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Old 09-07-2017, 02:33 AM   #22
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Udine, Italy
Default Re: Research help for Pulp Adventure

Originally Posted by jason taylor View Post
One I just got was Spies in the Congo by Susan Williams about German and Allied spies intriguing to control uranium. I just started the book so I don't know how much it serves your purpose.

Apparently there was a thriving uranium mine in the region.
Apparently yes! It's the Shinkolobwe mine, in 1939 it was the first uranium-producing site in the world. The famous German catch of yellow cake at the Belgian refinery of Olen is the starting point of most if not all fiction concerning the Nazi atomic project. The mineral (pitchblende) from Shinkolobwe was especially high-grade as its content of uranium, better than that from the Canadian source.

Shinkolobwe itself might be a pulpy location. Owned by the Union Minière du Haut Katanga or UMHK (the name in itself has a worrisome ring, or is it just me?), apparently it was run with substandard working conditions. A long hiatus in production is said to have taken place because of flooding - even though much of the production took place as an open-air dig. The company negotiated hard bargains to resume supplies, demanding significant payments and subsidies from the Belgian government in exile, and, ultimately, from the US government. The location underwent Soviet-like security measures, disappearing from the maps and growing a curtain of US-led security. The final checkpoint was the town itself of Jadotville, the closest to the mine, and a name that resurfaces in later wars. The village of Shinkolobwe was entirely a company town, no strangers admitted.
A pulp adventure could easily draw on classic heart-of-darkness undertones when describing this place.
Michele Armellini
GURPS Locations: St. George's Cathedral
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