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Raise the Titanic was a 1976 proto-techno-thriller novel by Clive Cussler and his first best seller. Published a full nine years before the wreck of the RMS Titanic was discovered, its plot unintentionally takes a few liberties with the plausibility of salvaging the doomed ocean liner (until the wreck was found, most experts assumed it remained intact after sinking rather than breaking in two).

Gene Seagram, top scientist for a heavily-funded top-secret government think-tank designs a defense system that would make it impossible for Russian missiles to hit any target in the continental United States, rendering the ICBM obsolete and shifting the balance of world power in America's favour. Unfortunately the device will only run on some Unobtanium, the only known supply of which went to the bottom of the ocean on April 15th, 1912 during the sinking of the Titanic. There's only one thing to be done...

Unfortunately, the Russians have caught wind of the true motivation behind the American's attempt to find and salvage the Titanic, and they're not exactly happy about it. Partly because the ore in question was originally mined in secret from territory that Russia had a claim to at the time, but mostly due to the aforementioned balance of power. They set out to sabotage the operation with the aim of reclaiming the stolen ore, or at least denying possession of it to their enemy.

The book was a notable success, launching Cussler's writing career. There was also a film made which is far more infamous and far less successful.

This novel includes examples of:

  • Cold War: Oh, so very much a Cold War novel. Damn those evil Commies and their missiles.
  • Force Field: What the final scenes of the novel strongly hint that the Unobtanium makes possible.
  • Schizo-Tech: The goal of the Pentagon's Meta Section -- a leapfrog of 20 or 30 years ahead of "current" technology.
  • Soviet Union: The Big Bad, as you might expect from a Cold War thriller novel.
  • Spy Fiction
  • Thriller
  • Unobtanium: Byzanium. The only source of this exotic mineral is inside the Soviet Union -- but that source was mined out in 1912, and the purified ore ended up in the ship's safe of the Titanic.

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