Hopscotch

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Zine
Title: Hopscotch
Publisher: Turbo Press
Editor:
Author(s): Teri White
Cover Artist(s): Ruth Kurz
Illustrator(s): Ruth Kurz
Date(s): October 1979
Medium: print
Size:
Genre:
Fandom: Starsky and Hutch
Language: English
External Links: online version
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cover of Hopscotch

Hopscotch is a gen Starsky and Hutch 197-page novel by Teri White. It is printed offset.

It won an Encore Award.

Over 20 illustrations by Ruth Kurz are included in the novel.

Series

It is the first in a series of three novels:

The fic Vermont Avenue, Homecoming, written with permission by a different author, is a sequel to this series.

Summary

A lengthy novella, post-Sweet Revenge. S&H go upstate on vacation and, while on a date with two local girls, end up in a car accident. When Hutch comes to, Starsky and his date are missing, and his own date is dead from a bullet from Hutch's magnum! While Hutch worries what happened to Starsky, he's arrested and put on trial for the girl's murder. Dobey is unable to help much, beyond getting Hutch a lawyer, and doesn't know where Starsky is either. It seems that he climbed from the wreckage, went for help for the unconscious Hutch, and was knocked out and shanghaied on a ship to the orient. It takes him a long time to get away -- time Hutch spends stewing in jail and thinking Starsky must be dead. There are some very dramatic moments as Hutch encounters the difficulties of a a police officer -- and a handsome man-- in a public prison system. Once Starsky finally gets back, he goes to work trying to find the real murderers, with all hope for Hutch placed firmly on his shoulders. But what happens to Hutch if Starsky can't solve this case? Warning: this story can get a little rough in language and actions. [1]
After having finally been certified fit for street duty again after being shot and nearly dying, Starsky freezes during the first firefight he and Hutch go into. Afterwards, he and Hutch decide they need to take some time off, to talk about Starsky's shooting, what it meant to each of them and what it might mean to their partnership. Driving down to San Francisco, they stop for the night in the little town of San Manuel. There they meet two lovely women, who accompany them to dinner and a bar for a nightcap. Leaving the bar, they pile into the VW Bug Hutch had rented for the trip and start down a curvy, hilly road. When Hutch hits the brakes, he discovers they're not responding, so he aims the car into an enbankment. With a crash, the car stops and he loses consciousness. When he comes to, he discovers that the police have found him with a gun in his hand, and his date next to him, slumped dead from being shot. Starsky and his date have disappeared. With the gathering speed of a freight train, one thing leads to another and Hutch finds himself arrested and in jail, awaiting his trial. And no one knows where Starsky is... [2]
For too many years Starsky and Hutchison [sic] battled the worst that the bad guys could throw at them... and they still managed to come up laughing; but what happens when the laughter stops? Murder, kidnapping, and the perfect frame have Starsky and Hutch playing the most dangerous game of their lives. It's not fun anymore. [3]
In Hopscotch, we begin months after the Gunther shooting. Starsky's finally released to go back on the streets, but he's not quite ready yet. They need to get away and Hutch decides that driving up the coast will be the perfect trip. So, they set off...in a red VW Bug that Starksy is mortified to be in;)... But remember this is Starsky and Hutch. They can't have a normal vacation to save their lives and this is no exception. A car accident, a kidnapping, a murder charge, these boys have it all. It's going to take alot of time and energy to make their worlds right again.[4]

