In the year 2054, the ruling fundamentalist Christian Church does not encourage its great artists; it mindwipes them.
August, talented son of an alcoholic father, wants desperately to gain love and recognition through his art, but his paintings of Michelangelo-style nudes are strictly forbidden by the repressive church. When Minister Simon Di Luca threatens to have him mindwiped, he tries to stop painting, but finds that art is his life and soul.
Balancing between his contempt for the church, love for painting and relationship with a revolutionary woman, August is soon faced with choices that will decide his fate. Will protecting his ideals be more important than his life?
Jean Kilczer's The Empty Hands is a provocative look at a dystopian future.
Night hovered over the sweltering summer streets of Rome, held back by the illuminated piazzas, the flashing colored fountains that splashed only bare rock, shorn now of their great Renaissance statues. Eye-of-God globes drifted among strolling people, watching from revolving inner cameras and lights, studying faces, dissecting small talk to find a germ of dissent, dissent against the great Charismatic Fundamentalist Church that ruled the post-apocalyptic Western world with an uneasy hand.
Within the Eternal City, St. Peter's Dome seemed to float serenely in a halo of stars. Its spire reached to the heavens, while the jutting Vatican's buildings stretched down in warped reflections to the heart of the ancient Tiber River.
A huge candle of light suddenly blossomed above an exploding Vatican building. Laced with curls of smoke, it roiled into the night sky. The blast rattled windows as it thundered across Rome. People on the street stood frozen in their steps. Some screamed and ran for the cover of buildings. The Eye-of-God globes rose and sped toward the billowing flames like white moths attracted to flame.
Four black-clad figures wearing ski masks, lit behind by the blaze, raced across the Vatican grounds and leaped a wall to an outside street. An anonymous-looking car idled at the curb.
One of the four paused by a sign spread across the wall:
BLESSED ARE THE BORN AGAIN.
“Come on, Paul!” a black-clad woman called to him as the whine of vaccopters grew to shrieks above Vatican City.
Paul pulled out a can of paint from his backpack. “Go, Monique!” he shouted and sprayed NORM in red letters across the sign.
Monique threw herself into the back seat of the car as vaccopters whined above the Vatican buildings.