It’s no accident that a new series of unicorn romances was announced today. Oh how I wish it were actually true

That excellent science fiction author, Charles Stross, is full of news this sunny April morning. He’s decided, he says, that he needs to branch out – SF just isn’t bringing in the money any more. So, after conducting “an exhaustive review” of his skillset and background with his agent, and commissioning a focus group, he’s just signed a new deal with … I’ll let him tell you himself.

“Harlequin Romance will publish my first paranormal romance, Unicorn School™: The Sparkling, in Q1/2012. US:TS is the first book of the projected series, and introduces Avril Poisson, who moves with her family from Phoenix, Arizona, to Forks, Washington with her divorced father, and finds her life in danger when she falls in love with a Sparkly Unicorn™ called Bob,” announces Stross. “Stalked by … a mysterious horse-mutilator, Avril must practice her dressage skills with Bob and qualify her steed for a scholarship to the elite Unicorn School™ … In book three, Unicorn School™: The Deflowering” – my personal favourite, I’d like to add – “Bob and Avril confront their most ghastly foe yet, a moustache-twirling villain who is intent on seducing all the pupils (as we all know, unicorn/human relationships are only possible if the human party is a virgin) in order to sell their heart-broken steeds to evil French multinational meat conglomerate Hachette.”

But wait! That’s not all! Locus Online has the scoop that Stross, together with Cory Doctorow, is writing an official sequel to Ayn Rand’s hellish-sounding (haven’t read it, don’t want to) Atlas Shrugged. Stross told the magazine that he and Doctorow were initially hesitant about Atlas Rebound. “But then we realised that both of us shared one important trait with Ayn Rand: all three of us really, really like money. That made it much easier for Cory and I to cash the seven-figure check.”

Now, it took me a matter of seconds to spot that the Rand story was an April Fool. It took me a few paragraphs of marvelling (right up until the Sparkly Unicorns™) to twig to the Harlequin series – partly, I think, because I so very much wish that it were true. “As we all know, unicorn/human relationships are only possible if the human party is a virgin.” Irresistible. I would most definitely read those books and I think Harlequin would be fools – fools! – not to approach Stross with a book deal. I wonder what he’d say; he admits on his blog that if someone did offer him a seven-figure sum to write a sequel to Rand’s rant, he’d “totally” do it: “It’d subsidise an entire decade of funky experimental stuff like Palimpsest … “

There’s April Fool spotting galore going on here but I’d love to hear about any other book-related stunts you may have spotted; I’ll let you know what I spot too, but I’ll say it right now – I think Stross is going to be hard to beat. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds