We all know the story of the Titanic. It sunk on April 14th near midnight and took about 2 hours to sink or something. But, just on the edge of the horizon sat another ship. It’s lights taunting the passengers as they drowned. They sent up 8 white rockets but the ship did not respond. The Midnight Watch is about that ship. The SS Californian. With it’s Captain (Lord) sleeping below and it’s watchman (Stone) on duty, why didn’t the Californian come to the aid of the Titanic? Well David Dyer attempts to answer this.
The Good Bits
– As the daughter of protagonist and journalist John Steadman, Harriet isn’t in the novel too often, but when she is… oh boy! She’s a first wave feminist and campaigns against racism as well. David Dyer does a Great job of adding a historically relevant character who has modern values.
– We all know the story of the Titanic I mean, who hasn’t seen the film. Kate and Leo man! So instead of going into it in any sort of detail, Dyer really only mentions it when it’s relevant. Which is great.
– Every time I watch Titanic I get this growing sense of dread in the pit of my stomach. It doesn’t happen very often when I watch films, but I guess because I know it’s real? I don’t know. But Dyer somehow adds this in as well. You know what the novel is when you set out to read it so the growing sense of dread culminating in what we the audience know is the Titanic sinking isn’t exactly a surprise, but Dyer shows it really well.
The Not-So-Good Bits
– It had a bit of a weak ending. Dyer has created a strong story and I expected the ending to be equally strong. Many people have tried to find a reason behind the reason that the Californian didn’t come to the aid of the Titanic but put simply we don’t really have one yet. And Dyer’s explanation that Lord thought Stone was weak and therefore discounted his report is such an anti-climax. I understand that the story is set in truth, but are we not allowed a strong ending to go with the strong story?
Thoughts from the Back Cover | The Ethics of Journalism.
So there are Journalists and there are Paparazzi. Let’s just agree that Paparazzi are scum and head on to Journalists.
In the novel, Joh Steadham impersonates a representative of the Marconi Telegraph company to get a quote about what happened that night from the wireless operator on board the Californian. Then, after being exposed, he doesn’t discard that information. Am I the only one who thinks it should have been discarded like illegally obtained evidence in a court case? It would make me not want to talk to anyone about anything if the person could be a journo!! In their quest for the story they’ve side stepped and honestly I don’t like it. How do you feel about it?
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