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The Poseidon Adventure is an American adventure novel by Paul Gallico, published in It concerns the capsizing of a luxurious ocean liner, the S.S. The Poseidon Adventure book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. On its maiden voyage, luxury ocean liner SS Poseidon is cap. I read this novel with sheer excitement during my teens when it was first published, thrilled immediately by the premise, then flying through it because of the.
Plot[ edit ] Formerly the RMS Atlantis, the SS Poseidon is a luxury ocean liner from the golden age of travel, converted to a single-class, combination cargo-cruise liner. The ship is on her first North Atlantic crossing under new ownership, celebrated with a month long Christmas voyage from Lisbon to African and South American ports. The ship capsizes as it falls into the sudden void caused by the quake displacing millions of gallons of seawater. Starting from the upper deck dining room, preacher Reverend Frank "Buzz" Scott leads a small group of often unwilling followers towards the keel of the ship, trying to avoid the rising water level and other such hazards. Those stuck within the dining saloon are unwilling to follow the Reverend, and stay behind. Those survivors choosing to follow Scott climb a Christmas tree to ascend into the galley area where they meet some stewards and kitchen crew. There is a great debate about whether to try to reach one of the propeller shafts at the stern, or to go forward to the bow.
After their rest they see the way out—five decks up, on top of a fractured steel wall they name "Mount Poseidon". During the difficult climb, Linda Rogo rebels and attempts to find her own way.
She chooses an unstable route and falls to her death, impaled on a piece of sharp steel.
An explosion rocks the ship, and Reverend Scott, in an insane rage, denounces God, offers himself as a sacrifice, and commits suicide.
Mary Kinsale, an English spinster, screams in grief and claims that they were to be married. Her fellow survivors aren't quite sure what to make of this revelation. Martin takes charge of the group and they make their way into a propeller shaft where the steel hull is at its thinnest.
The oxygen supply begins to give out, but after much waiting, they are finally found. Belle Rosen has a heart attack and dies before the rescue team can reach her. The rescue team cuts through and the group climb out of the upturned hull.
Manny Rosen, however, refuses to leave without Belle's remains, which are lifted out after the others have left. Once outside, the survivors see another, much larger group of survivors being removed from the bow of the ship. Most are still in their dinner clothes, in contrast to Scott's group, who are mostly in underclothing and streaked with oil. En route to the rescue ships in lifeboats, they see The Beamer and Pamela, who have survived after all.
To add to the unhappiness of the retching passengers, things in the cabins came alive. Everything unattached—trunks, hand luggage, bottles—slid from side to side; clothing hung upon pegs took on animation, swaying outwards and back again. Seasick remedies eventually lost both their potency and psychological magic. By mid-morning as far as the travellers were concerned, their happy home throughout an otherwise gay and uneventful voyage had become a hell. Just let me die quietly.
In another cabin Mrs Linda Rogo was abusing her husband, between bouts of being sick, with every obscenity of an experienced vocabulary. These people are genuine jerks , in particular the vacationing police detective Rogo played by Ernest Borgnine in the movie and even the ostensible hero, the Reverend Frank Scott Gene Hackman in the movie.
Scott is an especially frustrating character because the reader never fully learns what it is that's driving him. There are some hints, things that the movie expanded upon, but on the page he remains a cypher. As for Rogo, he has some redeeming, humanizing moments toward the end, but it comes across as too little, too late, especially as those moments are counteracted by one sneering comment he makes in the final pages. In addition to the obnoxiousness of the characters, the book fairly drips with anti-Semitism, misogyny, and homophobia.
Possibly this simply reflects the attitudes of the time, but it's difficult going for the modern reader. As for the writing, well, Gallico was no stylist. His writing is serviceable at best. There are occasional glimmers of poetry, but there's also a whole lot of clunky prose and info-dumps in between them. And yet, I have to confess that the book held my interest. It was a genuine pageturner with a genuine tension and claustrophobic feeling throughout, as well as a sense of relief when our survivors are rescued at the end, followed by a sadness at their realization that they'll likely never see each other again.
For that emotional response alone, I'm giving the book a positive rating. If you're a fan of the movie, it's worth a look to see where the film came from.
But believe me, this is a rare case where the movie was better than the book. Mar 09, Robert rated it really liked it Shelves: This by-now infamous tale of a capsized ocean liner and a small group of survivors, struggling against odds to climb up to the bottom in the hopes of being rescued, still works well today - though forward-thinking readers will be faced with some problematic elements.
It's a harrowing story, quite gritty, actually which may take fans of the well-loved but much simpler film version by surprise. And okay, as to the aforementioned problematic elements, there's a lot of baked-in sexism, casual This by-now infamous tale of a capsized ocean liner and a small group of survivors, struggling against odds to climb up to the bottom in the hopes of being rescued, still works well today - though forward-thinking readers will be faced with some problematic elements.
