100 years…

It’s 11.22pm in Sydney. I’m about to hit the sack. I’ve been waiting for this day, on and off, since 1998. Well, not so much waiting as thinking about it. I spent almost 10 years planning and writing The Company of the Dead. A lot of that time was focused on April 14, 1912. A lot of that time thinking about all those people and their last moments on that cold, cold night. Something moved me then and something moves me now.

I’ll leave the rest to Darren Morgan; Historian, coward, time traveller…

“I’ve been fascinated by the Titanic for as long as I can remember. I could never get my head around it. All so important and all so senseless at the same time. It was our first modern fable. A cautionary tale that belonged to everyone. It was our century’s fall. Our departure from the Eden of the Industrial Age. Our casting into the wilderness. Boys who’d read about it, seizing newspapers from street vendors, lay buried in mud two years later on the fields of France.
“In 1991 I interviewed some of the Titanic’s survivors and members of their families. There was this one woman; she hadn’t sailed, but her father and uncle were lost that night. She told me that a few days after the disaster, they’d been seated around the table for breakfast. Her mother had held a newspaper in front of her and said, ‘Your father won’t be coming home, dears.’
“The survivor list hadn’t been printed yet, so the girl had asked, ‘How do you know, mother?’” Morgan’s mouth was dry. He wet his lips with the bourbon, and continued, hoarsely, “Her mother told her, ‘This morning’s paper says that some children were lost. Your father would never leave a child behind, no matter what happened.’”
Kennedy gazed at him with shining eyes.
Morgan said, “It’s strange. Here we are with complete knowledge of what will happen in two days time, and we’re the ones at a disadvantage.”
“How do you figure that?”
“Everyone else aboard will act in accordance with their own sense of pride, or honour, of hope, desire, fear, despair… Some will be lucky, some will be practical. Some will be downright evil. Most will suffer briefly but terribly.” Morgan shrugged. “We’re trapped by legend. We’ve entered mythology and it’s is a strange place. It bears only the smallest resemblance to actual events.”

6 Responses to “100 years…”

  1. Sparkgap Says:

    Just finished reading the book, great!
    I do wish the vague plans for a Titanic replica to be built some years ago had come to fruition as in your book, and I like the twist to the timetraveller plot towards the end. Will be looking forward to your next book.

  2. Karen Says:

    After a conversation about time travel, and how it is such an interesting theme in science fiction, a friend sent me your book. I’m on page 142. I’m enjoying it so much that I’ve set aside the other two books I was reading. It would make a fascinating movie. Who would you cast as Joseph Kennedy?

  3. David Says:

    Hey Karen,
    Hope you are still enjoying it. Fun question. When I was writing I kind of saw Clooney in that role. Now, in 2012, I’m wondering if you could give John Hamm a call and see if he’s interested.

  4. Katin Says:

    As I’m in the midst of reading the book, the news headline in Google News this morning (April 30th, 2012) was wild to see:

    “Titanic II: Replica to make same voyage, but be made in China”
    (and the headline links here, for the curious.)

    And an early line in the article says, “…and its maiden voyage in late 2016 will be from England to New York, just like its namesake planned.”

    Holy time traveling history, Batman! And what incredible timing with the publication of the Kindle edition of your book (which is the edition I’m reading). The sci-fi fan in me contemplates a tale that includes the *next* century of this anchor in time, accounting for the adventures and mysteries of the ship in 2012 to 2112. Whoooo, little chills!

    - - -

    Call Clive Palmer. I think he read your book!

  5. Karen Says:

    I confess, I had to look up Hamm at imdb.com. Therefore, he probably won’t take my calls.

    Finished the book! Here’s my cast:

    Joseph R Kennedy - Gerard Butler
    Webster - Ed Harris
    Doc Gershon - David Duchovny
    Wells - Paul McGann
    Morgan - Sam Rockwell
    Shine - Jamie Foxx
    Hardas - Mark Ruffalo
    Patricia - Marissa Ramirez
    Tecumseh - Wes Studi

  6. Tom Says:

    Just finished the book today. Wonderful plotting, better than Heinlein’s time-travel masterpiece “The Door Into Summer.”

    A few minor anachronisms: Late in the book you have the German panzers destroying the pavement on Interstate-15, and at the very end you have trucks traveling to and from Roswell on interstate highways in 1947.

    Our interstate highways were first proposed by President Eisenhower in the 1950’s, and he was inspired to build them by the German autobahns he saw as he rolled into Germany in 1945. That could not have happened in the alternate universe in existence for much of the book.

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