Wreck of the Titan is an 1898 novella that was written by Morgan Robertson. Originally called Futility, the fictional book is remarkably similar to the real-life RMS Titanic events, which occurred 14 years after the book’s publication.
The novella focuses on an ocean liner called Titan, which hit an iceberg in the middle of the North Atlantic ocean, just like the real-life vessel. However, the resemblances don’t stop there, as there are some shocking similarities to both the fictional and real-life ships.
Similar to RMS Titanic, which only had 16 lifeboats and was half the number required for passenger and crew capacity, Titan had just 24, which was also half needed for her capacity. Titan and RMS Titanic are also similar in size, as Titan was 800ft long, whilst RMS Titanic was 882ft long and 9 inches wide. Both offered triple screw propellers and were described as “unsinkable”.
Interestingly, Robertson wrote that Titan was moving at 25 knots when it struck the starboard side of the ship on an April night, 400 nautical miles from Newfoundland, Canada. On 14th April 1912, RMS Titanic hit an iceberg on its starboard side when travelling 22 1/2 knots in the North Atlantic ocean, 400 nautical miles away from Newfoundland.
The real-life event resulted in the loss of more than half of RMS Titanic’s 2,200 passengers and crew. Titan’s sinking also resulted in more than half of the 2,500 people aboard the ship.
Robertson may have therefore played particularly attention to shipbuilding company trends when penning the novella, and could therefore have made an assumption that ships of such power could one day result in a tragic maritime event. However, there are some details that cannot be explained, and can merely be put down to coincidence or foresight.