Libby Godfrey

Member
Nov 3, 2016
7
0
11
USA
When I first gained an interest in the Titanic, I was somewhat younger and less observant of historical accuracy, so I tended not to notice if a work of fiction contained a historical error. At the time, I just read as many books featuring the Titanic as I could.

However, now that I'm older, as I read works of fiction set on the Titanic, I notice some little things, or common errors that seem repetitive among not-fully-researched historical fictions.

Common errors I tend to come across in books (whether published or written by authors online):

1. Boat Launch Sequence of Events

Authors seem to like to reorder the launch sequence of the boats. Or maybe it's more that they just don't look it up and get that particular detail straight, I suppose.

But anyways, the example: Character misses boat four and is instead urged to get into boat six...which should have left a good deal earlier.

2. Passenger Shuffling Among Lifeboats

In a book I recently read, an author shuffled several passengers to different boats than they were historically rescued in in order to put their fictional character in with a particular historical passenger.

I get it a little bit, as an author...They want their character to stay on the ship until the last minute, to squeeze in as many events on board the ship/during the sinking that they can, but they also want the passenger to get in a boat with a particular historical character that they may have met/befriended earlier in the story...It still bugs me a bit though. I guess it's just a lack-of-research thing. It's small, but it seems sloppy to me.

3. Lifeboat Location

I read a book (same one from number 2) where the author had boats (identified by number) on the wrong side of the ship. Another story that I read a long while ago had the character miss one boat (an even numbered boat) and then walk further aft on the same side of the ship and get into an odd-numbered boat. Odd numbered boats should have been on the starboard side, with even boats on the port side. :/

4. Embarking

Passengers that boarded at Cherbourg aren't going to be boarding at Southampton. And the opposite is also true. Bruce Ismay boarded at Southampton, not Cherbourg. And, from a separate book...Astor did board at Cherbourg, rather than Southampton. So your character couldn't have been having a conversation with him before noon on sailing day in Southampton.

I've seen others too, but can't think of them off the top of my head. The biggest issues are always with the boats. :/ I don't want to be super critical, or mention specific books off the top of my head, as it has been a while since I read some of them.

I was curious, though, if others have seen the same sorts of things?
 

IcySofter

Member
Nov 2, 2020
35
26
38
Oh what a late response, but I just came across this and someone please say it isn't so. I began to read a novel from Amazon, it is a Titanic novel, and the novel says one of the characters is moving to a higher deck by taking a "concrete" stairway. OH MY!
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Nov 14, 2005
2,243
1,134
308
Well it could be a lot worse. I've seen stories where they had people (Rose) talking on her cell phone....:rolleyes:.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users

Mila

Member
Sep 28, 2016
1,097
78
123
Fiction is fiction, and many people are interested only in making money and will write about anything to achieve the goal. However, if an author writes a book that pretends to be a scientific research and tells half-truths of cherry picks the evidence this creates a problem.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

Arun Vajpey

Member
Jul 8, 1999
2,515
928
388
65
Well it could be a lot worse. I've seen stories where they had people (Rose) talking on her cell phone....:rolleyes:.
That's nothing compared with the fleeting glimpse of a red Ferrari reportedly caught on camera during filming of the famous Chariot Race sequence in the 1959 film Ben Hur. That scene survived almost a couple of weeks of screening of the film before it was cleverly deleted and the filmmakers denied that it was ever there. But there are early viewers who swear blind that it WAS.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users
Nov 14, 2005
2,243
1,134
308
That's nothing compared with the fleeting glimpse of a red Ferrari reportedly caught on camera during filming of the famous Chariot Race sequence in the 1959 film Ben Hur. That scene survived almost a couple of weeks of screening of the film before it was cleverly deleted and the filmmakers denied that it was ever there. But there are early viewers who swear blind that it WAS.
I can believe it. Being an old movie fan I've seen lots of goofs the editors missed. Especially a lot of the old westerns...jet contrails in the sky...trucks way off in the distance...ect. Even modern movies like the Gladiator and LOTR...Germanic tribe members and or middle earthlings wearing Levi's 401's. As for Titanic fiction the only book I read was "Raise the Titanic". The other stuff was pointed out to me by others who read them. At least read them all the way.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users

IcySofter

Member
Nov 2, 2020
35
26
38
I was going to reply on the page with the Pelligrino disputes but found it locked for comment. Maybe a good thing. It appeared settled for now. I've just finished reading the first 840 pages of text with a few colorized illustration in the book On a Sea of Glass. The one written by J. Kent Layton, Tad Fitch and Bill Wormstedt. So much information. I've reached the appendixes now but have so much appreciation for their work. I learned so much that I had not known, particularly about the timeline and sequence of events.

Not sure I will try reading any fiction based on the Titanic after this.
 

Arun Vajpey

Member
Jul 8, 1999
2,515
928
388
65
I've just finished reading the first 840 pages of text with a few colorized illustration in the book On a Sea of Glass. The one written by J. Kent Layton, Tad Fitch and Bill Wormstedt. So much information. I've reached the appendixes now but have so much appreciation for their work. I learned so much that I had not known, particularly about the timeline and sequence of events.
Yes, it is an excellent book, as you say particularly about the timeline and sequence of events.

But of course, it is very much non-fiction, being a work based on collation of evidence and survivor accounts.
 

IcySofter

Member
Nov 2, 2020
35
26
38
Arun, thank you for noting On a Sea of Glass was non-fiction since we are obviously on a page that suggests errors in fiction. Good to clear that up for anyone reading this thread.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

Similar threads

Similar threads