ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Retro Reading: The Poseidon Adventure by Paul Gallico

Updated on December 2, 2020

It's no secret that I've seen The Poseidon Adventure over a hundred times and maybe after the first ten times, I read the book in 1973. Of course, over the years, I've tried to reread it but could never get into it.

Now I know why.

For the past forty years or so, I've always remembered the ending where the survivors are running out of air, weak, piled up against each other and there seems to be no hope for survival. The images of these last few pages have stayed in my mind for decades. In fact, when I started to reread it, those images came back.

For those who don't know the story, the SS Poseidon is capsized the day after Christmas while the passengers are having dinner. During lunch, most of them are seasick and the ship nearly turns over but doesn't. By the dinner hour, most have their sea legs again and are looking forward to a hardy meal.

Below the sea surface an earthquake causes a tidal wave with the luxury liner in its path. Chaos ensues as it flips over, trapping some of the passengers in the dining salon. Their goal is to flee the rising water and make it to the engine room where they hope they'll be rescued.

For those familiar with the movie, the following characters are present: Rev. Frank Scott, the Rogo's, the Rosen's, Susan and Robin Shelby (along with their parents), Nonnie, Mr. Martin and Acre (changed to Acres for the movie). There's also a host of other characters but too many to begin mentioning. Some of these "forgotten" characters do survive.

It is easy to separate the original film from the movie as these characters seem to be much more self centered. Sure the goal is to survive, but if you loved the movie characters, chances are you won't like the book's version of them.

Another thing I found boring was author Paul Gallico tells the story through too much narrative. Yes, you need to know the conditions these people are in, but for the most part, the action drags on forever. With so many characters he keeps going back and forth on their history. I felt that this was dragging down the story.

Translating this novel to the big screen seemed to be a difficult task for screenwriters Stirling Silliphant and Wendall Mayes, but I think their shorter version was much tighter and told the story more effectively.

If you're a fan of the movie and have never read the book, I'd stick with the movie version. The only thing I basically learned from the book is Mike Rogo knew the Rosen's from their deli in New York.

Maybe it'll be another forty years before I return to the Poseidon.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)