Art Gallery

Reactions and Reviews

No one who calls themselves a loyal Starsky and Hutch fan or admirer can do so if this novel isn’t in their collection. Quite possibly, this is the finest example of fan fiction ever seen in the S&H genre, and it has strong competition. The word for it is simply PROFESSIONAL, in all capitals and exclamation points. I am admirer, as well as a friend of the author… yet, at his moment, I am in awe of the enormous work she has sweated over this long summer and early winter. ‘Hopscotch’ could well have been the final episode to the series after 'Targets Without a Badge' and 'Sweet Revenge.' I think Naar, Soul and Glaser would be pleased with the in-depth characterization shown in the aftermath of Starsky's horrifying hospital stay, with all the implications of the readjustment to police life after the brush with death. These are not merely series' characters; these are real men with real fears, frustration, and anger. They parallel that of an authentic police officer's re-entry to normal life after the problems relating to serious on-the-job injury, a well as the problems of his partner and/or close friends. We are essentially left hanging as to the continuation of this relationship as it pertains to their job. Will they continue as cops? Teri White doesn’t say, any more than Paul Michael Glaser did at the end of ‘Sweet Revenge.’ Starsky's naive streak is gone, lost forever. Hutch must reassess his love for the job, and his love for his friend and partner. Can they cope? Possibly not if they cannot come to an understanding with the Department. But one thing shines clearly: the love for each other is still there; with that hope, faith, and trust, they may survive to laugh again. Time will tell... The novel has everything a reader could want: mystery, go-get'ems, pain/comfort, and one thing more: it makes you think of their future. The Starsky and Hutchinson I knew before this book are vastly different than the men I know now. I still support them, love them, want to hear more about them, yet I feel a loss, so deep I can't begin to understand. The fun-loving men/boys I once cared about are dead, so it seems. I hope they can be resurrected again. I shall miss them sorely, for they had the power to make me laugh at adversity, learn to open my heart to others without fear of rejection, gave me faith in humanity as a caring people. I would hate to seen them changed so, when they have given so much of themselves. [5]
This novel begins where the fourth season ends, with a scarred and bone-weary Starsky and Hutch attempting to pick up the loose ends of their emotional and professional lives. On their first major assignment following Starsky’s return to duty, he ‘freezes,’ – cannot draw or fire his gun. Hutch asks for time off for them – time to talk, to lay the ghosts – and they set off for San Francisco. Just short of their destination, they… pick up a couple of girls, check out the town dance and a few bars. On their way back to their motel, the car’s brakes give out. A crash ensues. When Hutch regains consciousness, Starsky and his date have disappeared, and Hutch’s companion, the only daughter of the town’s strongman boss, is dead in the seat beside him, shot once through the head with his Magnum. Hutch is arrested, charged, tried and convicted for the murder. Starsky, meanwhile, has been shanghaied aboard the ‘Blue Lady,’ a rustbucket smuggler bound for Macao. Once she makes port, the reluctant sailor escapes, comes coincidentally into sufficient money for air fare back to the States, and returns to find Hutch imprisoned and despairing almost to the point of suicide. He sets briskly to work, succeeding in a matter of days where the lackadaisical local authorities have failed. In a Perry Mason finish, Starsky drags the surviving guilty parties – his date from San Manuel and her late boyfriend’s buddy – into the courtroom just as Hutch is to be sentenced. They publicly acknowledge their misdeeds; and right, with a little help from its friends, triumphs again. The novel ends with a scene that strongly implies, but does not state directly, that S&H will return to the LAPD. On the technical level, the prose is fast-paced and lucid, the characterization knowledgeable. Starsky’s guilt at ‘not being there’ when Hutch needs him, and his need to redeem himself, are deftly handled; so is Hutch’s gradual abandonment of his life. When she chooses to exercise it, White’s talent is formidable, and people are what she does best. Plot isn’t; every major development in ‘Hopscotch’ depends upon coincidence or special plotting. The ‘Lady’s’ press gang just happens to be strolling by the scene of the accident; the fugitive Starsky tackles in a Hong Kong alley just happens to be carrying a satchel full of cash; Hutch goes to jail because bail bondsmen seem not to exist in this universe, because his lawyer fails to demand a change of venue and apparently wouldn’t recognize grounds for a mistrial if he fell over them. What, ultimately cripples the book, though, is its lack of conviction. The underlying theme, stated explicitly by Starsky in the final scene, is that man is at the mercy of undirected causality: ‘If I know one thing now, I know that we’re not in charge. Things just happen.’ This is Fortuna Impertrix Mundi, the medieval Wheel retooled and given a set of sharp new existentialist treads. But unlike genuine existentialist, White moralizes. Repeated and at length. Displayed for the reader’s edification are such items as ‘the rich bitches flaunting what they have in the phone glamour of the discos,’ the ‘sunlit phony excitement’ of LA, the Orange Blossom Bar’s ‘plastic Suzie Wong atmosphere, overlaid with an aura of genuine decadence.’ The secondary characters are entirely suited to this ambiance. We have a Bad Rich Girl, a Good Man Led Astray by a Strange Woman (strange in the colloquial as well as in the Biblical sense), a Hooker With a Heart of Gold. The only minor figure who comes alive at all – and he does so magnificently – is Abraham, Huggy Bear’s cousin-in-residence in San Manuel. Of the taut, beneath-the-surface violence of urban life, of the malignant boredom that infests la dolce vita, of the grittier grit and the slimier slime, there is no sense whatsoever. Even Hutch’s near-rape in prison comes across not as an apotheosis of rage and terror, but merely as a thoroughly disinfected sample of Representative Nastiness, to be passed around and exclaimed over at a Junior League tea. Indeed, the whole novel partakes of this quality. It’s the scabrous underbelly of a sick society, not as seen by a pair of street-toughened cops, but as imagined by a suburban Sunday-school teacher. We are promised a clear look at the naked city, and all we see are fig leaves. Recommended only for the completist, or the very sheltered. [6]
Practice makes perfect. If Teri keeps going long enough, she’ll write herself right out of the ‘fan’ class.’ As it is, I think HOPS is among the best long S&H yet published. Lest someone think my critical streak is gone, there are some problems: the plot depends rather heavily on coincidence and luck; details that should have been explained, such as how a stolen passport could successfully pass three separate border crossings, were left untended; and the criminal’s ability to recruit help on the strength of an unlikely motive was difficult to believe. These are genuine story problems. If took half a dozen readings to spot them. I was too busy, the first time through, trying to figure out what would happen next, whodunit, and just how much Hutch could take before he folded completely. The basic plot is venerable: Innocent Man Jailed, Buddy Tries to Clear Him. What makes the story vital and absorbing are the circumstances in which it’s set. Starsky has just been restored to active duty after a lengthy recovery from the final episode. He’s healed physically, but both he and Hutch have unresolved doubts about the value of their work as opposed to the risks…. Hutch’s difficulties in adjusting to prison life are painfully well-drawn. The White Knight can’t really cope with a cage, and he’s well on his way to a nervous breakdown by the time Starsky manages to get back to the States – and the reunion is by no means a happy ending. Starsky’s still wanted for the murder, and that fact hampers his investigation. He has no clues, few leads, and has to work under the double deadline of the murder trial and Hutch’s emotional disintegration. Enough synopsis. Read it. Teri has developed a nice touch of restraint in the soapy scenes; narration and dialog are stronger for what’s left unsaid. And the other characters – Dobey, Huggy, Hutch’s lawyer and psychiatrist – are handled quite well. I didn’t think the murderer was quite as convincing as Copkiller’s Louis, and the final-scene hysteria was just a little coo convenient for my taste, but it was consistent with the character’s temperament. The artwork is well distributed and generally good. Ruth Kurz has been practicing, too, and her pencil drawings were screened-offset… So, this one is definitely worth the time and money. The ending is appropriately vague. – if Teri writes any more ‘S&H-as-cops’ in this universe, she’ll have to do a post-Hopscotch bridge, because this time there were no easy answers. [7]

References

  1. from a 1996 Black Bean Soup
  2. from Agent With Style
  3. from Datazine #3
  4. a 2005 comment at Crack Van
  5. from S and H #6, January 1980
  6. from S and H #6, January 1980
  7. from S and H #6, January 1980