasn't read the rest of the Callahan books to completely follow and understand the relevance of these earlier happenings to the current goings-on.
The ending is something of a tear-jerker, though underplayed and very quietly done, and shows the other side of Spider - emotionally sensitive, thoughtful, fully aware of not only man's foibles but his occasional grandeur, and with something important to impart to his readers. Beyond the jokes, puns, and side-splitting tales, this is what keeps me coming back to Spider, and lifts this book back up from the trough in the middle section to being not only enjoyable but worthwhile.
--- Reviewed by Patrick Shepherd (hyperpat)
13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Are you people nuts ? 20 Nov 2003
By "wvrevy" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
(Minor spoiler ahead, but nothing that you can't get from the dust jacket...naming no names :-) )
Ok, I gotta admit. I just don't get the majority of these reviews. I am a HUGE fan of all of Spider's work...I own most of his books in their originally published form, have ALL his published work in some form or another...and this book is easily his worst effort.
Yes, most of your favorite characters are there...Doc, Long Drink, Eddie, Jake, Ralph...nearly the whole gang (though a couple notable exceptions are missing, such as the Lucky Duck). But more time is spent on an inane plot revolving around Tony Donuts Jr. than on the interaction of these characters. The whole thing just reads like he threw it together in a couple days with as little thought towards the plotline as possible.
As for the "sad" ending...I was probably more angry than sad. Why on EARTH would you kill off a major character -- one of the most well-developed, well-loved, and interesting in the entire series -- for no real reason, other than perhaps exercising your talent as a writer ? It was just a waste.
I cannot recommend Spider's other works highly enough...not just the Calahan's series, but his work with Jeanne and everything else. But this book just is NOT worth the effort. In fact, if you love the series as much as I do, my recommendation would be to consider the series ENDED after the wonderful Calahan's Key.
And Spider...if this is the best you can do in your "first effort since kicking the nicotine habit"....can I offer you a Marlboro ?
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spider at his best! 19 July 2003
By J. M. Schroeder - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The best books are the ones that make you feel deeply and this one does. Naturally, I laughed a lot, that's the nature of Callahan's in any of it's incarnations. But I cried, too, and that reminded me of the roots of what the Callahan stories were about.
Now that the regulars have all settled down in Key West, enjoy this story of just a few days in the life of the denizens of "The Place". There are sprinklings of literary references throughout that are a lot of fun, too. Enjoy!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spider! 14 Sep 2006
By EMTP EJ - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Having read this book makes me want to go back in time myself and visit Key West during the time period he was writing about! It will be interesting to see if Spider writes himself into a corner eventually with all of Erin's and Nikky's time traveling. There have been some errors I have noticed over time (the fate of Lady Macbeth, for example) in the Callahan's series. But being allowed time travel and aliens (both terrestrial and extra-terrestrial) can really save the world (and have a lot of fun doing it), or the universe, but it cannot keep loved ones from dying when it is their time, so things stay interesting. There are also some storylines that could be "fleshed" out (i.e. "Joe" Quigley and Arethusa's marriage/work and un-named child -- see "Lady Slings The Booze"). One of the things I like best about Spider is that he turns us on to writers, musicians, and geniuses some people have not heard of before (MacDonald, Koerner, and Tesla, etc.). For that he has earned a special place in the afterlife (if he doesn't spill too much whisky in the meantime)!
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