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Futility or the Wreck of the Titan

3.31  ·  Rating details ·  941 ratings  ·  162 reviews
Futility, or the Wreck of the Titan is a novel which was originally writtena nd published in 1898 by Morgan Robertson. This novel is the story of an ocean liner, called the Titan, which sinks in the North Atlantic ocean after hitting an iceberg. There are many similarities between this novel and the facts in the sinking of the Titanic fourteen years later. Morgan Robertson ...more
Paperback, 96 pages
Published August 21st 2006 by Filiquarian Publishing, LLC. (first published 1898)
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Adam Smith Prophetic vision? Global conspiracy? Time travel? Nobody knows.
The most likely answer (in my opinion) is astounding coincidence. Coincidences are a…more
Prophetic vision? Global conspiracy? Time travel? Nobody knows.
The most likely answer (in my opinion) is astounding coincidence. Coincidences are a lot more common than they'd appear. This one just happens to line up to an eerie degree. If it weren't for the bizarre string of coincidences that doomed the Titanic, this book would have largely been forgotten.(less)

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This is a work of fiction. I say that because it has an eerie similarity to the story of the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. But this story was written in 1898, 14 years before the real disaster. Similarities like the name, Titan. 3,000 people on board, not enough lifeboats, traveling to fast for the conditions, striking an iceberg. It's almost like Robertson took a peek into the future and gave them a warning.
Apr 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Having been interested in the Titanic for as long as I can remember I had often heard of this story and the uncanny similarities between the Titan and the Titanic. It was only recently that I actually got hold of this book and read it though.

And let me say that I think it's almost a shame that this story will forever be linked to the sinking of the Titanic instead of being known for it's own merits. Because this is a very entertaining story.

So there are a few similarities between the Titan and t
I am shocked at how similar this 1898 novella is to the sinking of the Titanic! Either the author inherited Jules Verne's crystal ball or this is the biggest coincidence ever. I'll have to do a bit of research on what proof there is for the publication date being fourteen years prior to the Titanic's disaster, because the coincidences, from the name of the ships to the lack of enough lifeboats to ramming a ship before colliding into an iceberg are just too much to digest without looking further ...more
Feb 15, 2013 rated it it was ok
In this review I will discuss two things: 1) The story of the Titan as it relates to the wreck of the Titanic and 2) This 1994 reprint, and the author's actual writing skill, on their own merits.

1) Yes, this book was added to my "Titanic" bookshelf collection because of the similarities between the fictional and actual wrecks. I've done a bit of reading online about the original 1898 edition, and from what I gather, the following changes were made to most subsequent printings (beginning in the y
Aug 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-kindle-2017
For years I have heard about this book. Many say this fictional tale about the sinking of a great ship, the Titan, mirrors the wreck of the Titanic in 1912. This fact is astounding because the book was written in 1898, 14 years before the Titanic sank after striking an iceberg. Robertson said the similarities were not because of clairvoyance on his part, but due to his knowledge of sailing and ship building trends.

The book was re-released in 1912 following the Titanic sinking, causing some to sa
Alexandria Brim
It's the story of the grandest ocean liner to sail the Atlantic. She sails fast through the cold water on her maiden voyage. On a clear night, she ends up hitting an iceberg and sinking. Only a few people make it to the lifeboats and there is a great loss of life.

