SOMETHING'S ALIVE ON THE TITANIC by Robert Serling

SOMETHING'S ALIVE ON THE TITANIC

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A lumbering occult thriller that imagines ghosts and other ghoulies aboard the wreck of the Titanic. Veteran aviation writer Serling (Eagle: The History of American Airlines, 1985; Air Force One is Haunted, 1984, etc.) starts with a nose dive--a flashback that takes up half of his 448-pages and that comes alive only in its predictable and sharply melodramatic final scenes. It's 1975, and a small band of adventurers is on a hush-hush mission: to locate the Titanic in order to plunder the fortune in gold presumably hidden in Cargo Hold Three. After a snail's-paced set-up (revolving around exposition of the cliched cast, including a dashing military man, a salty demolitions-expert, and a sexy female scientist), the expedition at last Finds the Titanic. At once, disaster strikes: While exploring the wreck, two of the crew are scared to death, apparently by a giant plesiosaur; then one of the expedition's deep-sea subs implodes, and finally a weird storm sweeps down on the salvage ship, killing all aboard except Titanic scholar Derek Montague. Cut to 1993, eight years after the real-life Robert Ballard expedition has explored the Titanic: Montague, now in his 70s and still eager for the gold, contacts the US government about the 1975 expedition. On presidential orders, a new expedition is launched, and history begins to repeat itself as Navy divers sight a monstrous eel--which, like the 1975 plesiosaur, turns out to be a psychic illusion projected by the scores of well-attired ghosts who eventually manifest, putting on a silly spook show (including another weird storm) to protect--this time, forever--their watery grave from the unwanted intruders. Strong premise, flimsy execution--and, despite a few spooky scenes, not nearly as eerie as Robert Ballard's nonfiction The Discovery of the Titanic (1987).

Pub Date: Nov. 27th, 1990
Publisher: St. Martin's