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The Blue Angel

by Paul Magrs and Jeremy Hoad

(BBC Consumer Publishing, £5.99, 279 pages, paperback, 6 September 1999; ISBN: 0563555815.)

20 Questions

  1. Can I get away with this silly idea for a review and make it seem clever and postmodern?cover scan
  2. Did the authors, Paul Magrs and Jeremy Hoad, have similar thoughts when they thought of this book?
  3. What's the significance of the amnesiac Doctor in suburbia?
  4. Come to that, what's the significance of the Doctor to the story?
  5. Or has he merely wandered into another in the series of Extremely Deranged Adventures featuring Iris Wildthyme?
  6. 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?
  7. Is it that I can't stand Star Trek enough to know all the clichés to find the aforementioned parody funny?
  8. Or is it just actually unfunny?
  9. Isn't that a similar criticism as can be applied to the book as a whole?
  10. Is this story really the clever and postmodern novel it purports to be?
  11. Or is it really just the incoherent and confusing book it appears to be at first glance?
  12. 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 failed?
  13. 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 into focus?
  14. But does it turn out that the picture was taken at a funny angle, badly exposed and misdeveloped all along?
  15. Does it really matter if, when read without worrying about plot and other traditions, it's an enjoyable and magical experience?
  16. Did Paul Magrs stop writing enjoyable and (relatively) straightforward adventures after "The Scarlet Empress"?
  17. Is this the point where he goes down the path of extreme trippiness that puts me off his subsequent novels?
  18. Can I come to a decent conclusion to my review, balancing the merits of the sometimes delightful prose with the baffling, supposedly clever techniques?
  19. Or shall I just leave it ambiguous in a pretentious way to hide my indecision by merely asking questions?
  20. And where, I wonder, did that idea come from?

Review by Caleb Woodbridge.

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