Blackstone, 2006 (1996)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio, CD
Reviewed by Lance Victor Eaton
ake Stonebender and his misfit but marvelous band of barflies are back in another set of adventures that will have fans and neophytes laughing. Filled with plenty of science-fiction references, puns (really bad puns!), and various other gags,
is just one of those fun books a listener will insist on hearing more than once.
ake Stonebender has been running Mary's Place for a short while, ever since the original Callahan's Place was blown up by a nuclear bomb (no one was hurt, except for an alien who wanted to destroy Earth, an acceptable loss). Stonebender has gotten into a rhythm and he and his expecting partner Zoey rather enjoy their life with the eccentric regulars and the bizarre events that cannot help but happen at the bar. But when Mary Callahan (for whom the bar is named) and her beloved cyborg Finn show up in rather rough shape, the gang realizes it needs to act. What do they plan to do? Mostly drink, reminisce, and give birth, but they hope this will somehow result in them saving the Earth (yet again) from an alien life form that is looking to do the inhabitants of Mary's Place extreme harm.
have already been released as audiobooks, thereby befuddling the chronological sequence,
is still charming and a great listen. Spider Robinson himself narrates in his sophomore delivery after a fabulous reading of his book,
Very Bad Deaths
. Granted at first, listeners who have been following the Callahan books might be thrown off because his style, tone, and vocals differ from those of Barrett Whitener who narrated three previous books, Robinson proves that he has what it takes to deliver a fantastic performance.
obinson's voices tend to be a bit more cartoonish in their design (particularly of the regulars) but he does raise the stakes with his ability to put rhythm to several rhymes within the story. He also maintains an intensity and solemnity during the more climatic scenes that prove his worth. The other element that he conveys better than Whitener did is the jovial atmosphere of Mary's Place. Robinson created the bar and the welcoming, light-hearted, and endearing atmosphere that it embodies, so it is no wonder that his reading puts energy into it.
ranted, one who loathes puns could be put over the edge with this audiobook. But those who can appreciate the humor in bad humor will revel in Spider Robinson's wit and narrative. Aside from the bar and having to save the world,
is an enjoyable and engaging tale that causes the listener both to think and to relax.
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