"Futility, or the Wreck of the Titan is an 1898 novella written by Morgan Robertson. The story features the ocean liner Titan, which sinks in the North Atlantic after striking an iceberg. The Titan and its sinking have been noted to be very similar to the real-life passenger ship RMS Titanic, which sank fourteen years later. Following the wreck the novel was reissued with some changes, particularly in the ship's gross tonnage
"Although the novel was written before the Olympic-class Titanic was even designed, there are some uncanny similarities between both the fictional and real-life versions. Like the Titanic, the fictional ship sank in April in the North Atlantic, and there were not enough lifeboats for the passengers. There are also similarities between the size (800 ft (244 m) long for Titan versus 882 ft 9 in (269 m) long for the Titanic), speed (25 knots for Titan, 22.5 knots for Titanic) and life-saving equipment."

Beyond the name, the similarities between the Titanic and the fictional Titan include:

  • Both were triple screw (propeller)

Described as "unsinkable"

  • The Titanic was the world's largest luxury liner (882 feet (269 m), displacing 63,000 long tons), and was once described by newspapers as being "designed to be unsinkable" and "virtually unsinkable".

  • The Titan was the largest craft afloat and the greatest of the works of men (800 feet, displacing 75,000 tons, up from 45,000 in the 1898 edition), and was deemed "practically unsinkable" (as quoted in Robertson's book).

Shortage of lifeboats

  • The Titanic carried only 16 lifeboats, plus 4 Engelhardt folding lifeboats, less than half the number required for her passenger and crew capacity of 3000.

  • The Titan carried "as few as the law allowed", 24 lifeboats, less than half needed for her 3000 capacity.

Struck an iceberg

  • Moving at 22½ knots, the Titanic struck an iceberg on the starboard side on the night of April 14, 1912, in the North Atlantic, 400 nautical miles (740 km; 460 mi) away from Newfoundland.

  • Moving at 25 knots, The Titan also struck an iceberg on the starboard side on an April night in the North Atlantic, 400 nautical miles (740 km; 460 mi) from Newfoundland (Terranova).


  • The unsinkable Titanic sank, and more than half of her 2200 passengers and crew died.

  • The indestructible Titan also sank, more than half of her 2500 passengers drowning.

The Titanic went down bow first, the Titan actually capsizing before it sank."