The Blue Angel
(BBC Consumer Publishing, £5.99, 279 pages, paperback, 6 September 1999;
- Can I get away with this silly idea for a review and make it seem
clever and postmodern?
- Did the authors, Paul Magrs and Jeremy Hoad, have similar thoughts
when they thought of this book?
- What's the significance of the amnesiac Doctor in suburbia?
- Come to that, what's the significance of the Doctor to the story?
- Or has he merely wandered into another in the series of Extremely
Deranged Adventures featuring Iris Wildthyme?
- Is it inevitable that a parody of the, at least in my humble opinion,
bland and uninteresting Star Trek franchise should come across as
bland and uninteresting compared to the weird and wonderful world
of the Obverse?
- Is it that I can't stand Star Trek enough to know all the clichés
to find the aforementioned parody funny?
- Or is it just actually unfunny?
- Isn't that a similar criticism as can be applied to the book as
- Is this story really the clever and postmodern novel it purports
- Or is it really just the incoherent and confusing book it appears
to be at first glance?
- And even if it does actually make sense on some level, if a lot
of people find it an incoherent mess, hasn't it in an important sense
- Isn't it quite fun the way that the story does, towards the end,
come to resemble having some kind of sense, like a fuzzy picture coming
- But does it turn out that the picture was taken at a funny angle,
badly exposed and misdeveloped all along?
- Does it really matter if, when read without worrying about plot
and other traditions, it's an enjoyable and magical experience?
- Did Paul Magrs stop writing enjoyable and (relatively) straightforward
adventures after "The Scarlet Empress"?
- Is this the point where he goes down the path of extreme trippiness
that puts me off his subsequent novels?
- Can I come to a decent conclusion to my review, balancing the merits
of the sometimes delightful prose with the baffling, supposedly clever
- Or shall I just leave it ambiguous in a pretentious way to hide
my indecision by merely asking questions?
- And where, I wonder, did that idea come from?
Review by Caleb Woodbridge.