My Dearest Baraba Ubongo, Our worst fears may be unfolding.
–Sue Lange - Shadow of Kilimanjaro - c.2011
Story in The Shadow Conspiracy II collection, edited by Phyllis Irene Radford & Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff
Baraba is sent to accompany a German family of missionaries to Africa. He poses as their student, but in reality he has been sent by Lady Ada Lovelace in order to investigate the possibility of the dis-souled near the famed mountain of Kilimanjaro. Accompanying Mr and Mrs Rebmann, and their cousin Clare, he is there when a strange Englishman shows up, in his range rover. Bernard Bourne has been living in Africa for some time, and so can provide them with some much needed supplies. He brings Clare to his home in order to pick up some of these supplies, along with the servant Baraba. But Bourne is not as altruistic as he may seem.
Shadow of Kilimanjaro is told through the eyes of three different narrators, as well as through letters. As such is is told in some very different voices, and from different perspectives. And I enjoyed them all. Apart from the racism inherent in the time.
The more of these short stories the more Ii get a sense of the ‘verse in which I take place. A world where mechanical robots exist to help us, but the prospect of ensoulling these mechanical creations at the expense of human beings threatens. Ada Lovelace, daughter of Lord Byron, is at the centre of these tales. She heads an organisation investigating the world of these mechanicals.
And I have to say that this story would encourage me to read more by this author. And I’m getting increasingly interested in the real Ada Lovelace.