Titanic novels

D.J. Kelly

Titanic novels - photo of the Titanic

The White Star Line’s iconic though ill-fated super liner ‘Titanic’ has long been a favourite subject for writers of both fact and fiction. Broadly speaking, Titanic novels fall into four categories:

Fiction, or more aptly perhaps faction:

Stories woven around recovered artefacts or real people connected with Titanic. Favourite subjects include being Bruce Ismay, the crew members, the bandsmen, the passengers – first class or steerage, or indeed their ghosts.

Pure fiction:

Tales which use her sinking as an emotive backdrop for stories involving wholly fictional characters. These include fictional detectives such as Sherlock Holmes, or even featuring a dog as hero.  They range from whodunits, through romances (especially trans-class, such as gentlewoman – or gentleman – falls for handsome young Irishman), crime thrillers, teen-lit, Christian-lit, sci-fi, the supernatural and horror.

Loose-connection:

Stories of sister-ships, Titanic Twos, prequels (people’s imagined lives before the disaster) and sequels (Titanic space ship adrift, ‘back from the future to save Titanic’ scenarios or people’s imagined lives after the sinking). They all having one thing in common  – the word ‘Titanic’ in the title.

‘What if?’ and conspiracy-based stories:

What would have happened had she not sunk?  What Thomas Andrews would have achieved had he survived. How Captain Smith deliberately scuttled her. And how, in any case, she was the Olympic pretending to be Titanic.

See also Richard Lee’s feature on Beryl Bainbridge. Every Man For Himself is one of the best novels of the Titanic.

About the author

This overview from D.J. Kelly, author of A Wistful Eye – The Tragedy of a Titanic Shipwright


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