Tower of Babylon (story)
|Tower of Babylon|
|by Ted Chiang|
|Publication date||November 1990|
"Tower of Babylon" is a science fantasy novelette by American writer Ted Chiang, published in 1990. The story revisits the tower of Babel myth as a construction megaproject, in a setting where the principles of pre-scientific cosmology (the geocentric model, celestial spheres, etc.) are literally true. It is Chiang's first published work.
Hillalum is a miner from Elam who has been summoned to the Tower of Babylon, an enormous brick tower that has been in continuous construction for centuries. He and his colleagues have been hired to dig through the Vault of Heaven to discover Yahweh's creation. Hillalum alone passes safely through the Vault. After a perilous journey ever-upwards, he finds that he has reemerged back at the surface, some distance from the Tower, rather than in Heaven as expected.