Many years ago, I read Arthur C. Clarke's 1990 novel The Ghost from the Grand Banks which is about two teams trying to raise the Titanic.

I am aware that this title was also used as a chapter of Clarke's 1975 novel Imperial Earth, which I have never read.

I have subsequently found that the Titanic is used in the first episode/pilot of the 1966 Rendezvous With Tomorrow episode of The Time Tunnel TV show.

I have also identified that the Titanic is used in the 1961 I Heard You Calling Me episode of the fantasy/sci-fi series Way Out.

Does a sci-fi work from before 1961 exist that references the Titanic?

  • 17
    Futility was written 14 years before the sinking of the Titanic. It features an unsinkable ship called The Titan which strikes a glancing blow on an iceberg which holes the ship, causing a fatal leak. The crew mostly dies because there aren't enough lifeboats.
    – Valorum
    Jun 30 at 18:39

2 Answers 2


The Lure of the Purple Star, by Greenlee, Maccowan

From what I can figure out, this seems to be a (likely) self-published book from 1912. I may not have all of these details correct, as I am currently reading the book now myself.

Cover image of "The Lure of the Purple Star" Picture of Copyright Date

In this story, a character named Harry Hardwick finds a bottle cast from the Titanic washed up on the beach. This bottle contains a recipe for creating a "Time travel powder", which the main character uses to travel through time and meddle in biblical events. It may be more fantasy than science fiction, but this novel was from a time when the two genres were not so distinct.

. . . Nor could I fail to be impressed by the strange chance that brought this waif from the sunken Titanic into my possession.

"Looks as though fate had taken a hand in this thing." I muttered to myself. "Means for me to carry out the mad enterprise."

  • 4
    I think it'll be hard to beat less than a year after the sinking...
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Jun 30 at 19:21
  • 11
    Too soon, Maccowan Greenlee. Too soon.
    – Turbo
    Jun 30 at 19:21
  • 2
    @zeisslkon the first film about titanic came out 59 days after the sinking so you never know
    – A.Steer
    Jul 1 at 9:53

The earliest SF work I've found in a relatively short search is "Star Ship Invincible" by Frank K. Kelly, Astounding Stories, January 1935.

"Sure!" Graham said. "I—I've had a lot of time to read the old books here in the station. I mean the old printed books the ancients had before the tape recorder and the film spool. There's a story of a ship of the sea that was built about two hundred years ago, in the twentieth century."

"Go on," Garth ordered.

"It struck an iceberg—there were icebergs on Earth then; this was before climate control—and it went down. Right under, in just a little while. About a thousand people were drowned, counting the passengers."

Garth shrugged. "What's that got to do with the ship we built on Mars?"

"The experts said this ship of the sea wasn't sinkable," Graham said quietly. "Well, they were wrong. They seem to have found then that anything man could make could be easily destroyed. We've had to learn that lesson over and over."

After a silence Garth said : "What was the name of this sea ship?"

Graham answered : "They called it the Titanic."

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