The protracted nature of the disaster – It gave a chance for people to react, testing the limits of their bravery. If it had all been over suddenly, like in an explosion, there would have been no human element.
The unusual element added by the iceberg - The unsinkable ship sank from a cause that fits into the category of stranger than fiction.
The lure of imagining yourself on the ship – In so much fiction, the exciting part is trying to figure out how you would react in such a situation, in a sense testing out the limits of your own bravery and ingenuity.
These are only a few possibilities. I was surprised by how many people remember liking disaster stories as children, and clearly they are still popular today
Here are a few of the new books just out or coming out.
DANGEROUS WATERS: AN ADVENTURE ON THE TITANIC by Gregory Mone
This is the story of a twelve-year-old who sneaks aboard the Titanic, a passenger who is rare book collector and a thief who is out to steal a rare book, all in the midst of the disaster. The rare book collector in the story, Harry Widener, was an actual passenger on the fatal voyage, so I thought that was a fascinating premise on which to build a story. The addition of a mystery involving Sir Francis Bacon, alchemy and a girl who can pick locks adds to the fun.
KASPAR THE TITANIC CAT by Micheal Morpurgo
There were pets aboard the Titanic, and this is about a fictional one, a cat, who through a convoluted set of circumstances ends up on board along with a fourteen-year-old stowaway and a young heiress. About half of the story takes place before they board the ship, and it gives a nice feel for the time period. This was first published in Great Britain in 2008 with the title Kaspar Prince of Cats, but was only released in the U.S. this year. The illustrations are useful to get a sense of the time period.
CAN YOU SURVIVE THE TITANIC? An Interactive Survival Adventure by Allison Lassieur
Similar to the old Choose Your Own Adventure Stories, in this book you can choose to be a surgeon’s assistant, a governess in charge of three children, or a twelve-year-old boy traveling with his father. This is very easy to read with some nice illustrations. My daughter enjoyed it very much.