Alex Winter and Deborah Tate arrive by hovercraft at the city of Babylon, lying on the river Euphrates in the Arizona desert. He is a sociology drop-out from the University of Oregon at Eugene who wants to become a Babylonian. She has a much stranger ambition. Their minds are babbling in the Greek that has been pumped into them via computer interface at the University of Heuristics. To them, English has yet to be invented and the young king Alexander lies dying in his palace. The city is dominated by the tower of Babel, its spiral roadway curling up towards the heavens and wide enough for several donkey carts. And women sit outside the Temple of Ishtar, waiting for some stranger to drop a coin in their laps. The prospect seems to fascinate Deborah. She wants to become one of the Whores of Babylon.
Ian Watson (1943 - )Ian Watson was born in England in 1943 and graduated from Balliol College, Oxford, with a first class Honours degree in English Literature. He lectured in English in Tanzania (1965-1967) and Tokyo (1967-1970) before beginning to publish SF with "Roof Garden Under Saturn" for the influential New Worlds magazine in 1969. He became a full-time writer in 1976, following the success of his debut novel The Embedding. His work has been frequently shortlisted for the Hugo and Nebula Awards and he has won the BSFA Award twice. From 1990 to 1991 he worked full-time with Stanley Kubrick on story development for the movie A.I. Artificial Intelligence, directed after Kubrick's death by Steven Spielberg; for which he is acknowledged in the credits for Screen Story. Ian Watson lives in Spain.