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The Wreck of the Titan

or, Futility

Cover image for


Published: 1893
Language: English
Wordcount: 70,961 / 211 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 80.4
LoC Category:
Downloads: 11,117
Added to site: 2008.03.20 20363

The story of a collision between a large trans-Atlantic oceanliner and an iceberg on the ship's maiden voyage to New York. Written 19 years before the Titanic disaster.

Show Excerpt

there rang out overhead a startling cry from the crow's-nest:

"Something ahead, sir--can't make it out."

The first officer sprang to the engine-room telegraph and grasped the lever. "Sing out what you see," he roared.

"Hard aport, sir--ship on the starboard tack--dead ahead," came the cry.

"Port your wheel--hard over," repeated the first officer to the quartermaster at the helm--who answered and obeyed. Nothing as yet could be seen from the bridge. The powerful steering-engine in the stern ground the rudder over; but before three degrees on the compass card were traversed by the lubber's-point, a seeming thickening of the darkness and fog ahead resolved itself into the square sails of a deep-laden ship, crossing the Titan's bow, not half her length away.

"H--l and d--" growled the first officer. "Steady on your course, quartermaster," he shouted. "Stand from under on deck." He turned a lever which closed compartments, pushed a button marked--"Captain's Room," and cr

Reader Reviews

Average Rating of 4 from 2 reviews: ****
Henry L. Ratliff

(1898) Nautical / War / Adventure

Plot bullets


    o Genre: Nautical, Thriller.

    o An ocean liner that could not sink.

    o An ocean liner going too fast in the North Atlantic.

    o An ocean liner that hits an iceberg.

    o Sounds a little familiar.? This was pre Titanic by many years.

    o One man becomes a hero, to everyone but the woman who's opinion really counts.


    o Genre: Nautical, Modern Pirate, War.

    o Military prisoners steal a war ship.

    o One officer is on board and has to deal with the situation.

    o The situation is complicated by the later presents of a shipwrecked girl.


    o Genre: War, Adventure, Sci-fi.

    o War between the US and Japan (pre WWII).

    o The Japanese seem to have a secret weapon on their side.

    o One man has some insight to the weapon and sets out to end the minis.


    o Genre: Intrigue

    o A submarine is sabotaged for the revenge of a lost love.

    o Two men (one the saboteur) and a girl are aboard on a tour.

    o All three are trapped at the bottom of the harbor.

Published 1898. Re-released after the wreck of the Titanic.

Hazel Pethig

This is a great book. What it doesn't say, is that it is actually 4 short stories, all sea oriented. It is not quite misogynistic, but very close. Typical for a book from this era. I liked the stories, I thought they were well written. I just wish there had been a bit of follow through with them all.




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Chadwick Wall
Chadwick Wall has written for the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the Sewanee Purple, the Riverside Reader, the Baton Rouge Advocate, and most recently After years living in many cities and regions, he counts himself lucky enough to reside in the laid-back yet vibrant, friendly and creative city of Austin. Here he spends many of his days and nights either holed up like a hermit, reading or writing away-or prowling around, investigating all of the live music, delicious cuisine, and cultural hotspots he can find. As our Author of the Day, Chad tells us all about his latest book, The Second Cortez.
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