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The Poseidon Adventure by Paul Gallico
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The Poseidon Adventure (1969)

by Paul Gallico

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English (6)  Dutch (1)  All languages (7)
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Read it ages ago, when I would have thought myself too young for the film, and was completely engrossed by it. ( )
  ashleytylerjohn | Sep 19, 2018 |
The basis for the very popular film is a good adventure story, although the ending is a bit different. A cruise ship turns upside down--will anyone be able to escape? ( )
  datrappert | Oct 24, 2016 |
A number of films have been released about disasters with ocean liners, but The Poseidon adventure by Paul Gallico, first published in 1969, seems to be one of the very few novels featuring the sinking of such a big ship. The book forms the basis for the 2006 film Poseidon.

On the second day of Christmas, the S.S. Poseidon is hit by a tsunami in the Atlantic Ocean rolling the ship over and killing most of the staff and passengers aboard. The event occurs so sudden that no distress signal is sent, no life-boats are launched and all bridge staff is instantly killed. The ship remains afloat upside down.

Survivors in the dining hall are stunned and helpless, until a priest, Scott, rallies them and a small group of passengers, the oddest medley, decides that they have to attempt escape. This means that they have to climb up through the upturned ship to reach the hull.

It is a struggle against all odds. No-one knows how long the ship will remain afloat, how long lights will stay on, whether there is a way out, how to emerge, and whether or not they will be rescued, even if they make it to the surface. There are no assurances. The obstacles are formidable.

Creativity, courage, team work and ingenuity make them succeed. Frayed nerves lead to tremendous frustrations, but Scott is able to keep his flock together, and they brave many moments they would not believe they could. They meet others on the way, who seem doomed. A child is lost. Before reaching safety, two members of the team die: sacrifices to a wrathful God.

Scott is no ordinary priest. He shows that faith in God is necessary, but not enough, and man must make his own way to safety.

The end of the book presents various interesting dilemmas. The little group struggled so hard, made offers and goes through humiliation. They believed their ordeal was justified to ensure their unique survival. Are they disappointed to see they are not the only survivors? Their lot is in stark contrast with the other survivors who emerge in evening dress, even the drunkards who cared for nothing and drank themselves into a stupor, while the little group struggled to survive.

Odd is the message that the priest, Scott, and another survivor in the little group are homosexual. This message comes all the way at the end. Is it to prove that gay people can be brave, or count among the bravest?

The adventure is very well told, and exciting. The religion theme plays a minor role in the story, although one could easily feel that the priest, Scott is God (Gott). This somewhat religious theme, and the questions raised at the end, would be unusual in contemporary fiction. However, they do make the book a touch more interesting than the ordinary adventure story, by asking what is the meaning of our struggle? ( )
1 vote edwinbcn | Aug 4, 2012 |
I must admit I saw the film before I bought and read the book.
And although the film was very fascinating (my major thanks to Mr. Hackman, heh), Mr. Gallico's novel is so much richer, especially regarding the characters!
So when it comes to comparing the book to the film, the first wins!!! ( )
  shireling | Apr 14, 2011 |
Loved this book as a kid. Wonderful adventure tale, later made into a famous 70's "Disaster Flick" ( )
  Borg-mx5 | Apr 1, 2010 |
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For John Tucker Hayward, Yankee Bat-Boy; Admiral U.S.N.; Friend
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At seven o'clock, the morning of the 26th day of December, the S.S. Poseidon, 81,000 tons, homeward bound for Lisbon after a month-long Christmas cruise to African and South American ports, suddenly found herself in the midst of an unaccountable swell, 400 miles south-west of the Azores, and began to roll like a pig.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0143037625, Paperback)

The inspiration for the 2006 Warner Bros. film, Poseidon, Paul Gallico’s The Poseidon Adventure is an intense and dramatic story about a gigantic ocean liner and its unimaginable final journey.

When a rogue wave capsizes the luxury cruise ship, a small group of survivors find themselves unlikely allies in a battle for their lives. As the unstable vessel rapidly fills with water each must draw on skills and strengths they didn’t even know they possessed, fighting against time for their own survival and for each other.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:44 -0400)

Ten survivors struggle to reach safety after an ocean liner capsizes in mid sea.

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