Top 10 List & Giveaway: Tom Doyle’s Classic American Stories of the Fantastic or Uncanny & win American Craftsmen

May 20, 2014 Giveaways, Guests 11

A big welcome to Tom Doyle who is here counting down the Top 10 Classic American Stories of the Fantastic or Uncanny and celebrating the release of American Craftsmen (published on May 6, 2014 by Tor Books). Want to win a copy? Enter via the widget below.


Tom Doyle’s Top 10 Classic American Stories of the Fantastic or Uncanny

In my debut novel, American Craftsmen, Captain Dale Morton is a magician soldier, a “craftsman”, fighting against a treasonous cabal at the heart of the Pentagon. American Craftsmen has also been called “a book haunted by other books” because I’ve created a backstory from the early American stories of the fantastic. For my list, here (in no precise order) are my top ten American stories of the fantastic or the uncanny. I’ve limited the selections to one per author, or Poe might occupy half of the list.


“The Yellow Wallpaper,” Charlotte Perkins Gilman

In this early feminist story, a woman is confined to a room for her “health” and descends into madness. I have yellow wallpaper decorating one of the rooms in the House of Morton.


The Turn of the Screw, Henry James

If one takes this story at face value, it’s about ghosts possessing children. In my novel, such possession is a skill of certain evil ancestral Mortons.


The King in Yellow (first four stories), Robert W. Chambers

These stories form a link between Poe, with their king inspired by the Red Death, and H.P. Lovecraft, with their otherworldly evil. They’ve gained some recent noticed through their use in HBO’s True Detective.


Moby-Dick, Herman Melville

Melville’s whale may be much more than an animal. Is he a stand-in for nature? Evil? In my novel, the black ops section of the Pentagon’s craft command is color coded with the whale’s ironic white.


“An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,” Ambrose Bierce

This story is famous for its representation of how subjective consciousness can stretch time. This sort of stretching was later used in such diverse works as Jacob’s Ladder and The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. My craftspeople are able to enter an accelerated mode for combat.


The Mysterious Stranger, Mark Twain

Satan visits Earth and exercises a power of command over friend and foe alike while declaring that nothing is real. Some of my craftspeople have such a power of command.


“The Legend of Sleep Hollow” Washington Irving

I’m not sure if Irving would have laughed or cried at hearing that Ichabod Crane has been re-imagined as a hero of anything. Due perhaps to its retellings for children, this is a frequently misinterpreted story. The greedy Crane is the villain of the piece, and the town was right to drive him out. In my world, Ichabod would be one of the evil Morton ancestors.


The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, H.P. Lovecraft

Here’s a funny one: when I wrote American Craftsmen, I was only familiar with other works in Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos. This saga of a New England family with an evil sorcerer ancestor might have scared me away from the topic altogether. But reading it after I’d finished writing my novel just convinced me that I’d been on the right track.


The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne

Hawthorne was an excellent chronicler of the darker side of the Puritans’ story. In my novel, one of the Morton powers is to see sins as glowing letters radiating from a person’s body.


“The Masque of the Red Death,” Edgar Allan Poe

I could have picked any number of Poe stories, but I picked this one because it’s about how the Decameron fails–storytelling falters when we attempt to isolate it from the negative aspects of the world. In American Craftsmen, one of the Morton evil ancestors wore the garb of the Red Death during rituals and killings.


 Tom Doyle’s debut novel, American Craftsmen, is the first in a three-book contemporary fantasy series from Tor. His collection from Paper Golem Press, The Wizard of Macatawa and Other Stories, features short fiction winners of the WSFA Small Press Award and Writers of the Future Award. Two of his recent stories have appeared in Daily Science Fiction and Buzzy Mag. Tom writes in a spooky turret in Washington DC. The text and audio of many of his stories are available at

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Two copies of American Craftsmen by Tom Doyle


Available on May 6, 2014 by Tor Books


In modern America, two soldiers will fight their way through the magical legacies of Poe and Hawthorne to destroy an undying evil—if they don’t kill each other first.

US Army Captain Dale Morton is a magician soldier—a “craftsman.” After a black-ops mission gone wrong, Dale is cursed by a Persian sorcerer and haunted by his good and evil ancestors. Major Michael Endicott, a Puritan craftsman, finds gruesome evidence that the evil Mortons, formerly led by the twins Roderick and Madeline, have returned, and that Dale might be one of them.

Dale uncovers treason in the Pentagon’s highest covert ranks. He hunts for his enemies before they can murder him and Scherie, a new friend who knows nothing of his magic.

Endicott pursues Dale, divided between his duty to capture a rogue soldier and his desire to protect Dale from his would-be assassins. They will discover that the demonic horrors that have corrupted American magic are not bound by family or even death itself.

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11 Responses to “Top 10 List & Giveaway: Tom Doyle’s Classic American Stories of the Fantastic or Uncanny & win American Craftsmen”

  1. erinf1

    I’ve only read about 1/2 of those on the list. But I definitely plan on working on the rest 🙂 Thanks for sharing!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Angela

    I’ve read a few of the books on this list, but I have been meaning to read the rest and now I plan to tackle them next.

  3. Lege

    Oh, wow!
    Amazing picks! Some of my favorite creepers: King in Yellow, Th Turn of the Screw, Poe and Lovecraft, naturally. When i rented my first apartment the only thing I found left from previous tenant was paperback of Charles Dexter Ward- that’s not scary at all, right? 🙂
    If I wasn’t convinced to read it by blurb, this post would tip the scale.

  4. Mirlou

    I read a few books on this list: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Washington Irving, Hermann Melville and my favorite Edgard Allan Poe, Lovecraft

  5. Tashraven

    I have read all but two books on the list. American Craftsmen sounds like a good read, I will be adding this book to my TBR pile.

  6. Vicky L. Cooling

    I have read all except for the Chambers and Gilman. Now I need to check those out!

  7. Carl

    I’ve read most of the list. Some of them I enjoyed more than others My favorite was Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge which I read when I was in my teens. Ambrose Bierce was a fabulous writer, I loved his stuff.

  8. Katherine Tomlinson

    Finally, someone who shares my enthusiasm for MOBY DICK. And tom, your book sounds fantastic.

  9. Natasha

    I have read The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and loved it!
    Thanks for the chance to win!

  10. Kris (Imaginary Reads)

    I’ve read several books on the list – Turn of the Screw most recently for a class. Great picks! Your comments are having me think about them in a different way 🙂