I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
Callahan's Place is open for business, and all of the "regulars" are herea talking dog, an alcoholic vampire, and two telepathsenhancing their joys by drowning their sorrows. Everyone, that is, but Mickey Finn, a seven-foot tall alien in danger of enslavement at the hands of a traveller from across the galaxy...
Come inside, pull up a chair, order a drink, make a toast, and let Spider Robinson introduce you to the most unique patrons to frequent any establishment, at a bar where the most important law is "shared pain is lessened; shared joy is increased." And if there's time left at the end of the night, just maybe they'll save the world...
This is the first Callahan book and indeed the first Spider Robinson book that I can unreservedly say that I enjoyed. Perhaps that was because there were only four stories in it, so each one got more time and attention from the author and also because there wasn’t any non-Callahan material included.
My impression is certainly that Spider Robinson believes in the redemptive value of friendship and in the associated virtues of compassion and empathy. Not to mention alcohol, humour, and music, which are also extolled as great joys.
Be warned, these stories are pun-laden. If you adore punning, you will love Robinson’s work. If you are like me and merely tolerate puns, be advised that I did not find them overly obnoxious. Probably if I had an audiobook, I would have snorted a few times.
This is book 207 of my science fiction and fantasy reading project.