On the John Black Tetralogy

For I Could Lift My Finger and Black Out the Sun is the first of the intended four books of the John Black tetralogy. (Gee, that’s a big word. What’s it mean? Trilogy plus one. Four books. That’s all. It’s sometimes called a Quadrilogy, but that’s what we call a “bullshit word,” i.e. it’s not real.) Where was I?

The entire John Black tetralogy is anticipated to be:

  1. For I Could Lift My Finger and Black Out the Sun
  2. And It Arose from the Deepest Black
  3. On a Black Wind Blows Doom
  4. In the Black Veins of the Earth

John Black might have more to see, say, and do in the future. Time will tell. But this is the current set of novels scheduled.

Why those names?

Let’s back up.

With The Oasis of Filth, I divided the story into three parts. The first dealt with loyalty, and had a blue cover. The second, with fear. A yellow cover. The final book, with anger. A red cover. The covers also featured zero, one, and two people, respectively, which was a nod to the increasing engagement with others throughout the tale.

Now, with John Black, four books. They are elemental. Book one is fire (the Sun). Book two is water (it arose). Book three is air, and four is Earth. The elements are important undercurrents to the story.

But undercurrents and themes don’t matter if the story doesn’t work or no one reads it. I’ve been rejected for major promotions on the first book twice so far, possibly related to its long title. But I’m sticking to my guns. Too many books have one or two word titles these days. I wanted something more chewy, more dense. If it brought to your mind the classic Star Trek episode titles of For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky or Who Mourns for Adonais? then wonderful. This book has little or nothing to do with those shows, but I wanted the title to either grab you and say “you know you want to read this,” or, if not, self-identify as not your cup of tea. That’s fine with me, either way.

The shortest planned title in the John Black series is 6 words. The average title length of the top 20 sci-fi titles on Amazon today is 2.8 words. I’m clearly bucking a trend. Is that a wise thing for a little known author to do? Likely, no. But here we are.

Book 2 is edging ever forward, and I think there will be some fairly significant surprises in store. To borrow a line from Jurassic Park, “Life finds a way.”