Book Preview: Rainy Days by G. Empty
The world can be relentless. It can be scary, daunting, and seemingly endless. Right now whenever I turn on the news I’m filled with an acute sense of dread and fear. Anxiety that I’m not doing enough, or that I know too little. I try to educate myself and listen, because something is happening. Something is churning and it feels like change.
Racial injustice is a burning plague in this country—throughout the world. The black community has been mistreated and forced to endure centuries of systematic abuse and discrimination. Their pain and suffering are real, and we should all be listening to their cries of anger and frustration.
We all have something to learn from their stories.
In his novel Rainy Days, G. Empty paints the image of a dreary, apocalyptic cityscape. Although the narrative is rooted in rich, intoxicating fantasy, the fight and hardship of his diverse cast of characters are very real and incredibly relevant. G. brilliantly illustrates the plight of the black community as they stand up against their oppressors. You’ll wince beneath the weight of their pain and cheer when they succeed.
Listen and learn, because as G. carefully highlights: everyone has rainy days.
Anime inspired by black culture. That was my first impression of Rainy Days by G. Empty. The story is quirky and fun, coated in a blithe exterior and reminiscent of your favorite 1990s cartoon. It’s filled with caricatures and slang—I can hear a jazzy rift play whenever a character angrily beats on a door or stalks down the hall. Dipped in a sepia-toned pool and handed a weapon to fight, it’s comparable to Cowboy Bebop with just a pinch more Hitchcockian-noir.
It was a joy to read, and once you breach the surface—hell, it goes so much deeper. It’s devastating.
“Oddly enough, no one mourned the pigs.”Rainy Days
For someone who very publicly claims that he isn’t a writer but a storyteller, G.—an 2020 Independent Publisher Book Awards medalist in Urban Fiction—constantly wowed me with his crushing play on words. There’s an earnestness in his tone that isn’t so easy to find in big-house publishing. I was immediately drawn to G. and his story during our initial introduction. His charisma is endearing, and Rainy Days is his heartbeat.
G. paints us a vibrant, complex image, and it’s well worth the read.
Rainy Days is set in a post-apocalyptic world plagued by monstrous storms that tear across the land, while livestock and crops are nearing extinction. Food is incredibly limited, and the ability to cultivate and produce a decent harvest is tantamount to your worth.
“Soon people only knew of meat, not of cows, pigs, chicken, or fish. Just meat.”Rainy Days
Rainfall, even, is extinct. Gone. Replaced by the earth with an acidic downpour in protest of these enormous machines manufactured by the wealthy to produce artificial precipitation. The earth is tired—mother nature is angry, swollen with rage over a millennium of mistreatment and torment.
Her people suffer, she suffers—and that suffering has been replaced by a piercing, golden rain.
“When a droplet would glow with the same golden hue. You knew someone’s life had been decided.”Rainy Days
Only those born with a high enough tolerance are able to endure it for longer than a few moments. This is where we meet our cast of characters—all people of color, and quite frankly, all pretty darned badass.
“You can color a character black, white, brown or purple and get more people of that color to watch your show, but if their story or adventure is not authentic then the audience will always be those people of color and never be your fans. Like, I remember Cannon Busters had a black lead, but I could not tell you his name. The Rainy Days story is a fantasized re-telling grounded in reality and authenticity. People will read it and say that’s my sister, brother, father, grandmother, that’s me, that’s my pain, that’s my happiness, that is my story. And that’s why Rainy Days is different from anything else. The rain from the story’s plot is not the reason for the title. Everyone has rainy days. That shared experience is what a rainy day is. But what do you do on a rainy day when everything seems so negative? You join with your family and friends, focus on the good, play games, eat, be happy ‘cause you know the rain is going to pass. So, I figure, how about I take that entire experience of a rainy day and put it into a story that’s never been told before, but you couldn’t wait to hear?”G. Empty
Our leading protagonist, Ishoyko, is unrelenting and determined. Poised to learn more about her past and discover her purpose, her hair and skin shine with a golden-rose hue when she comes into contact with the noxious downpour. Her colleagues, classmates, and peers have similar tolerances and abilities. They’ve spent centuries hidden below ground, shielding their people from the cruelty and anguish above. Waiting and preparing.
