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Scavenging Book Stores and Libraries

Currently I'm a librarian and before that I was an archaeologist, a journalist, and definitely a bit of a world traveler.  I tend to mostly read science fiction and fantasy, though I do love a good mystery and I'm a bit of a book dabbler overall. I've been doing Goodreads for awhile, but a friend thought I might enjoy this as well. Let's see, yeah?

Pulling a Hutch

Starhawk - Jack McDevitt

What to say about Starhawk…


I think the author made some interesting choices, here.  It’s a prequel a long-running series of his, so we get to learn how Priscilla become “Hutch” and I was really excited for that.  McDevitt does two main series – the Alex Benedict series and the Academy series.  This book is part of the Academy series.


The Benedict series is the better one, in my opinion, because all the entries – except maybe the first – are solid.  As for the first one…  I think McDevitt realized that his Holmes needed a Watson, so he added one in and the series became MUCH better.  Really, if Benedict left and Chase stayed, I’d be fine…  At any rate, the Academy series starts out great and then just didn’t connect with me as well after a couple of books.

Part of it may be what my friend who introduced me to the series calls “pulling a Hutch.” This is a phrase that her family coined from the novels and use it to mean that someone asks you to do something which you know is a terrible idea and doomed to failure and heartache so, of course, you tell them know.  They come back and ask again and even though you still know it’s going to pretty sour, you say yes this time.  Then terrible things happen just like you knew they would.


In any case, as an ex-archaeologist, I feel a little bad liking the Benedict series more than the Academy series.   See, the Academy series often deals with space archaeology.  The Benedict series deals with an artifact collector and, as nice as some can be and as helpful as some can be, for the most part collecting artifacts is terrible for science.  There is so much knowledge that can be gained from context and studies of an artifact before it’s moved.  Once it’s moved, the amount of information you can gain from it – not to mention much of the proof of its veracity – is lost.  Add to that the fact that selling and buying artifacts pretty much divorces the item of its history and culture and just makes it into a pretty little object with some prestige attached…  Anyway, so I don’t like Benedict’s professions.  But his stories are just so good.


I’m really getting off on a tangent.  I guess it’s because I was a bit disappointed in this book.  Hutch really takes a back seat in all these adventures.  Yeah, I get that she isn’t her cool self yet but she just seemed such an… observer throughout the book.  So it’s kind of an interesting route for the author to take.  We’re basically seeing the events that shaped her into who she becomes, maybe, rather than seeing her shape events?  On the other hand, the tragedy level fits in well with her later adventures, so I kind of wonder why she didn’t just become a lawyer like her mother wanted…