Wednesday, October 2, 2013

As the privileged passengers of the Titan began their voyage across the Atlantic, they felt secure knowing the luxury ocean liner that carried them had been declared practically unsinkable. No matter that the boat didn’t carry enough lifeboats to hold its 3,000 passengers. The Titan was big and fast, like a floating hotel, catering to the upper crust. Unfortunately, she was doomed from the start. One night, in deep fog, the ship hit an iceberg and sank, killing all but a few of those on board.

Does that story sound familiar in a Titanic-sort-of-way?

Strangely enough, this is the plot from a novella called Futility, written in 1898, fourteen years before the Titanic sank.

The novella was written by Morgan Robertson, a former sailor. At the time of its first publication, Futility was not a popular book. And after the Titanic tragedy, the book was rereleased and renamed The Wreck of the Titan. The author changed a few of the details, but many of them stayed the same.

After the Titanic sank, people took notice of the weird similarities between the fictional sinking and the real thing. Both boats were described as "unsinkable." Both carried less than half the lifeboats necessary to save the passengers. The ships, both traveling in April, were roughly the same size: the Titan was 800 feet long, the Titanic 882 feet, nine inches. Both were made from steel, had three propellers, and two masts. Passenger capacity of both was 3,000. The Titan passenger capacity was filled, while the Titanic carried 2,228 passengers. The Titan hit an iceberg at midnight and the Titanic at 11:40 PM. The Titan was traveling at 25 knots, the Titanic at 22.5. Iceberg point of impact was the starboard side of both vessels.

If you began an online study of the Titan, you'll soon discover that Morgan Robertson has been called a psychic. Some documents say he believed that himself. But it’s quite possible that Robertson, like many science fiction authors, pulled on his own experience, along with engineering possibilities based on current trends. Robertson was the son of a ship captain and a sailor. He was familiar with ship construction, the sea, and possibly the danger of icebergs.

The novella Futility is said to have been a warning that man’s grand engineering achievements were susceptible to disaster. A message about the arrogance of man. Yep. It does sound a lot like the tragedy of the Titanic.

Here are some links if you want to read more:


  1. Great stuff, Candace. I'd never heard this before. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I love this kind of thing, Sandra. History is full of such fascinating details.

  3. Wow. If he was a Christian, I'd say he probably had the gift of prophecy.


Newsletter Subscribe



Blog Archive

Powered by Blogger.

Historical Romantic Suspense

Historical Romance



Popular Posts

Guest Registry