The cast is bustling with spirit and tenacity—it’s easy to latch onto the strong sense of community and kinship. Even in the quick three-hour read, each character stands out prominently against the wet, violent landscape that greets them on the surface.
Ishoyko is akin to anyone who has met a challenge face on—anyone has witnessed pain and suffered their own. It’s easy to empathize with her story and serves as a beautiful, complex bridge to learn more about one another.
Untaught and driven wholly by passion, G. has one of the most unique writing voices that I’ve crossed in publishing. Omitting any formal training, what you get on the page is a raw, untouched story told how I’d expect G. to say it aloud—unfiltered and brutally honest, or as he pitched to me, “lunchtime schoolgirl gossip.”
G., too, is as charismatic as any of his characters. “If you do not like it because of the grammar and diction then you should go teach a damn class ‘cause I wrote this and let my momma edit it so if she OKs it then it’s good for anyone!”
“The Author of Rainy Days, G. Empty, is a native of Chocolate City (Washington D.C.). Currently he is a commissioned active duty service member stationed in Los Angeles, California. Writing was never something he was ever too passionate about but telling a story and having audiences hanging on every word was always a talent of his. He wrote the book in the same way he would speak a story. No overly correct grammar or diction. Just straight story no chaser that really allows the reader to understand the vivid details of the story unfolding in their mind. The oldest event he can say led him to anime is when he picked up a Tenchi Muyo movie one evening in Block Buster Video and never returned it. Then through Cartoon Network’s “Toonami” his mind was expanded to the wider world of Anime like Dragonball Z, Sailor Moon, Bleach, YuYu Hakusho, and many others. One thing was always on his mind. “Black people love this shit!” He recognized the impact of Black characters to all anime but never saw an anime that really does the black character justice in a way that people of color today can really relate to. So the response was almost too obvious. Write the Rainy Days Story.”G. Empty
Rainy Days is lively and hypnotic—filled to the brim with a roster of magnetic characters that drive the neo-noir narrative forward. But these moments of jubilation only serve as a reprieve from the story’s darker underbelly. Social discriminations run rampant, while starvation and suffering are commonplace beneath the tyranny of the social elite. The Founders of Life can be juxtaposed against any oppressive group throughout time, eager to wield their power (and money) over those who they view as being lesser, controllable.
But, much like the world around us today, there will always be someone to stand against those forces. In G. Empty’s world, that hero is Ishoyko.
“Why is it that anything pro-Black, or anything that has people of color in a position to be celebrated, someone has to think it’s being discriminatory? Nazi-killing stories always get rave reviews, as they should, but HOLD UP if people of color take on their oppressors? No, Rainy Days is a story for any and everyone who has gone through strife and turmoil. The story allows the characters, in their hardship, to find comfort in their bodies and lives so that they can overcome their enemies and help the ones they love. I believe everyone who reads from any background will find a character or event that they can relate to. It is a story of self-discovery, and there is always more than meets the eye.”G. Empty
The world of Rainy Days isn’t too different from our own. The selfishness of humanity is an inevitability, but our band of quirky heroes take up their weapons in protest. They are propelled forward by the prospect of safety, motivated by the prosperity of their communities. We can learn from their bonds—we can use Ishoyko’s story to look at our own world and search for something better or strengthen what we already have.
There are many reasons why Rainy Days is utterly exciting, but its thoughtfulness is brilliantly jarring. Empty’s matter-of-fact approach to the writing is brutally straightforward and wholly effective. You’re not simply reading his story; you’re listening to it.
For more information on G. Empty’s Rainy Days and their forthcoming Kickstarter campaign, visit https://www.rainydaysaga.com/info.