Sound familiar? The story was published in 1898, fourteen years before the Titanic sailed (and sank). After the Titanic disaster, this story was added to all those "spooky coincidences" list. But when you read the story, it's not an ex
Joni Hartman
Sep 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
I have heard of this book for many years, since my oldest daughter became interested in the Titanic as a child. It was written in 1898, but only recently published in 1997 for the general public. It is an eerily similar story to the story of the Titanic, many say prophetic. That said, I was a little disappointed to realize that the main story did not really have to do with a shipwreck. I don't want to spoil the book for others who many be curious about it, but suffice it to say that there is a V ...more
Saturday's Child
Did Morgan Robertson really predict the future or were there just a number of strange coincidences in his novella? The story of The Wreck of the Titan (or Futility as was its 1898 title) is a fast paced, enjoyable novella to read. What makes it all the more interesting is that fourteen years after it was written the Titanic sank. His description of the Titan (largest craft afloat, water-tight compartments etc.) certainly can allow the reader to think that Robertson was writing about the Titanic.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Adam Smith
When disenfranchised atheist, John Rowland, takes a job as a sailor on the largest steamship ever constructed, the unsinkable Titan, all he cares about is getting a whiskey at the end of the day, but when the massive Titan sinks another ship and the captain demands his silence, Rowland elects to do what's right and speak out as soon as the ship reaches land. Irritated at his refusal, the captain and his officers turn their attention to discrediting Rowland only for the Titan collide with an iceb ...more
Ken Doggett
The book, written around the turn of the 20th century, contains four short stories, all having to do with ocean-going ships. The writer seemed to be an expert on naval jargon and procedures, and his descriptions do give you a good idea of how the Navy might have functioned at the time. The writer's talents, however, were not at all on a par with at least one other leading Science Fiction writer of the time, namely H.G. Wells. As many readers already know, a couple of these stories seem to eerily ...more
Nov 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Titanic enthusiasts
Shelves: suspense
Written in 1898, The Wreck of the Titan (or "Futility," as it was originally published) contains some creepy similarities to what happened in April 1912. The Titan is described as the largest ship created, and unsinkable. She has watertight compartments and only enough lifeboats to satisfy the law, but of course they won't be needed because nothing can sink this vessel.

The book is very much a product of the Victorian era, from language to scenario. The publisher's foreword and introduction were
Apr 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Titanic buffs
2.5 stars. I'd always wanted to read this because of its connection to Titanic lore: Robertson "predicted" the wreck 14 years earlier in a novella with eerily similar details to actual history. It's interesting for that fact alone, but the story itself is more about lost and found love and the classic rejection of God/a higher being turned into pleas and prayers in time of dire circumstances. It's also an early critique of the hubris that would come to mark the Edwardian age; Robertson pulled no ...more
May 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a fun read! The Wreck of the Titan is about the world's largest ocean liner that on its maiden voyage across the Atlantic it hits an ice berg and sinks.

It was written in 1898 -- 14 years before the Titanic sank.
Mar 15, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
3.5. Definitely very interesting. I would like to own a copy of it.
May 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One April night over a century ago, the world's largest ocean liner, on her maiden voyage, despite her reputation as unsinkable, strikes an iceberg and sinks with a massive loss of life. This book, in part, is her story. What makes it of note? The story was written years before the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. The fictional ship, the Titan, has almost the same name as the real-life vessel. Morgan Robertson's story is far better known now because of the eerie similarities with the tale of the ...more
Aug 19, 2015 rated it it was ok
This was a really silly story. It managed to be cliche'd in like 4 different genres in the space of about 90 pages. The only reason it isn't rated lower is that its short. However, if you like uncanny coincidences, check out the story's article on Wikipedia. Some eerie similarities with the wreck of the fictional Titan and the real-life Titanic. That makes it worth reading for a certain breed of nerd.
Dec 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Morgan Robertson predicted how the Titanic would be built and how it would sink way before the planning of it's building. The size, the reputation, the voyages, the hitting of the iceburg, the witness' account and all the details are almost exactly the same. He even called the ship in his story the Titan. The ship that was said to be "unsinkable" and the sinking of it. It's incredible!
Kerry-Anne Gilowey
I learnt that it's terribly rewarding to read short books. Because I actually finish them.

I've always been fascinated by the Titanic story (since long before Jack and Rose became a thing), and I'd been meaning to read this for years. It was cute, but rather underwhelming - which might explain why it only became popular after the Titanic sank.
Marts  (Thinker)
Jan 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
A fictional tale about the tragedy of a mighty ship which the builders claimed would be unsinkable and indestructable. The vessel described was quite similar to the real life Titanic and so were the circumstances surrounding its design and demise... It must be noted that this novel was written about 14 years prior to the actual Titanic disaster...
Dec 22, 2014 rated it liked it
Great short story with amazing similarities to the story of the Titanic...except that it was written in 1898...well before the famous event.
Feb 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I cried...where can i find such a man?
Jason Brown (Toastx2)
Dec 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Wreck of the Titan (Futility): Stays afloat even after 120 years

