Brain Snacks: Tasty Tidbits of Knowledge
Although the novel itself is fictional, it’s based on a combination of real-life happenings: Melville’s own experiences as a cabin boy, sailor, harpooneer, and even mutineer on board merchant and whaling ships; a story that Melville read about a real New Zealand native named Tupai Cupa, who became the basis for Queequeg; and a series of famous whaling incidents, especially the 1820 sinking of the Essex and the 1830 slaughter of an albino sperm whale known as Mocha Dick.
Melville dedicated Moby-Dick to his pal Nathaniel Hawthorne, whom you may have encountered as the author of The Scarlet Letter. Although their friendship only lasted a few years (Hawthorne was much older than Melville, and they drifted apart), while it lasted, these two great American novelists felt an intense connection. (Source)
Dana Scully on The X-Files was called Starbuck by her father, and Starbuck is also the nickname of a character (Kara Thrace) on the Sci-Fi channel’s Battlestar Galactica. Clearly, the science fiction industry collectively loves Starbuck best of all the Pequod’s mates.