Wednesday, April 18

Stranger than Fiction

It would be highly unusual for me to preach a sermon in which I fail to mention a book, quote from a book, discuss a book, or recommend a book. This past Sunday, I talked about a particularly rare volume--one that was in the library of the Titanic when it sank eighty-five years ago this week. Afterward, I had a host of folks ask me to fill in a few additional details. Well, here is what I told them:

Fourteen years before the White Star liner Titanic sailed on her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York, a novel called Futility was published about an unsinkable and glamorous Atlantic liner, the largest in the world. Like the Titanic, the fictional vessel was a triple-screw design and could make 24-25 knots; at 800 feet it was a little shorter than the Titanic, but at 70,000 tons its displacement was 4,000 tons greater. Like the Titanic's, its passenger list included the crème de la crème of high society--and there were not enough lifeboats aboard for all of them. On a cold April night, the fictional “unsinkable” vessel struck an iceberg and sank to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. The name of this liner, in the story written by turn-of-the-century author Morgan Robertson was the Titan. And yes, two copies of the book really were aboard when the real-life "unsinkable" ship struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic and sank.

Truth is stranger than fiction; life imitates art; and a host of other truisms seem to apply.

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