But both the character and the coffee company took the name "Starbuck" from a character in the novel Moby Dick, who was Captain Ahab's first mate. (In The X-Files, Dana Scully is nicknamed "Starbuck" by her father, has a dog she names "Queequeg", and has referred to Mulder as "Captain Ahab"). Based on the number of allusions to this novel I've seen, I decided to read it.
I was actually expecting a lot more plot in this novel. Instead, I've been innundated with pages upon pages of detailed taxonomic descriptions of whales, which are based on scientific knowledge that pre-dated Darwin. Despite the fact that Melville spends an entire chapter claiming that whales are fish, we are now fairly certain that they're actually descended from a family of hooved mammals which gradually returned into the sea and evolved into whales. Well, except in the state of Kansas, where I'm obliged to say that they magically appeard 6,000 years ago.