Created by Ron Goulart
Private eyes pop up in the myriad universes of science fiction from time to time, and Ron Goulart has been responsible for quite a few of them; the husband-and-wife team of JAKE and HILDY PACE are probably the most enduring and memorable among his lazgun-packing ops. Take the sharp wit and banter of Nick and Nora Charles, add the abilities and gadgets of television’s MacGyver and comics’ Modesty Blaise, and you’ve got the Paces… although their mysteries are always solved more by detective work than electronic accessories.
Jake is a tall, rawboned man with an eerily disturbing smile; Hildy is an equally tall and quite stunning redhead with a knack for hand-to-hand combat. Together, they operate Odd Jobs Inc., a private investigation agency whose cases always require two things: a high fee (usually only the government and huge corporations can afford them), and a twist that makes the case insoluble by normal methods (they normally won’t take on a job if the police are still working on it). It’s made them rich and famous in Goulart’s typically bizarre 21st-century America, and often made them targets for murder on or off the job; they survive by being well-connected, well-armed and incredibly inventive.
Hildy is the more sensible of the two; Jake’s vanity in his abilities tends to be an exploitable weak spot for their enemies. They’re assisted in virtually every adventure by information broker Steranko the Siphoner (named for artist & writer Jim Steranko, creator of the illustrated P.I. graphic novel Chandler; inside jokes on comic-books, detective fiction and science-fiction writers abound in Goulart’s work). It’s been years since Jake and Hildy’s last appearance, but if we’re lucky Odd Jobs Inc. will take another case sometime in the not-too-distant future; every time they’ve appeared.
That Goulart, he makes a fine screwball.
- “Piano-playing chimps, decorative wheat, Martian catmen, and a pair of Siamese twins as the President of the United States (on the Republican/Democrat ticket, no less)…we’re deep into Goulart country here. Pack a swimsuit. Imagine if the Marx Brothers were the missing link between private eye and science fiction.”
— Kevin Burton Smith, WARP
- “Odd Job #101” (1974, Fantasy & Science Fiction)
- Calling Dr. Patchwork (1978) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- Hail Hibbler (1980) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- Big Bang (1982) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- Brainz, Inc. (1985) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- Odd Job #101 (1974) | Buy this book
Contains the novella of the same name.
- Down Those Mean Skies
An ever-expanding list of Sci-Fi P.I.’s.