This is the penultimate novel in Robinson’s Callahan saga. I have enjoyed the prior ones to varying degrees, but generally consider myself a fan of the series. And even though this one features a new location, and a few new characters, it is a plot that we’ve seen before.
In this one, a bizarre cluster of freakish phenomena has brought us to the edge of nuclear war. The United States' own defense system has become a perfect doomsday machine, using Nikola Tesla’s death ray. The motley crew from Jake Stonebender’s old bar pack up in school buses and head to Key West. Along with Tesla himself, Jake, his wife, and his super-intelligent toddler Erin set out to break into NASA to stop the end of everything.
And Robert Heinlein's wandering cat shows up, too. And there are a lot of puns. A lot of bad puns. Spider Robinson is very skilled at combining humor with his science fiction, but I think sometimes the wackiness of the story overwhelms the narrative of the story. The crew learning their way around a new location was a nice touch, creating opportunities for nice character moments.
I am probably biased, as I enjoyed this series when it started out life as a series of connected short stories. Once Robinson switched the series over to novels a few books back, the need for a more cohesive plot arises, and that is not necessarily Robinson’s strength as a writer.
There is one more book left in this series, and although I was a little underwhelmed by this one, I am definitely looking forward to wrapping up the series.
Source: Delaware County library