This enables you to read Babel if you have not first read The Prophecy. This gives you a small flavour of the world in which both stories take place.
Glossary for Babel
Abel is a Z Zoner. He and fellow Z Zoner Menjit Crossman drive the supercraft that takes Kaleem to Zandra. Z Zoners are quite resourceful. Menjit and Abel are able to help Kaleem when the supercraft breaks down. They use a form of teletransportation to get Kaleem on to Zandra.
Alistare is a good friend of Kaleem’s and one of his former students. He lives on Zandra. He is a mathematics expert. He has a very similar, easy-going nature to that of Pierre LaFontaine, Kaleem’s good friend on Terrestra.
This is the name of the individual transporter on Polynket. It seats up to four people and moves in such a way that the occupants feel as if they are flying. It needs no driving. Autofliegs do not follow fight paths but always fly in a straight line to their destination. When two Autofleigs meet, they dance around each other until they find another straight line.
This is a prophecy about a special Peace Child. It says that the Peace Child’s mother will enter the place where the poorer people live, carrying a copy of The Tower of Babel book. The woman will be pregnant. There are two oddities here: on Terrestra in 3500 babies are grown in test tubes. Few people own books and even fewer can read Wordtext.
Marijam, pregnant and frightened, indeed enters the Z Zone, carrying a copy of The Tower of Babel by Davina Patterson. She calls her son Kaleem.
The prophecy further states that the Peace Child born to this woman will save the universe. Kaleem’s strange dreams seem tied up with the tower of Babel.
Kaleem, however, cannot take the prophecy seriously and his mentor, the elder, Razjosh, also seems ambivalent about it.
Ben Mariah is a Z Zoner. He is the same age as Narisja and a good friend of hers. He has the official function of story-teller in the Z Zone. This is a highly respected role there. He is a good friend to Narisja, and also becomes a good friend to Marijam and Kaleem.
These are gigantic black tulips, grown with considerable difficulty, on Zandra. They are the symbol of lust. If you fancy someone, you send them a bunch of Black Tulpen. Girls can send them to boys – or girls, and boys can send them to girls or boys as well. It can cut out a lot of awkwardness.
However, this is not the case for Kaleem. Tulla Watkins sends him some after their first meeting. Kaleem feels unable to take up the offer, much as he’d like to, as he is new to the planet. He has to return the gift.
This actually causes much awkwardness between them.
Charlek is Kaleem’s one human prison guard on Zandra. He and Kaleem actually become great friends. Charlek is with Kaleem when he meets his father for the first time.
Charlek is quite fond of romantic encounters with young women.
Makisson is the chief of the elders.
Citadel of Elders
Elders live in the Citadel. This is a luxurious dwelling place where every comfort is catered for. At the time of the poison cloud, the elders lived in a cave that was full of crystals. This seemed to give them intense energy and allowed their minds to become brighter.
After the poison cloud disappeared and a new Citadel was built on the surface of Terrestra, the crystalline atmosphere was replicated… by using crystals. There are no walls at right angles in the Citadel. Even the shape of the place adds to the energy.
Guests are allowed in the Citadel, even to stay overnight, but only at an elder’s invitation.
This is a technologically advanced chair. It actually moulds itself to the person sitting on it and hovers at exactly the right height so that the occupant’s legs may rest at exactly the right angle.
Unusually, the comfisessels on Terrestra are more advanced than those on Zandra.
This is a little like our Parliament. However Members of Council are elected by proportional representation. When a member is switched-off or gets fed up of being a member of Council, anyone can put themselves up to replace him or her. There is no party culture. After all, Terrestra is a one-world planet. It comes down to personalities.
There are two levels of voting within the Council, however. Some votes are open to all members, and some just to Heads of Service.