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Senlin Ascends (Josiah Bancroft 2013) has worthily made it from being originally self-published to being released by a major publisher. It is the tale of Senlin, a mild-mannered school teacher, who decides to visit the Tower of Babel with his new wife Marya from their small fishing village. The Tower of Babel is a massive tower of many levels, each level being a separate kingdom.

Senlin soon realises he is out of his depth (height?) as he is separated from his wife, and has to ascend the tower by any means possible in search of her.

Bancroft's imagining of the Tower of Babel here is the core and strength of the book. It reminded me of Jack Vance's world-building as Senlin encounters strange characters and strange situations, of places with distorted logic running them. Yet it also comments on our own world, where so often life is a rat-race.