Robinson (World 36)
Spider Robinson (1948 – ; first SF publication, 1973) writes on occasion with a great deal of humor, particular in his Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon series. He can also commit truly horrific puns, again especially in the Callahan’s series. Weekly nights at the saloon are devoted to pun contests, which Jake Stonebender, the narrator, at times recounts in excruciating detail.
Robinson can also write with a depth of understanding of the human condition that needs no humor to be engaging. For example, what if all people’s sense of smell is abruptly magnified a thousand-fold; who could stand the constant assault on this sense? (Telempath) How can dance be used to communicate with aliens, when more standard methods are lacking? (Stardance, with Jeanne Robinson) And what are the potential uses, and misuses, of mind-altering technology? (Lifehouse trilogy)
To many readers, the Callahan’s series (which is actually a sequence of loosely related short stories in each volume) is Robinson’s most well-known work. Anyone is welcome at Callahan’s, and its customary clientele attempt to help those with problems, even those who are alien, robotic or canine. And if anyone is down on their luck and needs a meal, Callahan is always ready to supply a free lunch.