It's good stuff, if readers can get past especially the author's antique attitudes towards women. Understandable if some just don't want to. View all 4 comments. Jan 23, Marianneboss rated it it was ok. I prefer the movie the version by a mile. There are just so many things wrong with this book, that didn't age well at all, like view spoiler [Susan's reaction to her rape and rapist, ugh!
Oct 02, Yuan rated it did not like it Shelves: Given that I was fairly disenchanted with some of the cliched scenarios in the film, I was intrigued to pick the novel up and see whether the usual "book is better than the movie adaptation" mantra h For more reviews, please visit my blog Obsessive Compulsive Reader Obsessive Compulsive Reader Actual rating: Given that I was fairly disenchanted with some of the cliched scenarios in the film, I was intrigued to pick the novel up and see whether the usual "book is better than the movie adaptation" mantra holds true.
Boy, did I regret my choice. The story began like any regular epic adventure style novel. Having seen the film before, I knew going into this novel that there are a lot of characters involved and that it may be initially very confusing to orientate myself. But The Poseidon Adventure doesn't even try to make the initiation process easier.
Every character is introduced without any fanfare with only one or two characteristics attached to them, none of which are very distinguishing.
I understand that the book is trying to set up the premise that the passengers are normal-day people but in the span of the first two chapters, you are introduced to a dozen characters and I kept referring back to the beginning to figure out which character is which.
But that was not even the most unpleasant part of the reading experience. I don't think I have ever been so angry whilst reading a book before. Even with the concessions made to the book's age, there is nothing remotely enjoyable about the underhanded way he deals with the issues of race, class and gender. I don't care if those were the widely accepted behaviour back then.
The background setting is one thing, the way the characters just roll over and accept what is dished out to them is a whole separate issue. I cannot wrap my head around how the characters behaved, reacted and did what they did, especially the completely unnecessary epilogue. What the?! This is probably one of the most unpleasant books I have read this year. For those who watched and enjoyed the film, stick to the movie.
Obsessive Compulsive Reader It's kind of a sick fascination to be so awed by what is, by most estimations, pretty much a text-book definition of a "cheap thriller". I make no bones about it, forget the movie s: That one author could produce both "The Snow Goose" and "The Poseidon Adventure" says much about Gallico's versatility, and not a little about the fallacy of classifying authors by genre.
Why do I like it?
I saw the film first; or rather, It's kind of a sick fascination to be so awed by what is, by most estimations, pretty much a text-book definition of a "cheap thriller". I saw the film first; or rather, I saw the first 30 minutes of the film, up to the point where Roddy McDowall gets his sorry, newcomers , and was terrified enough to go to bed early.
That I was only about 13 explains some of it. Dial forward a few years, and I'm holidaying on the edge of Dartmoor with the family. In one of the finest second-hand bookshops I know, in Ashburton, Devon, I found a beat-up paperback copy of the book.
Perhaps I didn't connect the title with the film, until the cover pic of a roguishly young Gene Hackman, and dear old Ernie Borgnine, raised a memory. It comes from the sea, I suppose: When your father and latterly your brother are both away for long stretches at a time, it's not a deliberate choice, but you do tend to focus on that sort of thing. Anyway, back to the book: I'll leave the spoilers there; suffice it to say, it differs substantially from the film and bears only a passing resemblance to the "Poseidon", while we're at it.
But every character, if roughly drawn, is a type rather than stereotype, and novice thriller writers could learn several lessons from the structure, pacing, build-up - and occasional pauses too. The action takes place mostly in the space of under three hours, which gives the author room to breathe and set his characters and readers down, every now and then, for a little well-earned rest.
Final keynote: Do not tempt the gods by taking it on a cruise although I was compelled to read it thoroughly before and after my trip to New York on the QM2. Jan 13, Andy rated it liked it Shelves: Sometimes we have to make allowances for older books and movies and TV shows, because it's not fair to judge them by contemporary values.
Still, some parts of The Poseidon Adventure are hard to take. There's the cop's selfish, racist, shrewish wife, who sometimes "needs" a good slap. Not only in the opinion of her husband, but also in the opinion of the other survivors and even the narrator. There's the rape. Not that it happens, but the victim's reaction to it.
Ye gads. There's the need for all of Sometimes we have to make allowances for older books and movies and TV shows, because it's not fair to judge them by contemporary values. There's the need for all of the men to tend to all of the women. At least one thing the book has in common with the movie is Belle's swimming prowess, with which she is able to help the group get past what seems to be a dead end.
So the female characters aren't completely weak and useless -- just almost.
A common refrain you will hear when a book has been adapted to the screen is: Of course, I suppose I'm biased, given that I saw -- and loved -- the film first. But without giving too much away here are a few examples of how the film improves on the book: In the book, most of the passengers are in their cabins when the ship rolls. Some comments on the book's ending -- again, without giving too much away.
