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 was born in 1943. He lectured in Tanzania and Tokyo and taught Future Studies at Birmingham Polytechnic. He began publishing SF with 'Roof Garden Under Saturn' for New Worlds in 1969 but it was with the publication of The Embedding in 1973 that he really established himself as a writer of rare power and vision. Michael Bishop was born in 1945 and studied English at the University of George. His other acclaimed novels include A Funeral for the Eyes of Fire, Transfigurations, Stolen Faces and Ancient of Days.