Predicted the titanic

N

Nienke B

Guest
hi all,
I've heard something about someone who wrote a book about a ship that looked extremely like the Titanic, and almost the same thing happened to her, but it was fiction.
It was written before the even made plannes for building the Titanic. The book was called something like 'The Titan'. Is this true??? Or just some sort of farytale...

Nienke
 
Nov 12, 2000
682
0
146
Hi Nienke,

the book you are talking about is the famous Futility, written by Morgan Robertson in 1898. This novella is about a great luxury liner that strikes ice, and sinks with a horrible loss of life. Robertson called his fictional ship the Titan.

after the real Titanic disaster, Robertson's book was rereleased with an expanded title and was called Futility, or The Wreck of the Titan.

there has been alot of myth over the years about how accurate Robertson was in foreshadowing the real event 14 years later, but much of this is overblown. the disaster in The Wreck of the Titan is completely different from what actually happened to the real ship.

also, the physical similarities between the fictional Titan and the real Titanic were not that close in the original 1898 edition. apparently, when the book was released again in 1912, Titan's statistics were subtly altered to make her more similar to Titanic's statistics.

this book is fairly easy to find on the new and used internet book sites.

all the best, Michael (TheManInBlack) T
 
N

Nienke B

Guest
thanks! i was already thinking this couldn't be true - at least not everything.
Nienke
 
M

Mike Norton

Guest
Nienke,
Michael T. is pooh poohing Futility just a bit too much. First of all, an 1898 copy of Futility is impossible to find (if you DO find one I'll give you $1000.00 for it). The 1912 re-print called "Futility or Wreck of the Titan" IS fairly easy to find. I personally have almost a dozen copies. An unsigned copy usually sells for about $100 or less. A signed copy is DAMN hard to find. I have 4 of those.

Even in 1898 the similarities between the fictional "Titan" and the real "Titanic" were somewhat impressive. Both were the (and I'm quoting from the book now) "...largest craft afloat and the greatest works of men."

"With nine (watertight) compartments flooded the ship would still float, and as no known accident of the sea could possibly fill this many, the steamship Titan was considered practically unsinkable." (page 2)

"Unsinkable-indestructable, she carried as few boats as would satisfy the laws. These, twenty-four in number, were securely covered and lashed down to their chocks on the upper deck, and if launched would hold five hundred people." (page 2)

The Titan struck an iceberg in the month of April in the cold North Atlantic on her way to Southampton from New York. Due to a serious lack of lifeboats a huge amount of her three thousand passengers were lost at sea.

There are some serious differences between the Titan and Titanic. The Titan was 82 feet shorter but a bit heavier than Titanic. The Titan used a pair of large sails to help her speed through the water at full speed. Titanic did not. If she wasn't named Titan I don't think anyone would have made a fuss over her.

However, you haven't heard, as Paul Harvey would say, THE REST OF THE STORY!

Wreck of the Titan was a short story. There were three other short stories in Robertson's book. One of them is called "Beyond the Spectrum". This short story talks about the United States on the verge of war with Japan. It talks of rampant racism in the US against Japanese-Americans and of a new bomb- a "radiation" bomb that causes people to go blind if they look directly at it. Only this time, the Japanese have the bomb. Wanna guess where the Japs attack? Can you say Hawaii?

Morgan Robertson, in addition to being a skilled fiction writer was also an inventor. He is credited with invinting the periscope for use on submarines.
 

Dave Gittins

Member
Apr 11, 2001
4,956
206
193
For those interested in this sort of thing, try to get hold of "The Wreck of the Titanic Foretold?" by Martin Gardner. It includes the text of the 1912 version of "Futility" plus several other stories that "foretell" the disaster. Gardner also goes into the whole question of how these apparent prophecies occur.

Personally, I think that Morgan Robertson, who held a mate's certificate, was quite capable of extrapolating from the ships of 1898 to those of 1912 and deciding that sooner or later one would come to grief.

If you only want "The Wreck of the Titan" it's still available in paperback from Pocketbooks, a division of Simon and Schuster.
 
M

Mike Norton

Guest
There is actually a FULL SET of Morgan Robertson's book for sale right now on eBay including a 1912 copy of Wreck of the Titan. Screw the paperback from pocketbooks when you can buy the hard back from 1912.
 

Dave Gittins

Member
Apr 11, 2001
4,956
206
193
Not a lot. She had a lot of entertainers, which presupposes plenty of public spaces for them to perform in. Two brass bands, two orchestras and a theatrical company were carried. Orders were mostly sent by telegraph which made the ship quieter than if they'd been shouted. Dining facilities were equal to a first class hotel. It seems Robertson was more interested in his story than in the details of the ship.
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,590
379
283
Easley South Carolina
Dave, just a quick question here, is that Simon & Shuster copy of the Titan/Futility the 1912 version or the unadulterated pre-1912 version. If not, where can one find the original?

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 

Dave Gittins

Member
Apr 11, 2001
4,956
206
193
It's the 1912 revision. The 1898 version is a rare bird. The Library of Congress has it on microfilm and you may be able to get it by inter-library loan. It would be interesting to see how much it was changed in the revision.
 

Tommy

Member
Jul 21, 2012
85
0
36
United Kingdom
hi all,
I've heard something about someone who wrote a book about a ship that looked extremely like the Titanic, and almost the same thing happened to her, but it was fiction.
It was written before the even made plannes for building the Titanic. The book was called something like 'The Titan'. Is this true??? Or just some sort of farytale...

Nienke
It is an actual book released in 1898 and is quite similar to the Titanic sinking.