To: My Esteemed Editor

From: Author in Need of a Book Deal

Subject: Proposal for Updating Christmas Classics

Per our discussion, I am following up on my brilliant idea of retelling Christmas classics. I’m totally hyped on this and hope we’ll be able to make something big happen! Please let me know how you’d like to proceed.

The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry

Handle: This little classic has warmed hearts for generations. But watches and hair clips are so yesterday.

Summary:The Gift of the Bionic Magi. The Bionic Woman and Six Million Dollar Man have fallen on hard times as the technology in their bodies has become outmoded and seriously depreciated in value. Out of work and with no money for presents, they sell their various robot parts to scrap yards and pawn shops. At the end of the story they are left without their mechanical body parts, but appreciate each other’s generosity, though they do admit they’ve been kind of stupid because Steve Austin forgot that he could borrow money from his 401(k).

Ka-ching Factor: Okay, this is kind of a downer ending, but there’s that new Bionic Woman series, which may not be as good as Lindsay Wagner’s, but it’s kind of hot.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Handle: Perhaps the mother of all Christmas stories, this is one of my favorites, though I feel like it’s gotten a bit stodgy and could use a little updating.

Summary:The Ultimate Fighting Christmas Carol. Ebenezer “Don’t Call Me” Scrooge is a retired mixed martial artist living out his remaining years as a trainer at his gym, Scrooge & Marley. One of his apprentices is a young man named Bob “Smash It” Cratchit, whom Scrooge rides mercilessly because he believes he will one day become champion. The fight is on Christmas Eve, and when they arrive at the arena they are stunned to discover that Cratchit will fight not one, not two, but three opponents: the formidable Spirit brothers, Past, Present and Future. Scrooge, enraged, rips off his suit to reveal his legendary fighting costume, not seen in eons—a sleeping cap and gown with the words “Bah Humbug” embroidered on his back. Together, Scrooge and Cratchit battle the brothers and finally emerge victorious and win the trophy: a giant fresh turkey.

Ka-ching Factor: This has all the earmarks of a hit. Ultimate fighting is fast superseding boxing and wrestling as the most popular combat sport in America. Also, all kinds of merchandising opportunities with the cap and gown, cross-promotion with the National Turkey Federation.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss

Handle: Undeniably a classic even though the Grinch is completely misunderstood. It’s time to set the record straight.

Summary:How the Grinch Saved Christmas! The Whos are a generally ignorant people who have not kept up on current events. Obsessed with CNN and the Drudge Report, the Grinch has been following all the breaking news concerning the recalls of toys made in China. In fact, he has always suspected that it was lead poisoning that caused his heart to shrink and Max to lose his antlers. So he is on a mission. After purchasing a lead tester online, the Grinch sets about inspecting all the toys under the Christmas trees in Whoville. He is shocked and disturbed to find that many of the toys (1) have been made in China, (2) are tainted with lead and (3) are mainly Transformers, with nary a cuddly Grinch doll to be found. Realizing that these toys cannot possibly be given to children, he decides to hide them in his cave on Mt. Crumpit. This leads to a serious blowout with Santa Claus, who has been in the pocket of a secret global toy conglomerate. I envision a rooftop fight on the order of those amazing action sequences in The Bourne Ultimatum.

Ka-ching Factor: Tainted toys are on parents’ minds. Transformers was a huge movie. And “secret global toy conglomerate” practically screams Da Vinci Code.

Author Information
Mauro DiPreta is an editor at HarperCollins Publishers and is somehow connected to Fartsy Claus, a parody of ’Twas the Night Before Christmas, by Mitch Chivus and illustrated by Mike Reed, which Harper published in September.