I read the 1912 ‘Autograph Edition’ of Morgan Robertson’s short stories/novellas collection. It was quite good considering its age. I enjoyed the entire 4 story collection (some more than others), but will focus on the longest and namesake novella here (from 1898)-

In The Wreck of the Titan: Lieutenant John Rowland is on a several year bender after being rejected by a maiden, wanting nothing of him. After learning he is an Athies
Daniel Shaw
Futility, or The Wreck of the Titan, feels a little... incomplete. This is actually a collection of four short stories, the first being most famous - that of a great ocean-going and famously unsinkable liner coming a cropper on an iceberg one cold April night with huge loss of life, remarkable in that the story was written 14 years before the Titanic suffered the same fate. The sinking is over in a very short space of time and the rest of the story is about returning a shipwrecked child to her m ...more
Don LaFountaine
Jan 23, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People interested in the Titanic and coincidences
The Wreck of the Titan was a pretty good book, an interesting read about a ship named the Titan that sunk when it struck an iceberg. The creepy thing about the book was that it was written 14 years before the Titanic sank in 1912.

Leaving New York, the Titan had a seaman on board named Rowland who due to drinking had a fall from grace. Also on board was his former love who was traveling with her husband. A chance encounter with the woman's daughter where he playfully pretended to try to throw her
Jan 26, 2019 rated it liked it
I started reading the one due to its great similarity to the famous titanic, like anyone else I was fascinated by the fact that this novel was in 1898 yet titanic sank in 1912.
The story even though a bit short and too fictional to be plausible, but very interesting and adventurous with a dark conspiracy in the plot which I really liked, however, the similarities aren’t as terrifying as everyone portrayed it, it is only a mere coincidence, they’re only similar in the name, the fact that it’s a bi
May 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
Closer to 1.5/1.75. Most who have come to this (including myself) were drawn to the similarities and coincidences between this book originally written in 1898 and the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. There is a good novel to be made out of the bare bones, but Robertson is more of an engineer than a writer, and 19th century literary tastes are not conducive to the type of storytelling we expect in the 21st century. "Chekhov's atheist" also rears its head, not to mention said character's inevitable ...more
Susan Marie Molloy
This was an intriguing book with a nautical theme. The first story, about the fictitious Titan, actually mirrored the ship, measurements, carrying capabilities, and events surrounding the real Titanic and her capsizing fate in April 1912. What made this story fascinating is that it was first published in 1898, fourteen years before the real Titanic existed and horrifically sank. I first became aware of this book while recently watching a rerun of the January 1959 episode on “One Step Beyond” - ...more
Aug 25, 2017 rated it liked it
This book contains two novellas and two short stories. The first novella, Futility, is noteworthy because it "predicts" the sinking of the Titanic. I've heard about this numerous times. I think that that is somewhat of a stretch, and in fact, this melodramatic story leaves a lot to be desired. The second short novel, The Pirates, is actually quite enjoyable. It tells the tale of a group of naval prisoners who take over a U.S. destroyer and become, in fact,pirates. It's a dated but exciting read. ...more
Skip Hagan
Interesting Antique

I enjoyed this book for a couple of reasons.

1. The historical fact that Titan so clearly described much of what happened to RMS Titanic, 14 years later, to the month of the disaster.

2. The prose and mannerisms of the period in which the author wrote. Note the references to little Myra as “it,” instead of her. Reference to all the ships as “boats.” A term no modern sailor would apply other than to a submarine.

That said, the stories were entertaining. It is also interesting to n
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Underground Knowl...: The Titanic sinking engineered? 19 85 Jan 29, 2017 05:35PM  

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“With nine 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.” 0 likes
“Before Rowland could reply a shout from the crow’s-nest split the air. “Ice,” yelled the lookout; “ice ahead. Iceberg. Right under the bows.” The first officer ran amidships, and the captain, who had remained there, sprang to the engine-room telegraph, and this time the lever was turned. But in five seconds the bow of the Titan began to lift, and ahead, and on either hand, could be seen, through the fog, a field ofice, which arose in an incline to a hundred feet high in her track. The music in the theater ceased, and among the babel of shouts and cries, and the deafening noise of steel, scraping and crashing over ice, Rowland heard the agonized voice of a woman crying from the bridge steps: “Myra—Myra, where are you? Come back.” 0 likes
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