One of the biggest differences between the book and the movie is the tone. The movie is about a heroic and epic struggle for survival. Whereas the book almost views the entire story as pointless. Mind you, I'm not saying that there's something wrong with the tone. Gallico has a different message than does the movie, and that's fine.
But I do prefer the movie's message to the book's. After all is said and done, I enjoyed spending more time with these characters and following them through "new' adventures. Jul 08, Mel Campbell rated it it was ok Shelves: Paul Gallico was 72 when this book was originally published. He'd lived through the golden age of ocean liner travel, and this is a profoundly cynical story about the vulgar, undignified end of an era. As I was reading, I was thinking about how deeply unpleasant all the characters were.
The women come out of it worst, and all seem pathetically dependent on men. If they're not dumb bimbos, self-effacing doormats or dreadful shrews they're silly teenagers, dried-up spinsters or fat old women.
But t Paul Gallico was 72 when this book was originally published. But the men are awful too: He's like the personification of the American bootstrap social mobility philosophy — only by force of individual will can his band of survivors pull themselves up to safety. And this is like a horror novel in the brutal way that people get picked off by the disintegrating ship, or vanish into the chaos. Scott has a real "He'll only slow us down…" attitude that reminded me of the cave-diving disaster film Sanctum 3D , in which people are summarily abandoned to their deaths with injuries that look no worse than paper cuts.
The 'adventure' is gruelling, made even more so by the characters' mean-spirited bickering and intense self-loathing. In the book, after all their loss and suffering, it's revealed that they weren't even the only survivors. This book is interesting as a historical relic, but its values are now extremely dated and its writing is pulpy and mean-spirited.
One of the biggest one-two punches you could ask for, to close out the s. There was nothing like this property. Book AND movie! The one every other project subsequently, copied. One of those instances where the adaptation swaps in and out with the book.
Each complementing the other. The whole experience has a surreal and disorienting quality. In the book, crazy chapter headings like, 'Up the Down Staircase' and 'To One of the biggest one-two punches you could ask for, to close out the s. Gallico was an unusual writer; knew his role as storyteller but had a definite yen for the seamy.
Oh yeah to hell with how the PC crowd wants this all revised. Sollie chollie. Go see the putrid remake if you want sanitized reality. Jun 23, Wissam rated it it was amazing.
Poseidon is overtaken by a tidal wave. With the captain Leslie Nielsen dead, surviving passengers, including the passionate Rev. Scott Gene Hackman , band together in the ship's ballroom. My brother told me to read it he said its pretty cool its adventure it quite scary I felt that thisis like titanic a big ship gets drawned when the big wave slam it under water I really liked this book its interestin they route from New York City to Greece on New Year's Eve, majestic passenger ship the S.
My brother told me to read it he said its pretty cool its adventure it quite scary I felt that thisis like titanic a big ship gets drawned when the big wave slam it under water and then that man and ladie survive but I think this book is awsome I suggest you should read it.
A very good story of a group of people, who band together, determined to survive, after the ocean liner SS Poseidon capsizes when a rogue wave hits her. The cause-a huge undersea earthquake which turns the ship upside down, making the will for survival, that much harder! May 22, Molly Christensen rated it liked it.
Interesting book on human spirit. Many of the people just completely gave up and wouldn't even try when the ship sank, but others were going to do whatever it took to at least give themselves a chance. Way too many dead people for me, though. Feb 15, David Teska rated it it was amazing.
The first mature novel I read age 14 or 15 I think. Read the book, then see both movies.
The book is much richer and tauter in how the survivors made it out. Very good book adaptation of the movie. A classic A true classic so well know by the iconic 70s film, but the book goes much deeper and explores human behavior and the human heart. Jun 04, Devyn rated it it was ok. The most interesting thing in the entire book is the cover. Oct 20, Realini rated it liked it. Poseidon, based on novel by Paul Gallico 6 out of 10 This motion picture is something of an oxymoron.
The latter speaks for itself. I remember seeing the original many years ago, as an adolescent and being captivated and terrified by the incredible adventure. A lot of effort went into the new version of that old story. The good cast is lead by two veterans, outs Poseidon, based on novel by Paul Gallico 6 out of 10 This motion picture is something of an oxymoron.
The good cast is lead by two veterans, outstanding actors when they have suitable material: The catastrophe is somewhat credible, after all, a few years back, a big ship with a cruise line - was it called Costa? A few people even died then.
In the catastrophe film Poseidon, many more perish. Actually, only a handful survive. At times, the exploits of the lucky few are captivating. After all, they have to find their way through a massive, immense vessel, which has capsized. Not only that, but there are explosions, falling elevators, almost any calamity you can imagine. In one scene, Richard Nelson is hanging over the elevator shaft, with another man hanging to one of his feet.
Nelson is in his turn dependent on the grip of another passenger. Since the elevator is coming down fast, the other men present on the scene shout: Let him go! Otherwise, you will both die!