…“By the way, about the Titanic. Not everything is clear there.” Nikolai Andreevich said. “I read that on board the Titanic there was a sarcophagus with a well-preserved body of an Egyptian priestess and prophetess who lived during the reign of pharaoh Amenhotep. They say that the mummy was reputed as fatal. It was excavated in 1895, and between 1896 and 1900, everyone who participated in the excavation died. Only Lord Canterville, who was heading the project, remained alive. So it was the Lord who was accompanying this mummy on board the Titanic, planning to display the body of the prophetess at the exposition of archaeological finds in Los Angeles. The most interesting thing is that the mummy was placed not in the hold but in a cabin, near the captain’s bridge, so it would be more convenient for passengers to look at it. And later, in the official investigation, the reason for the collision with an iceberg was called ‘bad navigation’. How do you like such coincidences?”
“That’s nothing,” Sensei said lighting a cigarette, “The most surprising fact is that people were warned about the wreck of the Titanic sixteen years before the accident happened.”
“What do you mean?” Stas inquired.
“I mean that Morgan Robertson’s book ‘Futility’ was published in 1896 in England. In this book, the wreck of a huge passenger steamship by the name of Titan was described in detail. It precisely specified the time, the place, and the reason for the wreck, that is, in 1912, in the Atlantic Ocean, on its way from England to America, on a cold April night, the ship collides with a huge iceberg, and people die. Moreover, Robertson even gave the exact number of passengers – two thousand people – that corresponded to the number on the Titanic. He also listed all parameters and characteristics of the ship which also coincide with the characteristics of the Titanic. There were only insignificant discrepancies. For example, he described the length of the ship as 243 meters, and the Titanic was 268 meters in length. The displacement was described as 70 thousand tons whereas the real ship had 66 thousand tons. In the book, the speed at the moment of collision was 25 knots, and in reality, it was 22 knots. All other details, four pipes, three propellers, and so on, everything was predicted… If only people had been a bit smarter, many people would not have died.”
“Yes, I recall reading about this phenomenal prediction,” Nikolai Andreevich said. “But wait, he was a science-fiction writer, and in addition to that, nobody knew him. And his book wasn’t published again. How could people have known? If only he had written it as a prediction of what could really happen someday, if he had called it a prophecy, I think people would have paid attention to it. But he called his novel science fiction.”
“You see, the thing is. A person receives pure knowledge. But to save himself from the inquisition of fools, he calls these books science fiction. It was science fiction for clever people, for those who could understand it. After things happen, everybody starts to understand it, even the fools. But a clever person could have understood even then and taken a grain of truth out of this so-called ‘science fiction’.
“Simply put, you mean to say that a clever person, having read this book, would never have booked a ticket on the Titanic.”
From the book “Sensei” by A. Novykh